Sep 9 2014
A paper published recently in a social science journal explored the correlation between intelligence and childlessness and determined, “One standard-deviation increase in childhood general intelligence (15 IQ points) decreases a woman’s odds of parenthood by 21–25 percent. Because women have a greater impact on the average intelligence of future generations, the dysgenic fertility among women is predicted to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of the population in advanced industrial nations.”
Naturally, in the popular press, this was boiled down to the headline: Smart Women Don’t Have Babies.
When I sent the link to my husband, I wrote: “Duh. It’s a very unpleasant process.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 1 2014
So I saw this Verizon commercial going around on Facebook that had really good intentions. The purpose was to help encourage girls to go into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). And while I fully support that idea, the way they did it really ticked me off.
If you haven’t seen it, it starts with a young girl (maybe 1 year old or so) running towards the camera and a parent calling her a “pretty girl.” Then it moves onto the girl growing up and exploring and trying new, mostly science/engineering things, and the parents continually stopping her from trying these things and reprimanding her for getting dirty or whatever else. The commercial ends with the girl, now in high school, looking at a sign for the science fair, but then getting out lip gloss–choosing instead to focus on her looks. Read the rest of this entry →
May 20 2014
I have three kids. With three very different personalities. My 10-year-old boy is my most “challenging” one.
“Typical middle child,” the self-proclaimed experts crow. No. Sorry. He was like that from the moment he was born. (I will grant that God knew he would one day end up the middle child and so designed accordingly, but, trust me, he came hard-wired that way.) I could tell the difference at the bris. My first son cried because he was in pain. My second one cried because he was angry.
He’s mellowed a bit since that eighth day. But, still, nothing comes easy with this one. Everything has the potential to turn into a philosophical, environmental and theological argument at the drop of a hat. Read the rest of this entry →
May 8 2014
How many women do you know who have a crater named after them? Now, at least one: Gerty Theresa Cori. And planetary study wasn’t even what made her a scientific star.
In 1947, Cori became the first American woman–the third woman ever–to win the Nobel Prize. She and her husband Carl received it together in recognition for their life’s work on carbohydrate metabolism, specifically for “their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen,” which expanded understanding of how muscles make and store energy and the role of enzymes, with implications for the treatment of diabetes, among other diseases.
What’s particularly amazing is that she did all this while marginalized, for most of her career, in junior research positions at a small fraction of her husband’s salary. Gerty and Carl worked so closely together that he turned down prestigious positions at universities which would not support their collaborations; even so, she only rose to full professorship shortly before receiving the Nobel Prize. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 13 2014
Like many little girls, my daughter went through a Princess phase. I never had a problem with it. Frankly, I’m thrilled my youngest child has somehow managed to pick up a knack for those feminine graces which I incontrovertibly lack. She was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” a couple of years running for both Purim and Halloween. That lasted up until she watched “Fiddler on the Roof” and, 15 minutes before the start of Halloween 2012, decided she now wanted to be one of Tevya’s daughters, instead.
I was OK with that, too, even when she stressed that she wanted to be “the daughter that got married and had a baby,” not the one “who read too many books.”
This Purim, my first-grader has a new passion. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 12 2014
I’ve always found the nature versus nurture discussion interesting. Now that I am the mom of a boy and a girl, it’s downright fascinating. It’s from that perspective that I rolled my eyes after I watched the commercial for GoldieBlox that Kveller posted.
The thing I probably love the most about my daughter, Ellie, who’s 4, is that she will dress herself in full princess garb, crown to slipper, and then march outside to examine bugs with her yellow magnifying glass, moving dirt around and onto her tulled tushy with a red or blue shovel. This is also her outfit of choice to wear while she does experiments from her multicolored science kit.
Ellie’s favorite color is pink, with purple in close second. She plays with her dolls – stuffed and Barbie–and is always the mom. She has a jewelry box stuffed with plastic baubles that she wears with the pride of a woman who just received an engagement ring. Ellie couldn’t be girlier if she tried. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 7 2014
At this point, every child in America has danced to Ylvis’ “What Does the Fox Say?” You may have even seen the children’s book version in stores. I am not ashamed to admit that I know the lyrics by heart and have caught myself singing the interlude softly on many a morning commute:
The secret of the fo-o-ox
Somewhere deep in the woods
He is hiding
What is his souuuuund?
Will we ever know?
Well, inspired by Ylvis, the other day, my kid and I–being the intrepid scientists that we are–decided to do a little research into what the fox actually says. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 7 2013
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
– Wet Seal has proved to be a pretty awesome company. After Karrie Brown, a 17-year-old girl with Down syndrome, received compliments for her fashionable style, friends in her community launched a Facebook page in support of Karrie modeling for the company. Turns out Wet Seal responded to the page and flew Karrie and her mother out for a photo shoot in LA where she danced to Bieber tunes and modeled clothing. (XO Jane)
– In more negligent news, a high-end daycare center in Brooklyn, Williamsburg Northside Preschool, lost a child in the park last week when teachers failed to count the group correctly. Yikes. (DNAinfo)
– “Parenthood, like war, is a state where it’s impossible to be moral,”–just one great line from a piece on ethical parenting in New York Magazine. Great read for parents who would move mountains for their children, if only they could. (NY Mag)
– A new study in the New York Times provides hard evidence of a continuing bias against women in the sciences. Surprisingly and unfortunately, women are just as biased as their male counterparts. (NY Times)
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May 21 2013
This post is part of our month-long series featuring different ways that parents of various religions have talked to their kids about God.
As a scientist and a person of faith, I get asked the following question a lot: “How do you reconcile your scientific beliefs with your faith in God?” The question seems to concern others a lot more than it concerns me, largely because I see no conflict at all. They exist together, happily, and each supports the other. Read the rest of this entry →