Sunday Morning Survey – What Skeptical Topic Gets Your Goat? #ScienceGirlThing

Sunday Morning Survey – What Skeptical Topic Gets Your Goat? #ScienceGirlThing June 24, 2012

Good morning! Hope your morning is doing well for you – I’ve got friends coming over in about two hours time and about five half-finished blog-posts on a variety of topics… and I’ve just decided to cram them all together for your readability-joy and pop in a general survey question at the top because I’ve not done this for ages. Welcome To Meta-blogging, When Offline Life Is Too Busy To Pretend It’s All Smooth-Sailing Tea, Scones And Save Draft At Appropriate Intervals.

Firstly – oh dear holy hades: MMR causes autism, proven in Italian court case:

The case featured three expert witnesses that concurred that “barring preexisting conditions there was a reasonable scientific probability that the MMR jab had triggered Valantino’s condition.” Judge Lucio Ardigo agreed that it was “conclusively established” that Valentino had suffered from an “autistic disorder associated with medium cognitive delay” and his illness, was linked to receiving the shot. The Italian shot has the same ingredients as the one used in the UK and US.

By the way – don’t QUESTION what some people say about the MMR vaccine… wouldn’t want that happening when you write to journalists – Sue Reid on MMR in the Daily Mail.

IMPORTANT! Bruce M Hood in the Huffington Post with You Are Essentially What You Wear! Go Read! Comment! Then Comment again! Pass it onto other commentators! Support good science writing in mainstream media! It’ll help you get over the previous two links at the very least…

But what’s briefly occupied my time (when I haven’t been living life offline – which, thankfully, with a new academic job starting next week, I’m going to be enjoying more of rather than being stuck in my exam revision notes!) – it’s that buzz about the Science! It’s A Girl Thing! and I really want to pull together a few posts that I think really deserve reading.

Of course, there’s a nice summary about the general impact it has had from the Washington Post (which quotes Dr Petra Boyton) and there’s a few posts from earlier times that I started checking out in terms of “Okay – if ScienceGirlThing ‘ain’t the way to go, what are people doing that does promote visuals that are not-so inflammatory?”

I found sites like Looks Like Science on Tumblr – See My Science!

I found portraits on Stemnet, which is a group that aims “to increase young people’s choice and chances through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics”.

When Samantha Stein was talking about getting children into science at the Berlin World Skeptics Convention, I was very interested in the research from the UK about science uptake – which is why this post caught my attention as well – Some Facts On Getting Girls Into Science by Sophia Collins:

There’s a lot I’d like to say about women and science, but most must wait for another day. After the brouhaha today over that terrible Science, it’s a girl thing video I thought it would be useful to do a quick post with some actual research and facts about women and science…

Go check it out for some useful links to research on the subject that are directly related to the topic. And then I found a series of guest posts on Soapbox Science – and this one struck me as particularly relevant… Reaching Out: Why are scientists trapped in the ivory tower and what can be done to escape?

The culture of basic science research is in dire need of an overhaul.  The current funding methods are crumbling, and our society is not at all well-informed.  Yes scientists need to become better communicators and yes transparency would be just fantastic.  But the reality is that science research – and all that encompasses – is complicated.  I look forward to having a broader discussion not about what we should be doing, but about how we should be doing it.

Which gave me a little hope in terms of how if ScienceGirlThing is such a disaster, then at least people are talking about it and wanting to improve it ASAP… I also noticed that the initial video (now removed!) was made by a different company to the one that produced the later ones? Link pending!

This brings me to the post on the topic that I REALLY encourage people to read – Dr Brooke Magnanti, with Science. Probably a girl thing. It’s not dissimilar to some of the comments that readers of this site have raised and I think her views are going to resonate with a lot of you – and provide a lot of food for thought about another influence on career choice: the CSI Effect.

While I found the original advert a bit like Cosmo on acid and really not to my taste, it’s fair to say the UK media Twitterati were not its intended consumers.

I wouldn’t have been impressed with the trailer even as a teenager, but then, I already knew I wanted to be a scientist and had already stopped caring what the mean girls thought. Not everyone who could be interested in science gets there by age 13.

So, about Science: It’s a Girl Thing! does it hit its target, or does it fail? 

Read the whole lot, enjoy your elevenses and comment at will.

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