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Katye Faulkner
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Katye Faulkner

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The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint... The greats were great because they paint ALOT...
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Me either... 
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Katye Faulkner

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On The Shoulders of Giants

♀ A sepia print of an Indian woman, a Japanese woman and a woman from Syria, dated 1885. What do they have in common? Extraordinarily, each was the first licensed female medical doctor in their country of origin. They were trained at the Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania, the first of its kind in the country. This was a time before women had the right to vote. If they did attend college at all, it was at the risk of contracting "neuralgia, uterine disease, hysteria, and other derangements of the nervous system” (according to Harvard gynecologist Edward H. Clarke). 

An all-woman medical school was first proposed in 1846, supported by the Quakers and the feminist movement. Dr. Ellwood Harvey, one of the early teaching faculty, daringly smuggled out a slave, Ann Maria Weems, dressed as a male buggy driver, from right outside the White House. With his reward money, he bought his students a  papier maché dissection mannequin. Eventually, poverty forced him to quit teaching, but he still helped out with odd jobs. What a magnificent man!  

Fate and fortune were to buffet Ms. Joshi's life. Married at age 9 to a man 11 years older, her husband turned out to be surprisingly progressive. After she lost her first child at age 14, she vowed to render to her "poor suffering country women the true medical aid they so sadly stand in need of and which they would rather die than accept at the hands of a male physician". She was first offered a scholarship by a missionary on condition that she converted to Christianity. When she demurred, a wealthy socialite from New Jersey stepped in and financed her education. She is believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil. I didn't arrive until 1983 ;)

Times were tough then. The fate of these three intrepid pioneers was a sad one. Joshi died of tuberculosis in India at the age of 21, without ever practicing. Fittingly, her husband sent her ashes back to America. Islambouli was not heard of again, likely because she was never allowed to practice in her home country. Although Okami rose to the position of head of gynecology at a Tokyo hospital, she resigned two years later when the Emperor of Japan refused to meet her because she was a woman. 

Times have changed. My own mother was married at the age of 13 to a man also 11 years her senior. My father recalls helping my mother with her geography homework in high school. She never did attend college, despite being a charismatic woman with quicksilver wit and efficiency. Little wonder then, when I was accepted into graduate school in the US, unmarried and 21 years young, my parents staunchly stood behind me against the dire predictions of friends and relatives ("She'll come back with a yellow haired American!" "Haven't you read Cosmopolitan magazine? They are all perverts there!"). Happily, I escaped perversion, earned my doctoral degree and even gained a supportive spouse of my own. In 2004, I became only the 103rd woman to be promoted to Professor in the 111-year history of the Johns Hopkins medical school, and the first in my department, the oldest Physiology department in the country. If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

#STEMwomen   #ScienceEveryday  

More reading: http://www.pri.org/stories/2013-07-15/historical-photos-circulating-depict-women-medical-pioneers
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Katye Faulkner

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The story behind a meme - how it affects people who unwittingly end up being ridiculed on the Internet

A lot of us have seen this image below, usually with a text overlay about hipsters. Do not get me wrong I am myself guilty of that. But, what about the people shown in memes, images shared many thousand of times via the Internet? How did that happen? How does is affect their lives? 

This was an eye opener, honestly. Over the last months, I have come to enjoy a lot of was is being shared far less than I used to. I can and still do ridicule certain kinds of behaviour. However now, I sometimes stop and think about how it must feel to end up being someone who is actually hated by many, without anyone knowing you, or understanding what they are seeing because there is always one thing in common; there is no context. We do not know if this was taken and shared with permission, if this has changed the life of someone for the worse. 

What are your thoughts after you have read this?
I moved to New York City, and I needed to make money. I wasn’t having luck getting a job. It's a common tale. My solution was to grab my typewriter that I
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Katye Faulkner

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a cpl of excerpts: "I go along with Albert Camus, who famously said, 'The responsibility of the writer is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,' " Matthiessen said. "And that's always been kind of my informal motto."

In his 1978 book, The Snow Leopard, Matthiessen wrote about a spiritual journey in the remote mountains of Nepal, and the impossibility of capturing experience in words:

The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.
Matthiessen was a spy, a naturalist, a well-regarded activist and a three-time winner of the National Book Award — for both fiction and nonfiction. He died of acute myeloid leukemia.
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I loved The Snow Leopard.
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As part of a German-French research project, a team led by  Dr. Christa E. Müller from the University of Bonn and Dr. David Blum from the University of Lille was able to demonstrate for the first time that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits in Alzheimer's disease. The two-years project was supported with 30,000 Euro from the non-profit Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V. (AFI) and with 50,000 Euro from the French Partner organization LECMA. The initial results were published in the online edition of the journal "Neurobiology of Aging."
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Great post Katye,i hope its effects are long lasting,we must find a cure,as we have an ageing population.....x
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Have her in circles
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Katye Faulkner

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This is a pretty solid article on climate change and the future of global food crisis. This is why I often say why environmental policy and economics is probably the most dismal science of all. 

