Notes From A Queer Engineer Likes Pokémon IRL (AKA “Science”)

Notes From A Queer Engineer_Rory Midhani_640

Header by Rory Midhani

Feature image via Asia Murphy, the science writer, wildlife conservationist and creator of #PokemonIRL.

What a stressful string of weeks it’s been. Do you need some STEM articles in your life today? Well, you’re in luck. I have an abundance.

Reminder: there are good things in the world, too.

Lady Scientists

+ Astrophysicist Summer Ash discussed the Juno spacecraft on Slate’s The Gist.

Here’s an interesting study by Natalie Pilokouta about fighting female beetle moms.

+ Interview with Katharine Hayhoe, a leading climate scientist at Texas Tech University, best known for engaging diverse communities — including Evangelicals — in an ongoing discussion about the impacts of climate change.

+ Population Geneticist Victoria Mullin and team recently analyzed some ancient genetic data and found that wolves were likely domesticated twice. Twice!

Artist: Megan Lee. Her artwork is available for purchase on Etsy. Via discov-her.

Artist: Megan Lee. Her artwork is available on Etsy. Via discov-her.

Nerdy News Items

+ Barack Obama published a nerdtastic paper in JAMA summarizing evidence of the effects of the ACA to date.

Clue Changes Out Mrs. White, a Housekeeper, for Dr. Orchid, a Female Scientist

“In what can only be the doing of a devious feminist branch of the Illuminati, the makers of the board game Clue plan to replace the character of a female domestic worker with a female scientist. Come August, Mrs. White, the housekeeper-slash-cook-slash-nanny of the mansion where the game takes place, will be toast. Dr. Orchid, a biologist with a Ph.D., is set to take her place.”

+ Can you explain and share what you do using the ten hundred most used words? Eight scientists just tried to do this with their research. I like Elizabeth F. Waring’s attempt: “Whether they are new or old, green things eat the air and ground in different ways.” Poetic!

+ A fellowship program normally attended by PhDs and seasoned professionals recently accepted a 10 year old girl who wants to build robots, and they wrote an amazing open letter to her.

+ Here’s a paper analyzing the LGBT climate for physicists. It includes pretty much the only formal study on experiences had by trans physicists, and while I suspect the results won’t be surprising on a personal level to you all, it’s important to have this on the books! You should really give it a read.

Read this. Via APS.

Via APS.

Do Make Say Think

+ How to write a blog post from your scientific journal article

+ Did you know that if you’re finding real animals while playing Pokémon Go, you can tweet them with the hashtag #PokeBlitz and scientists will ID it and tell you about what you found?

+ Black Girls Code is hiring Summer Camp Lead tech instructors!

+ Maybe you would like to follow Curiosity Rover on Twitter:

+ Or! Sarcastic Rover:

And Finally

+ Have you been following the Vanguard STEM video series? If not, you probably want to get on that right away. Here’s the description:

Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM, or #VanguardSTEM for short, is a live, monthly web-series featuring a rotating panel of women of color in STEM discussing a wide variety of topics including their research interests, wisdom, advice, tips, tricks and current events (among many other things!). It’s a lively gathering moderated by founder and host, Dr. Jedidah Isler, with questions and input from our viewers via social media. The guiding principle of the show is to create conversations between emerging and established women of color in STEM, where we can celebrate and affirm our identities and STEM interests in a safe space.

I happened across the series after they hosted their July 5 episode on Bravery, Burnout and Being a Woman of Color in STEM. It’s excellent. Watch:

Notes From A Queer Engineer is a recurring column with an expected periodicity of 14 days. The subject matter may not be explicitly queer, but the industrial engineer writing it sure is. This is a peek at the notes she’s been doodling in the margins.

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Laura Mandanas

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 210 articles for us.


  1. a) That ten hundred most-used words link is extremely relevant (…I mean, very important) to my work in the literacy field, and I plan to make good use of that text editor!

    b) Are you a Do Make Say Think fan?? They’re one of my all-time favourite bands and I hardly ever come across anyone who knows them.

    • A) Yay!
      B) Yes, I find they make very good background music for me as I work through problems!

  2. Laura, I think the link to the LGBT climate in physics report is broken, it’s giving me an error saying 403 Forbidden: Request forbidden by administrative rules.

    I tried googling it in the hopes of getting to it that way, but no dice. If you have any other ideas, I’d really love to read it!

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