Double X: Wile E. Coyote & Roadrunner are Total BFFs

June 16, 2009

Latest at Double X:

On Sunday, NPR reported that more than 2,000 coyotes were living in Chicago, many inside the city’s highly developed downtown Loop. That’s not unusual. Since the elimination of wolves and the advent of suburbs teeming with tasty prey, coyotes have made their homes in cities from Los Angeles to Boston. According to the NPR story, urban coyotes are actually faring better than their rural counterparts, free from hunting and able to dine upon a bounty of rats and goose eggs. Though it seems counterintuitive for people with visions of roadrunner-chasing Wile E. Coyote, urban coyotes actually protect city-dwelling birds.

More here. With bonus naughty Coyote stories!


Submit to the LGBT Diversity in Science Carnival!

June 15, 2009


In honor of Pride Month, I’ll be hosting the LGBT edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival on Tuesday, June 30. (I’m pushing back the deadline due to travel the week before.) Send me anything you like about LGBT issues in science – for example, profiles of historic or modern scientists or issues particular to LGBT people working in science – and I will craft it into something delightful. Personal stories are welcome, but you certainly don’t need to identify as LGBT  to participate! If I don’t receive enough submissions the Carnival will consist largely of epic poetry praising the sparkly sequined cowboy hat I got at NYC Pride a couple years ago. You don’t want that, trust me.

The deadline is Sunday, June 28th. Submit via this handy form or just send it directly me via theoystersgarter at gmail dot com. Be sure to include URL, author, and a few sentences of summary.

More on scientists in GQ

June 12, 2009

In my last Double X blog post, I wrote about the Rock Stars of Science campaign. Dr. Isis has a different take:

The point of the campaign is to show people that science is hip, and cool, and sexy, and [insert other adjective here], but in each shot the scientists are fawning over the musicians.  The message this photo campaign sends is, “Yeah, being a scientist cool but, if I could be, I would really want to be [insert rock star name here].”  Thus, people looking at this campaign aspire to also be rockstars.  Not scientists.

And (via Isis), Bora scooped GQ back in 2006:

In this day of mass communications, it is logical to use modern technology to further your aims, so popularization of science should do the same. Turning some scientists into radio personalities, talk-show hosts, TV stars, movie stars and Internet stars (MySpace and blogs, for instance) should be a part of a multi-prong strategy to spread the scientific reasoning and rationality, as well as excitement for knowledge about the natural world.

What do you think? Could scientists become as famous as rockstars (and get featured in US Weekly – “Scientists! They’re Just Like Us!”)? Will this help change the perception of scientists as boring and science as a high-status but low-income career path? And frankly, do we actually need more scientists when there’s few decent jobs for the PhDs that we already have?

Double X: Sexing Up Scientists

June 12, 2009

Latest Double X post:

Scientists are not famed for their looks or fashion sense. Personally, I love this about science. I work that “get out of performing femininity free!” card for all it’s worth, slouching about in science-themed t-shirts and ratty sneakers as often as I can. But if I want to get in on this next phase of science marketing, apparently I’m going to have to trade the “Evolution Kills” t-shirt for something more befitting a rock star. There’s a movement afoot to sex up science and scientists, and it’s got big advertising dollars behind it.

More here!

Behold the mighty sky-squid

June 10, 2009

Is it coincidence that this upper-atmosphere lightening (called a “sprite“) resembles a mighty sky-squid? Or is fearsome Cthulhu sending us a sign? YOU DECIDE.

Thanks, Christi!

Double X: Fowl Play

June 10, 2009

Latest Double X post:

Last month, Pat Robertson fretted that hate-crime legislation would lead to the protection of people who “like to have sex with ducks.” His remark resulted in a delightful Robertson-mocking pro-duck-sex song released last week by musical group Garfunkel and Oates. Robertson doesn’t have to worry too much about human-on-duck sex – it’s clearly illegal since quacking doesn’t qualify as consent. But ducks are no innocent victims. Rather, their giant members and coercive sexual practices make them the perfect posterbird for heterosexual sex gone awry.

More hot duck action here.

Happy World Oceans Day!

June 8, 2009

Carnival of the Blue

It’s the very first World Oceans Day! Celebrate with the 25th edition of Carnival of the Blue, hosted by the fish-loving Mark Powell. Then sing to to the tune of “Fish Heads”: Fish blogs, fish blogs, smart & fun fish blogs, fish blogs, fish blogs, READ THEM NOW! YUM!