Mad Hatter has an excellent post up today concerning her attitude towards science. As she so eloquently puts it:

My dirty little secret is that I don’t love science. Don’t get me wrong–I’m very happy with my job and career path and I’m excited by my research projects. What I mean is that I love getting to work on interesting and challenging problems, but they don’t necessarily have to be scientific problems. I don’t have a specific passion for science, nor do I feel that being a scientist is my “calling,” so to speak.

More inside the crack.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sheril Kirshenbaum has a post up On Motherhood, Identity and Feminism over at The Intersection.

A friend recently pointed me to this particularly ridiculous article criticizing moms who post profile photos of their children*. The author Katie Roiphe goes so far as to suggest feminist Betty Friedan would ‘turn in her grave’ at such behavior

Go comment, I did.

This comes up sometimes in discussions of whether academics should have their office festooned with evidence of parent-hood, have kid pics at the end of their powerpoint presentations and/or allow that slide-show screen saver of the kid photo archive to run at study section.
I tend to argue that fathers should go ahead and do so because it helps to normalize the practice. Thereby letting everyone, including mothers who are judged more harshly, choose whether or not to display pictures of their children.
The counter, which is a serious issue, is whether this constitutes more privilege waving on the part of men because they get the credit for being a nice family d00d (see? He *isn’t* just an unreconstructed jerk! He found someone to marry him. and he has *kids*!!!) without anyone seriously thinking they might be, you know, an actual parent that compromises the career for parenting duties.

A recent article in Nature Reviews: Neuroscience by J. Mogil overviews animal models used in different kinds of pain research. (If you don’t have access let juniorprof bring you up to speed on pain research.) The NRN review is motivated by what the author describes as a perception of frustration with the progress made to date in translating seemingly promising research to the human clinical treatment of pain. I don’t know that I’d venture an opinion as to whether success has been good, bad or indifferent in this area- certainly there are many unsolved areas of pain management. Unsolved areas that cause unbelievable distress to individuals with attendant interference with their quality of life and vocational output. Nevertheless, the review puts on a good argument for the body of research using animals that has gone into our current understanding of pain and the ability we have to treat pain. It is worth a read.
Something that is worth discussion without being steeped in the pain research literature arises via a comment to the review that was written by A. D. Craig. [h/t: a reader who may or may not wish to self-identify]
A rat is not a monkey is not a human: comment on Mogil (Nature Rev. Neurosci. 10, 283-294 (2009))

Read the rest of this entry »