Learning! Roundup: Diversity myths and solutions, money and love, writing from someone else's shoes, and more

Learning Roundup: There are myths about diversity, and there are solutions; friends and mental health are better than money for happiness, wally lamb and writing from someone else's perspective, be careful with your pubic hair trimmings

Diversity Myths and Solutions

This article is about four myths about diversity in science, but I think most of these apply to other fields. For example, the myth that not very many people of colour go into science in the first place comes from other implicit biases, not actual data about people graduating from science programs. What biases could exist in your field that you don’t even realize are there, keeping you from seeing different groups of people?

I especially appreciate the practical solutions offered in this article to help people take steps to counteract these myths.

Money Can't Buy (as much happiness as) Love

New research shows that good mental health and relationships makes people happier than doubling their income. This might fall into the "duh" category (it's not surprising that getting my depression under control did a lot more for my happiness than earning more money), still it's a nice reminder. Invest in your relationships and mental health first!

Writing From Someone Else's Shoes

Talk about appropriation of culture and voice have made a lot of writers afraid to step outside of their direct life experience (while others angrily forge ahead, shunning any call for sensitivity, shouting "you can't hold me back!!!"). Novelist Wally Lamb has often written from different perspectives and shares an interesting guide to writing about the "other" without being a jerk.

The short-and-dirty version? Do your homework and get it right; write with real empathy; get feedback from people who know. From reading this, I would say that if writing from the perspective of an "other" doesn't humble you, you probably aren't doing it right.

Viruses Are Actually Harder on Men

New evidence shows that many viruses may have actually evolved to go easy on women symptom-wise. From tuberculosis to HPV to the flu, men actually do experience worse symptoms than women. The explanation that's being floated around on this one is that women make more valuable hosts for the virus, what with the possibility we'll have a baby and pass that virus on down the chain, whereas men will just get sick and die.

Please don't tell any men this.

Will Artificial Intelligence be Sexist?

Right now, it's looking that way. A new paper says that gender biases are being coded into computers. To try to replicate the intuitive connections the human mind can make, coders practice "word-embedding" for various words, images, and concepts, creating maps of meaning that can be put together by a machine mind.

The problem? Right now all our implicit biases based on gender, race, and even the pleasantness of flowers over insects, are being coded into our algorithms, amplifying their impact with the sheen of impartiality that we all assume a computer program will have.

Be Careful with Your Landscaping

By landscaping, of course, I mean "down there." A new study shows that overly-grooming your pubic hair can lead to increased risk of STIs!


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