TRC #213: Sexism in Science + Blowing in Nintendo Cartridges + Do Canadians Say Zed

Darren McKee discusses sexism in science, Elan Dubrofsky asks whether blowing into Nintendo cartridges was an effective way to get games to work and Adam Gardner ponders whether Canadians say “zed” or “zee.”

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Show Notes:

Sexism in Science

Full Paper
SciAm Blog
Discover Magazine

Blowing in Nintendo Cartridges

Mentalfloss – Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? – NES Troubleshooting
Quora – Did blowing on Nintendo games work?

Z vs. Zed

Zed and Zee in Canadian speech & spelling from Bill Casselman’s Canadian Word of the Day
Zed-versus-Zee, the first in a series of reruns
The Straight Dope: Why do the British pronounced the letter Z “zed”?

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7 Responses to TRC #213: Sexism in Science + Blowing in Nintendo Cartridges + Do Canadians Say Zed

  1. Loved the mix of topics in this episode. Although I’m probably in the minority, I’ve always thought you should do more video game related segments.

  2. Quaz says:

    Good ep! As for blowing air on something “fixs’ it Wondering if using canned air on the electronics has significant effect as well.

  3. Adam says:

    Compressed air is a good trick for getting dust out of fans. Given the sheer amount of dust I’ve seen blown out of some computers I’d say it’s definately worthwhile, depending on your setup. I’ve seen some dramatic noticeable changes in the noise a fan will make because of it. I don’t know about any other benefits.

    Glad you like game segments Samuli! I get razzed all the time about the validity of my Michael Jackson doing the music for Sonic 3 segment…

  4. Chris says:

    I still take issue with the use of just one male name and one female name in the PNAS paper (which should always be pronounced “penis”, by the way). It would be far better to compare the effect sizes of name and gender in a factorial design. One of the authors has done these kinds of more complex experiments before, which makes me wonder why the design was so simplistic… See for details of the study where they apparently demonstrate the equivalence of names (although there is no mention of what those names are or how they were chosen…). Maybe this would make an interesting segment…? There are some fascinating papers on high school student names and marks given to essays (

  5. Blair Dowden says:

    There is a weakness in the science and sexism paper you cite: the sample size of the applications was only two. Would the results have been much different if the applications were in the names of John and Andrew? A larger sample would help us distinguish between the normal variability of assessments, which is fairly large, and sex bias.

    According to the figures in the study, female professors are even more sex biased than the males, and they pay everyone less. Curious results. I would like to see better studies before I make any firm conclusions.

  6. Paul says:

    This episode takes me back to my Grade 10 social studies class for two reasons. One of the subjects we studied was the prevalance of foreign (mainly U.S.) companies in Canada, and in one of the hypothetical stories they presented was about a conflict between the manager of a U.S. based company introducing a slogan using a Zee pronunciation (like E-Z Kleen) and his Canadian assistant complaining that the phrase would not work in the Dominion of Canada (people will pronounce it E-Zed Kleen). This led to the Canadian quitting because he felt the Americans were becoming cultural imperialists.
    Another topic was an investigation a reporter did by mailing reservation requests to several hotels, half the letters had typical Anglo-Saxon names (eg, John Smith) and the other half had Native American names (Frank Running Bear). And, unfortunately most of the Native named letters did not receive any reply and those that did said no rooms were available for the dates requested, but almost all the Anglo-Saxon ones received very polite replies saying accommodations were available (on the same dates used in the Native letters). Sad to see the same thing happening in the scientific arena.

  7. Pingback: Sexism is a (horrible and depressing) fact | Katatrepsis

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