Tag: Science (Or Not)

It’s really about ethics in food journalism

Uh-oh. Someone better warn the “Food Babe” aka Vani “there is no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever” Hari about that scarily ubiquitous chemical molecule dihydrogen monoxide and the evil conspiracy to make the world believe that DHMO is totally safe for us to ingest.

Anat/Phys 101 with Mary Sue McClurkin: The body’s largest organ is the baby

Birmingham, Alabama, is home to a world-renowned teaching and research institution. Discoveries in cancer research, endocrinology, transplant medicine, surgery, and literally dozens of other specialties have significant impact across the globe. Twenty miles south in Pelham, Alabama state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin is stupid as a bucket of hair and thinks a baby is a bodily organ.

The idea that “life begins at conception” is a Biblical view younger than the Happy Meal

In fact, it’s really only been considered Biblically “true” since 1979 — before that, Evangelicals held widely varying positions, and even some of the most vocal “life begins at conception” voices today didn’t think that zygote life was the equivalent of born-human life in the 1960s and 70s. But political necessities change, and with them Bible interpretations. Read that whole piece; it’s fascinating. Also worth considering the role played by the new Right, and the need to replace full-throated support for segregation with other issues that could rally racist whites, particularly in the South.

Donate for an Actual Cure

It’s October, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the U.S. is awash in a sea of bubblegum pink. The most recognizable, of course, is that of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and their ubiquitous pink ribbon, pink t-shirts, and potentially carcinogenic co-branded pink products. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help “end breast cancer forever”–catch it early, treat it effectively, and discover and eliminate the reasons it occurs in the first place–without going through SGK. The simplest way is just to go straight to the source.

Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical.

UC-Davis professor and perennial noticer of gender imbalance at conferences Jonathan Eisen received an e-mail invitation and call for submissions to the 2013 Winter Q-Bio Meeting: Quantitative Biology on the Hawaii Islands. Nice, right? Sun, science, slate of speakers almost exclusively composed of dudes. (On the plus side, Dr. Lahav, at least you’ll never have to wait in line for the bathroom.)

The Non-Case Against Gay Parenting

By now you’ve probably seen the right-wing-funded study that says the children of gay parents fare far worse than the children of straight parents. And hopefully you’ve also seen that the study’s methodology was so sloppy that by its terms, Ted Haggard is a “gay dad.” But one thing I haven’t seen discussed is how the results of this study — even assuming it were accurate, which it’s not — should influence same-sex marriage rights litigation. The answer: It shouldn’t. I explain why in the Guardian. A taste:

Women Are Better Than Men?

That’s Roger Ebert’s argument. And listen, I love me some Roger Ebert, but this is a big piece of crap. His point basically comes down to, “Women are nurturing and wonderful and non-violent, men are competitive and want to see boobs, because Evolution.” And ugh I don’t even have the time to pick through this mess, but y’all should go for it in the comments. I’ll start: Most people have the capacity to be wonderful, non-violent, nurturing and loving. Most people also have the capacity to be competitive, driven, aggressive and ruthless. Most people are capable of great kindness; most people are capable of being total assholes. The degree to which any of us displays any of these traits depends largely on circumstance and partly on individual personality and temperment. Those things are certainly influenced by gender, but our gender does not in fact hard-wire us to be nice or awful.