Geek Women

This is a guest post by L. Minter. L. Minter is a feminist biology student and a blogger at Feminist Book Club.

Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was born on a farm in Pennsylvania where she was an avid reader and had her first story published when she was eleven. She attended Pennsylvania College for Women (now known as Chatham University) where she started an english degree but later switched to biology. She continued her studies of Zoology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Master’s degree and intended to obtain a doctorate’s but was forced to quit school due to family and financial situations.

She became the Junior Aquatic Biologist (and only the second women to be hired full time) at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. During this time she featured several articles in the Baltimore Sun and in 1941, published Under the Sea Wind, which received excellent reviews. She continued to publish articles for Sun Magazine and Nature. In 1950, she published The Sea Around Us, which became a bestseller and award-winning documentary. After the success of The Sea Around Us, she re-released Under the Sea Wind, which also became a bestseller.

It was also during this time that she became interested in DDT, a new pesticide that had undergone very few tests. Because of the success of her two bestselling books, she became a full time writer and published At the Edge of the Sea, which describes coastal ecosystems, particularly along the Atlantic.

Arguably, her most influential piece of work was the book Silent Spring, where she recounts the ecological horrors caused by the indiscriminate spraying of pesticides. Silent Spring was so moving and so successful (as well as controversial), that it led to the ban of DDT and is widely credited with sparking the environmental movement.

Weakened from breast cancer and her treatment regimen, Carson became ill with a respiratory virus in January 1964. Her condition worsened, and in February, doctors found that she had severe anemia from her radiation treatments and in March discovered that the cancer had reached her liver. She died of a heart attack on April 14, 1964.

During her last year, although battling cancer, she gave many speeches at receptions and dinners held in her honor and received many awards for her lifetime achievements, including: The Audubon Medal from the National Audubon Society, the Cullum Medal from the American Geographical Society, and was inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her philosophies about the environment and how we treat it are not only still very relevant, but her work is still widely used and valuable in the science and environmental community.

Rebecca West

These are good today.  From Quotes of the Day, G. Armour Van Horn

Cicely Isabel Fairfield was born at London on this day in 1892, in the home of a journalist who provided an atmosphere of lively debate and intellectual stimulation but who had numerous affairs before abandoning the family when “Cissy” was only eight. She attended George Watson’s Ladies College at Edinburgh but left in 1907 after a bout of tuberculosis and had no further education. She trained to be an actress, adopting the name Rebecca West based on an Ibsen play, but became involved in writing for the feminist press. She had a ten-year affair with H. G. Wells and remained friendly with him afterwards, but not with their son. She wrote essays, reviews, novels, and non-fiction books, Bernard Shaw said, “Rebecca can handle a pen as brilliantly as ever I could and much more savagely.”


I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist when I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

It is queer how it is always one’s virtues and not one’s vices that precipitate one into disaster.

Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.

If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be: ‘It seemed a good idea at the time.’

All our Western thought is founded on this repulsive pretence that pain is the proper price of any good thing.

I do not myself find it agreeable to be ninety, and I cannot imagine why it should seem so to other people. It is not that you have any fears about your own death, it is that your upholstery is already dead around you.
All from Rebecca West, 1892 – 1983

Baby it’s COLD out there

Lor – #6 is just for  you


December 20, 2010

The Top 18 Signs It’s Going to Be a Brutal Winter

18> Joe Biden just had polar fleece hair plugs installed.

17> PETA okays the use of fur “just this once.”

16> Victoria’s Secret comes out with a line of nipple muffs.

15> You receive a pamphlet from the newly formed “Polar Bears
for Global Warming” group.

14> Your local grocery store is stocking only sardines and ammo.

13> Your kids built a snowman so tall, terrorists just flew a
plane into it.

12> Khloe Kardashian has grown an especially thick winter coat.

11> You’ve leased Michelle Duggar’s bun-oven to heat your house
until March.

10> Those blue decorations in the Duggars’ front lawn look a lot
like their youngest kids.

9> A smirking Willard Scott just compared it to Christine
O’Donnell’s breasts.

8> Ed Begley, Jr. just traded in his Prius on a Zamboni.

7> Your digital thermometer readout: “OMFG!!”

6> CNN shows Sarah Palin hunting moose in your hometown —
Gainsville, FLA.

5> Britney Spears spotted shopping for panties.

4> Local TV weatherman demonstrates how to slit open the belly
of a tauntaun for warmth.

3> Taking a cue from Lady Gaga, Al Roker debuts his walrus-fat

2> TMZ reports that Jennifer Aniston’s erect nipples got caught
in a revolving door and Scarlett Johansson stabbed two people
to death through her holiday sweater.

and’s Number 1 Sign
It’s Going to Be a Brutal Winter…

1> Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations have been canceled
as the 2011 ball has retracted irretrievably into its scrotum.

[ Copyright 2010 by Chris White/ ]

and toilet seat calculators

President’s Advisory Group Finds Most Federal IT Funds Being Misused
Washington Post (12/16/10) Cecilia Kang

U.S. federal agencies are using only about 4 percent to 11 percent of the funds they receive for research and development (R&D) of information technology (IT) on advancing network communications within the agencies, according to a new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Instead, agencies have used the money for infrastructure, other research projects, and other technology.

The IT R&D funds are often used to advance research in the agency’s field. An agency involved with biomedical research, for instance, might use the money for large databases of protein sequences.

“They involve using today’s information technology to advance the forefront of other fields, not driving the forefront of networking and information technology,” says Ed Lazowska, a co-chair of the working group that developed the group’s report. More than 12 agencies receive about $4 billion each year for IT R&D.

The report says the government needs to account for such spending to keep the U.S. from falling behind other countries in IT research investment.