All entries by this author

Is the “female brain” really so predictable?

Sep 16th, 2016 5:19 pm | By

Jemima Lewis is also not impressed by the Science Museum’s girl/boy brains exhibit.

According to the Science Museum’s interactive test of “brain sex”, I am – in common with others of the female persuasion – possessed of a “good visual memory”, but not so skilled at “seeing things in three dimensions” or “being able to imagine how things rotate”.

This verdict annoys me. What are they trying to say? That just because I happen to have a womb I must be terrible at parking? (I am terrible at parking.) Is the “female brain” really so predictable, so set in its ways, that it can be identified by an algorithm on the basis of just six questions?

Of course … Read the rest

A video scoreboard for the football stadium

Sep 16th, 2016 4:53 pm | By

A guy works at the University of New Hampshire library for 50 years, saves all his money, and leaves the University $4 million in his will. Great story, no? Yes, except for what the university elected to do with it.

The university dedicated $2.5 million to an expanded, centrally located career center, it said when it announced the gift two weeks ago. It put $100,000 toward the Dimond Library, where Morin worked, fulfilling the only specific spending request he attached to his donation. And with much of the remaining gift, the university wrote a controversial check.

It put $1 million toward a video scoreboard for its new $25 million football stadium.


Ok the university points out that … Read the rest

Pull the other one

Sep 16th, 2016 4:34 pm | By

Don’t do that. Don’t ever do that.

The Sun:

GUARDSMAN Chloe Allen has become the British Army’s first female frontline soldier — after being born a boy called Ben.

The 24-year-old joined up four years ago as a man, but changed her name officially last month.

Then that doesn’t count as the British Army’s first female frontline soldier. Just stop.

She will be the first woman allowed to engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.

Chloe, from Cumbria, has now started hormone therapy.

Stop stop stop that.

The caption reads:

Chloe makes history as the first female in­fantry soldier since the Army began in 1660

No Chloe does not. Stop doing that.… Read the rest

He stepped on a lot of people

Sep 16th, 2016 4:16 pm | By

CNN on some of the small companies Donald Trump cheated.

“It was like we won the lottery,” Beth Rosser remembers. Her dad, Forest Jenkins, had just secured a $200,000 contract to work at the biggest prize in Atlantic City: Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal.

His company installed toilet partitions — not exactly glamorous, but important nonetheless. It was 1988, and a six-figure contract was huge.

They were all excited…but the check never arrived.

“We weren’t this big company,” remembers Rosser, who now runs the company with her brother, Steven. “We didn’t have tons of money in an account somewhere to cover things.”

Jenkins says his dad, who built the company from nothing, nearly lost everything.

The Taj Mahal, the most

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Trump is not a normal candidate

Sep 16th, 2016 3:39 pm | By

Dan Rather on Facebook:

Donald Trump’s disdain, mockery, and antagonism of the press, whose freedoms are enshrined in the Bill of Rights and whose presence has provided ballast to our democracy since its inception, raises very serious questions about his fitness for the presidency of the United States.

For a long while, these thoughts have been coursing through my veins with concern and disbelief, and yet my abiding loyalty to the notion of fair, accurate and unbiased journalism held me in check from saying it out loud – much as I suspect it has muzzled the true feelings of many of my colleagues. But we must remember that Donald Trump knows this and cynically plays the press corps’ deep

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The fraternity

Sep 16th, 2016 11:44 am | By

The largest police union has endorsed the fascist misogynist lying thieving cheating bully Trump.

The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Donald Trump for president on Friday, praising the Republican nominee’s “real commitment to law enforcement.”

Trump met with the 33,000-member police union in early August and its endorsement bolsters his claim that he is the “law and order candidate.”

Oh really? What about all the stealing and lying and cheating? What about the fraud?

Clinton has made reforming the criminal justice system a centerpiece of her campaign, highlighting it during a particularly violent July week in which a pair of unarmed black men were killed by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, leading to nationwide protests. At one such

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A final insult

Sep 16th, 2016 11:29 am | By

A woman in Italy killed herself after a terrible year of revenge porn and social media shaming.

Tiziana Cantone, 31, was found dead at her aunt’s home in Mugnano, close to Naples in the country’s south, on Tuesday. Her funeral procession was televised as commentators grappled with the tragic outcome of her torment.

Cantone’s death came a year after she sent a sex video of herself to some friends including an ex-boyfriend .

The video was subsequently posted on the web and viewed almost a million times. The phrase “You’re filming? Bravo”, spoken to her lover in the video, became a derisive joke online and was printed on T-shirts, smartphone cases and other items.

She quit her job, she … Read the rest

The rights of abusive men

Sep 16th, 2016 11:11 am | By

Sandra Laville at the Guardian reports:

The government must carry out a full review of family courts to stop them being used by violent men to perpetuate abuse against their partners and children, MPs have said.

They called on the justice secretary, Liz Truss, to act swiftly to tackle deep-seated cultural attitudes among family court judges which put the rights of abusive men over the safety of women and children.

MPs were debating research by Women’s Aid which revealed that between 2005 and 2015, 19 children in 12 families were killed by violent fathers who had been allowed to see them through formal and informal child contact arrangements.

Women who leave their husbands to escape violence and coercive control … Read the rest

Statement by Sri Lanka’s Muslim Personal Law Reforms Action Group

Sep 16th, 2016 10:37 am | By

A statement released by the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) Reforms Action Group in Sri Lanka consisting of individual human rights advocates, lawyers, and women, as well as community and women’s rights groups:


In 2014, a 14-year old Muslim girl in Eastern province was given in marriage and her schooling was stopped as a result. After a few months of marriage she applied for fasah divorce (initiated by wife) due to severe sexual torture by her husband. The Quazi instead of dealing with the case in a sensitive and appropriate manner chose to interrogate her for over two hours asking her specific details about the sexual violence. This in turn caused the girl serious psychological trauma that she attempted suicide

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Men were on the main floor

Sep 15th, 2016 5:32 pm | By

I envy Canada Trudeau, but I also think he shouldn’t be endorsing gender-segregated mosques by paying them visits.

