One Nation, Under Celebrity

A few years ago, when Tina Fey was still on Weekend Update, she did a story about how the education secretary was doing a study on why girls weren’t pursuing careers in math and science. Tina Fey responded with, “Why?” she stood up and continued, “When you got an ass like this you don’t hide it in a lab.”

Now, it’s a joke…and a damn funny one…but when I saw it as a gif on tumblr, I realized how true it is. Where most countries and cultures value succeeding in business and academia…America seems to value succeeding in being vapid.

We don’t care that we’re last among developed countries for education and healthcare, or that most high school students can’t located a foreign country on a map. As long as they look good and can tell you the full name of the newest Kardashian baby….they’re on the right path.

Our government shut down. The House Republican’s held us hostage because of their temper tantrum over ‘Obamacare’ and so 19,000 kids couldn’t go to head start, NASA can’t tell us if an asteroid is headed toward Earth, but their six figure salaries are getting paid and do you know what was trending on Twitter while this was going on? I’ll tell you because social media is my day job:
New York

I scrolled 3 hours back under the #governementshutdown hashtag and didn’t find a single non news corporation tweet. People just aren’t talking about it. #Obamacare hashtag is snarky jokes mostly by second-rate celebs. Why isn’t there a real conversation on this? This is serious. When Australia had a government shut down the Queen fired parliament. We make jokes?

Why don’t we value information? Why do we buy into this b.s? Why don’t we call these assholes on their lies and manipulations? Why don’t we stand up and say, “You are not making another dime until you put on your big boy pants and fix this mess”? Why? Oh, I know…because Kim Kardashian went out in a really ugly dress and we need to discuss that.

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Women’s Rights?

Do you remember a long, long time ago when women had no rights? They couldn’t decide what they should do with their bodies, they really shouldn’t work and if they did no man wanted them and the whole point of living was so a man would want you…do you remember that? Of course you do because it was freaking yesterday.

Fox News went on a tirade about how women should stay home. This was after a PEW report came out saying females are the primary breadwinner. So Erick Erickson, in all his wisdom, had this response, “I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.” Tell that to lions, elephants, penguins, and ALL THE OTHER SPECIES THAT ARE FEMALE DOMINATED. What an idiot. Someone should gag him.

Next up: Representative Franks of Arizona. He banned abortions after 20 weeks, fine—that’s five months. That’s a bit late in the game—but then, at a House Judiciary Committee he added that his bill didn’t need an exception for rape and incest. Um, yes it does. It certainly does. His explanation, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” NO IT IS NOT LOW. Sorry that needed all caps. This douche is not a doctor—I’m not even sure he’s human. When did it become okay for idiot men to run around spouting fake facts and getting away with it?

Why are they not held accountable? Why are writers and Rachel Maddow the only people standing up and saying, “Excuse me, Asshole. That’s not true and here’s proof. Or let me put it this way—I showed you mine you show me yours you infant!”

I’m sick of this. I’m really sick of it. If you don’t have a vagina, a uterus, or boobs then you don’t get to have an opinion or vote on them.

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STEM is the New Sexy

photo of stem pictures

STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four categories go together like peanut butter and jelly, throw women into the mix and you’ve got peanut butter, jelly, and banana. Sounds a bit weird but it’s really delicious…just give it a try.  I fancy myself a female in STEM, I don’t technically get paid for it, but the majority of my free time is spent researching and reading about science and technology. When Twitter started trending #overlyhonestmethods I thought I died and went to heaven, a bunch of researchers and scientists tweeting about funny things in the lab? What a win.

I find STEM extremely interest but the fact is I’m a rare breed: Among wealthy nations, the United States ranked 23rd in science and 31st in math in standardized tests. Our high-school seniors competed poorly in advanced math and physics. We rank 27th in college graduates with degrees in science and math. That’s the fact. No wonder we’re so behind in the times.

Rebecca Searles and Brittany Binowski have started a STEM mentorship program in the hopes of getting girls interested in STEM.  Brinowski also asked for people to tweet what they think it means to be “a woman in STEM” here’s a taste:

Usually society doesn’t think of women as scientists. The women in STEM are doing a good thing to inspire young women to help them with achieving their goals.
Katya, 15


Women in STEM are pioneers. They are trekking in uncharted waters and loving what they do. They go against the grain and emerging just as successful as they gender counterparts. They are my role models.
Som, 17


I know that there are not a lot of women in STEM fields; I think those that are are probably more confident than average, as most girls tend to doubt their mathematical abilities. 
Hannah, 16


Women in STEM are people who are unafraid of challenges and want a life of innovation.
Isabella, 18


When there’s a lack of women, there’s a lack of female input, and a chance that as a country, we’re not performing at our highest potential.
Queenie, 18


Perceptions? A woman in STEM is like a man in STEM except the woman identifies as female while the man identifies as male. 
Sophia, 15

How exciting is that? A bunch of teenage girls talking about math and science? It’s oh-so-cool to pretend to be a geek now-a-days but ask one of these hipster-looking-Buddy-Holly-glasses-wearing-I-swear-I-am-a-geek-cause-I-watch-big-bang-theory-and-want-to-be-revleant jerks to explain the big bang theory or a HADRON collider and watch their eyes glaze over. Heck, ask them what JPL is. My money is on the fact that they don’t know. I don’t want fake geeks, I want real geeks. I don’t want you wearing glasses ‘cause you think it’s cute, wear them because your eyes get tired from reading too much data!

We need to step up in this country when it comes to STEM. We’re a celebrity culture and I think that “playing pretend” has leaked into every aspect of our world. Don’t pretend to be smart—be smart. Don’t pretend to be interesting—be interesting. You can still be a real geek and real cool, just ask this guy:

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Science! Science Fiction That Stopped Being Fiction In 2012

Have you guys seen this list of 27 things that made the transition from science fiction to reality in 2012? I mean, they aren’t part of everyday reality just yet. But that’s okay. Some of these were big news for everyone (James Cameron’s adventure to the ocean depths, the discovery of the Higgs boson), but I had not heard about a few of these.

The short version of the list? Mentally controlling a robotic arm, robots crossing an obstacle course, silk that is stronger than steel, DNA photographed, invisibility cloaks, spray-on skin, reaching the depths of the ocean, stem cells may extend human life significantly (it worked on mice), 3D printer prints a house, legalized self-driving cars (in a few states; they’re just thinking ahead, really), Voyager I leaves the solar system, a human mandible was printed and given to a patient (as in, it’s part of his body and it works, now), rogue planet found floating through space, monkeys created from more than one embryo, artificial leaves that generate electricity, the Higgs boson discovered, inexpensive solar panels, diamond planet, optical implant to restore sight, Wales recorded the DNA of every flowering plant in Wales, an unmanned commercial flight docked with the International Space-Station, flexible glass, robotic exoskeletons (for NASA), human brain’s practical functions are observed, a planet with four suns, and Microsoft patented real-world virtual reality for games.

So, that’s just the list. You should really read the actual list and look at the pictures (and videos) and read the descriptions. So worth it.

But, for me, there were some definitely highlights. Um, stem cells dramatically extending human life. Obviously, “dramatically extending” is not the same thing as immortality. But, if this treatment is available and affordable within, say, three decades, then that gives me a very good chance of living long enough to, well, never die. This treatment does not confer immortality, but we all know that it’s …4

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