Advice from a real “Woman of NASA,” for kids who dream of working in science — Quartz

If you don’t already have Lego’s new “Women of NASA” play set, you’d better hustle. The toy became a massive seller in the 24 hours following its release on Nov. 1, briefly selling out on Amazon. Parents are falling over themselves, rightly so, to expose their girls—and boys—to inspiring role models in a field where…

via Advice from a real “Woman of NASA,” for kids who dream of working in science — Quartz

 

Women of NASA is SO AWESOME!  I know what I want for Christmas!

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“I took the NASA shirts from the “boys” section from where they were prominently displayed, and put them little kid eye level next to tank tops in the “girls” section 20 feet away. And shared a pic of my tiny-scale, subversive, nonviolent, direct action.”

via (Re)Merchandising NASA as a Feminist Act — Longreads

 

Pretty amazing.  Science and maths are awesoooooooooooooooome!  Little girls loving science and maths is awesooooooooooooomerrrrrr!

Hence, you long legged spinners, hence!

 

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And continuing with the creepy-crawly theme of this blog recently, I had a dream last night.  Well, I think it was a dream, or not.  Or else I woke up in the middle of the night, reached out to the nightstand for my phone to check the time, and –

 

a spider ran over my hand.

 

Checking, this morning, it must surely have been a dream.  Because according to my partner – who sleeps lightly – I did not wake him up by screaming the place down.  And also, there is a curious fogged, vague, indeterminate lack of ending to the memory itself, which doesn’t lend it a lot of credence.

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If it had been for real, then I would have been haring around the bedroom, bashing anything that moved with a rolled-up newspaper and screeching my head off, for sure.  Not that I mind spiders.  Generally, I am pro-spider.  Just not when I’ve that second woken up, and the spider in question is ON MY FUCKING HAND.

That’s all.  I reckon the universe is sending me a message.  Possibly, ‘Crack on with that ‘The Entomologist and No-Spiders-Man’ tale, then, eh?  Where is it?’

 

Image – 1000iu Klvo on Flickr, public domain.

Image – Rob Mitchell on Flickr, public domain.

Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!

I had the windows open this morning, while I wrote.  And while in a daze, wondering whether to throw in a few fifty-buck words just to piss off Hemingway, I became aware of a buzzing.

A buzzing, a rustling, a frantic hum, coming from behind the curtains where they were bunched up.  And when I went to have a look, it was an insect, bouncing around behind there.  Frantic with captivity, wings flickering and building up to an aggressive whine if it didn’t find the exit bloody quick.

A fly.  A fly!  OH GOD A FLY!  I ran and grabbed household antibacterial spray, found fly spray in the cupboard under the sink, ran back and MACED THAT FUCKER.

Then I got a bit of a closer look, once I’d calmed down, and it was all still and quiet and deaded.

Oh, but it wasn’t a fly.  It was a beetle.  A harmless beetle, just faintly wobbling one feeler as he wobbled off this mortal coil.  Damn it.  I’d jumped to conclusions, freaked out a bit, gone into battle: and now one poor beetle had paid the price.  He’d probably come in on a bike or a jacket earlier in the day.  He didn’t mean no harm, honestly guv!

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And now, hours later, I still feel just crummy about it.  Oh, poor Mr Beetle, I feel absolutely awufl.  I’m so sorry.

 

Image – Fowler, W. W. (William Weekes), 1849-1923; Donisthorpe, Horace St. John Kelly, 1870, public domain.

 

 

What I’m reading today – Goodreads update

26.29% “Finished ‘Darwin’s Suitcase’ by Elisabeth Malartre. Good, but suffered a little by following immediately on Sheila Crosby, by comparison. It’s clever, certainly, but that’s about the minimum you expect from a pro time-travel story. Compared to the best stories in this collection – Sheila Crosby and Sean McMullen, so far – clever isn’t quite enough.

Still a good story, an important theme, and worth reccing.”

Fourth law of robotics: BUILD FRAKKIN’ ROBOTS! ROBOTS ARE COOL!

This sounds so awesome!  It’s not often I wish I was a schoolkid again, but I’m so envious I’m Kermit!15510782533_254e1e29b1_z

Schools are invited to enter a new competition from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851: Catch the Robots Bug! It is a fun and simple competition to generate enthusiasm for robotics, engineering and STEM more widely. Aimed at upper primary and lower secondary schools, little or no equipment is required to enter, or […]

via Catch the robots bug | — Echo Chamber Uncut

Image – Matt Cooper, public domain.

Omphalophobia, or science-fiction time-traveling bellybuttons.

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I’m writing a story – well, I’ve got two lines so far, at least – about science-fiction time-traveling bellybuttons.

(pause)

Yeah, and as I say… Well, look at it like this. I suffer from omphalophobia, let’s begin there. My name’s Alex, and I’m an omphalophobic.

It sounds like a sleepy mole coming grunting and blinking up out of a hole in the lawn. But that isn’t what it means, at all. What it means – to prove that I can make use of Google just as quick as anyone – is fear of bellybuttons. Yeah, it’s not made-up! (Well, it’s there on Google’s page of search results, anyhow. It’s on Wikipedia. That makes it a real thing, right?)

And I ought to know, because I’ve suffered from it most of my life. Not that I would have known what to call it. And I did not know that it was a thing, that other people experienced too! Thereby lending it validity and credibility, of course. I’m not just crazy, and liable to pull grossed-out faces and poke a finger at my navel in horror and disgust while getting out of the shower – shrieking at my partner all the while, about how come we can’t be cyborgs and get rid of this weird fleshy reminder of being mammals anyhow – because I’m nuts.

(I mean, it’s where the cord gets cut, and heals up. And what if it never heals up, not quite all the way? Then you’ve got, like, a little expressway into you, all septic and rotten and yuck, a highway to your innards...)

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a Ken or Barbie, and just have a smooth midriff with no yucky fleshy indent? Yeah, I know there would be other drawbacks…

So the thing about navels, they’re where the cord connected you to the mother, right? And, if you’re female and have kids, then you have kids branching off you – in the dimension of time – via the placental cord, connecting you to your kids via their navels too. Which makes them – and you – basically branches, or twigs, or tiny little leaves or budlets – through time, of a fleshy tree that exists chronologically, rather than spatially.

(This is why I’m calling the story ‘A Fleshy Tree Through Time’.)

And something about that thought is just damn weird.

In the story, I figure the heroine will be able to travel directly through time into the bodies of forebears or descendants. Via the POWER OF CASTLE BELLYBUTTON! Because she can see the Body of the Tree at a meta-level above time. Pseudo-chloroplasts or some other equivalent to plant organelles, in the whole Body, may be involved in the time-travelin’ process.

Look, I may not have this quite fleshed out and detailed, as far as process and world-building are concerned.  But I’m getting there!

Of course, men are excluded from the time-travelly process by definition: they’re dead-ends, evolutionary twigs that bear no fruiting buds or blossom. No childbirth = no placental cord = no more twigs. Useless, but pretty.

… Just sayin’.

We’re all just one big fleshy tree, and if we could get outside of time then we could see that. Root and bole and branch and twig, leaf and flower and fruit. All part of the same organism, just warring with itself.