Circus of the Spineless #9 at Burning Silo

logo for Circus of the SpinelessCircus of the Spineless is a collection of online articles about invertebrates. This is the mystery version…

Nicotine hooks children with first puff

There’s a reason that cigarette companies advertise around schools in spite of their guidelines not to. Get ’em young and you’ve got ’em for life. Recent research shows that children who try a single cigarette at age 11 are twice as likely to be smoking by the time they are 14, regardless of other factors.
—from the U.S. Discovery Channel Web site


view of Wilson Hall at Fermilab
Take a look at what a major laboratory is up to.

Vertebrate Evolution Conference 2006

The vertebrate evolution conference is a presentation of research findings, methodologies, new species, and nifty fossils: be there or be a tetrapod! Oh, wait—we are tetrapods.

World Health Director-General, Lee Jong-wook, dies

The highly respected Director-General of the World Health Organization died on Monday after a stroke on Saturday. He was active in his job until the previous Friday. More than one thousand people attended his funeral.

The head of Dr. Lee’s office, Bill Kean, told the mourners at yesterday’s ceremony,“One of the last things he did was, on Friday night, to rush out and buy a take-away Chinese meal for two staff who were working late.”

"Rhythm Method" may kill more embryos

Science blog reports that the rhythm method of birth control depends partly on the fact that embryos conceived on the fringes of the fertile period are more likely to die. The British Medical Journal reports on an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics. They quote Professor Bowens, who calculates that for each pregnancy under the rhythm method, two or three embryos have been conceived and died. More effective methods, such as barriers and spermicides, do not allow conception in the first place.

Double standards: female journalists and hate mail

Why is this ending up on the science side?

Because it reminds me of observer bias and the shifting levels of evaluation. A detailed study in Sweden found that in that famously egalitarian society, female researchers had to publish five times as much to be promoted; a woman who is head-turningly beautiful at your work looks reasonably attractive in a magazine; a reasonably well-dressed person in a slum looks positively dapper; and so on.

It also reminds me of the research that showed that men out-talk women by a ratio of 4:1 in conversations and meetings: which led to the realization that the stereotype of the talkative woman was measured against an expectation of female silence.

(…more to come the minute I have a minute)

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