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Ryan in my Star Wars club found this odd article:

Geeks drive girls out of computer science

The stereotype of computer scientists as geeks who memorize Star Trek lines and never leave the lab may be driving women away from the field, a new study suggests.

And women can be turned off by just the physical environment, say, of a computer-science classroom or office that's strewn with objects considered "masculine geeky," such as video games and science-fiction stuff.

"When people think of computer science, the image that immediately pops into many of their minds is of the computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science-fiction memorabilia and junk food," said lead researcher Sapna Cheryan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington. "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes...."

Don't wanna say too much more until I can find the original study (the author is from my alma mater - *cringes*). But, it's just such a non-intuitive finding given that I know so many gazillions of women who are basically proud of their geekdom.

And I'm also a bit chary about the potential implications, given you accept this finding. What, are we supposed to design Barbie's Sparkly Computer Lab for Girls, and fill it with pink unicorns? Jeebus.
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In the plastic bottle dealie: *sniffs* Smells ... sweet. Like ... something sweet?

Onto the wrist: Yup. Definitely sweet. Like, sweet stuff.

Onto the OTHER wrist: Still sweet. Uh-huh.

After it has dried on my wrists and neck and ankles and various other body parts I won't go into but I figured I'd try because what the hey: Oooo-la-la zee scent, she transports me to zee old days on La Rive Gauche, where Jean-Jacques-Michel and I would sit with zee Cafe Au Laits and Baguettes, wearing our saucy berets and stripey jumpers, summarizing Proust together, and the scent of ... I dunno ... some kind rilly French sweet stuff of some kind would come all wafting up from the Seine. Sacre bleu! Jean-Luc Picard!!

OK, I fail at life.

EDIT: Just a follow up: so, we went running, and I came back and showered and washed my hair.

And, I can still smell the sweet gunk on my wrists! In fact, it's stronger now!!!!

HOX yo!

Mar. 11th, 2009 10:55 am
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We love these guys.


Feb. 12th, 2009 12:15 pm
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Happy Darwin Day one and all!

Go make Darwin stickers. C'mon, it's a special day.
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"Hi! I'm President Barack Obama! I'm a pro-science president, so I'm here today in your workspace, Dr. tiki, to help you do science yay!!!"

Well, thankyou President Obama! But, er, don't you have some other pressing problems? Like, ya know, the economy 'n stuff?

"No problemo! I went to Harvard remember?"

Yeah, you keep reminding us like every 2 minutes."

"Let's get to this Excel spreadsheet. Yes we can do a macro!"

O noes, President Obama! It's a ZOMBIE ATTACK!!! (Surprisingly, this happens quite often in a research environment.)

VNNNNNNNN!!! Fortunately, President Obama always keeps his lightsaber handy for such situations. It's the weapon of a change presidency! Will he defeat the zombies? Will he finish writing our macro?
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Coffee is a vegetable.
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A yuletide top tip from Boneboy regarding what to buy the scientist in your life....

The Mad Science Bar Kit! Available in designer colors. Dr. Jumba would be proud.

Off to stir up a radioactive cocktail....
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The New York Times says, SUCK IT UP!

(And, it's in the Style section, so you know it's true....)

Girl Talk Has Its Limits

MOST teenage girls love to talk to their friends. And talk. And talk....

But recently female friendship and girl talk, particularly among adolescents, has drawn growing interest from psychologists and researchers examining the question of how much talking is too much talking. Some studies have found that excessive talking about problems can contribute to emotional difficulties, including anxiety and depression.

The term researchers use is “co-rumination” to describe frequently or obsessively discussing the same problem. The behavior is typical among teens — Why didn’t he call? Should I break up with him?

...Why are all dollie people completely batshit? (Oh, sorries, that's us.)

tiki's new word of the day: Co-Rumination! We're going to be changing the name of this blog to "Come, co-ruminate with me!"
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Today, Tiki Labs LLC will take on the herculean task of reviewing a smelly smelly perfume!!!!

Cafe Zazou from Blood Drop: a completely scientific review 'n stuff

The Stitchies initially balked, as the sample smelled nothing like coconut cake. But, we rejoindered, said perfume was sent along by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] twotone as one of a panoply of coffee scents!

Initial impressions upon sniffing the little sample thinge: Mmmmmmm, cinnamon toast!!!

(Our mom used to make terrific cinnamon toast. Which, as an adult, we have never been able to duplicate. So, to us, it's kinda like Proust's cake.)

[livejournal.com profile] twotone had helpfully included the gabbery from the perfume company in question, though, since we were being scientific, we double-blinded ourselves to this by not wearing our reading glasses whilst trying! HOWEVER, here is part of what Blood Drop's marketing department has to say in regards to Cafe Zazou:

"Incredible dark and smoothe French roast coffee with a whole milk and two sugars, a piece of dark chocolate, and a petit gateau sec au marrons."

