This is another disheartening study from a research group at Stanford that claims to demonstrate that no matter the gains women have made in the past fifty years in science, we are still seen as less competent than our male colleagues.
Researchers at six universities - three public, three private - across the country were sent a resume for an ‘undergraduate student’ applying for a position in their laboratory and asked to rate the applicant on factors like competence and how well they would do on the job. As is standard practice, the resumes were all identical except for one detail: half of the resumes were for someone named ‘Jennifer’ and half were for someone named John.
Across the board, regardless of age or gender or field, ‘John’ was ranked as a better applicant than ‘Jennifer’, and the conclusion drawn was that their is still an overwhelming bias against women in academic science.
My first critique is that the researchers didn’t include the obvious negative control: a resume belonging to an androgynous-ly named student, like Lee or Terry. ‘Lee’ or ‘Terry’s competence ranking would give us much stronger evidence as to a gender bias.
I have another issue, though. There is a lot of information that will be drawn from a name, and a lot of fodder for bias: gender being only one piece of information one might deduce from a name. ‘John’ is a very traditional name, where as ‘Jennifer’ a very faddish, modern one (but a lovely one, also) that came into popularity in the late seventies and was out of style by the late eighties (see http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/#ht=1). Could these results demonstrate a bias against ‘Jennifer’, not for her female-ness, but for her non-traditional name? Might researchers subconsciously be associating competence with traditional names? What would the results have been had the resumes belonged to ‘Anne’ and ‘Travis’ or ‘Mary’ and ‘Braden’?
Often I’ll come across a word I’m completely unfamiliar with, find a definition, and then *snap* - it’s everywhere. This month, it’s feuilleton.
Definition, from Wikipedia:
Feuilleton (French pronunciation: [fœjtɔ̃]; a diminutive of French: feuillet, the leaf of a book) was originally a kind of supplement attached to the political portion of French newspapers, consisting chiefly of non-political news and gossip, literature and art criticism, a chronicle of the latest fashions, and epigrams, charades and other literary trifles. The feuilleton may be described as a “talk of the town”, and a contemporary English-language example of the form is the “Talk of the Town” section of The New Yorker.
In English newspapers, the term “feuilleton” instead came to refer to an installment of a serial story printed in one part of a newspaper. The genre of the feuilleton in its French sense was eventually included in English newspapers, but was not referred to as a feuilleton.
In contemporary French, feuilleton takes on the definition of “soap opera,” specifically ones aired for television.
German and Polish newspapers still use the term for their literary and arts sections.
Where I found it: 1) Christopher Buckley’s r eview of Mortality by Christopher Hitchens in the NYTimes:
“ “Mortality” is a slender volume — or, to use the mot that he loved to deploy, feuilleton— consisting of the seven dispatches he sent in to Vanity Fair magazine from “Tumorville.””
2) Article on the debate over the fate of the Old Master’s paintings at Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie:
“The Feuilletons, or culture pages, of Germany’s newspapers have been brimming with a heated debate this summer over the future of the Old Masters.”
Any bracket that doesn’t include chaotrope, teratogen nor schadenfreude(nor obfuscate, for that matter) isn’t worth the paper it was drawn on …
Why ‘Diphthong’ is the Best Word Ever
Ted McCagg is a creative director in advertising in Portland, Oregon. In his spare time, for the past five years or so, McCagg has been keeping a blog,”Questionable Skills” — the content of which consists almost entirely of drawings, some of them the bracket-style rankings that are a familiar feature of March Madness.
A few months ago, McCagg began using his blog and his bracket system to answer a question: What is the best word ever? Not the funniest word or the most erudite word or the most whimsical word … but The Best Word, full stop. What if, you know, the scallawag could eke out a thingamajig that would help him select the least milquetoast morsel from our linguistic smorgasbord?
Yesterday, McCagg has answered his question.
Read more. [Image: Ted McCagg]
Sacraments and stories from the Paris Review
Situated north of the Cap Vert Peninsula in Senegal, northeast of Dakar, Lake Retba, or as the French refer to it Lac Rose, is pinker than any milkshake you’ve ever come face to straw with.
And once you see it, you too will agree that a sippy straw may be in order over a boat.
Experts say the lake gives off its pink hue due to cyanobacteria, a harmless halophilic bacteria found in the water.
If the color weren’t enough to make you smile, it should be known that Lake Retba has a high salt content, much like that of the Dead Sea, allowing people to float effortlessly in the massive pink water. In fact, Lake Retba has an almost one and a half times higher salt content than the Dead Sea.
(Source: pizzzatime, via emelieberg)
Another favorite cookbook- Memories of my Cuban Kitchen
Don’t let sewing interfere with family meals.