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What’s New on

i-57b6e157322432b9712e823e2cae9bee-movie.jpgAffirmative action for women professors, inaccurate science at the movies, education and privilege, and a YouTube vid not for the weak of stomach: it’s this week’s postcard from Europe.

Women-Only Science
The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research is opting for more female scientists. Two hundred women-only professorships are to be created, says Minister Annette Schavan, having observed that the current 11 percent of female professors is decidedly too low.

Tobias Maier at WeiterGen puts forward his view on why this very German form of affirmative action is beside the point:

“This may help to improve stats, but even so, it not only misses a point but also conceals the actual, structural reasons for the scarcity of women in leading positions in academia…Women aren’t really being helped by this measure, they are even further discredited. Should a female professor be appointed due to political decisions, she will most likely be required to vindicate her qualification a lot more frequently than her male colleagues.”

Bad Science in the Movies
Can we expect fictional films to be scientifically or even historically correct at all? The movie “10,000 B.C.” has come to German cinemas, and Christoph Larssen’s post discusses whether viewers should take the film’s fiction for what it is—and just ignore incredible inaccuracies like Mesolithic pyramids and an unlikely melange of races.

For a collection of other posts and comments on stunning examples of bad science, Hollywood style, click here.

Generation Dumb
In Germany, more than in many other European countries, children’s educational opportunities are strongly connected to their parents’ social and financial status, write Christian Reinboth and Christoph Larssen. Reinboth discusses what “social justice” is supposed to mean in the context of education, while Larssen’s post queries whether German society itself is actually dumbing down, as a recently published book implies.

Extreme Closeup
Chris discovers a spot (literally) on YouTube which he finds just a little bit too…macro. Could this blackhead operetta somehow be a viral marketing ploy by a maker of anti-acne washes, he wonders?

That’s all for this week. Note that links in this article are to blog posts in German—but their authors are usually happy to respond to comments in English. Danke!

Thanks to Anwen Roberts and to managing editor Beatrice Lugger.

Image from Xurble.