Archive for March, 2010

Peering Out at the World: Quick Notes & Links

March 27, 2010

I am peering out from behind a huge pile of undergraduate papers to see if the world is still there.  Looks like it is, for now.  So I’d like to take a few minutes to post some links.

This past week the American Association of University Women came out with a report called Why So Few?  http://www.aauw.org/research/whysofew.cfm

“Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers – including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities – that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math. The report also includes up to date statistics on girls’ and women’s achievement and participation in these areas and offers new ideas for what each of us can do to more fully open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.”

When pondering this question, which is close to my heart, I’ve always felt that we not only need to change how society views girls in relation to science and science careers but we have to address the internal culture of science in research labs and universities and colleges.   This internal culture seems to be to be oriented toward certain personality types while putting others at a disadvantage — at its extreme there can be cutthroat competition, a confrontational style of dealing not only with people but with Nature, and a narrow, blind, disconnected approach to the problem at hand.  Not everyone thrives under such conditions.  I’ll have a lot more to say about all this in a future post.

And in news from our favourite satellite, it appears that the Moon might have more water than we thought.  600 million metric tons distributed over 40 craters near the lunar north pole.  What this makes possible is: stations on the moon, and a place from which to launch space exploration vehicles — a stepping stone to Mars and beyond!  Water means life resource and rocket fuel.

Somebody needs to write a poem about this.  I mean, all that water on the moon!

All of our spacely adventures can only happen if we have the sense to save the planet by slowing and reversing global warming.  Tomorrow, Saturday March 27, is Earth Hour, the annual momentum-building, consciousness-raising event that is growing hugely every year.  I plan to be one of the millions around the globe participating by turning of my lights for an hour, 8:30 to 9:30 pm.  Last year’s participation was around a billion people and hundreds of cities, organizations and institutions.

This reminds me that I started this blog about a year ago, so this is an anniversary of sorts.  I’ve posted only sparsely but have somehow managed to maintain the pace, however slow, of inflicting my thoughts upon the world.

In personal news, I am surprised and pleased to note that one of my novellas, Distances, published by the good and brave folks at Aqueduct Press, is a Tiptree honor book for 2009, as announced here.  Congratulations to the Tiptree winners (Hi Greer!) and honor list authors, and to L. Timmel Duchamp (Hi Timmi!) who gets special recognition for her tremendous Marq’ssan Cycle.

Also, I have a story coming out soon in Strange Horizons.  It is vaguely related to the first story I published there a long time ago, one called Three Tales from Sky River.  When I first wrote that story, years ago, I imagined a woman who went from planet to planet in a far future starfaring age collecting stories like the three tales of the title.  I wanted to write a story about her, but when I finally managed to write it last year, it turned out that it wasn’t just about her, and she needed a teller as well, and somehow events in 11th century C.E. India became important.  In short, it got complicated, hopefully in a good way.