An Open Letter to

Dear Scrapbook.com¹,

I absolutely love you guys. Ever since I discovered you about two years ago, I just can’t get enough of your store. If money were not an object, I am pretty sure I’d buy every single thing you sell. So much fun!

However, today I’d like to talk to you about something that is been nagging at me since I got reacquainted with the arts & crafts two or three years ago; the blatant sexism in the papercrafting/scrapbooking community.

Items that are or have some blue in them are tagged as “boy”. Items that are pink or have some pink in them are tagged as “girl”. Any item that is even remotely associated with science is tagged as “boy”. AS BOY!!!!! Continue reading

Dandelion, dandelion

[One of] today’s million musings:

I love dandelions. I know they are considered weeds but I think they are beautiful. They have a beautiful yellow colour when in flower (I mean, who can stay grumpy when such a happy colour is around) and then they transform in this gorgeous creation of nature (as if the flower alone weren’t an impressive work or art already).

I love the science of symmetry behind if and love the fun it provides. Fibonacci FTW.

Just try it. Get one of those and blow with all your might. I dare you not to giggle while doing it. Make a wish while you are at it. Who knows, maybe it’ll come true.

And! if all that weren’t enough, dandelions are the first food for our precious bees.

One of the reasons bee populations are dwindling – other than the evil pesticides, of course – is people’s infuriating [to me] love of manicured lawns. When everybody decided dandelions were weeds and therefore verboten from pretty lawns, bees were left without an early spring food source.

So I went to my garden and took these pictures. Continue reading

The Science News Cycle

Just saw a tweet from a Mental Health advocate I follow. It had a link to an article that talks about biological basis for depression. the title of the article is

Study Shows Why Stress Triggers Depression In Some, Resilience In Others

In huge letters like that. It made me chuckle and I braced myself for what I was going to read. My, oh my, aren’t we ambitious?!!! Also, it made me think of this:

PHD - The Scien News Cycle

Anyway, here is the article: Study SHOWS WHYIf you keep reading, almost all the way down you’ll find this sentence (emphasis is mine):

The researchers are excited by the findings, since they seem to confirm this biological basis for depression.

The findings seem to confirm the hypothesis. Now, how do you go from “seem to confirm” to “study shows why”? Yeah, chuckling here still.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to the actual paper but I did get to read an editor’s comment, the equivalent to step 2 in THE SCIENCE NEWS CYCLE cartoon by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics. While the first line is as follows, “Researchers identify neurons that determine whether an individual will be depressed or resilient” the editorial still talks in terms of “help explain” and “may lead”. Which is of course a lot more sensible, as any scientist would let you know.

And mind you, the study used a mouse model for depression (yeah, torturing defenseless cute little mice). That doesn’t remotely mean the human brain works in the same way. SIGH

Hurry, let’s all grab our tin foil hats!

The Summer Solstice Girl is a geek

Well, that’s not really news for many of you.
It is also not news that 2011 has not been particularly kind to me.  One of the side effects was a forced state of hibernation of my geeky self that almost led to its total annihilation.

But this geeky self is definitely out of hibernation.  

Of course, this didn’t happen overnight.  The defrosting started back in late March and it continued through several late night conversations under a starry sky.  Said conversations may or may have not involved copious amounts of wine and/or Jack Daniels helped by a healthy dose of shooting stars.

I was reflecting tonight on how privileged I am to have both the astronomical and the microscopical insight.  As an amateur astronomer and a molecular biologist, I have experience with both telescopes and microscopes, galaxies and gene mapping, light-years and microns.  That certainly gives you a whole different perspective on life.

That thought was reinforced by this fantastic video, shared earlier today (or rather yesterday, I should say) by the bear. The poetry of science: A conversation between a biologist and an astrophysicist. 

THE POETRY OF SCIENCE! Yes, indeed! I’ve been in love with science since I can remember.  Science speaks to me in a very sweet language. Poetry in motion, that’s what science is.
You’ve been warned.  Run and take cover, the geek is back.