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Stories by Janet D. Stemwedel

Can science help the picky eater? Interview with Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic (part 1).

This summer, I reviewed Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater’s Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate by Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic. This month, with the approach of the holiday season (prime time for picky eaters to sit with non-picky eaters at meal time), Stephanie and I sat down for lunch at Evvia in Palo Alto to talk about pickiness while sampling foods that had previously been in our "no go" categories...

December 25, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Thoughts on the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

On December 6, 1989, in Montreal, fourteen women were murdered for being women in what their murderer perceived to be a space that rightly belonged to men:Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering studentHélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering studentNathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering studentBarbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering studentAnne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering studentMaud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering studentMaryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance departmentMaryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering studentAnne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering studentSonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering studentMichèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering studentAnnie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering studentAnnie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering studentBarbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing studentThey were murdered because their killer was disgruntled that he been denied admission to the École Polytechnique, the site of the massacre, and because he blamed women occupying positions that were traditionally occupied by men for this disappointment, among others...

December 7, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Book review: Cooking for Geeks.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Foodby Jeff PotterO'Reilly Media, 2010We have entered the time of year during which finding The Perfect Gift for family members and friends can become something of an obsession...

November 29, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

We dodged the apocalypse, so let's help some classrooms.

We're coming into the home stretch of our annual DonorsChoose Science Bloggers for Students drive: Science Bloggers for Students: No Apocalypse in Sight (Transcript below) And, now until the end of the drive, you can get your donations matched (up to $100 per donor) thanks to the generosity of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors...

November 1, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

On the apparent horrors of requiring high school students to take chemistry.

There's a guest post on the Washington Post "Answer Sheet" blog by David Bernstein entitled "Why are you forcing my son to take chemistry?" in which the author argues against his 15-year-old son's school's requirement that all its students take a year of chemistry.Derek Lowe provides a concise summary of the gist: My son will not be a chemist...

October 16, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Community responsibility for a safety culture in academic chemistry.

This is another approximate transcript of a part of the conversation I had with Chemjobber that became a podcast. This segment (from about 29:55 to 52:00) includes our discussion of what a just punishment might look like for PI Patrick Harran for his part in the Sheri Sangji case...

September 30, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Why does lab safety look different to chemists in academia and chemists in industry?

Here's another approximate transcript of the conversation I had with Chemjobber that became a podcast. In this segment (from about 19:30 to 29:30), we consider how reaction to the Sheri Sangji case sound different when they're coming from academic chemists than when they're coming from industry, and we spin some hypotheses about what might be going on behind those differences:Chemjobber: I know that you wanted to talk about the response of industrial chemists versus academic chemists to the Sheri Sangji case...

September 28, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Gender bias: ethical implications of an empirical finding.

By now, you may have seen the recently published study by Ross-Macusin et al. in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled "Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students", or the nice discussion by Ilana Yurkiewicz of why these findings matter.Briefly, the study involved having science faculty from research-focused universities rate materials from potential student candidates for a lab manager position...

September 27, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Technical note about comments.

Comments have been getting stuck in moderation here for longer than usual because my email alerts telling me a comment has been posted and needs to be approved have stopped arriving.I'll try to get to the bottom of this (whether it's an issue with the blog software or my spam filters), but in the meantime, if you've tried to post a comment and it is taking a very long time to appear, feel free to email me (dr dot freeride at gmail dot com) to alert me to the problem...

September 9, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Safety in academic chemistry labs (with some thoughts on incentives).

Earlier this month, Chemjobber and I had a conversation that became a podcast. We covered lots of territory, from the Sheri Sangji case, to the different perspectives on lab safety in industry and academia, to broader questions about how to make attention to safety part of the culture of chemistry...

August 31, 2012 — Janet D. Stemwedel
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The Essential Guide to the Modern World

The Essential Guide to the Modern World