Science Matters

22 April

Happy Scientists March day! Let’s support all the women and men who daily struggle to further knowledge, NOT alternative facts or vague beliefs. Let’s help stop the assault on science and push back against lies, religious beliefs passed off as scientifically verifiable, and those clueless ones who utter the oh-so-ignorant question: Well, it’s all just theory isn’t it? So that means it’s not all true, right?

Let’s also support efforts to improve the way science is taught in school, particularly high school, so kids graduate knowing what a scientific theory really means. Here’s one explanation, from the theoretical physicist, Marcelo Gleiser, writing for NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/03/23/471480717/why-is-theory-such-a-confusing-word

And another, from Tia Ghose, writing for Scientific American. She tosses in some other frequently misused scientific terms for good measure: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-a-theory-7-misused-science-words/

Here’s a couple of great posters from today’s march (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post):

Support science. Support scientists by ensuring Congress and the states fund their work. And vote–also yell, scream, & rave–against science deniers in the 2018 and, especially, in the 2020 presidential election.

You’re going down, 45! And Pruitt & Betsey will be tumbling with you.

Eugène Thivier (1845-1920) Le cauchemar, Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France; photo by Traumrune (Wikipedia Commons).

In honor of my father (physicist), my two youngest nieces (a biologist & atmospheric scientist, respectively), and the rest of my family and friends (all science wonks), I’m working on my own small experiment this weekend.

Recently I bought a set of 10 Staedtler triplus fineliner porous point pens—the official name on the label—to give me an excuse to draw a plot diagram for my latest WIP. While I’ve been pleased by the (indeed) fine lines and bright colors, I’ve been about a claim on the back of the package:

DRY SAFE: can be left uncapped for days without drying up (Test ISO 554)

Really?

I used to love Sharpie fine point pens. They feel good in my hand. Bright? The ink from those babies practically glows. I marked up many a manuscript with them, delighting in the smooth glide of the pen tip . . . but always afraid. Very afraid. Because Sharpie fine point pens don’t like being left uncapped. Not at all. Air is their enemy, and this has meant that, when using them, the lid-clicking action on my part, as I switched from one color to another, has been near-maniacal lest I tripped over the dry-out threshold.

Staedtler claims their pens don’t dry out? Well, I love a challenge.

Yesterday I chose the color in the set I can easily live without: Pink. I’ve loathed pink since I was a child and was required to wear lots of it, making the choice of sacrificial victim easy. Gleeful, even.

I uncapped that baby and left it to live or die in my air-conditioned office.

It’s been 24 hours. A fresh and hideously pink line runs easily out of the fine tip an onto the paper.

How long will it take to kill the pink?

I’ll be checking back daily.

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