Science

  1. Anathema didn't only believe in leylines, but in seals, whales, bicycles, rain forests, whole grain in loaves, recycled paper, white South Africans out of South Africa, and Americans out of practically everywhere down to and including Long Island. She didn't compartmentalize her beliefs. They were welded into one enormous, seamless belief, compared with which that held by Joan of Arc seemed a mere idle notion. On any scale of mountain moving it shifted at least…

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  2. It’s been widely accepted for some time now that the earth is getting warmer, that we humans have quite a lot to do with this, and that this is very bad news for us as a species. Headlines like “NASA predicts the end of Western civilization” don’t exactly reassure anyone on that front, either, since apocalyptic futures are much more fun in fiction than in real life. And so for a lot of people, this…

    13 comments
  3. As The Toast searches for its one true Gal Scientist, we will be running a ton of wonderful one-off pieces by female scientists of all shapes and sizes and fields and education levels, which we are sure you will enjoy. They’ll live here, so you can always find them. Most recently: Stop Being Terrified of Chemicals.

    Some people consider losing one’s V-card to be a huge life-changing deal, while others find

    25 comments
  4. DO MEN CRY?

    The Female Tear Duct

    In women, tears flow from the eyes and excess tears flow through the tear duct into the nasal cavity. The female's ample and visible tear flow makes it obvious to surrounding males when she is menstruating, unable to engage in fruitful intercourse, and thus may be avoided. The Male Tear Duct

    In the male, tears are redirected to the salivary glands so…

    26 comments
  5. My little brother is a physicist who works as a fuel efficiency researcher ("It's like Google Maps, but for shipping companies, and we track typhoons and pirate attacks instead of traffic and road closures"). He's very tall and I call him The Boy and when we were little we had a club that only the two of us belonged to called "The Fun Club" (sorry, Laura). Nowadays I spend a lot of time asking…

    30 comments
  6. I know that I am not the only Toast reader who was regularly scolded for sitting on the sidelines and reading a book during recess. It is when we enter a lively discussion about the dubious science/historical accuracy/ psychological validity of a beloved book series that I feel most connected to you all. So when Mallory brought up the topic—first through Twitter, and then on this very site—of the scientific basis of Animorphs, I…

    40 comments
  7. As The Toast searches for its one true Gal Scientist, we will be running a ton of wonderful one-off pieces by female scientists of all shapes and sizes and fields and education levels, which we are sure you will enjoy. They’ll live here, so you can always find them. Most recently: Why Are There So Few Female Scientists? There's soap in your mayonnaise! As a scientist with a degree in chemistry, the surge…

    81 comments
  8. Stephanie Lai last wrote for The Toast about the pitfalls of voluntourism. The majority of Australia has just suffered through an unprecedented heatwave; at the same time, North America experienced a Polar Vortex. These extreme weather events are no coincidence: I'm here to explain to you Our Oncoming Dystopic Future!

    This is not an argument about whether climate change exists, or been caused by humans. This is an explanation of…

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  9. Socrates famously declared that "the only thing we can know is that we know nothing." Descartes created four rules in order to avoid making specious claims to knowledge:

    "I thought the following four [rules] would be enough, provided that I made a firm and constant resolution not to fail even once in the observance of them. The first was never to accept anything as true if I had not evident knowledge of its being so;…

    23 comments
  10. Women are massively under-represented in physics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, at all levels, firstly I will explain why this matters, then I will discuss what we can do about it. What's the problem? In the UK, female students made up about 20% of all those studying A-level physics (a qualification which is needed for most university level physics courses.) More worryingly, almost half of schools have no female students who continue to study…

    43 comments
  11. As The Toast searches for its one true Gal Scientist, we will be running a ton of wonderful one-off pieces by female scientists of all shapes and sizes and fields and education levels, which we are sure you will enjoy. They’ll live here, so you can always find them. Most recently: On Dry Ground and in Floods. When I was sixteen, my parents were still able to convince me to attend “Bring…

    9 comments
  12. What looked like a slurry of chocolate milk was pouring through the tunnel under a road near my home in Boulder, Colorado. This was on September 12, 2013. A couple of days earlier, this tunnel contained a dry creek bed, a bike path, a few shady characters and a strong smell of pot. My dog and I regularly walk through it en route to a park on the Rocky Mountain foothills. But on September 12…

    10 comments
  13. Let’s talk about Zombie Marie Curie. In 2011, this xkcd comic did the rounds of the feminist science community. A woman thinks that, if she applies herself, she could be the next Marie Curie. And, lo, Zombie Curie herself appears, asking to please not be the “one token lady scientist.” I love xkcd, and there’s a lot more to the comic, but it’s Zombie Curie I really want to tell you about, the one…

    24 comments
  14. As an adult, and not two 10-year-olds sitting on each others shoulders and wearing a trenchcoat, I would like to present to you my research on homework and its effects on the nonacademic lives of students. After years of research, it is my academic opinion that homework is the stinky pits.

    71 comments
  15. As The Toast searches for its one true Gal Scientist, we will be running a ton of wonderful one-off pieces by female scientists of all shapes and sizes and fields and education levels, which we are sure you will enjoy. They’ll live here, so you can always find them. Most recently: The Little Blind Bookworm in Your Brain.

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    Interpreting a research study can be daunting, and no matter how involved…

    23 comments