The one solution he is not mentioning as a possible solution, which is reducing birthrates to below the replacement rate globally through education, and reproductive healthcare for women. The reality is conservative religious politics and culture which controls many countries throughout the developing world does have fault in this, and we do need to be upfront about it. Encouraging both high birthrates and the opression of women in regions dependent on food importation will only lead to famine. As much as the green revolution and food aid may have helped, we need to progress human culture as well. 

Indeed better distribution systems and stemming global warming will help, but they cannot be the only solutions. In fact the former solution will be less likely, as food producers will always feed there own people before distributing globally, and having an expectation otherwise is unrealistic. Without social development to stablize populations at or below the replacement rate, famine is going to be inevitable. I will be blunt, religion and culture are part of the problem. While I understand the call to respect people's culture, it should be noted that sometimes a culture can in fact inflict self harm. Respect should be given with being direct as well with regards to the harmful aspects, if you do not socially modernize you are going to put your own people in peril, and as food production becomes more scarce, famine becomes more likely. The way to avoid famine, is to socially develop, which means providing women with an education, economic opportunities, and reproductive choice. The demographic-economic paradox has never been so important in sustaining humanity and preventing famine in many parts of the world. 
The history of humanity is a history of hunger. Pretty much every society in recorded time has been wracked by famines, and a few have been destroyed by them. Sometimes these famines are spurred or exacerbated by political or military campaigns. Sometimes they’re due to human error. But the rather...
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+Glenn parent well said.
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Katye Faulkner

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The ocean current: Shedding light on our unconscious biases

+Cara Evangelista just posted about a new book out  entitled "The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives"  by NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. It looks amazing. There is a great review of the book over at +Brain Pickings - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/04/09/the-hidden-brain-shankar-vedantam/ by +Maria Popova. She calls The Hidden Brain 

_"a sweeping, eye-opening, uncomfortable yet necessary account of how our imperceptible prejudices sneak past our conscious selves and produce “subtle cognitive errors that lay beneath the rim of awareness,” making our actions stand at odds with our intentions and resulting in everything from financial errors based on misjudging risk to voter manipulation to protracted conflicts between people, nations, and groups."

There is also another great gem by +Maria Popova, which is the source of the lovely graphic I've chosen below.  Give it a read - you'll be glad you did: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/01/20/im-glad-im-a-boy-im-glad-im-a-girl-darrow/

Warning: possibly incoherent rant follows.

This book is timely for me. I've been giving a great deal of thought to understanding my biases and blind spots. I know I'm not always aware of the factors that color my view other people - unconsciously held biases for or against them, stereotypes and simplified "shorthand representations" of multidimensional complex people with backgrounds and experiences I can't fully understand or imagine.  I know those biases have a purpose in the brain: they make it easier to quickly judge and act quickly during brief interactions without need for deep reflection. Those biases bug me. I am not comfortable with them. At the core of my being I seek to connect - to build bridges between myself and others that have meaning and consequence  Every time I pick apart one block, confront one bias that I didn't know I had, it is inevitably exhilarating. I feel like I am discovering a new way to appreciate someone I know, even those closest to me. But every time I dig a bit deeper I find that new knowledge tethered to all of the other dimensions of that person. I find myself back at square one. It's an interesting cycle - at least my ignorance is renewed regularly!

The flip side of this is also increasingly becoming important. I find myself needing to understand at a deeper level how others might perceive me - particularly as I age, become more of a role model or am looked to for leadership. On one hand, this is good - I can help people better and scratch that "connection itch" that I've got if I can bridge the communication gap. On the other hand, I am increasingly troubled. Fewer people, for whatever reason, are willing or able to talk frankly with me. I hear rumors that I am considered intimidating (!) or at least "busy" and unapproachable.  There are a few people  who are still free to lift up the mirror to help, and some of my newer G+ friends are increasingly helping (you know who you are)  - particularly to help shore up the blind spots that I know I have.  But isolation is slowly creeping in. I don't like it. 

I'm going to pick up this book - and keep talking to my "wise friends".  Thank you. 
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Craziness 
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Katye Faulkner

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"I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." 
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+Katye Faulkner, you have a way of knowing what I need to hear when I need to hear it. Thank you.
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Katye Faulkner

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The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)
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Katye Faulkner

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Vladimir Lenin overthrew Russian Czar Nicholas II and founded the Soviet Union, forever changing the course of Russian politics. But was he a hero who toppled an oppressive tyranny or a villain who replaced it with another? Alex Gendler puts this controversial figure on trial, exploring both sides of a nearly century-long debate.
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