I figured out why my listicles didn’t go viral last week, so I fixed the problem. Time to take over the internet…. (More)

It turns out that listicles are supposed to have surprises, like 12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Movie Home Alone (over 2 million views!) or 8 Surprising Ways Bicycles Are Better Than Listicles (probably less than 2 million views but still). I didn’t like Home Alone because squirrels would never be that stupid. But I like cycling. Just yesterday I watched U.S. cyclist Evelyn Stevens win the bronze medal in the UCI World Championships Women’s Time Trial, behind Germany’s Lisa Brennauer and the Ukraine’s Anna Solovey. If they made a movie about that race, it’d be called Riding Alone. Well, except for the team cars and the official cars and motorcycles with cameras and the helicopters with cameras and the cheering fans and okay they’re not riding alone except they are kind of. But I digress.

Anyway, I want my listicle to go viral so it has a huge surprise:

None of the humans in this are squirrels!

I know, I kinda gave the surprise away in the title. But I’m sure this listicle will still go viral. So without further adieu, I bring you:

7 Smart Humans Who Are Not Squirrels

1. Katie Mack, Astrophysicist

Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. She is currently researching dark matter, which I think is the stuff that keeps nuts inside their shells, because it’s really dark in there until you chew through the shell. Oh, and she likes pecans! And she likes squirrels. But she’s not a squirrel so she doesn’t ask for pecans like this:

 photo SquirrelPecanRing.jpeg

2. Alison Bechdel, Artist

Alison Bechdel is best known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, where she created what is now known as the Bechdel Test for movies:

For that and her other work, Bechdel recently received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

3. Maryam Mirzakhani, Mathematician

Maryam Mirzakhani is a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. She was born in Tehran, Iran and wanted to be a writer until she discovered a love for solving mathematical puzzles. This year she became the first woman to receive the Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics.

4. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia. She was elected in 2005, making her the first elected female head of state in Africa. In 2011, she and my next two listicle members were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

5. Leymah Gbowee, Peace Activist

Leymah Gbowee trained with UNICEF as a social activist and led the women’s peace movement that helped end the Second Liberian Civil War, allowing the national elections won by President Sirleaf, with whom she received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

6. Tawakkol Karman, Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Tawakkol Karman is a journalist and human rights activist in Yemen. Inspired by the events in Tunisia, she helped bring the Arab Spring to her nation, where she is known as the “Mother of the Revolution.” She is also the co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains, a group that pushes for reforms “particularly freedom of opinion and expression, and democratic rights” for women in Islamic nations. For her work, Karman shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with President Sirleaf and activist Gbowee.

7. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator

Elizabeth Warren is well-known as the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and as a consumer protection advocate who helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But before that she was a professor at Harvard Law School, where in 2009 she won the Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching “in honor of her teaching ability, openness to student concerns and contributions to student life.”

All of these are very smart humans, and none of them are squirrels. So move your cursor down to those Share buttons and start clicking. Or I’ll get grumpy and hurl dark matter….


Good day and good nuts