Monthly Archives: May 2012

Freckle Cream Is Possible Amelia Earhart Evidence: Investigators Connect the Dots

Geek girls, remember to pack your moisturizer when you go out to break world records: one day, they just might figure out what happened to you thanks to what’s in your purse.

Shards of a glass container once containing freckle fade cream has been discovered on Nikumaroro Island, a tiny dot of land in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) believes the reconstructed jar could have been the property of aviatrix and apparent freckle-hater Amelia Earhart, who disappeared 75 years ago while she was trying to set a new world record for flying around the world along the equator. Researchers have noted that this item would have been something Earhart kept with her since history has noted how she disliked her own freckles.

Many theories have surrounded the disappearance of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Some of the more colorful tales include aliens (she was even included in a Star Trek: Voyager episode, yes, we watched Voyager, shut up) while others involve tales of wartime espionage and capture by the Japanese. For many years, historians postulated that the duo may have crashed near Howland Island, but during the last few decades, TIGHAR has been collecting anecdotal evidence along with circumstantial physical items like shoes and heat-damaged bottles that they hope point to Earhart’s survival on this island. They will present their findings and theories during a weekend conference dedicated to Earhart in Washington, D.C.


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Piggy for Your Thoughts? Pratchett Pens In Wodehouse Prize

Never fear, literary geeks, if you work hard, write 50 books and achieve worldwide fame, you, too, can win a pig. The porcine honor is part of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award, named after treasured British humorist P.G. Wodehouse.  Pratchett won the nod for his latest Discworld novel, “Snuff,” an extremely satisfying tale of Sam Vimes trying to take a vacation. The Wodehouse award is quite a catch, with or without livestock; Pratchett has snagged every award imaginable, including a a knighthood, yet this is the first time the author made it off the prize’s short-list.

In addition to having a local pig named after him, he also receives a case of champagne and a collection of Wodehouse novels in case he wants to brush up on his humor writing. We have to wonder, though, if the newly an-oink-ted Pratchett pig will start sharing tales in the mud wallow of wizards, witches and werewolves.



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Etsy Spotlight: Frakkin’ Gas Prices

We absolutely love this Etsy print by Mike Joos! Of course, it takes Wonder Woman a little longer to get around via invisible scooter, but taking the Lasso of Truth through those TSA patdowns was trouble from the start, really. Now she just needs some steampunk goggles for safety. This design is available on T-shirts, too!

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Study: TV Negatively Impacts Girls’ Self-Esteem

Maybe it’s time for a new Star Trek show.

A recent study at Indiana University states that watching TV can harm the self-esteem of pre-teen girls by depicting females in simplistic and one-dimensional roles.

Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study, said that television portrayals of females also “focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there.”

The study was done with 400 children, boys and girls. Those negatively affected were both African-American boys and girls and Caucasian girls. According to the researchers, Caucasian boys were the only ones whose self-esteem wasn’t affected by television because on the whole, television presents a sunny outcome for white males with power, prestige and trophy wives.

Researchers lumped all genres together for this study, so there’ s no data on how science fiction or geek-related shows like “MythBusters” fared against programs such as “Life With the Kardashians,” or how much pre-teen-targeted programming like Disney was viewed along with regular prime-time or cable shows. The main measurement was of overall hours viewed and how the children felt when they saw their older counterparts on screen.

Although many parents discuss television programs with their kids while watching together, it’s also helpful for geek girls of all ages to support shows with strong, smart and independent female characters like Claudia from “Warehouse 13” or Olivia from “Fringe.”

What characters do you think would raise kids’ self-esteem instead of cutting it down? Share in the comments!



Photo credit: Flickr/Jeanne Masar

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6-year-old Girl is Youngest Entrant Ever in National Spelling Bee

Lori Anne Madison. Remember that name, because in a few years, she will change your world.

The six-year-old speller (whose favorite word is “sprachgefuhl”) conquered the competition in a regional Virginia spelling bee, earning herself a slot on the national stage along with nearly 300 other kids. According to her parents, she’s already won awards for math and swimming, and has plans to become an astrobiologist.

Since she will be competing against kids twice her age and older, no one expects her to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee title but we say don’t count her out so soon.  Anyone who’s already planning a career in space isn’t going to let a little thing like a misspelled word get in her way.



Photo credit: Flickr/ScrippsBee

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Quiz: Are You an Action Movie Hero or Girlfriend?

If you do become the hero, may we suggest some sensible shoes?

One of the greatest dangers to women through the decades is the role of Action Movie Girlfriend. These innocent women are killed off willy-nilly so their secretly-super guys can step up and wreak vengeance on evildoers. Are your days numbered, or are you ready to forget the horns and just grab the bull by the balls?  Take this quiz and find out!

1. My boyfriend is…

a. A stoned pizza delivery guy who plays World of Warcraft all day.

b. Secretly trained by a deadly cult/martial arts school/bunch of gangsters/killer aliens but now he’s just trying to lead an ordinary life.

c. Chuck Norris.

d. Boyfriend? Please. He would just slow me down.


2. I can defend myself by…

a. Getting committed to an asylum and doing enough pull-ups that I can cock a shotgun with one arm.

b. Throwing a few kung fu moves until I am overpowered by bad guys and/or knocked out a window.

c. Screaming.

d. Re-programming Skynet from the phone app I just built.


3. Together, my guy and I have…

a. Secret superhero identities and separate cans of whoop-ass.

b. An adorable tot who either has a target on his back or the ability to learn ninja moves from his daddy.

c. No hopes and dreams, just an asthmatic turtle named Frank.

d. A zombie survival plan that may involve shotguns, napalm and the desire to see the undead flicker like birthday candles.


4.  Lately my boyfriend has seen me…

a. In a giant cargo loader kicking an alien’s ass.

b. In a slow motion montage of happy moments laughing in the park.

c. In a picture frame that will be broken and strewn about later in the movie.

d. He hasn’t seen me, because *I’m* the ninja.


If you answered with all Bs, you are at risk. Step up the jujitsu lessons, practice at the gun range more often or just leave him for someone else. Any guy will do, as long as they don’t sparkle. (That opens up a whole new can of worms.)

If you answered all Cs, run! Don’t pack a bag, don’t scribble a message, just run! You are moments away from hearing bad guy theme music while you’re unpacking the groceries.

If you answered As and Ds, you’re not in danger, but your boyfriend could be toast if he can’t keep up. Promise him you’ll avenge his death by kicking the crap out of forty or fifty bad guys, because you are the hero.


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Chien-Shiung Wu Day

Dr. Wu in her lab, circa 1963. Photo credit: Columbia University.

Today one of the most influential female physicists would have turned 100 years old. Even though she passed away in 1997, she left a legacy of knowledge for generations to come.

Chinese-American nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu received her first degree while still living in China, and worked on her doctorate in 1940 after moving to the United States. Wu studied with the man who invented the Cyclotron, E.O. Lawrence, went on to work on the Manhattan Project, and built the experiment that won her colleagues a Nobel Prize in 1956.   While she didn’t share in the Nobel, her work in disproving conservation of parity was widely recognized, and she received many accolades for a lifetime of achievements, including the Wolf Prize in Physics, the National Medal of Science, and inclusion at the National Academy of Science and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Wu was the first woman appointed to the top post of the American Physical Society in 1973.  She also taught at Smith, Princeton and Columbia University, and her writing is considered required reading for fledgling physicists.

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