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May 30, 2010

A Feminist Manifesto: INDY Style

I know, I know, one of these days you're going to tell me I need to change the name of the web blog to FairerRacing, but this is just amazing. This year four women qualified for the Indianapolis 500. Danika finished 5th, rookie Simona De Silvestro finished 13th, rookie Ana Beatriz finished 21st and driver/owner Sarah Fisher 26th (she had mechanical problems),

That is really impressive but from the FairerScience perspective, Simona De Silvestro's reasons for racing are even more impressive. She is:

Creating a legacy, while on a journey to break barriers is a fortune that is a privilege for a very few. This journey cannot be embarked on without great courage, discipline and sacrifice. Simona De Silvestro has been blessed with such a fortune and is persevering on her path to changing the perception of a sport in its entirety. Female athletes of all sporting disciplines are in a constant battle with commercial forces to compromise their class and dignity in order to satisfy a male dominated marketplace. Simona's quest is to shatter the stereotypes, leap beyond the barriers and truly be a role model for young women across the globe. Having been gifted with a talent that allows her to compete in one of only two multi-gender sports in the entire world (Horse Racing & Motor Racing), the stage has been set for Simona to make her statement and mark.
You read that right? Including the parts about female athletes in constant battle not to compromise their class and dignity and those parts about shattering stereotypes and truly being a role model for young women across the globe, yes?

Say you know that part pointing out there are only two multi-gender sports-- motor racing and horse racing, I think she may wrong; science may be the third.

So you go all of you- car racers, scientists and anyone who's working to make the world better. Thank you!

PS BTW Tom pointed out that in horse racing both the horses and the jockeys can be male or female; but in motor racing we don't know what gender the race cars are.

May 23, 2010

Toons, Cartoons and Science

I'm a bit under the weather today so I've spent the day reading ALL of the Sunday New York Times, watching the qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 (5- yes count them- 5 women including Sarah Fisher who is a driver and an owner!) and listening to science songs. Yes you read that last one right.

They Might Be Giants have a new cd/dvd out of science songs. Ok yes the songs are for kids, but that's never slowed me down. My favorite song, why "Put It To The Test" of course. With lyrics like these how could I not love it?

If there's a question bothering your brain
That you think you know how to explain
You need a test
Yeah, think up a test

If it's possible to prove it wrong
You're going to want to know before too long
You'll need a test...

Don't believe it 'cause they say it's so
If it's not true, you have a right to know
Put it to the test (put it to the test)
Yeah, test it out (put it to the test)
Yeah, put it to the test (put it to the test)

Of course others of you might prefer "ROY G BIV" or "Meet The Elements" or.... Oh just listen to them here and decide for yourself.

And if that's not enough, I'm also reading Bang, a cartoon book about the creation of the universe, written in rhyme. It's fun and interesting and how can you not love, a book with a warning label that says "This book contains graphic depictions of scientific knowledge which may lead to decreased ignorance and heightened sensations of awe and wonder"?

You know this has been a pretty good Sunday after all.

May 20, 2010

A Bus Driver's Red Letter Day

I know you've all probably seen this, but heck see it again. It's worth it. And watch it until the end- it gets better (and it's only 2 min, 43 sec).

No it's not about science; it is about kindness and feeding the human spirit and we need a whole lot more of both before we will make much more progress toward Fairer Science.

PS Thanks to FairerScience friend Kathryn Campbell-Kibler for pointing me to it

May 19, 2010


So this week, for one of our projects, to get follow up data from teachers and kids (never an easy task); we tried a new data collection technique -- data palooza (named by Jenn):

3 days, 3 data collectors, 10 schools, 600+ kids, 20+ teachers, 20+ $25 gift cards and 48 dozen home made chocolate chip cookies. It worked! The teachers liked the gift cards, the kids loved the cookies and we got lots of data from every school. I'm going to do it again even though 48 dozen cookies is a lot of cookies (I made 27 dozen, Jenn 21).

