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Science as Leisure

Liz Marchio

I am a trained ichthyologist interested in what gets people interested in natural history, biological sciences, and science careers. My passion is to find out what fuels curiosity for the natural world.

Biology-related serious leisure activities can impact people's interest in ecology, biology, and natural history. Do these activities promote biological understanding? If so, how does that progress and to what level does it progress to? 

If you're interested in a starting a dialogue, please feel free to contact me. If you're curious about how I got here, my story can be found on the About Me page.


Homophonophobia: Big Science-y Words Strike Again!

For those who have read my previous post I mentioned that big, science-y words can be broken down into smaller, more manageable and understandable chunks. This avoids confusion, right?


In a story that is making rounds on Facebook under "I can't believe this is not satire!" headlines, a man who teaches English to students who are learning it as their second language was FIRED for blogging about homophones

So... let's try breaking down the word "homophone" to see what the big deal is:



"homo" which comes from "homos" = same

"phone" = representing vocal sounds


Hmmm... well... I guess someone was fired over "words that sound the same"? Like "their", "there", and they're? Uhhh....

so the real story is...

It turns out, to some people:

the word homophone is a homophone for homosexual.


Are you still with me here? Someone was fired because they were adequately teaching English and someone misunderstood that the big, obviously quite scary science-y word (i.e. homophone) sounded too "gay". The boss man explicitly stated "Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality". Sounds like he is suffering from "homophonophobia":



"homo" which comes from "homos" = same

"phone" = representing vocal sounds

"phobia" = excessive or irrational fear of




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