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November 29, 2010

Join Pat in a Webinar Dec 2nd

Come join me and FairerScience friend Eann Patterson on Thursday December 2 from 2:00-3:00 on an NSF-funded webinar on: ENGAGE Research-based Strategies to Retain Undergraduates in Engineering: Using Everyday Engineering Examples in the Classroom

You'll have a good time, learn new things and get some swag-- copies of Eann's books of real life examples in Dynamics; Mechanics of Solids and Thermodynamics.

So come join us. All you need to do is register.

November 28, 2010

Kimba Wood rocks!

Some of you will remember Kimba Wood from the Clinton Attny General snafu and others won't; but it doesn't really matter. I'm praising her today for a "decision" she made earlier this month.

Judge Wood received a request from an attorney who will be arguing a case in front of her starting Monday. The attorney, who is Jewish, is about to become a grandpa and as he explained, if the baby is a boy, there will be much celebration and if he isn't there for the bris, which could be a day he is supposed to be in court, he would need to be excused, because his "absence would never be forgotten by those that matter". If the baby is a girl he explained "not much will happen in terms of public celebration" so there was no need for him to be absent from court-- he could always go down on the weekend.

I know, I know that whole "Praised are You, O' Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has Not made me a woman." thing but I'm not going there-- I'm just going to reprint and celebrate Kimba Wood's response to the request:

Mr Epstein will be permitted to attend the bris in the joyous event that a son is born. But the court would like to balance the scales. If a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women.

I am so hoping Mr Epstein's daughter gives birth to a girl!

PS Many thanks to FairerScience friend David Mortman for letting us know about this!


November 24, 2010

500 thank yous

I can't believe that this is my 500th post. When I first started the FairerScience blog I wasn't sure where (or for how long) it would go. But as long as you are still reading, then I'm still writing. You are one of the many things I have to be thankful for. Thank you.

November 19, 2010

Having Fun: A Call for Scientiae Posts:

Ok I know that many of you know this already, but heck since the post is going to facebook as well- I'm going to say it again. Scientiae is a blog carnival that compiles posts written about the broad topic of "women in STEM," (STEM=science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and this month- ta dah I'm hosting it (sure I host one Scientiae every year, but how can anyone, especially me, resist a "ta dah"?).

Anyway the host gets to chose the theme and since I'm just back from a trip to Paris and Amsterdam where for the whole trip (Are you ready for this?), I didn't work; I just had fun, guess what- the theme is fun.

You know fun-- like eating take out while hanging out with people you love; watching Angelina Jolie kick butt in "Salt"; walking the streets of Paris with no destination; pedal boating the canals of Amsterdam in the November rain; watching baby JJ as he figures out how to crawl up stairs (ok that was pretty scary). You know fun.

So fun is the theme for this month. What do you do for fun? What's the most fun thing you've ever done? What do you do that makes you smile, giggle, fall on the floor laughing? What's the most fun thing you can imagine doing?

So folks let's have some fun and give each other ideas for new ways to have more fun. Please submit your posts by December 6th and I'll have the carnival up before my December 9th birthday. Feel free to give me some ideas for what I can do to have fun on my birthday.

To submit a post, please email the "permalink" URL of your post to scientiaecarnival [a] gmail [dt] com .

If you've never submitted to Scientiae this is a great time to start.

November 08, 2010

work/life balance

This is one of the best responses ever to the question

How do you deal with work/life balance?

Actually, I don’t believe in the concept of a “work/life balance”. This phrasing seems to indicate that work and life are on opposite sides of the scale, competing with one another for my attention and my love.
Of course it's from Justine Cassell so one would expect nothing less.

November 04, 2010

Baby X: An Update

Way back in 1972 (yes I was alive then and finishing my PhD--I was very precocious), Lois Gould wrote a short story about Baby X . It starts:

Once upon a time, a baby named X was born. This baby was named X so that nobody could tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Its parents could tell, of course, but they couldn't tell anybody else. They couldn't even tell Baby X, at first.

I'm figuring you can tell how it goes from there; but even if you think you can, read the story- it's a good one.

Anyway, I'm bringing it up now because at the Franklin Park Zoo, gorilla Kiki gave birth. The reporters were concerned because: "the gender of the new baby is unknown, because Kiki is holding it close, not allowing zookeepers to get near it." Our local TV wasn't sure how to report the story because they didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl and Kiki would, you should pardon the expression, whip the butt of anyone who tried to find out.

Why was it so important to find out? Well that is the question or perhaps the problem. We have our own version of this story. We've had our albino corn snake Orlando for almost 20 years and we still don't know Orlando's sex. It's not easy to sex a snake and since we weren't breeding him/her it never seemed important (and of course hence the name). We and, we assume, Orlando are fine with that but visitors almost always ask if Orlando is a girl or a boy snake.

There is something very interesting about how important it is for us to know the sex of a human, gorilla, snake, whatever. Would I really interact differently with Orlando if Orlando were a she than if Orlando were a he? Orlando is a snake-- we don't have a whole lot of gender issues. And of course how is that different from a baby gorilla? or a baby human?

PS Not to worry-- Orlando was never a wild snake, neither were her/his parents and grandparents. At our house wild snakes only visit.

Give your favorite science and math teacher a thank you (and maybe some cash and a trip)

Sounds good? Well here's the deal.

The National Science Foundation is currently accepting nominations and applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program. PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Presidential awardees receive a citation signed by the President of the United States, a trip for two to Washington DC to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Anyone--principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public--may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website. Teachers may also apply directly at http://www.paemst.org. The Nomination Deadline is April 1, 2011. This date gives the nominated teacher enough time to thoroughly prepare an application prior to the application deadline. The Application Deadline is May 2, 2011 for secondary school teachers (Grades 7-12).

Come on folks- let's do it. Even if they don't win-- getting nominated is pretty cool. To add to the encouragement- the first 3 folks who nominate teachers (and send me the nomination e-mail) get some of my famous homemade, healthy (really) chocolate chip cookies.

November 01, 2010

Vote vote vote and if you are a woman wear red

I will so probably regret this post but I really really want you to vote so I'm doing some very tenuous correlations. I saw this study which said that men who are shown pictures of a woman in a red dress want to ask her more amorous questions than "when men who are shown a picture of the same woman wearing blue or green. They also want to sit closer to her." So please folks wear red when you vote (heck I figure it probably works for guys who wear red but will anyone do that study? Ha ha ha ha -- BTW if I'm wrong please let me know).

PS I've always heard that red is the power color for women and when I'm not wearing black (think Johnny Cash) I'm usually wearing red (I like red) and hoping that myth may be right!