Links: Wednesday, August 27th

August 27, 2014 Links 4

Animated gif of bugs bunny in a tux conducting an orchestra by holding his left arm up with his hand palm up and jiggling.

“I’m 5’4” and my boyfriend is 6’5” this describes my sex life!”

Today’s Links:

  • Medieval Hair Care – MedievalPOC has a great post on medieval hair and skin products. This note at the end is great too. It’s a good reminder that anti-blackness hasn’t always been a common assumption.

    A last note-these cosmetic recipes come from a book known as “The Trotula”, which was created by Trotula of Salerno, who revolutionized Medieval medicine by and for women, synthesizing knowledge flowing out of Asia and the Middle East regarding medicine and specifically gynecology. In Medieval Europe, some of the most well-known people of color were physicians, because African and Asian medicine was well-known and revered.

  • Kobo Aura H2O – Forgive me for sounding like a press release, but a waterproof ereader sounds awesome.

    Worry-free eReading

    Kobo Aura H2O is the first premium eReader to have a waterproof* and dustproof design that allows you to take it worry-free from the beach, to the bath, to your bed. Plus, with up to 2 months of battery life, you have the freedom to keep reading, wherever you go. So if you drop it in the bath or accidentally spill a drink on it, your Kobo Aura H2O will still work like new. Just use the included drying cloth to dry the screen, so you can get back to reading**.

  • Fuck you, Lego – Did you like the female scientist minifigs Lego put out? Well, I hope you moved fast and got them, because they’ve sold out and won’t be replenished. They were a limited edition collector’s item, you know, because female scientists are just a quirky aberration.

    So instead of launching a major marketing campaign for the scientists, the way they did for Friends, for example, showing non-stop ads on TV and creating mini-movies featuring the figs all over the internet, these scientists will be hidden from kidworld. The figs won’t be seen on T-shirts, shoes sold at Stride Rite, lunchboxes or cereal boxes. There is no upcoming blockbuster movie where a chemist, astronomer, and paleontologist are a team of brilliant, brave heroes fighting evil. No, instead, LEGO’s female scientists are destined to a similar fate as female superheroes, possible to find if parents scour the internet, but missing from your children’s daily life, not present in stores that sell kids’ clothing, books, and toys, a venue where our children will mostly likely have to settle for slave Leia.

  • Why The FDA Needs To Work Harder To Get More Women And Minorities Into Clinical Trials – While diversifying clinical trial participants is absolutely necessary, they’ve got their work cut out for them. History has not given people of color many reasons to trust medical researchers.

    The “Action Plan to Enhance the Collection and Availability of Demographic Subgroup Data” is essentially the FDA’s way of acknowledging that the agency needs to do a better job recruiting different people — particularly women and racial minorities — to participate in the research process for developing new health treatments.

    Why does that matter? Because clinical trials are currently dominated by white people, even as non-white Americans have the highest rates of diseases like cancer. In fact, according to one study, non-white people represent fewer than five percent of overall participants in clinical trials, and fewer than two percent of research studies working on cancer treatments focus specifically on minority groups.

    This lack of diversity ultimately ends up impacting non-white people’s access to health resources. Since certain drugs and therapies may not work as well for different populations, researchers aren’t necessarily developing the best treatments for the racial groups that need them most. That isn’t purely hypothetical — there’s evidence that the HPV vaccine isn’t as effective for black women because the trials to develop it consisted of mostly white people.

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge Isn’t Going Away – Despite having an ALS-like disease myself, and despite the fact that any medical breakthroughs that could help me will likely come out of ALS research, I do not care for the ice bucket campaign. Putting that money towards charities that provide support – wheelchairs, DME, modified homes and vehicles, home health aides, etc. – would improve many, many more lives than continuing to throw money at a decades-long search for a cure to a disease that affects few people. Anil Dash also has a good post on this, and so does Julia Belluz at Vox.

    “Turning a pointless viral meme to noble ends can only be a good thing,” wrote Will Oremus in Slate, praising all the good that the money will do for “the 12,000 Americans who have the disease, and for their families and future generations.”

    But giving money to a disease-specific charity is a very odd, and peculiarly ineffective, way of spending your philanthropic dollar—especially when your donation is a one-off thing. What is the ALS Association going to do with all this money? They haven’t said. The organization’s primary focus is scientific: They fund research into the disease and potential cures. ALS is a tough nut to crack, however: After 30 years of work, we don’t seem to be any closer to finding a cure. And there’s no particular reason to believe that we’re $100 million away from finally getting somewhere. Even if a million Americans donate $100 each to ALS, the net positive effect on the world might well be very small indeed.

  • Face it, blacks. Michael Brown let you down. – A poignant article on how people judge black victims and deduct points to dehumanize them and find their death less tragic.

    A good friend wrote recently about how, whenever he got pulled over, he would slip his college ID over his driver’s license and hand it to the officer. Yes, some of us deserve to be shot in the street, he was saying silently, but this ID proves that I’m not one of them. He feels guilty about this now.

    I used to do something similar — I’d ‘accidentally’ hand the officer my college ID, and feign absentmindedness and chuckle over-conspicuously when he reminded me that he needed my driver’s license. It worked sometimes. I don’t feel so guilty about it.

    Because thinking back, I realize that this ritual, repeated every few weeks or so, was as much for my soul as it was for my safety. Looking down at that college ID reminded me that I was a ‘good’ human. I was assuring myself that if something went wrong, at least I’d be a pretty decent martyr. I was no Jesus, but at least I could be an extreme Rosa Parks. Better than Claudette Colvin, anyway.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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4 Responses to “Links: Wednesday, August 27th”

  1. cleo

    Forgot to mention this earlier – I really like the new Reviews drop down menu (a good thing too, since I think I inadvertently created a lot of work for you by suggesting it, but I think it’s great – it makes my compulsively alphabetizing and researching self very happy).

  2. lawless

    Thanks for the links on the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s a great way to raise awareness, but it has many flaws. One that I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere is that many, if not all, of these projects involve animal testing that involves suffering that is then wasted because it doesn’t pan out. It’s also not clear how well having such a large warchest will serve them when research relies on steady amounts of current funding.

  3. Ridley

    @cleo: It was a lot of data entry, but it was totally worth it, so thanks for suggesting it. There’ll be more changes soon, too. Fingers crossed that I don’t break everything in the process. I know just enough to be dangerous.