Tag Archives: science

Cinema Veritas

On the Pop My Culture podcast, actor Josh McDermitt described his first audition scene for the role of Eugene on The Walking Dead.

…I was taking to a girl. We were both backstage about to give this big presentation in front of, like, the world’s top scientists about some, you know, medical breakthrough we just had; and I’m backstage talking with her and I’m, like, berating her and, like, telling her how stupid she is, and then, and then, I try to sleep with her…

The scene, although fiction, rings very true, because this scene happens – not always in such a confined time frame, with those particular details, or with that intensity – but the aggression, denigration, and sexual objectification of women in science is ever present.

The focus of the description is on how the abuse of the female character illustrates flaws in the male character, because the description of the scene exists to illustrate the process of auditioning for a specific character. In real life, however, should we be more concerned with the character of the jerk or the life experience of those who have such behavior directed at them? As Janet Stemwedel notes in her column in Forbes on Tim Hunt’s controversial comments:

What if, when asked to say a few words to the Korean women scientists and the science journalists at the luncheon, he had recognized the audience he was speaking to was likely to have had quite different experiences in science than he had?

Science for the People: Human Research Ethics

sftpThis week Science for the People is learning about the regulatory frameworks that try to balance scientific progress with the safety of research subjects. We’ll speak to Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School about their book Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future. We also speak to health journalist and editor Hilda Bastian about research, journalism, ethics and “The Chocolate Hoax“.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

Musicians and scientists

Can you name a “musisci” – a person involved in both music and science? This was a question I asked over seven hundred people in a survey, and the answer looked like this:musisci

Without the top five answers, you can more clearly see some of the other ones:

musisci_withoutTop5

As you can see, there are a lot of people who have both music and science in their life, and this includes about a third of survey respondents, as well.

Survey responses musisci.007

For the full results of the survey, see my blog post on easternblot.net. I’m also starting a quarterly newsletter about the musician/scientist overlap. First issue will go out today (with more survey results, some music, and related links), and the next one in August. You can sign up here if you’d like to receive it.

#SciWars 2015

We liked #SciWars so much in 2014 that we did it again in 2015. This time, we actually did it on May 4* (aka, May the Fourth Be With You). Check out the Storify of the tweeted goodness/nerdiness.

Screenshot 2015-05-06 21.06.48

*This was not really our fault.

Days of the Enola Gay

In a must read article at Slate, Ben Lillie (Story Collider) looks at the events surrounding the Thirty Meter Telescope protests at Mauna Kea. He challenges scientists and the science community to recognize and reflect on the dark parts of our history – and how that history affects today’s events:

I’m disturbed that this conflict came as a surprise, and disturbed about what that says about the culture of science. I’m disturbed by how scientists see ourselves as separate from culture and history, unaffected by it, and not responsible for its ills, and I wonder what we can do about that…And so transcendence can take the form of blindness to differences between people and to our own biases.
Ben Lillie

I am compelled by his argument that we should, in addition to the days we promote for celebrating scientific achievement, set aside days in our year for reflecting on the regrettable aspects of scientific history. The Days of the Enola Gay (8:15AM 6 August – 11:02AM 9 August) will be going on The Finch & Pea‘s calendar of holidays (in the traditional sense of holy days).