Recent Articles

James Fallows to Dick Cheney:  “Shut up.”

James Fallows to Dick Cheney: “Shut up.”

| February 23, 2007 | Reply

Who’s the best person to lecture China on a recent test that suggests China’s interest in militarizing outer space?  According to James Fallows, it’s not Dick Cheney.

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Bloggers challenge corporate journalists to do real journalism

Bloggers challenge corporate journalists to do real journalism

| February 23, 2007 | 1 Reply

Marty Kaplan comments on a report by Glenn Greenwald from the National Press Club this week.  One panelist, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe responded to criticism by bloggers that journalists are not doing their job: Our role is to ask questions and get information. It’s not a chance for the opposition to take on the government and […]

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Carl Sagan on the failure of many religions to consider the rest of the universe

Carl Sagan on the failure of many religions to consider the rest of the universe

| February 22, 2007 | 45 Replies

Carl Sagan’s new article can be found in the March/April 2007 edition of Skeptical Inquirer.  It is titled “Science’s Vast Cosmic Perspective Eludes Religion.” Well, okay.  As you know, Carl Sagan died of pneumonia in 1996.  This “new” article was actually prepared by Ann Druyan, based on lectures Sagan gave in 1985. Sagan begins the […]

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How is the U.S. handling the psychological needs of returning Iraq vets?

How is the U.S. handling the psychological needs of returning Iraq vets?

| February 22, 2007 | 2 Replies

Not very well, according to this article from Salon.com.  Here’s an excerpt: Perhaps most troubling, the Army seems bent on denying that the stress of war has caused the soldiers’ mental trauma in the first place. (There is an economic reason for doing so: Mental problems from combat stress can require the Army to pay disability […]

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Spoof ads, anyone?

Spoof ads, anyone?

| February 22, 2007 | Reply

Madison Avenue is so clever these days that most commercials are, to some extent, fun to watch. Adbusters.org is working hard to top Madison Avenue, though, with its own spoof commercials.  Some of these are quite well done.                           You’ll find more of Adbuster’s spoof ads here.  Here’s what Adbusters is about, based on its […]

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Happy Birthday to Dangerous Intersection

Happy Birthday to Dangerous Intersection

| February 21, 2007 | 4 Replies

One year ago, I made my first tentative post to this blog.  It was really a test more than a post, as were the handful of posts for the next two weeks.   We really didn’t get running until mid-March, 2006.   In that month of March 2006, “Grumpypilgrim” and I were happy to see that, on […]

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Astrophysicist Ashes: Sort of a Rambling Eulogy

Astrophysicist Ashes: Sort of a Rambling Eulogy

| February 21, 2007 | 4 Replies

Today is the first anniversary of my dad’s death. Yesterday I came home from the crematorium “with me dad took’d under me arm,” to badly paraphrase the children’s song about Ann Boleyn. Death doesn’t frighten me in an abstract way. I grew up with Tom Lehrer music, Charles Addams cartoons, Hitchcock short story books, and […]

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The effect of media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents

The effect of media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents

| February 21, 2007 | 13 Replies

According to a recent report by the American Psychological Association,

Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women.

According to this APA report, the pressure of this “sexualization” can lead to depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance. See, also, Yahoo’s article on this report.

What are the sources of these images? The report points to these examples:

Advertisements (e.g., the Skechers “naughty and nice” ad that featured Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails, with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop), dolls (e.g., Bratz dolls dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas), clothing (thongs sized for 7– to 10-year-olds, some printed with slogans such as “wink wink”), and television programs (e.g., a televised fashion show in which adult models in lingerie were presented as young girls).

It is difficult to not notice this modern smearing of the boundaries between female childhood and adulthood. Our media is obsessed with presenting images of women acting like little girls and little girls forced to act “sexualized.”

What’s the difference between “sexualization” and healthy sexuality? According to the APA report, “sexualization” occurs when

a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;

a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;

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Compelling photography from World Press Photo’s annual contest

Compelling photography from World Press Photo’s annual contest

| February 20, 2007 | 4 Replies

If you’d like to view some compelling photography, take a look at the prize winners of World Press Photo’s annual contest.  The purpose of the contest is to offer “an overview of how press photographers tackle their work worldwide and how the press gives us the news, bringing together pictures from all parts of the […]

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