Time Warp

June 18, 2010

Rheanna Sand

Science in Seconds Blog by Rheanna Sand

Quick - what year is it? 2010 you say? Strange… I feel like I've been in a time warp these past few months. And I'm talking about more than just the return of shoulder pads and comically large glasses frames.

To the oil industry, for example, it’s the 70's. More specifically, research into cleanup is stuck in the '70s while the innovation in deeper drilling has zoomed ahead. The methods employed by BP in the Deepwater Horizon gusher are eerily similar to the 1979 Ixtoc blowout in the Gulf of Mexico: Light the oily sea on fire. Deploy ineffective boom. Put a "sombrero" on the gusher(now called Top Hat). Shove garbage into the gusher. Drill a relief well, which should have been there to start with. Leave to industry to take care of it, and watch as slicks coat the shorelines. 


In Canada, when it comes to women in science, it seems to be the 1950's. In late May, 19 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs were announced, each receiving about $1 million in research funding and a swanky title - and not a single one was female. Not one woman was even considered among the 36 candidates shortlisted for the positions.


Adding insult to bitch slap, a panel comprised of three prominent female scientists-turned-administrators found that no "intentional" discrimination occurred during the extremely flawed submission process. What they might not understand is that sexism and racism are no longer intentional, they are institutional. People can have an open mind and still be forced to choose a member of the privileged because they or their forebears have reaped the benefits of sexism and racism in the past. This is what makes efforts to get women and minorities into the sciences so continually relevant (shout out: WISEST).


On a lighter note, some dude named Jack Zylkin is bringing word processing back to the 19th century with the ultimate retro-fit: a USB Typewriter that uses an iPad for paper. For a cool $400, he will convert any old typewriter to an iPad keyboard, while the iPad sits as paper in the carriage. Ding!

Let's do the time warp again….



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