Friday, December 26, 2014

Science - It's a Cat Thing!

A weird video on women in science is going viral. Higgs says it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Science - It's a Cat Thing!

A reader kindly sent us this video, which was allegedly created to improve the image of women in science. The reader sent it with this note, “Got your marching (strutting) orders.”  I have little to say except that the shoes are not an ideal choice for any kind of field work. Higgs, however, has some observations:

Higgs: There is nothing here to be ashamed of people. What you’re seeing is a somewhat exaggerated display of fertility. I have engaged in a similar behavior myself before my contraceptive procedure. I would strut down the alley with my tail as upright as a flagpole, showing the all world my impressive gonads.

I wasn’t any less intelligent back then, but my behavior was more powerfully influenced by sex hormones. Again – nothing to be ashamed of. Now that I’ve been separated from my gonads I live a more cerebral and contemplative life, much like Peter Abelard. There is no connection between my prowess as a scientific thinker and my fertility.

We cats rely more on olfactory cues when it comes to mating. You primates tend to use visual cues as well, some of them quite striking. Humans are rather interesting in having evolved “concealed ovulation” and making heavy use of body ornamentation to display wealth, group membership, social status and of course fertility. The use of high heels and make-up are well-explained in the evolutionary psychology literature. I’m not familiar with any scientific explanation for nail polish, however.

Thank you for letting me express my views – Higgs.

About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at Reach Planet of the at

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