I think of small breasts

of comb jellies in the sea

of gentle Welsh hills

of white mushrooms on

the trunks of trees

of ripples on a shallow pond

I think of small breasts


Julian O’Dea



Like an Island

Like an island in a stream 
I lie all night as dreams 
flow by; there, and there, 
I see something go past
that looks quite real before
its form reverts to water;
but these rocks and mud 
remain and new wood 
drifts by and that adds 
its measure and all night 
this islet’s trees grow on.


Julian O’Dea

Women changing their surnames: what does the free market say?

Many of the claims of social change can be tested by observing what the free market shows. This was a point made I think by Warren Farrell. In that case, he remarked that what men and women actually spent their money on, for example what magazines they bought, was a very good indicator of what they were truly interested in.

It is often claimed that young women don’t change their names on marriage as much as they used to in places like Australia. The existence of prominent advertising for this product suggests that many are still keen to do so:

Marriage Name Change Kit [Australian]

Women and brilliance

“Linking success in some fields to intellectual talent undermines women’s interest in them … Overall, these experiments found that women showed less interest in career areas that were linked to “brilliance” relative to other traits, such as dedication. Men, however, did not generally show differential interest in these areas. The results also pointed to the “brilliance = men” stereotype as a reason for these gender differences.”



Women are not generally brilliant so the term does not generally get applied to them. In the same way, men rarely get called winsome.

Secondly, confidence is necessary for success because a certain arrogance gives a person a reason to believe he or she will succeed. Women in science for example undermine themselves by choosing small subjects and topics. The big fields like high energy physics and cosmology attract men because we have big ambitions. Small fields like botanical taxonomy and illustration attract women. Nobody wins a Nobel Prize for botanical taxonomy.

As usual this article gets cause and effect wrong. Fields that require brilliance and daring attract men because men tend to be brilliant and daring. What really bugged feminists about the Shirtgate scientist was not his naughty t shirt (anyone could see he was just a nice, jolly kind of fellow). What really bothered them was his masculine brilliance and daring in landing a probe on a comet.


Penny Lizard

Out of a hot day
out of a woodpile
out of my boyhood
comes the penny lizard
like a moving bending
brown twig
from childhood when
anything is possible.


Julian O’Dea

Intellectual Cuties: No. 10 in a series: Marguerite Duras, French Novelist



In response to a reader request, here she is looking at the camera:


Something on the smoothness of Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes

If you are interested, go here:

A discussion session on a suggestion of mine on how “azotosomes” might increase the viscosity and therefore flatness of the hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan.



From “Organic Compounds in Titan’s Seas and Lakes.”




(“Titan’s Lakes are Nice and Calm. The Perfect Spot for a Landing.”)