Life as an Extreme Sport

Wielding a Red Pen: Correcting a Fear-mongering Ebola Piece with Facts

If you catch me on Twitter, or read the fantastic Red Ink, you might have seen my corrections and edits to the first page of a genuinely awful, fear-mongering piece on Ebola that was inexplicably published by Pacific Standard.Per policy, I won’t drive traffic to horrible pieces. You can find it on your own relatively easily. You might have also realized why: I was forbidden from grading in red ink when I TA’d (“did you dip that in red ink?”); I was consistently voted most likely to become a doctor or teacher in those elementary school “most likely” contests. Sorry about that. Well, at least the second one; handwriting has never been my strong suit. Due to said possibly challenging handwriting, I figured I would go ahead and expand on my comments here.Okay, most of this is taken from a Facebook rant the other day that accompanied a snapshot of

Continue reading

Chobani Learns That HowMatters – and so Does Science

During the last Super Bowl, Chobani debuted an advertisement focusing on their use of natural ingredients and limited preservatives. It was an innocuous, somewhat bland, typically feel-good commercial, emphasizing that how things are made matters. And it probably would have gone largely unnoticed by media critics, science writers, and scientists, save for one wee problem: Chobani extended the thought of the commercial to messages inside yogurt lids. But a commercial is 90 seconds of words and images; a yogurt lid is a lot less space. And in that space, they opted for the fatefully bad phrase: Nature got us to 100 calories, not scientists. #HowMatters. They might as well have painted a bullseye on the label. Since then, Chobani’s social media team mistakenly tried to take the tongue-in-cheek approach, realized it was backfiring even further, apologized, explained they use science, and reassured consumers that the #WordsMatter and they’ve discontinued the

Continue reading

Childless: My Joy is Another’s Grief; Don’t Conflate the Two

This morning, CNN[note]Thanks, Tara, for bringing it to my attention. Or, “thanks.”[/note] ran a piece on misunderstandings and stereotypes of childless women called “Check your ‘cat-lady’ preconceptions about childless women.” Naturally, it’s full of preconceptions, misunderstandings, and stereotypes of childless women. In particular, the women are still discussed by their relationship to/with children, and the voluntarily child-free are conflated with the involuntarily childless and uncertain. Let’s take a quick walk through the women interviewed for this story: Grell Yursik, 35: she and her husband have not decided whether they want to have children; Laurie White, 43: refers to herself as “accidentally childless”; Melanie Notkin, 45: says she has circumstantial infertility because she’s single and discusses “the pain and grief over not having children,” promotes maternal instincts of childless women; Kitty Bradshaw, 35: heeded advice to wait to have children (portrayed as bad advice in the story), still dreams of having

Continue reading