Sotomayor

All this whining about how being a Latina — and saying outright that she draws on that experience — prevents her from being properly objective is driving me bonkers.

I’m sure that white people and male people are so perfect that they never draw on their white and male experiences in order to understand the world and ethics and law. Being white and male means you’re objective, of course.

That was sarcasm. IT IS NOT TRUE, PEOPLE. Treating white and male as the default mode of being and all deviations from that as… well, deviations, is factually incorrect. The white male experience is no more default and no more inherently objective than any other human experience. And thinking critically about how your experience as a white man is affected by living in a society that favors certain groups over others would not be particularly less objective than ignoring those social effects and pretending they don’t exist while still experiencing them. Likewise, thinking critically about how your experience as a person of color and as a woman are affected by living in a society that favors certain groups over others is not less “objective” than ignoring those effects. The assumption actually seems to be that paying attention to those things is “subjective” entirely because it makes the favored group uncomfortable. Seriously? No one is required to make sure you are comfortable. I see that you don’t want to have to think about those favors you are receiving — I mean, it’s not like you asked for them, so you aren’t bad people!!! Dudes, someone else having it unfairly hard is not about you. For a second, I know it’s tough, but something is not about you. Shut up.

Quick hit: Republicans suck

Liss knocked one out of the park this morning. Pure brilliance, and I have nothing to add.

OFFS

From Shakesville: Rush is uncomfortable with the use of the word “dike” to describe, well, dikes. *headdesk*

I love my Subaru!

Ha! This is from Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde:

Science and politics

This post points out how McCain’s apparently disdain for science funding is extremely worrying. In the last two debates (not to mention stump speeches) he has used at least two different examples of federal science funding as jokes about irresponsible spending (har har), and as the WP article shows, he has enjoyed mocking science funding throughout his career. And I can see how he objects to funding science through bill add-ons, rather than through “proper” channels like NSF. But NSF barely funds anything these days, it seems, and what they fund they fund in part. Depending on your institution and what kind of matching funds you can get, it’s sometimes just not enough. The bear project was with USGS, anyway, and they have basically NO money of their own. They can barely afford to pay salaries to employees and rely heavily on unpaid volunteers… but that’s a topic for another day.

Look, science research is expensive. There’s no getting around that. Most proposals include some or all of the researchers’ salaries, often funding for students and maybe postdocs (which is a lot more than just tuition and stipends because of the level of overhead for most institutions), and then the money that actually buys supplies, pays for travel, and pays for analyses (keeping the machines running, the supplies used in analysis, etc.). If your field area is at sea, ship time is incredibly expensive, because the research money has to pay for the time of the entire ship. That’s why most scientific cruises have a whole bunch of projects going at the same time, because the scientists team up to get the work done. But it’s still a lot of money to fund, and generally that funding comes from the federal government (paying for a ship means not just expenses for the ship and instrumentation itself, but salaries and benefits for the ship’s crew as well, and these days health insurance costs have made that exhorbitant).

It not just gets my hackles up when McCain makes jokes about how useless or silly science spending is. In a situation where scientific projects continue to be generally underfunded, where a proposal with two “Excellent” reviews and two “Very Goods” can’t get funded anymore, there’s really no place for arguing that we should fund our science LESS.

New McCain ad

I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to embed the video, so I’m just going to have to link to this new ad, courtesy of the fabulous Jay Smooth. Shocking!

Our half-man/half-cloth nominee

Image link courtesy of Shakesville.

If I ever learn to quilt, which I’d like to do, I’m so going to put some Obama in my first quilt.

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