Trudeau was at the mosque Monday to mark Eid al-Adha, considered the holiest of feast days for the world’s Muslims. Three female MPs accompanied Trudeau during his brief remarks, though they had to arrive by a side door and stand with their heads covered. They did not address the mosque.

Worshippers at the mosque are separated by gender. Men were on the main floor where Trudeau spoke. Women and girls were in a balcony or in other parts of the mosque. [Asra] Nomani said that recent surveys indicate about two of every three mosques separate men from women, but that is

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Sep 15th, 2016 4:04 pm | By

Afghan Atheists posted a very pointed, and poignant, photo, with the caption “When the present meets its past.”

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Getting around

Sep 15th, 2016 12:54 pm | By

Frivolous interlude:

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Silver heart charm and glittery sock

Sep 15th, 2016 12:30 pm | By

It’s everywhere. It’s in shoes – kids’ shoes. (“Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream?”) Francesca Cambridge Mallen, chief campaigner for Let Clothes Be Clothes, went shopping for school shoes with her daughter age 8.

Three shoes are available in her size: two pairs are slip-ons which with a knowing look from Grandma we dismiss immediately. After all, these are what Clarks describe as “sophisticated style” which makes me wonder how they could have missed the fact they are selling to kids, not office staff. When my daughter plunges over in a tangle of shoes and playground, I’ll be sure to console her with how classy she looked doing it.

The third pair are the most common style in the

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Guest post: #YesAllMotorists

Sep 15th, 2016 11:07 am | By

Guest post by Josh Spokes.

US culture is actively hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. We have to change the cultural attitudes about cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. It’s very hard to do this because the culture of automobile supremacy is baked into the smallest parts of our daily life and the decisions our public works departments make. Here’s a “small” example of this from my life.

I work in a building next to a four-way, traffic-signaled intersection. It’s a very busy crossing. There are four lanes of traffic on one road, and two on the intersecting road. At this intersection are a number of delis, restaurants, and small retail stores.

I buy my lunch most days from the deli across the … Read the rest

This guy

Sep 15th, 2016 10:30 am | By

Amanda Marcotte posted this publicly on Facebook:

I never check my message requests, but apparently I should. Do you think I should report this guy, or is public shaming enough?

I looked at his wall and found another screenshot:

I also saw that he’s quite popular in the “atheist community.”

We can at least warn people.… Read the rest

A nightmarish blending of blood and water

Sep 14th, 2016 5:36 pm | By

The Guardian has more on the rivers of blood in Dhaka yesterday.

Poor drainage in the city makes flooding a regular fact of Dhaka life. But the problem is rarely illustrated as vividly as it was on Tuesday, after thousands of sheep, goats and cows were slaughtered.

One of the two holiest events in the Muslim calendar, Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son at God’s request.

You know, that’s a terrible thing to commemorate. One, there’s the willingness to murder the child, and two, there’s the elevation of blind (and indeed horrific) obedience. It’s an abomination.

Authorities in Dhaka said they had established hundreds of designated sacrifice spots in the run-up to

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She turned to face the crowd

Sep 14th, 2016 4:42 pm | By

Yassmin Abdel-Magied tells us why it was so important for her to walk out on Lionel Shriver’s talk.

As I stood up, my heart began to race. I could feel the eyes of the hundreds of audience members on my back: questioning, querying, judging.

I turned to face the crowd, lifted up my chin and walked down the main aisle, my pace deliberate. “Look back into the audience,” a friend had texted me moments earlier, “and let them see your face.”

The faces around me blurred. As my heels thudded against they grey plastic of the flooring, harmonising with the beat of the adrenaline pumping through my veins, my mind was blank save for one question.

“How is this

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Most affirming

Sep 14th, 2016 3:51 pm | By
Most affirming

Whitman-Walker Health posted on Facebook about its “Safer Sex for Trans Bodies” guide, the one that says women have front holes while trans women have vaginas. A woman commented to say it’s misogynistic to call vaginas front holes.

Whitman-Walker Health replied.

Whitman-Walker Health In developing the content of this guide, Whitman-Walker and HRC held focus groups and discussions with members of the transgender community and physicians to identify terms that were used within, and supportive of, the community. We aimed to make the language in the guide most affirming of all different bodies, transition, gender identity, and gender expression. We chose to use “front hole” in the place of “vagina” for that reason. Many trans men and non-binary individuals

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Hilarity ensues

Sep 14th, 2016 3:22 pm | By

latsot alerted me to this hateful “prank” item for sale at Amazon:

Prank Pregnancy Test. 2 Testers. ALWAYS TURNS POSITIVE. Play Joke of a Lifetime. The Best April Fool’s Day Trick. FUNNY Gag Gadgets Series. DON’T WAIT, GET IT NOW!

by 78Seven 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
Price: £24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
In stock.
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Junk science

Sep 14th, 2016 12:10 pm | By

The Guardian too is reporting on the criticism of the Science Museum’s pink and blue brains exhibit, and wording it more sharply than Pink News did.

The Science Museum in London is facing criticism for a “junk science” exhibit that asks visitors to test whether they have a blue or pink brain.

Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, an expert on the teenage brain at University College London who has been advising the Science Museum, said the exhibit in its current form was “out of date, to say the least”.

She added: “I saw it recently and was pretty shocked by the misleading message, which doesn’t correspond to the scientific evidence.”

Prof Gina Rippon, of the University of Aston, said: “The

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