Header by Rory Midhani
Good morning, wind chimes! I’m back to work today, dreaming of butter cookies and what I’m going to do with my 2018. Here are some STEM links to ponder as you build out the frameworks of your road maps for your moonshot initiatives. I’m going to strategically lean in to buzzwords to the point of nonsense and obliteration this year!* It’s gonna be great!
(*At work. I’ll spare you guys.)
A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life — Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms. She’s found that they can reveal whether an ecosystem is thriving or on the verge of collapse. Super interesting!
The BBC is doing a miniseries on sound with neuroscience professor Sophie Scott
How One Brilliant Woman Mapped the Secrets of the Ocean Floor (National Geographic video about Marie Tharp, not closed captioned)
Mathematician Dr. Hannah Fry was on NPR talking about her book The Indisputable Existence Of Santa Claus: The Mathematics Of Christmas
Throwback: remember when Autostraddle talked to SpaceX Engineer Joy Dunn about Falcon 9? So cool. Check out these awesome photos of last week’s Iridium4 launch, which carried 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit. As the first stage of the rocket passed through an area of cold, dry air, the exhaust froze, creating this striking image in the post-sunset glow.
The departures [including some 300 scientists and environmental protection specialists over the past year] reflect poor morale and a sense of grievance at the agency, which has been criticized by Trump and top Republicans in Congress as bloated and guilty of regulatory overreach. That unease is likely to deepen following revelations that Republican campaign operatives were using the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of emails from EPA officials suspected of opposing Trump and his agenda.
Hundreds of government scientists blocked from attending the largest gathering of Earth, space and climate scientists in the world.
What makes some men sexual harassers? Science tries to explain the creeps of the world.Two things grabbed me here:
- All the work is all pretty recent. Psychologist John Pryor‘s “Likelihood to Sexually Harass” scale, described in the article as “a cornerstone of research on sexual harassers,” was developed in 1987.
- Louise Fitzgerald, a psychologist at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign who has spent three decades studying the effects of sexual harassment, is pessimistic about the likelihood of #MeToo movement to change anything. “I remember thinking the same thing during the Clarence Thomas hearings, that the cultural moment had come and everything would change,” she said. “But here we are 20-some years later when people are suddenly rediscovering yet again that sexual harassment exists.”
Can’t Hold Us Down
Did You Like or Follow Facebook Pages from a Russian Troll Farm? Use the tool to check your Facebook and Instagram accounts here.
Learning for EveryBody: Lessons from Susan Burch by Adriana Salerno
PBS: A Map of Gender Diverse Cultures — This is a couple years old and the language is imperfect and clunky. But! I think some of you will really enjoy the little interactive map, which includes such entries as, “Bangala (DR Congo) – In the centuries before European colonists arrived, the Bangala people’s animist beliefs were carried byshamans would dress in women’s clothing in order to gain the ability to solve crimes such as murder.” Murder! I am fascinated, going to read more now.
Geekery Grab Bag
This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS) – “We take a moment to reflect on the whole of earthling history. This once humble rock spinning lifelessly in space… Without an atmosphere to call its own… Has come quite a long way in the last past 4.5 billion-ish years.”
Five Fun Facts About Reindeer – “Unlike most deer species, both male and female reindeer grow antlers. So we really don’t know the sex of Santa’s reindeer.” Related: this Snopes article, which incorrectly describes the reindeer as having masculine names. Are you seriously going to tell me that “Prancer,” “Vixen,” “and “Blitzen” aren’t drag loving dykes?
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.