Benevolent Sexism, and more – Best of the Blogs #11

Hello and welcome to Scientific Americans Best of the Blogs. I am Carin Bondar and this month, we’re looking at the top 5 post from the year 2013. So let’s get right to it. Coming in at number five is Melanie Tannenbaum from PsySociety, with a look at benevolent sexism; what does that mean anyway? My post was on benevolent sexism, which, long story short, is the idea that there might be some sorts of attitudes or behaviors or things that people say or do that might seem objectively positive towards women, so things that typically fall in under the category of ‘chivalry’, um, things like that. And, these things, even though they might seem positive, can actually have damaging consequences for actual gender equality, um, for men and women, for everybody, for a variety of reasons. It can actually be fairly harmful. So, for the fact that it legitimize this feeling and, also, the fact that it is an explainary style post that people could then link to instead of explain it all themselves, so then a lot of people do just that. I think those two things together contribute to why it was a popular post of the year and why people responded positively to it, and also decided to share it around quite a bit. Number four, Darren Naish from ‘Tetrapod Zoology’, gave us a really interesting post about tool use in crocodylians, and this is quite substantial because it means that tool use, which is something that was previously thought to be exclusive to our species, is happening even in reptiles. They are using sticks to lure birds, which will come and find those sticks, and then of course “hwapool”, they get it, right, you know, they get it coming to them. So, that was our number four. Extremely interesting and successful post. Number three, “Beautiful Minds” Scott Kaufman wrote about Narcissism and being an introvert, and there was a lot of lingo in there, but it was a very successful post – Let me just give you the full title here, I’m gonna have to read it: “23 Signs you’re a Narcissist masquerading as a sensitive Introvert”. Basically, people who are kind of arrogant sometimes, put on a show, that they are sensitive, and you know, shy, but I guess that really urked Scott, and he wrote about it, and boy did you ever enjoy reading it. Number two, we have the amazing Becky Crew from the “Running Ponies” blog, telling us about sheephead fish, and their remarkable set of teeth. Things with human teeth that are not human are generally pretty terrifying. Case and point, North American Sheepshead fish, just like humans, eats a wide range of omnivorous diet, which it processes using three rows of high, specialized molars. And what makes this fish extra fascinating and fun to write about is the fact that its related to the ‘Salema porgy’, which when cooked and eaten can cause what the scientific literature refers to as a psychedelic crisis. Well, this is a particularly rare occurrence, I think it’s only been reported three times, one of the victims described being stuck in his car as he hallucinated that he was being hunted down by giant spiders. So, I guess the morale of this story is always look at the fish in the mouth before you eat it. And our number one post for the year 2013 comes from Patrick Mustain. “Dear American Consumers, please keep eating unhealthy foods. Thanks a bunch, the food industry”. Corporations may be people, but the food industry as a whole has many different voices. The interesting thing about the food industry is that all those voices seem to be saying the same thing — roughly, we have no responsibility for obesity, even though bulk of public health and scientific research indicates that, in fact, it does, and, also, that we care deeply about American’s health, when in fact it’s actions indicate the opposite. I think that’s why this post resonated with a lot of people who understand that the most profitable foods are the worst for us. Uh, so the food industry needs more of us to eat more of those foods — more often. The interest of the food industry are inherently at odds with the interests of the health of the Americans. So there you have it! Our top five of 2013, I look forward to many, many more amazing posts and best of the blog videos for the year 2014. I’ll see you again, in January.