An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

August 4, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Radical Scientist @ 11:00 am

This is fucking awesome:

If you don’t read XKCD, you should. But I don’t need to tell you that, because you already do.  That is all.


April 28, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Ethan @ 10:14 pm

I’ve been considering, on and off for a little while, getting another science-themed tattoo to celebrate my (hopeful) transition toward being a Real Grown Up Scientist (for one possible value of ‘grown up’). And because my other tattoos are getting lonely. I just stumbled on this in The Loom’s science tattoo gallery. And whoo boy am I tempted to crib the idea, maybe with a little graph–it’s a fairly simple equation that, when graphed, produces a heart shape. On the other hand,  I apperently told a friend who planned to get the equasion for the Fibbonacci sequence on her arm that she’d be explaining it to strangers at the grocery store for the rest of her life. I don’t remember saying that, but she recently told me I was more right than she could have imagined.

The original tattoo-ee’s story is very sweet–she and her siblings all picked out tattoos  after their mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (but is doing very well). It’s such a great design. I just had to share.

I 3 this tattoo

I <3 this tattoo


June 6, 2008

Learn Calculus, Smash Patriarchy: Gender Equality Linked to Math Skills

Filed under: feminism,gender — Tags: , , , — Ethan @ 5:50 pm

Check out this Ars Technica post about a recent worldwide study on teenagers math and verbal skills:

It’s widely recognized that, in the US at least, there’s a gender gap in performance on tests of basic skills: boys tend to perform better at math, while girls get superior reading scores. It has been suggested that these gaps are the result of biological differences, as males tend to have better spatial reasoning skills and females better word recall. But a new study suggests that, when it comes to math, we can forget biology, as social equality seems to play a dominant role in test scores.

Students from 40 countries took the same math and reading test, and girls and boys average scores in each country were compared against an index of women’s social equality. On the whole, girls outscored boys on the reading test, and boys outscored girls on the math bits. But the difference in math scores was closely linked to women’s status within each country:

The researchers, noted, however, that the math gap wasn’t consistent between countries. For example, it was nearly twice as large as the average in Turkey, while Icelandic girls outscored males by roughly 2 percent. The general pattern of these differences suggested to the authors that the performance differences correlated with the status of women. The authors of the study built a composite score that reflected the gender equality of the countries based on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, data extracted from the World Values Surveys, measures of female political participation, and measures of the economic significance of females.

Go Iceland!* The article gets oddly bogged down worrying that further advances in women’s status will eventually render men illiterate (I exaggerate, but it was strange), as the margin by which girls outscored boys in reading comp. also widened with increased social equality. So maybe you should just grab a copy of the current issue of Science instead, and read about it for yourself.

Full Disclosure: I have some family from Iceland, but I’d congratulate them anyway.


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