Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rape Raises Question: Who Are Those College Boys? - Bloomberg

Rape Raises Question: Who Are Those College Boys? - Bloomberg: "Facebook

Photographer: Lance King/Getty Images
The University of Virginia suspended its fraternities and related social activities... Read More
Whoever said the line is lost in our memory -- someone we knew? some public persona? -- but the line about parenthood, about why you’d rather have a boy than a girl, managed to stick.

It was something to the effect of, “When your son turns 16, you have a 16-year-old boy on your hands, but when your daughter turns 16, you have every 16-year-old boy on your hands.”

Now that Rolling Stone has blown open the issue of campus rape with its expose of the University of Virginia -- as if the scores and scores of other reports weren’t enough -- the line’s not as clever as it used to be.

Here’s a question for you: Would you rather your kid return from college as a rape victim or a rapist? Because while the young women in these circumstances are coming home shattered, the young men in them are returning as something worse.

In the aftermath of the UVA story -- and, just as an aside, when did Rolling Stone turn into an investigative outfit? -- we learned yesterday that the UVA administrator overseeing matters of sexual misconduct at school has never moved for the expulsion of a student nor, she says, ever even seen one expelled for sexual misconduct, even those who have confessed to it.

Nicole Eramo, the associate dean of students at UVA, is both lionized in the article by students for her dexterity in handling victims and undercut by the reporting, which shows the policies, and Eramo’s wielding of them, contribute to inaction and are complicit in keeping, well, rapists on campus.

We spoke to a recent female graduate of UVA, and guess what? Same thing happened to her. Not on the level of violence as described in the Rolling Stone article, but it was a sexual assault, occurring at the end of her sophomore year.

Which is to say, it wasn’t even at all difficult to find yet another story. Make a couple phone calls, and voila.

Yes, she told friends, but no one else, no one in a position of authority. She explained that, as unfortunate as the assault was, she didn’t feel like anything could be done about it. She said it’s difficult to have that kind of conversation with an administrator, and she just felt like she could deal with it better on her own, accept it and go on. In other words, she felt powerless."

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How does Scotland's equal gender cabinet compare with its UK equivalent? | News | The Guardian

How does Scotland's equal gender cabinet compare with its UK equivalent? | News | The Guardian: "As well as getting its first female leader, the Scottish government now has a cabinet on which both genders are equally represented.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her cabinet was:

A clear demonstration that this government will work hard in all areas to promote women, to create gender equality and it sends out a strong message that the business of redressing the gender balance in public life starts right here in government

It certainly contrasts with the headlines bemoaning the poor gender split on the UK’s cabinet whenever there is a reshuffle. As the chart below shows Westminster has quite a way to go to catch up."

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

World’s Oldest Spice Bears Vietnam Modern Riches: Southeast Asia - Bloomberg

World’s Oldest Spice Bears Vietnam Modern Riches: Southeast Asia - Bloomberg: "At a time when commodity producers are enduring a slump in prices for everything from crude oil to iron ore to soybeans, Vietnam’s pepper farmers are prospering.

Black pepper trades at about $9 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), from $2 a decade ago, while white pepper costs as much as $13, a threefold gain, according to the International Pepper Community, a producer group in Jakarta. Consumption has exceeded supply for about eight years, boosted by demand for seasoning as Asia eats more meat, said Greg Estep, the global head of spices and vegetable ingredients at Singapore-based Olam International Ltd.

The surge in the $2.5 billion pepper export market contrasts with a fourth consecutive year of declining commodity prices as supply gluts emerge. Vietnam’s crop expanded 15-fold over two decades, displacing India as the biggest supplier, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization says."

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Will A Gluten-Free Diet Really Make You Healthier? - Consumer Reports

Will A Gluten-Free Diet Really Make You Healthier? - Consumer Reports: "Just as fat was vilified in the 1990s and carbs have been scorned more recently, gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye—has become the latest dietary villain, blamed for everything from forgetfulness to joint pain to weight gain. "Gluten free" is a claim you see on everything from potato chips to bread to hummus—and even on cosmetics and laundry detergent.  Some people must avoid the protein because they have celiac disease—an autoimmune condition in which gluten causes potentially life-threatening intestinal damage—or gluten sensitivity. But less than 7 percent of Americans have those conditions.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 63 percent thought that following a gluten-free diet would improve physical or mental health. About a third said they buy gluten-free products or try to avoid gluten. Among the top benefits they cited were better digestion and gastrointestinal function, healthy weight loss, increased energy, lower cholesterol, and a stronger immune system.

Yet there’s very limited research to substantiate any of those beliefs, notes Alessio Fasano, M.D., director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Unless you have celiac disease or a true gluten sensitivity, there’s no clear medical reason to eliminate it, Fasano says. In fact, you might be doing your health a disservice. “When you cut out gluten completely, you can cut out foods that have valuable nutrients,” he says, “and you may end up adding more calories and fat into your diet.” Before you decide to ride the wave of this dietary trend, consider why it might not be a good idea."

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