Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Women and brilliance

“Linking success in some fields to intellectual talent undermines women’s interest in them …¬†Overall, these experiments found that women showed less interest in career areas that were linked to “brilliance” relative to other traits, such as dedication. Men, however, did not generally show differential interest in these areas. The results also pointed to the “brilliance = men” stereotype as a reason for these gender differences.”



Women are not generally brilliant so the term does not generally get applied to them. In the same way, men rarely get called winsome.

Secondly, confidence is necessary for success because a certain arrogance gives a person a reason to believe he or she will succeed. Women in science for example undermine themselves by choosing small subjects and topics. The big fields like high energy physics and cosmology attract men because we have big ambitions. Small fields like botanical taxonomy and illustration attract women. Nobody wins a Nobel Prize for botanical taxonomy.

As usual this article gets cause and effect wrong. Fields that require brilliance and daring attract men because men tend to be brilliant and daring. What really bugged feminists about the Shirtgate scientist was not his naughty t shirt (anyone could see he was just a nice, jolly kind of fellow). What really bothered them was his masculine brilliance and daring in landing a probe on a comet.



Penny Lizard

Out of a hot day
out of a woodpile
out of my boyhood
comes the penny lizard
like a moving bending
brown twig
from childhood when
anything is possible.


Julian O’Dea

Intellectual Cuties: No. 10 in a series: Marguerite Duras, French Novelist



In response to a reader request, here she is looking at the camera:


Something on the smoothness of Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes

If you are interested, go here:

A discussion session on a suggestion of mine on how “azotosomes” might increase the viscosity and therefore flatness of the hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan.



From “Organic Compounds in Titan’s Seas and Lakes.”




(“Titan’s Lakes are Nice and Calm. The Perfect Spot for a Landing.”)

Smooth and white

Smooth and white, snow
at night, you came to me
from nowhere in a dawn
dream to my warm room,
with snow in your hands
and mouth and flakes on
your breasts like eaves
on a winter cabin.


Julian O’Dea

Rainbow birds other than parrots including motmots and subspecies differentiation by belly colours close on spectrum




Rufous motmot.




Broad-billed motmot.

Senegal parrot subspecies:


The New Zealand kea: another “rainbow bird”


The kea is an odd, rather obscure New Zealand parrot. I only just discovered that its plumage has the colours in the same order as those in the rainbow. I have written about how common this is in parrots before.


Also common is the orange/yellow juxtaposition seen on the underside of the bird.


Cf. Another parrot with the orange and yellow juxtaposition, Neophema splendida:

Neophema splendida adult male