All entries by this author

The elite closes ranks

Jun 27th, 2015 6:23 pm | By

Another one for the reading list: Chocolate and Vodka.

[W]hether or not Sir Tim was joking is ultimately irrelevant. He should never have spoken those words in the first place. As a Nobel Laureate, a professor and a Knight of the British Empire, Sir Tim definitely has power, influence and authority. He therefore has a responsibility to think very carefully about the words he uses in his public and professional lives.

People in Sir Tim’s position have an obligation to use their power to help, support and inspire others, not to denigrate a group of people — in this case, women — who are already at a disadvantage. Sir Tim failed in that obligation. He did not take his

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Guest post: Do you really expect us to unravel the work of more than a century in order to knit you a comfort blanket?

Jun 27th, 2015 5:57 pm | By

Originally a comment by Maureen Brian on Charles Seife is telling the same story.

garyggpelow,

You don’t sound as though you’re old enough to have been around in the ’60s and ’70s but believe me we achieved a hell of a lot then. There is no need to go back and do that work again. It is done.

Achievements included, depending upon where you are, anti-discrimination laws and the codes of practice in place in most institutions and big companies, a means of redress for discrimination, direct or systemic, access to better education, equal pay (in theory) – the list is too long but we’ve got the works in law and in policy at least on paper.

Yet by … Read the rest

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Nothing less than the silencing

Jun 27th, 2015 4:23 pm | By

If nothing else, at least I’m finding some brilliant people to read the blogs of which, and to follow on Twitter and all that good stuff.

Like Richard P Grant at the Guardian’s Occam’s corner.

[W]hat is happening now is nothing less than the silencing of voices that should be heard. Voices of people who took issue with what was said in Korea, who highlighted the sexism, and who said that such comments were harmful and should not go unchallenged.

Again, it doesn’t matter whether you agree with those voices, or which side you are on; what matters is that respectable academics still low down on the career ladder are being silenced by those who hold positions of real

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It’s not all about him

Jun 27th, 2015 3:18 pm | By

To counteract the bad taste left by Dawkins’s interventions (and if you want to feel even sicker you can always check out Louise Mensch on Twitter, who is in a positive lather of bullying), there is the very intelligent discussion on Athene Donald’s blog. She defends Hunt, but she does it reasonably as opposed to shoutingly. (Although she does use the phrase “lynch mob,” which I really wish people would stop doing.) In particular she says making a fuss about Tim Hunt is easy, and everyone should be doing the less easy things too. She gives a list:

We should all be pro-active, not look the other way. Here’s an easy list to help people make that commitment. Everyone

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Charles Seife is telling the same story

Jun 27th, 2015 2:04 pm | By

Then again…

Charles Seife ‏@cgseife 17 hours ago
.@guyadams Don’t find @connie_stlouis trustworthy? I’m telling the same story. Ad-hominem away.

Guy Adams is the reporter who wrote the Daily Mail piece about Connie St Louis. Charles Seife is the guy who asked the EU official if he’d provided an actual transcript and got the answer “no.”

Charles Seife ‏@cgseife 17 hours ago
.@guyadams And, speaking of accuracy, I’m another journalist who’s given a “detailed account of the toast.” Your own paper quoted me.

And then:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 13 hours ago
Devastating dissection of the credentials of the only journalist still denying Tim Hunt’s “Now seriously . . .” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3141158/A-flawed-accuser-Investigation-academic-hounded-Nobel-Prize-winning-scientist-job-reveals-troubling-questions-testimony.html …

Charles Seife @cgseife
.@RichardDawkins Now you’ve crossed the

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Obama sings

Jun 27th, 2015 12:05 pm | By

Bloomberg has the whole text of Obama’s eulogy. I watched it all over again on CNN last night.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived, that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful, a family of preachers who spread God’s words, a family of protesters who [worked to] expand voting rights and desegregate the South.

Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth nor youth’s

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Make Ramadan a month of disasters for the infidels

Jun 27th, 2015 11:21 am | By

Meanwhile yesterday there was that triplet of terror-murders in Tunisia and Kuwait and France.

In a matter of hours and on three different continents, militants carried out attacks on Friday that killed scores of civilians, horrified populations and raised thorny questions about the evolving nature of international terrorism and what can be done to fight it.

On the surface, the attacks appeared to be linked only by timing.

In France, a man stormed an American-owned chemical plant, decapitated one person and apparently tried to blow up the facility. In Tunisia, a gunman drew an assault rifle from a beach umbrella and killed at least 38 people at a seaside resort. And in Kuwait, a suicide bomber blew himself

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A member of the Royal Institution

Jun 27th, 2015 9:59 am | By

Now for the Daily Mail article itself. It’s damning.

On the other hand it – of course – makes some mistakes of its own, such as the headline for instance:

A very flawed accuser: Investigation into the academic who hounded a Nobel Prize winning scientist out of his job reveals troubling questions about her testimony

Nobody hounded him out of his job. He didn’t have “a job”; he’s retired; he had honorary positions.

Then there’s this in the body of the article:

Then, early this week, the simmering dispute took a further, seismic twist.

It came courtesy of The Times newspaper, which revealed the contents of a leaked report into Sir Tim’s fall from grace compiled by an EU

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Yes, it’s the Daily Mail, but

Jun 27th, 2015 9:25 am | By

The desperate reaction continues.

The Daily Mail did a piece exposing major holes in Connie St Louis’s CV, and Dawkins is claiming that that means Tim Hunt has been “the victim of an injustice.” Of course it doesn’t mean that. If St Louis were the sole source for the story of what Tim Hunt said, then the Mail piece would throw everything in doubt – but she’s not, so it doesn’t.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8 hours ago
Yes, it’s the Daily Mail, but it’s the most thorough account I’ve seen of the Tim Hunt affair. Detailed & convincing. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3141158/A-flawed-accuser-Investigation-academic-hounded-Nobel-Prize-winning-scientist-job-reveals-troubling-questions-testimony.html …

Devastating dissection of the credentials of the only journalist still denying Tim Hunt’s “Now seriously . . .” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3141158/A-flawed-accuser-Investigation-academic-hounded-Nobel-Prize-winning-scientist-job-reveals-troubling-questions-

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With colleagues like him…

Jun 26th, 2015 6:21 pm | By

Jacques Rousseau also thinks Dawkins is mistaken in his response to the Tim Hunt issue.

As with “shirtgate”, where Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor was in the news for wearing a shirt depicting naked women, the Tim Hunt case has prominently featured Richard Dawkins, telling us how to understand feminism and the issue of sexism in science.

It has, yes, and that’s unfortunate, because he’s not well informed about feminism nor is he sympathetic to it.

In his letter to The Times (paywalled, so – sorry – I’m linking to the Daily Mail‘s quotes of the letter), Dawkins says:

Along with many others, I didn’t like Sir Tim Hunt’s joke, but “disproportionate” would be a huge underestimate of the baying

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Empowering empowerment

Jun 26th, 2015 6:03 pm | By

From the Onion, all the way back in 2003.

OBERLIN, OH—According to a study released Monday, women—once empowered primarily via the assertion of reproductive rights or workplace equality with men—are now empowered by virtually everything the typical woman does.

San Diego women empower themselves by eating dinner unaccompanied by men.

“From what she eats for breakfast to the way she cleans her home, today’s woman lives in a state of near-constant empowerment,” said Barbara Klein, professor of women’s studies at Oberlin College and director of the study. “As recently as 15 years ago, a woman could only feel empowered by advancing in a male-dominated work world, asserting her own sexual wants and needs, or pushing for a stronger voice

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Satan will pee on your hair

Jun 26th, 2015 5:50 pm | By

I was reminded of the dirty fly-blown women metaphor by Iram Ramzan’s post about Hanna Yusuf’s creepy “my hijab is a feminist statement!” video.

