A friend sent me this story (thanks!) this morning for a good chuckle. Apparently, the last shipment to the South Pole Research Station includes a year-long supply of condoms for the scientists and staff that winter over at the base. Go scientists! I always knew we were sexy. And I’ve also commented that we tend to “inbreed” as in our department at UVa, since we get thrown together in the offices and work late hours and then all go out together… things happen. And they have to deal with six months of cold, cold night to boot. What I also find interesting about the article is that they give out the condoms for free (cue right-wing protesters) so that no one has to face the “potential embarrassment of having to buy them.” Surely that happens in a small community, but theoretically the staff is full of rational adults? Sadly, sex, even in that small society, is not without its mores.
With the fun comes a twinge of bitterness, because you never hear about the cool research that is being done at the Pole, all of the astronomy, geology, biology, and more. The news media, instead, is fascinated by the use of condoms by the scientists instead. Is this intellectual laziness on the part of the reporters, editors, consumers, or all of these? What do we have to do to make science cool and sexy again?