40 comments on “Stop excluding people with disabilities from science

  1. If his Cambridge college had been doing “contextualised” admissions would they have admitted him? Pro: he’s very clever and obsessed by theoretical physics. Con: he’s a twat.

  2. Perhaps Salon will give us their creds: How many people with disabilities do they employ?

    Wait . . . okay, mentally deficient writers is their corp business. Never mind.

  3. “Salon is written by idiots.”

    So is his voice machine. Maybe Hawking’s disease has affected his brain such that he really believes that “man’s” CO2 emissions are going to turn earth into venus but my money’s on whoever has taken over his talk box.

  4. Wow. Weird temporal time shift there. Didn’t think I’d pressed the button twice.

    Hawking could explain it.

    So long as he was given four hours advance notice of the question.

  5. Kevin B “but my money’s on whoever has taken over his talk box.”

    I lived under terror threat for 8 years, being ruled by TPOTUS. The TelePrompter Of The United States. He who controlled the teleprompter controlled Obama.

  6. By the time they’ve built wheelchair-accessible paths all over the interesting rock formations there won’t be any rock formations left. (Cut down the trees and put them in a tree museum.)

  7. 75% fewer disabled people working in STEM than in the general population – that’s the complaint.

    I do not wish to be derogatory in any way, but there are many disabled folks whose mental facilities allow for them to do not much more than collect shopping trolleys – there are those who are blind/deaf and not mentally impaired but who do not have an affinity for the sciences. I could go on.

    Hands up all those who think the author controlled for this in his data.

  8. Gamecock: Similarly, several politicians who are Good On Women’s Issues (Hillary Clinton is one who comes to mind) were famously found to underpay women in their own employ. All the employees assented to the terms, but Haterz Gonna Hate.

  9. “75% fewer disabled people working in STEM than in the general population – that’s the complaint.”

    Possibly true, but the statistic would be more meaningful if compared to other occupations. For example, possibly a majority of mentally disabled people have become lawyers or journalists.

    As someone who spent a lot of time in the field, I can emphasize with someone who studied geosciences and suddenly found themselves with a disability that impaired their ability to walk or climb into remote places. It’s a rotten hand to be suddenly dealt. I’m not sure what to do about it. Certainly the person can still do lab or office work. Perhaps some accommodations can be made for limited field work, however climbing into caves will forever be difficult and it’s not the employer’s fault.

  10. ‘Salon provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, gender, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, military status, veteran status and any other classification protected by law.’

    Opportunity. Not actual employment.

    They are pigshit creeps. Throwing rocks without disclosing their actual makeup.

  11. Some jobs require full mobility, no disability discrimination laws/policies can change that.

    In STEM most Engineering jobs require mobility & dexterity.

    In other fields mobility &/or dexterity are required: hairdresser, bin-man, shelf-stacker, watch-maker, fireman, courier/deliveryman…

    What will change this is not politicians, lobbyists, activists & campaigners; it is STEM technology – exoskeleton and neurological implants.

  12. Computing seems to be a great choice for someone wheelchair-bound, but otherwise capable, while Geology would be impractical. Which, I suppose, is why Geology was on the ground floor of a certain Uni, and Computer Science was up a tower! (And, of course, the wheelies moaned because they wanted to do Geology, with field trips tailored to them).

  13. So a Geology course, where field work could not be done in the wild?
    What exactly is preventing the person from being involved? OK not out in the field collecting samples – who gets to oversee samples, who gets to deal with them in the lab?

    Humans can send a rover to Mars and examine the geology there, can remote operate it and perform experiments using on board tools and a delay of a couple of dozen minutes in transmission.
    So what prevents someone unable to manage rough terrain from doing Geology?

    How expensive is it to get equipment to keep in touch with a field team? Phone and video camera – or just use a laptop.
    I can think of several things the person could do and I’m not a geologist.

  14. Told the story to the wife, she did some Geology stuff with the open university. She was laughing – part of what she studied was geology in cities. Urban geology.

  15. No, Excavator Man, Hawking is not a twat. He is a bona fide genius no matter how you look at it. His life experiences will undoubtedly give him a particular perspective on heathcare and welfare but, fuck me, we need more minds of that calibre.
    If we can’t convince minds of that calibre then we don’t have a case.

  16. Tim: OT / Tip – Dinner for One

    Sky* “Why is Germany obsessed with this obscure British film?”

    quote:
    Prof Stollmann argues Brits are put off by the sketch as it forces them to confront the country’s class structure as well as painful moments in its imperial past.

    The butler repeatedly stumbles over a tiger skin rug laid on the floor, a clear symbol of Britain’s occupation of India.
    un-quote

    Reply – “Oh do fuck off” (maybe this form of words should become a meme?)

    * https://news.sky.com/story/why-is-germany-obsessed-with-this-obscure-british-film-11190506

  17. “Martin
    December 31, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    How expensive is it to get equipment to keep in touch with a field team? Phone and video camera – or just use a laptop.
    I can think of several things the person could do and I’m not a geologist.”

