I think the roots of this antagonism to science run very deep. They’re ancient. We see them in Genesis, this first story, this founding myth of ours, in which the first humans are doomed and cursed eternally for asking a question, for partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. It’s puzzling that Eden is synonymous with paradise when, if you think about it at all, it’s more like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four hour surveillance. It’s a horrible place. Adam and Eve have no childhood. They awaken full-grown. What is a human being without a childhood? Our long childhood is a critical feature of our species. It differentiates us, to a degree, from most other species. We take a longer time to mature. We depend upon these formative years and the social fabric to learn many of the things we need to know.
Sixteen-year-old Elif Bilgin of Turkey has developed a way to replace traditional petroleum-based plastic with banana peels.
The Turkish teen took home a US$50,000 prize for her project “Go Bananas!” Thursday after winning the second annual Scientific American Science in Action Award, associated with Google Science Fair.
“My project makes it possible to use banana peels, a waste material which is thrown away almost every day, in the electrical insulation of cables,” Bilgin said in a media statement.
“This is both an extremely nature-friendly and cheap process, which has the potential to decrease the amount of pollution created due to the use of plastics, which contain petroleum derivatives.”
Bilgin spent two years developing the bio-plastic, which does not decay. She said the process is so easy that it is possible to repeat at home, with special care taken for chemicals used in the production process.
In September, the teen will compete at Google’s California headquarters for the overall Google Science Fair prize for 15-to-16 year olds. She will also have access to a one-year mentorship.
Has anyone else noticed how many brilliant breakthroughs in science are coming from the minds of teenage girls the last few years? Between this story, the four girls in Nigeria who invented a generator that runs on urine, the California girl who invented a twenty-second cell phone charger… Who knows where we’d be today without the patriarchal interference of men, stealing or hiding the brilliance of women?
Our future is in the hands of teenage girls, and I for one feel really good about that.
When I was about 7 I wanted to invent a thing that purified water based off of fish gills. I went to the school library to do research like a good little inventor and one of my teachers asked me what I was doing, and then told me that there were some new barbie books in, and that I’d probably be better off with those.
Don’t forget the girl who invented a torch that’d light up just from the heat of your hands
basically everyone should stop s***ting on teenage girls because they do awesome things when you let them
Beauty of the Universe II - Colors
Just a quick reminder that Bill Nye is awesome.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”
“Humor is everywhere, in that there’s irony in just about anything a human does.”
“If you look back on all the teachers that you liked, I am sure you will find they were very entertaining.”
“Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back.”
One half of the humans are female, so one half of the scientists should be female.
- Bill Nye at the Storytelling of Science at ASU
Yes, exactly. We need more girls going into science! Now there aren’t many Nobel Prizes being given to women, mostly because society pushed them away from science decades ago. But now that can all be changed, if more girls go into science.
How the fuck does Bill Nye expect this to happen? What do you want to do, force women to enroll in science courses, regardless of whether or not they want to do it? Just for the sake of having “enough” women? Why the fuck do these fractions matter so much? It’s not like people are holding guns to our head and threatening to kill us if we become interested in science.
Maybe, just maybe, a lot of us DON’T FUCKING WANT to be scientists. Is that a crime?
Hi there, princess-munchkin. Female engineering student here.
Bill Nye is not saying that you HAVE to be a scientist, and you are right that no one is holding a gun to my head because I am interested in science, but let me tell you some of the struggles of being a woman in the STEM fields.
1) Because I am a woman, I am not expected these fields. I first fully realized this when I was in high school, on my robotics team. See, although my robotics team was about 50% female, most of the women were part of the “business administration” side of things: finance, marketting, PR, membership, etc. Was this a problem? Absolutely not. But I was there to be an engineer, and specifically, to be the robot programmer. This was met with a lot of hesitation at first from some of the other students (all of whom happened to be male. This is not necessarily a bad thing.) You see, all of the robot programmers before me were guys. Computer programming is just a thing that guys do, or so they thought. Even after I had proved myself to the mentors on the team, many of the students still underestimated my abilities. There were rumors going around that I wouldn’t have been able to program the robot at all if the lead software mentor wasn’t there to help me. This was just flat-out false, but it wasn’t until I won an award for the team that the other students actually saw my merit.