Hrm. Well, we wuz just getting cinnamon. And, more cinnamon. With notes of cinnamon and a few cinnamon highlights.

They continue....

"Cafe Zazou is the perfect response for a little afternoon rest in between vvisiting Monmartre and Le Centre Pompidou."

Hoo-HAH! You cannot win with Tiki Labs LLC, Mr. Smartie Blood Drop Marketing Department! 'Cause we have access to a real live French person! What is sitting over here reading Toy Fare. (Just like Annie Hall, only maybe without the Toy Fare.)

So, we axed Frenchman, Hey, what does this smell like to you?

He looked up momentarily from the Spiderman action figures to sniff at our be-perfumed wrist. "Cinnamon!" he immediately answered.

Thereupon we read him Blood Drop's copy, relating to Monmartre and Pompidou.

Frenchman snerked. "We do not know cinnamon in France. It's something you only have in the US."

So, no petit gateau sec au marrons? we persisted

"Nah. We don't have cinnamon. You only have it in the US."

And there you have it! Nobody in Monmartre smells like cinnamon toast! Maybe they should rechristen the perfume le petit faux pas.

Oh, and thanks again to [livejournal.com profile] twotone for making our kitchen smell absolutely wonderful!
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Bottling it up 'can ease trauma'

People who do not talk about traumatic experiences can fare better than those who "let it all out", say researchers.

The University at Buffalo study compared the progress of 3,000 people who took different approaches over two years following the 9/11 attacks.

It found people initially unwilling to talk were less likely to be adversely affected two years later.

We note with amusement that we found this report on the BBC web page.
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Yeah, this again....

Experts Revive Debate Over Cellphones and Cancer

What do brain surgeons know about cellphone safety that the rest of us don’t?

Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. “I think the safe practice,” said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.” [... inconclusive studies ... Senator Kennedy ... Dr. Sanjay Gupta ... blah blah blah....]

What tiki really wants to know is: the people who wear those little blinky-blinky Bluetooth earpiece dealos everywhere they go? Are they statistically more likely to be struck by lightening bolts hurled by an angry and vengeful deity incensed over the sheer stupid????
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After years and years and YEARS of dieting, this one is kind of a no duh, but we're glad somebody thought to take the time....

Restaurant menu promises buried in calories, fat

Dishes targeted to health-conscious consumers at popular chains such as Chili's, Taco Bell and Applebee's contained as much as twice the calories and eight times the grams of fat than the restaurants claimed in their published nutrition information, a Scripps Television Station investigation revealed.


The Macaroni Grill sample showed the widest variance from the menu's claims. Its "Pollo Margo Skinny Chicken," which was supposed to have 500 calories, actually had 1,022, according to the testing. The chicken dinner was supposed to have 6 grams of fat. It had 49.

They go on to list several dishes where the fat content is off by about an order of magnitude. Not surprising, as it's not terribly hard to go a little crazy when you're adding oil to the pot, and more fat just makes stuff taste nummier, so we doubt anybody would ever complain.

Just, rule of thumb: if you're reducing calories to lose weight, cut down how often you eat out. Period. And the whole "divide it in two and eat the rest at home" nonsense? That just means you'll be sucking down half the fat and calories whilst standing around in your bathrobe over the sink, instead of sitting in a chair.
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Via [livejournal.com profile] warrenelliscom...

16% of US science teachers are creationists

Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals. And, although almost all teachers also taught evolution, those with less training in science – and especially evolutionary biology – tend to devote less class time to Darwinian principles.


Science teaching experts say they are not surprised to find such a large number of science teachers advocating creationism.

"It seems a bit high, but I am not shocked by it," says Linda Froschauer, past president of the National Science Teachers Association based in Arlington, Virginia. "We do know there's a problem out there, and this gives more credibility to the issue."

Because there's so much time spent devoted to science curriculum in the US, why not take a bit to tell everyone about the imaginary sky ponies???
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So, since [livejournal.com profile] mmymoon 'minded us, given that she's still young and has a brain, we at Tiki Labs LLC decided to open our bottle of BPAl Tiki Queen and subject it to some rigorous quantitative analysis.

Methodology: We utilized beer to cleanse the palate. (Since it was Cinquo de Mayo yesterday, and to be scientific, we chose a Mexican beer.) Also, since we didn't have any chips, we got pretzels.

We opened said bottle, and fanned a bit of air over to our nose, like you see them do on CSI. And then we applied a bit to a cloth and repeated. Lastly, and so as not to contaminate the bottle, we rubbed a bit on our wrists for smell, and also behind the ears, 'cause that seemed cool.

Observations from Scientific Subject #1: To start with, let us say that we were slightly disappointed with the appearance. First, why stop at Tiki Queen when you could make Tiki Goddess? There's like bajillion tikis out there, which means you could produce a veritable line of scents, some of which would get all jealous and fight with each other! Which, would be cool. Also, it's a cute picture, but why not a tiki tiki bottle so we could put it up on the shelf in the kitchen where it could collect dust along with our other tiki mugs?

