Sharky | Indy Week

Member since Oct 22, 2013



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Re: “The fall of Pittsboro scientist and Scientific American blog editor Bora Zivkovic

I am a science "insider," and a woman to boot. I am an active participant in women in science type groups and often see this sort of overblown hand-wringing about the perils of being a female scientist. Any and all hardships of making a career in science (and it IS hard) are viewed through the lens of gender, and massive amounts of thoughtful deconstruction expended on analyzing and fixing the perceived gender bias. Not to be glib, but similar single-mindedness in the pursuit of their research questions would go a long way to vaporizing the perceived barriers. Tellingly, many senior/successful female scientists are wary of participating in these groups--too busy working, and quite possibly not wanting to get sucked in to the hand-wringing circle. (Of course, they are viewed as unsupportive traitors to their gender.)

I know Bora quite well, and have interacted with him over 10+ years. He is indeed a bit socially awkward and not the best at reading cues--he is the sort that stands chatting for 15 minutes as you try to move on to the next person, is over-enthusiastic in his gestures, and laughs at the wrong moments sometimes. He is also extremely smart, a great synthesizer of ideas, and one of my favorite people to talk science with. He has always been all these things. In the realm of online science journalism, he seemed to have found the perfect way to use his undoubted skills, and he did so in a way that helped other people far more than it helped him. It's only recently that he's even had a salary for his blog-related stuff, and the spin from his accusers that his massive powerfulness was sooo scary that they dare not speak up is an utter joke.

The entire debacle is sickening and makes me want to write nasty things about these harridans, and certainly I will do them professional harm should their "pitches" ever cross my desk. I think the one-sided release of personal emails by Kathleen Raven is criminal. Does no one else wonder very strongly what was in her half of the correspondence? The simple unfairness of filtering a long-running email exchange to fit the story you’re telling is shocking. The saddest thing to me is that by all accounts (from Bora, Raven, and their colleagues) Raven was one of Bora’s close friends up until the big reveal.

103 likes, 34 dislikes
Posted by Sharky on 10/22/2013 at 8:39 PM

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