Posts Tagged: science

Orphan Black is not for the squeamish. Eyes are gouged out. One guy impales another guy’s hand with a nail gun. Helena kills her surrogate mother with a kitchen knife and stitches her own stabbed abdomen by hand. Alison is armed with a hot-glue gun. Not an episode passes without occasion to remark on the handiness of home ec. But the show’s go-to wound is the puncture: the act of penetration.

What has been so deliriously fun about the first two seasons of “Orphan Black” isn’t the fiction of the science; it’s the fact of the women.

I'm a bit late on this, but I don't [...]


A Yeezy for all Seasons

I might have landed on a different 32 if I were not trying to incorporate fair representation from all the albums, probably, and pay tribute to all of Kanye’s evolutions. They would have looked different a year ago. They would look different if I didn’t live in New York. They’d look different if I were single, if I had a different relationship history, if I had a different job.

Hairpin friend and frequent source of lipstick inspiration Casey Johnston is contributing some pretty powerful stuff to the Kanye canon; an extensively researched and methodical attempt to determine which Kanye song is her favorite.

This is [...]


Ada Lovelace, Genius

I have a peculiar way of learning, and I think it must be a peculiar man to teach me successfully… Do not reckon me conceited… but I believe I have the power of going just as far as I like in such pursuits, and where there is so decided a taste, I should almost say a passion, as I have for them, I question if there is not always some portion of natural genius even.

This is part of a letter that Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, sent to Charles Babbage, requesting him to be her mentor. Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators, a collection of mini-biographies, included this [...]


Let's All Major in Feminist Biology

PS: When people hear about a biology study, what are some things they can ask themselves to check for gender bias in the study?

JH: The first step is always to say, 'Does this finding replicate?' Because we've so many of these flash-in-the-pan things where a study gets tons of publicity and there's so much competition in biology to be first with your breathless finding. So that's the first question to ask, 'Has anybody else gotten this?'

There are certain phrases that tip people off about gender bias. For example, if people do some kind of neuroscience study, let's say it's an MRI study with humans. These researchers will often say, 'This [...]


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by boner pills

Science funding is "the lowest it has been since the Second World War as a fraction of the federal budget," said MIT physicist Marc Kastner, who led the committee that wrote "The Future Postponed" report, issued on Monday. "This really threatens America's future."

The report lands at a time when federal spending on research has become unusually politicized.

Cuts mandated by the White House's and Congress's failure to reach agreement on reducing the federal deficit have chipped away at the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and other science agencies; legislation on research spending is tied up in debates over, among other things, climate change.

Emphasis mine, because too [...]


Ask a Scientist: Rochelle Diamond, Chair of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals

Expressing individuality as a scientist can seem like a form of treason, which is why it’s so rare to see. It’s why the Internet collectively went berserk when a NASA employee sported a mohawk during the Mars Rover landing, or why most of my colleagues will follow up a description of their weekend activities with a dejected, “but…I really should have been working instead.” It’s why there are so few movies about well-adjusted scientists who do non-scientific things in their spare time. In the weird, insular worlds of science and academia, sometimes it feels like the greatest sin one can commit is having a personal life.

This [...]


How Proteins Work

Cytokines Every morning Cytokines wake up for another goddamn day at the office.

It is difficult to get out of bed when they know today will be a day exactly like any other. They consider for a moment: "Should I even bother?" Ultimately, they drag themselves up and go through the routine: coffee, shower, suit up, out the door.

"What if I wore the same suit for a week straight? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?" they wonder, on their daily bus route from the primarily residential neighborhood in which they reside to the high rises of downtown Amyopolis. "That's right. The exact same blue pin stripes and pants [...]


"Other Lessons Learned"

I just got that New Apple Watch 4 weeks early! #dontbelievemejustwatch #nowthatsludicrous

A photo posted by @ludacris on Mar 17, 2015 at 1:11pm PDT

Recently the ten-year-old in me was delighted to discover this fact:

The computers NASA uses now for missions are much smaller and more powerful than the computers used for Apollo missions. Your cell phone has more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo era.

Ha, I [...]


Would You Rather…

…read my 6000 word hot take on the latest episode of a certain cable television show, or see pictures taken by an underwater photographer caught in an all-encompassing majestic swirl of a shit storm streaming out of a bus-sized sperm whale?



The Love-Hate Relationship Between Science Fiction and Technology

Via Longreads, here's this great (and not very long) piece at Smithsonian Mag, about science fiction as (in the words of Ursula LeGuin) a "safe, sterile laboratory for trying out ideas."

For every author who meticulously examines the latest developments in physics or computing, there are other authors who invent “impossible” technology to serve as a plot device (like Le Guin’s faster-than-light communicator, the ansible) or to enable social commentary, the way H. G. Wells uses his time machine to take the reader to the far future to witness the calamitous destiny of the human race. Sometimes it’s the seemingly weird ideas that come true—thanks, in part, [...]