    I think this is the core problem. If you were a ‘senior geologist’ and came down with an injury that stuck you in the office you could pull strings and get someone to set this up – if you didn’t already have it set up because you had already transitioned from ‘research’ to ‘management’ and were supervising multiple field teams and the organizations budget.

    But the brand-new Geology-degree guy looking for a job? I don’t think anyone is going to want to spend the time and money setting up – and maintaining – a telepresence link so that he can be out there working alongside the rest of the team.

    So he’d have to show exceptional analytical ability while still in school so that someone would consider his insights worth trading for his inability to grub in the dirt and carry heavy things.

  18. OK, I’ll bite:

    Professionally, Hawking is in the top tier of the talented good guys. He believes in advancing human knowledge and tries his best to do so without personal gain. On a personal level, he does nothing to dispel, and everything to promote the idea that he is the brightest man in the world: He milks his fame to the utmost and is happy to pontificate on anything. To some of his colleagues that makes him a twat, to others he is making the best of a rum deal. He has been at Cambridge all his working life, and is totally institutionalised.
    Forgive him his ignorance outside his narrow field and he is an agreeable fellow (on general relativity!)

    Brian Cox is just a twat.

    On the question of disability: Pursuing a scientific career is a calling: a nice-to-have, risky adventure for those who can afford to do so (or are mad). Those with a serious disability, or a lack of appetite for risk (ladies!) they just cannot commit to that sort of lifestyle. ‘You’d have to be mad to be a scientist’, and the disabled extremely disproportionately just can’t afford that luxury.

  19. “No, Excavator Man, Hawking is not a twat.” I’m afraid that his reputation in Cambridge is that he is a twat. A wonderfully gifted twat, of course, and a remarkably resilient twat, a twat that you’ve got to admire, but a twat all the same.

    It would be mere sentimentality to assume otherwise.

  20. So Hawking has followers and admirers, bully for him. But some of his colleagues think he’s a twat, do they? Funny that, as I’ve only observed him from afar, and come to the same judgement. Why? He pontificates on things he knows nothing about, and is often wrong about things he professes to know. Fair enough, he’s humble enough to admit it – eventually. So he’s a nice twat, then.

    And yes, I’ll admit that there are plenty of jobs in Geology that can be done by people who can’t work in the field. Following a bog-standard Uni course isn’t one of them. Not only that, but many Universities want to reduce fieldwork. Suits me that there are plenty of expensive cock-ups to sort out …

  21. I have two degrees in Geology. The fieldwork was a major attraction. Having qualifed and found employment, I spent the next three years in the lab, looking down a microscope.

    I did have 6 months in The Pilbara doing useful and original stuff, but contemporary Geology is a bit like Climate Scence. Computer models and stuff. The difference is that Geology is expected to add value to the organisation. Climate Science is parasitic.

  22. This is the reverse of those irregular verbs like

    I am a democrat,
    You are a populist,
    He is literally Hitler.

    In this case it conjugated

    I have a problem,
    You have a problem
    Society has a problem.

    Fuck ‘im. I worked through my problem with post-grad science (which was that I hated it) at some cost to me having wasted two years and he can work through his.

  23. A very happy new year to everyone.
    Even Newmania. And Arnald. Wherever you are.
    (Yes. I know. I’m pissed. Very pissed. )

  24. From the Salon article…….I am a cave scientist ?

    “, finding large stalagmites, and carrying them back out.”

    WTF is he doing destroying something that took thousands of years to form and is it legal.

  25. Can I just say this is the dumbest piece of sh!t argument I have read in a long time?

    Even for Salon.

    Especially as the author seems to have done what too many women trying to be men have done – over-stressed their bodies by putting too many heavy physical demands on it. Women are weak. They should not be carrying heavy weights.

  26. I won’t exactly defend Cox, but he’s not entirely a twat. He earned his physics chops at CERN before ever he was a telly talking head. His first TV series ‘Wonders of the Universe’ was quite good. His explanation of entropy using a handful of sand was really illuminating, I thought. His twatness comes from defending Gerbil Worming, but even that is probably canny self-interest. He would lose his place with the BBC instantly if he came across as at all contrarian. He should have educated himself on the subject a bit better though before he got trashed about it on Australian TV.

  27. Gareth – Dinner for One

    My German colleagues were astounded that I had never seen DfO, or even heard of Freddy Frinton. My bro, who is 10 years older than me had likewise never seen the sketch until he moved to Holland, but vaguely remembered Frinton as some old geezer who appeared on the Good Old Days or similar shows. I sometimes watch it and think to my self “This would be really funny if done by Spike Miligan or Michael Bentine.”

    This is a far better version, for kids, featuring the great Bernd das Brot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smgbPO0KaZw

  28. The OU has a special week set aside on field trips for disabled folk to do the field trips. They will not do everything but can do lots.

  29. Gamecock – “Money.”

    It is interesting how pretty much her entire case comes down to money. She does not seem to be alleging any systemic or institutional bias against disabled people in the sciences.

    So it is a question of money. How much money? Well, a lot probably. So the question is do we really want to spend that much money so that a small number of disabled people can pursue their hobby? Perhaps one of them will be the next Einstein. But it is not likely.

    It is, after all, geology we are talking about. Personally I would pay to stop her vandalising stalactites.

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