Doing more with #scicomm

Doing more with #scicomm

Sometimes a confluence of events puts you in a position to think through how you can make what you do more meaningful. For me that confluence of events came last week when I sat down to prepare my presentation for the MAVEN New Media Workshop. I was slated to discuss “Doing Science Out Loud,” and as I opened Keynote in a window wedged beside a Twitter feed that twisted with far too many shame spirals toward hate, I realized that in articulating “Doing Science Out Loud” I needed to stress the importance of acknowledging the humans behind science. It isn’t enough to talk facts and figures. We need to talk jobs, dreams, and sometimes tears. My audience at that talk was filled with awesome humans, but it was a small gathering, and in...

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“What you don’t know would make a great book.”

“What you don’t know would make a great book.”

Over the past few weeks, several stories have hit the news that the average, mainstream/majority person has often struggled to fully understand and to discuss with sensitivity. Topics range from the mishandled coverage of Caitlyn Jenner’s eloquent coming out in Vogue, to bungled discussions of Rachel Dolezal’s behavior that horrifically convolve (among other things) acts of racism, white privilege, and injection of a not officially defined trans-racial mental illness.  Over and over in the social media discussions on these topics I’ve seen a consistent plea, “Go find someone in these communities and talk to them.” Yes, do this. But also, remember (especially relevant for introverts) the words of 18th century humorist Sydney Smith,...

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The problem with “Unbelievable”

The problem with “Unbelievable”

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Did you see? Isn’t that so unbelievable?” These words have usually been uttered in reference to media coverage of authority figures acting in sexist, bigoted, racist, or otherwise intolerant or amoral ways. Basically, when members of the establishment fuck up, people want to label it as unbelievable. But, unfortunately, these things are really the norm. The last time someone said this to me (in reference to the horrible Dear Alice column discussed here), it was a senior white male I like and respect and learn from and trust, and I finally said what I’ve been thinking every time I hear those words. I said, “No, actually, it’s not unbelievable. It’s kind of normal. I’ve...

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Redefining “real”

Redefining “real”

This blog has gone largely silent for far too long while I’ve put my efforts into trying to raise funds for CosmoQuest, and move other projects forward. At this point, all the proposals that matter are submitted and all the work that was deemed most dire is done. It has been an ugly year, and looking back on things, I can see over and over places where my efficiency and my health were impacted by a constant struggle to live up to impossible external expectations. Over and over, people laid out definitions of “real” and in an attempt to, well, stay funded… and in an attempt to not be judged negatively (because I apparently still try to conform to expectations) I got lost in these other peoples’ definitions of “real”....

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