Scientific small talk

I hate small talk. A lot. Perhaps this is a social failing of mine, but it is one that I do not wish to work too hard on. The one way that I do try to amend this short-coming is to enter into conversations interesting facts and topics for my co-communicator and I to discuss. However, many of the facts and topics that I introduce deal with scientific and psychological facts and tid-bits. I can't help it; I read a lot of random things that deal with those topics, and I find them fascinating.

This conversational tool that I have worked hard to hone never works well. People are almost never interested in these tid-bits, or they respond to them as though I were a giant weirdo. I don't understand this. I would much rather have someone use a conversational starter like, "Kittens are able to purr by the second day of their lives," than, "Isn't it a cold day." Come on people, quit being boring. Break the social mold and talk about interesting things.

It was brought to my attention that I might be making people uncomfortable with my facts because it is abnormal and because I am a woman. Women in this society are not considered to be naturally interested in science. I think this is bullshit. My ovaries are way cooler than your testes, and I am thrilled to learn about both. If this social mindset is real, then many things now make a lot of sense. It is difficult to get young girls into science classes in high school and later school years. However, studies show that 66% of girls in elementary school are interested in science. Something happens along the way to stigmatize science for American girls. This saddens me.

I know that I felt science was a droll, terrible, mathematical quagmire of crap when I was in school. This is depressing because I love it so much now. I wanted to be a marine biologist or vet for a zoo as a child. I even worked at a vet's office and as a junior curator at the OKC zoo in junior high. However, as soon as I got in school and started taking serious science classes, it sucked and success was obtained through mocking it.

We need to like science. We need to build science up and make it cool. It IS cool to blow things up with chemicals. It IS cool to learn about sharks and dart frogs. Damn it, let's learn about stuff and then share those facts and tid-bits with everyone. Let's talk about c-section-giving sharks and mice that lactate with human milk instead of the temperature outside and the half-priced blouse at the mall.

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