Hanna goes on to say that the hijab “resists commercial imperatives that support consumer culture”. It is true that in the world we live in, capitalism has made consumers of us all – including Muslim women.

In fact, Muslims comprise one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world! The ‘halal’ industry is huge. Everywhere you go there will be an Islamic store selling you all sorts of ‘Islamic’ goods including hijabs and hijab accessories for women. Far from sticking two fingers up to Western consumerism, Muslim women are embracing it, matching their hijab

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Using disgust

Jun 26th, 2015 5:38 pm | By

That wrapped/unwrapped candy metaphor…

How compelling can it be when it applies only to women? If women get all fly-blown and filthy because their heads are naked, why don’t men? If women with fly-blown hair are gross and disgusting, why aren’t men?… Read the rest

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The idea that human dignity is innate

Jun 26th, 2015 4:10 pm | By

Clarence Thomas’s dissent is getting a lot of attention, all of it in the form of incredulous derision. (I hang with a rough crowd.)

It starts on page 78.

The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the
Constitution, but with the principles upon which our
Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been
understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement
to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.
Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a
“liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to
the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect.

Wut?

How is it to the detriment of the liberty … Read the rest

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Supreme confusion

Jun 26th, 2015 3:04 pm | By

The Supreme Court IS NOT the Supreme Being, says Mike Huckabee. No, it’s not, and neither is the supreme being.

That is, the imagined tyrant in Mike Huckabee’s head does not exist and has no authority over us, no matter how ardently Mike Huckabee insists it does and it has.

Mike Huckabee thinks he gets to treat his god as the boss of all of us, even those of us who pay enough attention to realize that Huckabee’s projected god is just a fantasy. Mike Huckabee is wrong. He may some day be able to do it by force, but he has no right to.

Mike Huckabee doesn’t get to say that because his imaginary Big Bully hates same-sex marriage, … Read the rest

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Vote for the theocrat!

Jun 26th, 2015 2:53 pm | By

Quoth Mike Huckabee:

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Remember the nine

Jun 26th, 2015 11:13 am | By

It’s a good day, with the ruling, but it’s also the day of Clementa Pinckney’s funeral.

There’s live video of the funeral service.

And live updating by the Guardian.

The pastor is singing – Ship of Zion. Quite impossible not to be moved by it.

The Obamas and Biden have arrived. Everyone is singing “It is well in my soul.” There are a lot of pastors in purple on the…stage? Podium? The raised place in front, facing the congregation. It occurs to me that they can all be thinking, “I could have been one.”

“Put his eyes to the telescope of eternity.”

This song I actually know.

The Guardian is transcribing live for me, so I don’t … Read the rest

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Our support for women in science was and is the ultimate concern

Jun 26th, 2015 10:38 am | By

The provost of UCL has issued a new statement.

Does he apologize and offer to reinstate Tim Hunt as an honorary professor?

No.

UCL was the first University in England to admit women on equal terms to men. Equality between the sexes is one of our core values, yet this past fortnight our commitment to women and to women in science has been challenged, our reputation put under pressure and we have been part of an intense and uncomfortable media storm.

The trigger for this was remarks about the place of women in science made by Sir Tim Hunt. I don’t intend to repeat or re-analyse who said what, where or when, and thereby provide more fuel for media

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Bender

Jun 26th, 2015 9:18 am | By

Via Chris Clarke:

 … Read the rest

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Supremes to pope: you lose

Jun 26th, 2015 8:26 am | By

The New York Times:

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Courtruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

As Eddie Tabash likes to say, it’s Justice Kennedy’s world and we all live in it. This time it worked out.

Scalia of course had to poop on the party.

In a second dissent, Justice Scalia mocked Justice Kennedy’s soaring language.

“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague’s work. “Of course

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