Tag Archive | science

Always be a lady

peter_paul_rubens_-_portrait_of_maria_serra_pallavicino_-_wga20353

Let’s be honest, a woman with real power wears more clothes, not less.

At a recent lunch, some friends were discussing Game of Thrones. Tiberius had loved all the books and enjoyed the HBO series. Platonia had only watched the series but liked it. Marie Claire had liked the series, but had stopped trying to read (actually listen) to book one because the names were too confusing.

As for myself?

I’ve not read the books, although I image they would be interesting because books tend to have actual plots — unlike TV programs. I did skim through Season 1 of the series. By skim I mean, I watched all 10 hours in 2. It was easy really, every time I saw a naked person or a person having sex, I fast forwarded. Realistically, I missed none of what there was to the “plot” and I cut out all the boring bits.

But back to the table talk.

Platonia and Marie Claire were having  a very heated discussion about the now almost grown-up dragons and whether the Khaleesi would be able to control them. Platonia thought the dragons had minds of their own. Marie Claire plumped for Khaleesi loyalty from the beasts.

Finally Platonia said, “Well you’re wrong. Because that’s just not how adult dragons behave!”

I could bear it no longer.

“And you know this because we have so much scientific data about the life-cycle of dragons,” I interjected calmly, while waving over the waiter for the desert cart.

They all laughed. And thankfully we moved on to less fiery, more scientific topics.

(The thing crawling up the chair behind her is a parrot, not a dragon!)

The Human Endeavour — the art of missing the forest for the trees

John Raoux/Associated Press
Endeavour was placed atop a modified jumbo jet for its departure from the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.

Apparently the Space Shuttle Endeavour is going to be landing here shortly. Um, is it wrong to say I’m more interested in my UPS package hitting my threshold?

I love science and space and all the geekiness of life, but I simply cannot grasp why standing in the sun watching a fly over of a pig-backed shuttle is preferable later visiting the actual shuttle in person.

What is the obsession with being a personal witness to a reality that has no real personal bearing?

Loads of people are standing outside watching a big hunk of metal fly over, it’s so . . . Lost World. And yet almost none of them are upset that 265 trees, along a 12 mile long route, are going to be cut down to drag this piece of space junk to its final resting place.

Yes, let’s destroy mature (some over 100 years old) trees, in a city which suffers from excessive heat, in an area where there are few if any green spaces, when a planet is already in crisis. And, do you at all care that you’re destroying what little established natural habit remains in the city?

All that genius at NASA and no one could build an elevated trailer that would clear the trees? Yeah, that’s what’s wrong with science. It doesn’t think.

Saxon Reed, AP

Rep. Todd Akin Buys The Rabbit

I know that many Republicans wish people would stop tinkering with America’s sacred 18th-century Constitution. But I did not realize that some Republicans still actually lived in the 18th century.

For anyone that missed Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s spectacular faux pas (and frankly, I don’t think there should be any kind of faux pas other than spectacular, or what is the point of making it at all), the man claimed that medical science backed a theory that a woman who has been raped cannot conceive a child by her rapist unless she wanted to (that is, it wasn’t really, truly rape).

Um . . . yeah. Okay . . . .

My problem with Rep. Akin’s view, is that the medical science he so eloquently speaks of was that which prevailed in the 1700s. And based on that view, in the 18th century,  if a man was brought to court on rape charges and the woman who claimed rape showed up to court claiming to be pregnant by him, the case was dismissed because obviously she was pregnant and ipso facto she had therefore consented to the sex, no matter what she claimed now.

Needless to say, such a woman thus shamed generally withdrew from society, or killed herself  and her child.

The result was not much better if raped woman showed up not pregnant. Most of the time these cases were dismissed as not proven, because typically no one saw the rape or (and this one is based on the Bible!) people were around but “she did not cry out” (you know, because she was obviously enjoying it, not because she was in fear of death). A male rapist was also almost always acquitted –especially if he was from a better income bracket or family than the victim. And as for incest? Oh please! No one believed the words of a little girl, ever.

See the 18th-century “anti-female” slant here? [update: For the historical on the facts, see yesterday’s LA Times Op-Ed piece by historian Thomas A Foster on Rep. Todd Akin’s ideas about rape hark back to the Colonial era]

So, all due respect to the 18th century, Missouri and Sen. Akin, but I’ll stay in the 21st-century and far away from Missouri and Sen Akin, thank you.

(Buying the Rabbit is a century-old expression meaning making a mistake that is bound to result in censure)