2) There is not a lot of encouragement for women to go into these fields. I first noticed this when I was in elementary school. I was always interested in math, science, you name it, but many of my teachers and family members pushed that to the side for a long time. When I asked for legos for christmas, I would get ballet slippers. In fact, for a long time, I was training to be a professional dancer. I loved to dance. I loved math more, but no one seemed to notice that about me. It wasn’t until I had a long conversation with one particular teacher in high school that I decided to look into engineering. I had never even considered it as an option before, because no one decided to encourage me to pursue my interest in science. If it hadn’t been for that teacher, I would probably not be at the school I am at right now.
3) For a long time, Engineering/Science/Math WAS a “boys only” club. Let me tell you when some of the top technical schools and societies started letting women in:
- RPI, The oldest tech school in the country, founded in 1824. Started admitting women in 1942 to “replace men called to war.” Campus housing for women wasn’t constructed until 1966.
- Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society - Founded in 1885. Started admitting women in 1968.
- Caltech - Currently rated #3 in undergraduate engineering. Founded in 1891. Started admitting women in 1970.
- Georgia Tech - Currently rated #5 in undergraduate engineering. Founded in 1885. Started admitting women in 1952.
Do you see the implications of this? Engineering has been a part of our society since around the late 1800s (in the case of RPI, since the 1820s), but women weren’t even allowed in for the most part until the 1950s, regardless of their merit.
4) Because of the fact that it was a “boys only” club for such a long time, there are not a lot of women engineers and scientists to look up to. When you’re reading your physics, chemistry, and math text books, the majority of those theories were came up with by men. It is true that much of our history was written by White Men, but this does not mean that the fact that there are few women scientists to look up does not matter.
So, as you can hopefully see, princess-munckin, or anyone else that shares the opinions of princess-munchkin, Bill Nye was not arguing that women that are not interested in STEM should go into those fields anyway. But he IS arguing against all of the systematic barriers set up against women who ARE interested in engineering and science. There are several women out there who are just as good as the boys at math and science, but will never pursue their interests because it just doesn’t seem like an option. That was me for a long time. I am super grateful for the fact that I fought against that, and that I ended up where I am.
if you don’t like science, fine. Don’t be a scientist. But if one day you have a daughter and she shows interest in being a scientist, PLEASE encourage her. Because Bill Nye is right, there needs to be more women scientists in the world.
^ I think the above commentary is important as well for how we can apply it to larger conversations about inclusion. If a group is vastly underrepresented in any field, a reply of, “well clearly they’re not interested so why force them to be interested?” is too glib. That ignores a lot of the reasons leading up to why X group might not be interested at that final point (adulthood etc) or ignore why interested people in X group might still be turned away from Y field regardless of their interest/qualifications.
NEW SPECIE: WALKING SHARK DESCRIBED FROM INDONESIA
A new ‘walking’ bamboo shark, Hemiscyllium halmahera, has been discovered at Weda Resort at Halmahere, Lembeh. is the newest species of elasmobranch to be described.
Aww yiss new species always make me happy!
These fins were made for walking
And that’s just what they’ll do
15 year old Ann Makosinsk from Victoria Canada has invented a flashlight that doesn’t need batteries and instead is powered by the warmth of our hands. She was researching alternative energy methods when she came across the Peltier tile, a tile which generates electricity when cool on one side and warm on the other. She did some calculations and discovered that the energy generated could be enough to power a flashlight. Ann did months of research on transformers and circuitry before coming up with a working prototype. She is a top 14 finalist at the Google Science Fair and is going onto the finals of the competition later this year.
Source: A Mighty Girl
young girls doing stuff, yes
In news we all already know, scientists at the University of Sheffield have found that high quality science work by women is being given low exposure in favour of work by male scientists. Men were more likely than women be invited to present and show off their work even when you factor in the reduced number of female scientists by comparison to men.
ehem. fuck everything.