Friday, November 19, 2010

two completely different but equally great things

First, "It all makes one doubt the wizardry of the economic surgeons and appreciate the old wisdom of common sense: simple regulations, low debt, high savings, hard work, few distortions. You don’t have to be a genius to come up with an economic policy like that." -David Brooks

I don't know squat about macroeconomics (I mean, relative to macroeconomists...) but I agree entirely. Common sense becomes common for a reason. I think any economic analyst that doesn't preface any argument for some kind of emergency stimulus or anything else counterintuitive with an acknowledgment of those core principles comes off like a crazy lost-touch-with-reality dimwitted clown. And frequently, that's a pretty accurate assessment...

Then there's this, which is awesome:


I would bet a whole lot of money that the number one factor in the gender gap in science is that as soon as girls get to middle school, hit puberty, and suddenly start devoting most of their energy to being popular, former interests in math and science go out the window as way too geeky to be their identity anymore. Even the girls who are known as very smart are overwhelming so in a general way, rather than a specifically science way. It's much safer to get straight A's and be in the debate or drama club than the math club.

In this day and age girls never ever hear that they can't be scientists because they're girls. All they hear is "Yes, girls can be scientists! Really, you can! No really!". That's not exactly a convincing argument to a girl who hadn't ever even considered the possibility that girls weren't suited for those jobs (although they might not like them as much.) I grew up in one of the most behind-the-times states in the country and never once thought to myself "Huh, I'm a girl, and I'm a huge science and math geek. That's weird. Maybe I'd be better off loving literature." That is, until those zealous feminists in high school starting cramming that message down my throat...

Schoolmarmy teachers and curmudgeonly old school counselors and empty-platitude-spewing school counselors and totally-uncool-omg parents telling girls "Science is cool! You'll be popular if you're good at math!" will never work. Trust me, you're better off shutting up and letting them hopefully stumble on it on their own.

Nauseatingly-girly cheerleaders in tight spandex and platinum-dyed hair, though? That just might work.

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