Sunday, October 12, 2014

(Source: thymegaforeskin)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

i once saw a scientist
on television.
and she was speaking generally
about science things
(being a scientist and knowing science things
etc.)
and, speaking generally
i am not a science
person,
and while i respect them,
i do not have much interest
in scientists
or science things.
so i went to switch the channel
at the precise moment that the presenter sitting beside the scientist asked:
what,
in your opinion,
is the most ASTOUNDING fact
about the universe
?
and this stopped me.
because it is not often that television presenters ask such interesting questions,
and the scientist was pursing her lips in a thoughtful way that made me think
i wanted to her her answer
to the interesting question.
after a pause,
she did not look directly at the
camera,
but directly at the presenter.

did you know,
she said,
that there are atoms in your body.
the presenter laughed.
of course,
he said.
what else would my body be made of?

well,
said the scientist,
and i did not need to look at the television screen to know
she was smiling.
do you know where those atoms came from?
well,
said the presenter.
and he did not say anything else.
i snickered from my place in the armchair
and the scientist smiled again.

the most ASTOUNDING fact that i have ever known,
she said,
is not a fact, specifically,
but the story of every atom on this planet.
the ones that make up the grass and the sea and the sand and the forests and the human
body.
these atoms came
from stars.

the presenter sat forward and so did i.

stars,
continued the scientist,
are mortal
like humans.
they die,
and, in their later years,
are unstable.
it pains me a little to say it, but a star’s death
is far more dramatic than a human’s.
is it? asked the presenter.
the scientist was looking at him still,
and i felt strongly as though i was listening in on a very private
conversation.

it is, the scientist nodded. the stars
i am referring to,
she said,
collapsed and exploded a very long time ago, and scattered their enriched guts across
the entire universe.
here, she paused, and her words caught in my mind in a way that made me wonder
if she was a scientist
or a poet.
their guts, she said whilst sipping from a glass of water, were splayed across every
inch
of time and space.
these guts were made of the
fundamental ingredients
of life and existence.
carbon and oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen and all the
rest of it.
all in the bellies of these stars that flung themselves across the universe in protest when it was their time to die.

and then? asked the presenter.
the scientist’s lips quirked upwards. and then, she said.
it all became parts of gas clouds.
ones that condense and collapse and will form our next solar systems -
billions of stars with billions of planets to orbit them.
and these planets have the ingredients of life sewed into the very fabric
of their own lives.

so, she said, smile still playing on her lips -
where do your atoms come from?
from those gas clouds, said the presenter.
no, said the scientist.
from those stars.

every atom, every molecule, every inhale and exhale and beat of your heart, is traceable
to the crucibles that cooked life itself.
and you are sitting here and so am i and so are your viewers at home,
and we’re all in the universe, aren’t we?
yes, said the presenter.
but i’ll tell you what’s even better, the scientist smiled wider.
the universe is in us. your atoms and my atoms and your camera men’s atoms came from those stars. you’re connected and relevant without even having to try. you are made of stardust and the fabric of the universe.
that is the most ASTOUNDING fact
i can tell you.
the presenter smiled and the scientist smiled wider and i smiled too,

and later i switched the channel to something less scientific
and wondered if i should feel small,
tiny and insignificant in relation to the stars that collapsed and exploded and
threw themselves everywhere.
and that is how my mother found me,
sitting on the sofa.
and she asked me what was
wrong,
and i said,
nothing. i’m just a lot smaller than stars are.
my mother is very literal woman. as such, her natural response was:
of course you’re not. don’t you see how small stars are?
that’s only from a distance,
i said.
maybe you’re looking at yourself from a distance too, she said.

and she left the room and it is years later now, but i still
think about the scientist and what she said
and my mother and what she said
and i still see the presenter on television.
and i still think that the stars are very big
but now i think,
they are in me.
so i am big too.

'the most astounding fact' - j.c., inspired by neil degrass tyson’s talk of the same name (via girlonfired)
Friday, October 3, 2014

biorobo:

slyjinks:

pyrositshere:

internetgoose:

I’m gonna depress the hell out of all of you. ready? ok go

so, that “stop devaluing feminized work post”

nice idea and all

but the thing is, as soon as a decent number of women enter any field, it becomes “feminized,” and it becomes devalued.

as women enter a field in greater number, people become less willing to pay for it, the respect for it drops, and it’s seen as less of a big deal. it’s not about the job- it’s about the number of women in the job.

observe what happened with biology. it’s STEM, sure, but anyone in a male-dominated science will sneer at the idea of it being ‘for real,’ nevermind that everyone sure took it more seriously when it was a male dominated field. so has happened with scores of other areas; nursing comes to mind

so the thing is, it’s not the work or the job that has to be uplifted and seen as more respectable. it will never work out, until people start seeing women as respectable

but there’s a doozy and who the fuck knows if it’s ever happening in my life time

"observe what happened with biology. it’s STEM, sure, but anyone in a male-dominated science will sneer at the idea of it being ‘for real,’ nevermind that everyone sure took it more seriously when it was a male dominated field."

