Month: June 2017

Gross face of the new feminism

Vaginas are so hot right now. If that sentence shocks you, then you’ve been out of the cultural loop. Thanks to a new wave of television and autobiographies by some very funny women, female privates have moved to the front and centre of popular entertainment. Male bits, once the only game in town, are now chiefly of interest only as a sidebar to hilarious female riffs on misfiring, awkward and unsatisfactory sex, thanks to recent work by the likes of Lena Dunham, Britain’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge (writer, actor and star of BBC series Fleabag), and now Amy Schumer, whose smash hit “femoir”, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, recently hit stores. This is all part of a new movement – what I like to call “gross-out feminism”. It is gleeful, honest to a fault, and practised exclusively by women who long ago kissed goodbye to the capacity to be embarrassed. Its goal – apart from to make people laugh – is to provide a kind of shock therapy to those still harbouring the notion that …

skepticsociety Republicans Rejects Conservatism

Republicans Rejecting Conservatism

Republicans are so bankrupt that they refuse to use quality health care policy ideas put forward by conservative intellectuals, opting instead for tax cuts for the rich. Republican politicians believe that government should tax people less. The Senate bill would eliminate the 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those making over $250,000.

Quantum Computers

A quantum computer would be able to factor a large number far more quickly than the best available methods today. If researchers could build a quantum computer that could outperform classical supercomputers, the thinking goes, cryptographers could use a particular algorithm called Shor’s algorithm to render the RSA cryptosystem unsalvageable.

Skeptic Society Magazine Water Access is a Gender Equality Issue

Water Access is a Gender Equality Issue

World Water Day, an internationally-celebrated day dedicated to collaboration between the United Nations, governments, and non-governmental organizations to tackle the world’s water crisis. Ensuring universal access to safe water by 2030 is identified as a critical component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s mandate to eradicate extreme poverty. The global water crisis is not only deadly—lack of access to clean water claims more lives each year than AIDS, breast cancer, terrorism, and all the world’s conflicts combined—but is incredibly economically costly. And the opportunity cost of water shortage, contamination, and inadequate infrastructure falls disproportionately on women and girls. In communities around the world, women and girls spend much of their days walking long distances to seek out safe water, fetching or drawing it, and carrying heavy containers back to their households. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, an average trip to collect water covers over 3 miles and takes 33 minutes each way—and in a number of countries, such as Mauritania, Somalia, Tunisia, and Yemen, the trip takes longer than an hour each way. In …

Skeptic Society Magazine Child Marriage and Religion

Child Marriage and Religion

Last month, academics, advocates, and religious leaders gathered at an event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations during the American Academy of Religion conference to discuss the relationship between religion and child marriage. Although global rates of child marriage are on a downward trajectory, progress in curbing this practice has been far too slow. The United Nations estimates that one in three women aged twenty to twenty-four —almost 70 million women total — married under the age of eighteen. Approximately 23 million were married under the age of fifteen, and some were married as young as eight or nine years old. The implications are dire: child marriage is linked to poor health, curtailed education, violence, and lawlessness, all of which threatens international development, prosperity, and stability. Religion is often blamed for the prevalence of child marriage. Notably, however, the practice is not unique to any one faith; in fact, it occurs across religions and regions. For example, in India, where 40 percent of the world’s known child brides reside, child marriage is prevalent among both …