May 14, 2010

Vacation: New Orleans style

Yup, Tom and I met our friend Ann in New Orleans and had a real vacation. Sure it was only 4 days long but I didn't work, I didn't open any work e-mail and I didn't even talk work. You know I didn't even realize I could do that. But I could and it was great. The following is a total "promo" for all of the folks who made the trip so great (well except for Tom and Ann of course).

So thanks to the Cornstalk (our room was the one in the upper left), Preservation Hall (I got to shimmy with the bandleader), Oscar (for the cool (and cheap) jewelry), and pretty much every restaurant in New Orleans for the food.

And of course I can't forget NOLA Rising for the all you can eat hog roast and crawfish boil to raise money to "encourage and help artists and residents to publicly display works of art for the purpose of rebuilding and restoring the human spirit." (although it does turn out that you (or perhaps that is only me) can eat too many crawfish).

Thank you New Orleans- it was great to see you doing so well. I loved that there is now fresh local produce in the French Market and there are more local artists and artisans and at least a little fewer imports from China. So anyone who has some free time and money should consider spending both in New Orleans.

PS I've loved New Orleans for a long time and it's not like I don't know about the oil spill and the slow progress in the ninth ward and the ongoing issues of the schools (and the levees) but sometimes you just have to celebrate the good things.

May 07, 2010

Facebook and Privacy

Today husband and partner Tom Kibler said "Do you know that Facebook has totally changed its privacy settings (sorry Sara you tried to tell me but I wasn't paying attention)? I went into my account and clicked on the privacy settings and holy **** (insert whatever word you feel comfortable with there). The new default appears now to be that everyone can see everything and there are so many categories that it took me 20+ mins to change my default settings to "friends only" or "friends and networks only."

Ok I've been an idiot because I wasn't paying attention and I do love my Facebook but damn-- all I can say is you all need to go on Facebook, click on Account and then go to the Privacy Settings and after you have dealt with all of those pieces then, go back to Account and go to Application settings and do it again.

Thanks Tom and Sara.

May 05, 2010

May Scientiae is up

So get thyself on over to Patchi's at My Middle Years and check it out. The theme was bumps and humps. Unfortunately my emergency root canal was a bump that caused me not to submit a post. Sorry Patchi and thanks for the good work!

May 04, 2010

For old(er) women in science (and everywhere else)

Our new anthem is All the wrinkled ladies . I've failed on finding the lyrics in writing so you will have to to listen very carefully. It's worth it.

BTW thanks to FairerScience friend Deb Eve, for always, always,. always making me see the positive side of things.

May 03, 2010

Happy Birthday Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger is one of my heroes and today is his 91st birthday! These past couple of years, when we've done the the Hudson River Swim to benefit the River Pool at Beacon, Pete has sung us into the Newburgh side of the river and then sung us out at the Beacon side. Thanks to Pete (and his friends), the Hudson River is clean enough for anyone to safely do this (well as long as you can swim). The man knows his science, as well as his music.

I'm assuming you all know everything there is to know about Pete Seeger-- but just in case, let me quote:

It's no exaggeration to say that Pete Seeger has done more to popularize American folk music than any other contemporary musician, authoring or co-authoring the songs that have become folk standards: "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" to name just a few. His work has inspired countless musicians including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks, and his tireless political and environmental activism have galvanized generations of admirers to follow his lead and take action.:

And the man is a big friend of women in science and engineering. His sister Peggy Seeger wrote the fabulous I Gona Be An Engineer. When she sings it, it's great, but when he, as a man, sings it (you gotta listen), I didn't know it totally touches me.

And check out the lyrics, especially the ending:

Well, I listened to my mother and I joined a typing pool Listened to my lover and I put him through his school If I listen to the boss, I'm just a bloody fool And an underpaid engineer I been a sucker ever since I was a baby As a daughter, as a mother, as a lover, as a dear But I'll fight them as a woman, not a lady I'll fight them as an engineer!

Thanks Pete and Peggy and all of you upon whose shoulders we stand.