Tuesday, March 19, 2013


  1. Khushal Khan: A Pakistani Student in India.

  2. Christie Aschwanden in Double X Science: The Finkbeiner Test.

    In the spirit of the Bechdel test, a metric that cartoonist and author Alison Bechdel created to measure gender bias in film, I’d like to propose a Finkebeiner test for stories about women in science. The test could apply to profiles of women in other fields, too.

    To pass the Finkbeiner test, the story cannot mention

    • The fact that she’s a woman
    • Her husband’s job
    • Her child care arrangements
    • How she nurtures her underlings
    • How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
    • How she’s such a role model for other women
    • How she’s the “first woman to…”

    And since I have not linked to the Bechdel test so far, here's the awesome comic strip that explains it: The Rule.

  3. Ken Fisher in Ars Technica: To save science, try celebrating “high quality ignorance”. To save science, try celebrating “high quality ignorance” Getting the public excited about science means changing perceptions.

    This post is worth just for a short summary of metaphors (and other kinds of explanations) used for describing what scientists do:

    Today, three new scientific papers are published every minute. What do scientists do with all of this? They strategically ignore it. The “point of science is not knowing a lot of stuff,” Firestein said. “Knowledge is a big subject, but ignorance is a bigger one.”

    Scientists, Firestein continued, are not putting puzzles together. That implies there's actually going to be a final puzzle fitting together perfectly. They’re also not peeling an onion of knowledge, working toward some core truth hidden by layers of undiscovered reality. Scientists aren't even examining the tip of the iceberg, believing some massive truth lies below. All of those models are wrong, he said, because they assume scientists are primarily concerned with amassing a body of facts.

    Firestein said George Bernard Shaw was delightfully right when he noted that “Science is always wrong. It never solves a problem without creating 10 more.” And Firestein said this was a good thing: “We use knowledge to create high quality ignorance.” [...]