As for the scent itself, the overwhelming notes we observed were "coconut" and "sweet." It is very not unlike the scent of certain tanning products we used back in the days when we still occasionally ventured into the sun.

The scent also called to mind a visit to Singapore many many years ago. Singapore sits smack on the equator, and the humidity felt like you'd just emerged from a very hot shower, so all trips outside were hasty shuffles back and forth between air conditioned spaces and some form of shade. At one point, we debarked an air conditioned bus and hastened to the shelter of an open market. We soon were relatively comfortable inside a dark, covered food court. We sat down at a table, and the proprietor brought over a single coconut. The coconut had two holes drilled into it, and we and our companion each received a single straw. We drank the coconut milk straight from the coconut. It was the best thing in the world.

Observations from Scientific Subject #2:

Us: It's my new perfume, Mr. Tikistitch.
Mr. Tikistitch: Uh-huh.
Us: It's called Tiki Queen!
MT: Um.
Us: What does it smell like to you?
MT: *sniffs* Smells like....VICTORY!


Apr. 7th, 2008 11:53 am
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Richard Dawkins is gonna be on Dr. Who!!!

Russell T Davies: Return of the (tea) Time Lord

The man who reinvented 'Doctor Who' for a new generation hints at a real surprise to come in the new series, as the man in the Tardis goes into 'dadshock'.

He is the creator of galaxies, saviour of Saturday night telly and the most influential gay man in Britain, but Russell T Davies can still shriek like a starstruck fanboy. "Richard Dawkins!"

Russell Davies shrieking!! Over a scientist!! This is just so many flavors of awesome. Though it would be even awesome-er if he got to kiss Cap'n Jack.

Via Pharyngula.
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The Pojman Pocket Protector Collection!

Pojman is da man who gave us Nonlinear phenomena in polymeric systems. So, we suppose he's the dude for pocket protectors.

From ron. Who is trying to blow our minds.
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According to PZ, these guys are behind the eeeevolution.

The purpose behind choosing the term "dark clan" is to convey the sense of a web-like structure with offshoots in every country, orchestrating the moral degeneration of today's world. Even though it presents itself as highly modern, its structural design is reminiscent of the historical totemic clans. This dark clan is to be found behind all kinds of despicable deeds, corruption and perversion. It controls drug-trafficking operations, prostitution rings and promotes immorality.

Sorries, kiddies, tiki's gotta go. Those despicable deeds won't do themselves!
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Anti-depressants' 'little effect'

New generation anti-depressants have little clinical benefit for most patients, research suggests.

A University of Hull team concluded the drugs actively help only a small group of the most severely depressed.

Marjorie Wallace, head of the mental health charity Sane, said that if these results were confirmed they could be "very disturbing".


The researchers accept many people believe the drugs do work for them, but argue that could be a placebo effect - people feel better simply because they are taking a medication which they think will help them.

In total, the Hull team, who published their findings in the journal PLoS Medicine, reviewed data on 47 clinical trials.

They reviewed published clinical trial data, and unpublished data secured under Freedom of Information legislation.

(Emphasis added.)

Reading between the lines in the new item (and, if you follow the link, you can also hear a guy with a very cute accent interview the study's primary author) they're alleging that drug companies tend to take studies that show their drugs aren't terribly effective and....kinda hide them in a file cabinet and forget them.

This is not completely a "ZOMG drug companies are EEEEVUL!" thing either - it's long been known that when scientists have a negative finding (ie, shit didn't work), they tend to let it all go down the Memory Hole. But, as this shows, studies that don't find anything are sometimes quite important.

Girls rule

Feb. 21st, 2008 10:27 am
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Via the ever mind-expanding [livejournal.com profile] thedisneyblog...

Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain

THE prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination — pasty, geeky, male — has failed to live up to his reputation.

Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.

“Most guys don’t have patience for this kind of thing,” said Nicole Dominguez, 13, of Miramar, Fla., whose hobbies include designing free icons, layouts and “glitters” (shimmering animations) for the Web and MySpace pages of other teenagers. “It’s really hard.”

Nicole posts her graphics, as well as her own HTML and CSS computer coding pointers (she is self-taught), on the pink and violet Sodevious.net, a domain her mother bought for her in October.

“If you did a poll I think you’d find that boys rarely have sites,” she said. “It’s mostly girls.”

Indeed, a study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog (35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys) and create or work on their own Web pages (32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys).

But... (and you knew there would be one)

But even though girls surpass boys as Web content creators, the imbalance among adults in the computer industry remains. Women hold about 27 percent of jobs in computer and mathematical occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In American high schools, girls comprised fewer than 15 percent of students who took the AP computer science exam in 2006, and there was a 70 percent decline in the number of incoming undergraduate women choosing to major in computer science from 2000 to 2005, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.


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