Personal anecdote time!  I’m in a biology graduate program.  An acquaintance wanted to introduce some guy to me because his son was thinking about becoming an undergrad science major.  When he found out I was in the biology department, he grinned and said, “Well, I guess that’s kind of related to science.”

I gave him what I hope was an icy look and said, “Isn’t it strange how men outside the field started saying that right around the time biology majors shifted from mostly male to mostly female?”

The guy got this look on his face like he was about to play the “just a joke” card, and then an older woman who had been standing nearby, talking to someone else, turned to me and said, “The same thing happened with real estate.”  She went on to explain that, over the course of the career, the male-to-female ratio among real estate agents had dropped, and the pay and “prestige factor” of that job dropped along with it.

It’s also interesting to look at fields where the reverse pattern happens, such as computer programming. Computer programming used to be a female-dominated field, but, in order to raise the prestige of the field, new entry tests and hiring practices were instituted to discourage the hiring of women. Because, naturally, there’s no way a field can be dominated by women and prestigious at the same time (reference: Researcher reveals how “Computer Geeks” replaced “Computer Girls”).

I’ve argued this exact thing before! Biology was NEVER considered a soft science before women entered. And medicine is now losing prestige too because women are becoming doctors instead of staying in lower positions. Suddenly these mentally rigorous fields based on insight and analysis are “just memorization” or some other bullshit about how they’re not REALLY using “intelligence.” 

Friday, September 26, 2014

comedycentral:

Click here for more of Jon Stewart’s coverage of the recent House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

beautifuloutlier:

I want to note that the way the sex binary looks like it’s present throughout the animal world is that white scientists have a terrible habit of labeling everything “male” or “female” even when it makes no sense.

Like, by any reasonable metric, bees have three sexes: drone, queen, and worker. Workers are only labelled female because someone couldn’t abide the idea of something not being either one or the other.

And before someone calls “genetics” there are many species where both sexes have the exact same genetics, and even many where individuals can change reproductive capacity at will, and scientists suddenly have no problem calling the ones who grow eggs “female” even though they were “male” two weeks ago.

Some species of mammals reproduce asexually. They have only one sex. It is still called “female” because it makes babies even though one might reasonably ask why even make the distinction when every single individual makes babies just the same.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Biologists call a small male fish who darts in to fertilize eggs a “sneaker,”, a medium male who resembles a female a “female mimic,”, and a large aggressive territorial male a “parental,” to place a positive spin of his egg guarding. Both the sneaker and the female mimic are “sexual parasites” of the parental male’s “investment” in nest construction and territorial defense. The sneaker and the female mimic are said to express a gene for “cuckoldry,” as though the parental male were married to a female in his territory and victimized by her unfaithfulness. In fact, a territorial male and the female who is temporarily in his territory are not pair-bonded. Scientists sneak gender stereotypes into the primary literature and corrupt its objectivity. Are these descriptions only harmless words? No. The words affect the view of nature that emerges from biology. Joan Roughgarden (2004) Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, University of California Press, Berkley
(via 420-catnip)

(Source: onychophorawesome)

Saturday, September 13, 2014
sharkchunks:

hotdogcephalopod:

science-sexual:

littlemicrobiologyblog:

mrcaptaincook:

kinesin (a motor protein) pulling a some kind of vesicle along some kind of cytoskeletal filament
via John Liebler at Art of the Cell

Kinesins are my favourite proteins! Walk it out kinesin! 

Look at these precious babies.

Kinesins are adorable don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

Just because nobody has yet…

sharkchunks:

hotdogcephalopod:

science-sexual:

littlemicrobiologyblog:

mrcaptaincook:

kinesin (a motor protein) pulling a some kind of vesicle along some kind of cytoskeletal filament

via John Liebler at Art of the Cell

Kinesins are my favourite proteins! Walk it out kinesin! 

Look at these precious babies.

Kinesins are adorable don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

Just because nobody has yet…

Friday, August 22, 2014
castiel-knight-of-hell:

freebatchisthenewjohnlock:

al-grave:

100lb of Magnetic Putty

science side of tumblr, please explain

noot noot

castiel-knight-of-hell:

freebatchisthenewjohnlock:

al-grave:

100lb of Magnetic Putty

science side of tumblr, please explain

noot noot

Thursday, August 21, 2014

roboboners:

jayda95:

all-because-we-fell-in-love:

floozys:

vagina’s are able to stretch wide enough to give birth to a fucking baby and then return to it’s original size but of course being penetrated by that grass blade you call a penis is what’s going to make it “loose”

Uhh. The baby doesnt come out of where the penis goes in…

stay in school y’all

i hate to be the bearer of bad news but the vagina and the vagina are, in fact, the same thing

Friday, August 1, 2014

(Source: bambambaklava)