Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

10 Finds for You – August 15th

Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary, leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

1. What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

2. Couple to attempt 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan

3. Women Scientists Still Face Discrimination

4. College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equality

5. Sentencing Juveniles

6. ‘The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness’ Author Brianna Karp Offers Advice to Young People on the Streets

7. One-third of tween clothes are sexy, study finds

8. TTC & IF: WHO Annoyance

9. Sex and Self-Esteem: A Big Boost for Men, Not So Much for Women

10. Fathers: Key to Their Children’s Faith

Happy reading!

Melissa

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Felisa Wolfe-Simon

I’m not immediately familiar with today’s person, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t influential. Let’s take a look at her.

  • She is a geobiochemical oceanographer.
  • She has a doctorate in Oceanography.
  • She also has a NASA fellowship in astrobiology.
  • Her primary work focuses on the idea that (and I’m quoting because I don’t really understand it well enough to put it into my own words) “a bacterium called GFAJ-1 could substitute arsenic, poisonous for most life forms, for phosphorus, considered an essential element for all living cells.”
  • That work is heavily disputed by others in her field and others claim to be unable to reproduce her results, a key part of the scientific process.

So, is she influential or not? I think it’s not a question that I can answer conclusively at this point. I think it depends a lot on whether or not her research turns out to be true. And that’s hard for me to answer because I don’t have the scientific background to be able to say whether or not her research is true. But it has stirred up quite the controversy in the scientific world – so I can’t say definitively whether it’s true or not because the scientific community can’t even decide whether it’s true or not. If her research is true, then it will change the way we think about life and how life works (according to everything I’ve read on it). And then she will have had a huge influence on the future and have been highly influential. If her research turns out to be just bad science, all she will be is the scientist who almost discovered something that didn’t exist and she might even become a laughingstock. So in my opinion, the jury is still out. Do you have any thoughts on Felisa Wolfe-Simon? Leave them below in the comments! 

Sources:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Lisa Jackson

This post has made me realize how many people out there are named Lisa Jackson, as I googled her to learn more about her. But there’s only one of the specific Lisa Jackson I’m talking about. Let’s dive in.

  • Is trained to be a chemical engineer
  • Current head administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Is focusing on 7 key areas: “taking action on climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up our communities; protecting America’s waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state”
  • Current accomplishments: She “has outlined principles to modernize our nation’s 30-year old chemical management laws, called for unprecedented innovation in drinking water protection efforts and announced tough standards to clean the air we breathe.”
  • In the past year, has developed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
  • Has promised to focus on groups of people who are most vulnerable to harm from environmental contaminants

Is she influential? I think so. As head of the EPA, she has a big role in shaping the environmental future of the United States in terms of regulations and things like that. And the environment has a much bigger effect on you than most people realize. I took a Literature and Environment class in my last semester of college and I thought I knew how the environment affected you and your health, but I learned there is so much more. So as someone who has the power to decide standards, she is super influential, for better or for worse.

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Women at M.I.T. – Too Much of an Advantage?

I read an interesting article today from the New York Times. A bit old but still conjured up a lot of thoughts.

In the late 1990s, women at MIT began to talk. And when they began to talk, they realized that they were getting the short end of the stick. Their lab spaces were smaller, their salaries were lower, and there were a lot less of them than they were of men. So they took it up the ladder, to someone who could do something about it. And things changed for the better.

But now, they face the problem that people are accusing them of only being successful because they’re a woman. For example, people think the college works too hard to recruit them, that women only win prizes because they’re women, and that male undergrads tell female undergrads that they’re only there because of affirmative action.  And accusations like that can really hurt when you’ve worked hard. They also face tight personality roles that there is a lot of pressure to conform to, that women professors have to act a certain way.

Additionally, there are parts that the women themselves don’t like. There’s a rule requiring a woman on every committee, but with less women, the women have to take on more committees, so they argue that they lose out on a lot of time they could be spending researching or doing consultancies. Additionally, women get a lot of invitations to speak on panels about work life balance – many more invitations to speak than the men do.

Then there are parts that are really great – everyone can have a year off (male and female) after a child is born, there’s day care available, and if you travel away on business, M.I.T. helps cover the cost of child care.  However, even this gets abused as some men take it and use it to work instead of taking care of their child.

I don’t think this is the case. In fact, at M.I.T. for a man or a woman to get tenure, they need to have 15 different outside recommendations – a hard standard for anyone to beat. I would doubt too that anyone would say that this girl, who I blogged about before, was let in just because she was a woman. And this graduate of M.I.T. was certainly a smart and talented women. They do exist, male scientists, they do. Don’t knock those awesome women! Girl power!

“To women in my generation, these residual issues can sound small because we see so much progress. But they’re not small; they still create an unequal playing field for women — not just at universities, and certainly not just at M.I.T. And they’re harder to change because they are a reflection of where women stand in society.” – Nancy H. Hopkins

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Women in History: Mabel MacFerran Rockwell

Mabel was a woman of science and perhaps it is especially fitting to honor women of science because it is a field that (to some extent) even today people still think is a man’s field. I have to admit that I, myself, do not understand science well, so I’m going to do my best to paraphrase and summarize her scientific achievements, but if you want more of the technical terms, feel free to click on the links, by all means. I didn’t find tons of information on her – she lived a relatively quiet life, but her achievements in science are no small thing to me.

She

  • studied electrical engineering.
  • graduated first in her class at MIT.
  • worked with the military during WWII.
  • was a wife and a mother.
  • was the only woman to work on the Boulder and Hoover Dams.
  • created missile guidance systems.
  • worked on submarines.

Awards

  • Woman Engineer of the Year
  • Achievement Award

Sources

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