Oh Christmas Tree

The presents are open. The stockings are empty. The leftovers are gone. A new year is almost upon us and many folks are starting to think about when to take down that tree. Before you put that tree out on the curb and out of your mind for another year, let’s take a moment to consider… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-When cowboys wore pink.
-How humans created cats.
-American boys and their guns.
-Cakewalks were not actually a cakewalk.
-A history of Hollywood’s publicity racket.
-A map of the weirdest sex laws in the U.S.
-An early-20th century anti-coffee ad campaign.

No Pies, No Spectacles, No Preaching to Women Alone

by Adam Turner

Even without the festive march of holidays this time of year, these colder (and, here in the US Pacific Northwest, wetter) months put me in a baking frame of mind. Short days, wool socks, and an overtaxed heater seem to call out for some family traditionals — nisu and an orange-chocolate-chip bread that’s practically cake — and sends me looking for newcomers like these peppermint cream squares. I could joyously do without the barrage of “Little Drummer Boy” covers, but tolerate even the most saccharine of Christmas tunes for the sake of winter cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies.

Sunday Morning Medicine

Sunday Morning Medicine is on vacation. Happy Holidays!

Trans History and Trans Students: Further Reflections on Teaching Transgender Issues

By Elizabeth Reis

Earlier this term, I wrote a blog post for Nursing Clio about the ways in which teaching my class on Transgender Issues has evolved over the last fifteen years. I first taught this course in 1998 when very few students knew what “transgender” meant and only occasionally would a transgender student enroll; in 2013, not only are students well aware of the topic, but I typically have four or five who identify either as transgender or somewhere else along the gender continuum. Most everyone in the class is cognizant of many of the controversies that surround the subject, such as what pronouns to use for those who identify as transgender or gender fluid. The demographics of the classroom have made teaching the class easier in some ways, as I described earlier, but harder in others, as I will explain here.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Life in a 1949 circus.
-WWII ration cookbooks.
-An 1870 gender ratio map of the U.S.
-Poisons, potions, and unicorn horns.
-The history of lobotomized U.S. soldiers.
-The first ransom note in American history.
-Will the real Santa Claus please stand up?

Girls, STEM, and My List of “Ingenious Inventors”

By Carolyn Herbst Lewis

There is much talk these days about girls and STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In 2009, only 24% of scientists and engineers were women. This is not surprising, given the fact that women comprise only about 17% of the students earning degrees in these subjects, as compared to the 79% of students earning bachelor’s degrees in education. There are material benefits to building careers in STEM. A woman in a STEM-related career earns, on average, 33% more than a woman in a non-STEM field. Given the continued gender wage gap, and the high numbers of women in poverty in this country, it makes sense to encourage an interest in STEM. How to do so has been the tricky part. Colleges and universities — as well as prospective employers — actively recruit women to enroll in STEM programs. But getting young women interested in these fields has been more difficult. The old maxims that girls don’t pursue these interests because “Math class is tough,” and their brains are not “hardwired” for it, no longer suffice. Researchers have found ample evidence that demonstrates that it is a combination of gender conditioning and a lack of role models that make girls feel that they don’t “belong” in STEM. This isn’t just about finding gender equity in the workplace or the college classroom, then; it’s also about reframing the gendered messages we send to young girls and women about femininity and science.

Odd Adventures in Tooth Fairy History

By Jacqueline Antonovich

Recently, my daughter lost her very first baby tooth. It happened one afternoon while eating lunch; her loose tooth just popped right out of her mouth and into her bowl of ramen noodles. After I fished out the tooth with my fingers and wiped away her tears, my sweet little daughter looked up at me with her new toothless grin and exclaimed: “This means the Tooth Fairy is coming tonight! I’m gonna be rich!” Well, maybe not exactly rich. I’m still in grad school, so despite the fact that inflation has driven up the price of a tooth to nearly four dollars, in my house the Tooth Fairy only pays a measly buck.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Chernobyl’s hot mess.
-Is sex really good exercise?
-How America learned to love whiskey.
-“Piss prophets” and the Wheel of Urine.
-Photos of Adolf Hitler’s Christmas party.
-The accidental birth of wrapping paper.
-Gene therapy helps “bubble boy” children.

Conference Report on History of Science Society 2013 Annual Meeting

By Heather Munro Prescott

Last weekend I attended the 2013 annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Boston, Massachusetts. I tweeted periodic comments throughout the conference. Here are some further thoughts:

On Thursday afternoon, I started off with the Special Public Engagement Session: Science in the Streets, cosponsored by Boston University Center for the Philosophy and History of Science. This session consisted of two interdisciplinary panels aimed at exploring “innovative ways of connecting ordinary citizens with science, and how the history of science can inform and enrich these efforts.” Presenters included Brian Malow (the science comedian) and Ari Daniel Shapiro of the science podcast The Story Collider. Conevery Valencius Bolton from the University of Massachusetts, Boston did a fine job as an emcee for the session.