Friday, 16 October 2009

Winter microbes

As we move towards winter many knitters (myself included) are busily making hats and scarves to ward off the chill. Keeping warm is considered effective in warding off winter germs, particularly influenza.
But what if knitting and microbes were combined?

Part of Manchester Science Festival contains The Big Microbe Knit at the end of this month. For those who fancy a trip to my native Lancashire you can go along and knit the common cold, swine flu (pictured, with beads representing the H and N proteins), cholera and tuberculosis microbes on 31st October. As well as perfecting your purls, you'll be learning scientific facts about the microbes.

Otherwise, you can download the microbe knitting patterns or pick up some inspiration from the Wellcome Image Awards 2009. As the pattern says, "Enjoy, and remember to always wash your hands"!

(Photo credit: Manchester Science Festival 2009 blogger page)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Do women have power?

This 1979 Report to the US Commission on Civil Rights is entitled “Battered Women in Hartford, Connecticut”.
It includes statistics that clarify how serious and widespread the abuse of women was at that time. An interesting paragraph about “Incidence” tells us that abuse occurs in upper and middle income homes as well as poor families. The same incidence is reported in every ethnic group. The level of education does not improve the dramatic situation: the incidence of abuse is similar among professionals, factory workers and unemployed men.
What I personally find amazing about this publication is how it goes straight to the heart of the problem: the reason for abuse against women is officially recognized to be the “institutionalized powerlessness for women”.
The only remedy would be that:
“Women must assume power politically, financially and socially. (…) women must be given equal access to jobs and paid equally for their work, women must be elected to political office”.
Although 30 years old, this report describes an on-going situation: in 2009, in every single democratic country all around the globe, women with the same skills, experience and job title, are paid less than their male colleagues. And women are definitely excluded from certain jobs, like the highest political roles: no Ms President so far…