Global Quickies 21.5

Global Quickies 21.5

Welcome back to Global Quickies! You might be wondering what’s going on with the numbers on the title. I inverted day and month on the date. Why? Because it’s in metric. (Except, not really).
You guys left so many positive comments on the first edition of this feature that you convinced me to come back sooner than I had planned. So, without further delay, here’s your (somewhat regular) dose of skeptical news from around the world:

 
Zimbabwe
(From Ashley and Brad)

You know what would slow down the spread of HIV? For people to stop having sex. What can make people stop having sex? Making women unattractive. By law. And that is precisely what a senator in Zimbabwe proposed during an HIV awareness workshop for parliamentarians. If only women shaved their heads, stopped bathing, stopped losing weight, and dressed shabbily, men wouldn’t find it so difficult to resist them. He also proposed that women get circumcised and that more research be done in how to deal with women’s health:

“Women have got more moisture in their organs as compared to men so there is need to research on how to deal with that moisture because it is conducive for bacteria breeding. There should be a way to suck out that moisture.”

And he’s not the only Senator in desperate need of the workshop. Another senator suggested people should only have sex once a month and men should be injected with drugs to reduce their libido.

 

Brazil
(From macgreco)

Brazilian scientists are organizing against the spread of creationism in the country. Several biologists sent a concerned letter to the Brazilian Academy of Science informing it of the “attempts to popularize backwards ideas that go against the scientific method”. They are also proposing the formation of a committee on education, outreach, and epistemology of biological evolution. The idea is to reinforce the teaching of evolution in schools and do outreach to the general public before attempts at changing the science curriculum to include the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools gain support.
 
Denmark
(From Rebecca)

During a summit where Michael Dell was the keynote speaker, Dell Denmark decided to hire as emcee and entertainer the controversial Mads Christensen, a guy known for making provocative statements. He did not fail to deliver. He made comments such as: “Keep the IT business free from women as long as you can”, and that, of all the great inventions, “We can thank women for the rolling pin”. Dell first apologized with an “I’m sorry you’re offended” tweet and later on Google+.
Even if, as some argue, Christensen is “the Danish Steven Colbert”, you just have to read the comments on Elektronista’s post or on this CNet post to see that these views are still quite popular. You know what, don’t read them. Really, it’s best if you don’t. It will only make your eyes bleed.
 

Ireland
(From Jonathan)

A pregnant girl was refused admission at a school she had previously been accepted to, and then refused again after she gave birth, because the school “did not take such girls”. Although it is not illegal, the Ombudsman for Children requested the school apologize to the girl, but they have refused so far. The good news is that this controversy has prompted the Minister of Education to say he will introduce legislation next year to put an enrollment policy framework on a statutory basis.
 

India

A man in India was beaten to death by villagers for practicing witchcraft. He was being accused of casting an evil influence on several villagers who had died of mysterious illnesses during the previous year. When he denied the accusations, he was attacked. 15 people were detained by the police.
According to this article, 250 people were killed after being accused of witchcraft from 2004 to 2009 in Assam province alone, and a study by an NGO claims that almost 200 women are accused of being witches and killed every year in India.
 
If you have a news item you would like to see featured in Global Quickies, please send them through the Skepchick contact form. For all of you who already did: thanks, they helped a lot. Keep them coming!

Avatar of Daniela
Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at esceptica.org.

19 Comments

  1. Avatar of marilove

    ““They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these problems,””

    Because … not bathing … is totally not going to cause anyone to get sick and spread disease, RIGHT?

    Oh
    my
    gawd

    I can’t even, honestly.

    • Avatar of Otoki

      I was far more impressed by the ideas on how to make women’s genitals less moist, because THAT’S what’s causing the spread of disease. I remember reading about the practice of “dry sex” in an Economist piece on the spread of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe…wait for it…TEN YEARS AGO. What the fucking fuck.

      • Avatar of Skepotter

        Not bathing and female genital mutilation are so much more effective than making sure the prick wears a condom. [/sarcasm]

      • Avatar of marilove

        Dry sex causes irritation which can cause little cuts which can MAKE IT EASIER FOR HIV/AIDS TO SPREAD (among other diseases, and UTIs, and yeast infections, and and and). ARGH.

        Dry sex is bad, people. Use condoms AND LUBE!

    • Avatar of dr. dr. professor

      Unfortunately women in general have it not so good in the third world. I’ve been to India many times to visit family and there’s lots and lots damaging lines of thinking like this ingrained in people’s heads. A rich women in Dehli, Chennai, or Mumbai might be free, but a staggering amount of poor women are subjected to very ancient prejudice.

      My assessment is that most of the world’s women still live under extreme societal oppression. :(.

  2. Avatar of Rei Malebario

    I’m from Denmark and Mads Christensen is definitely not our Stephen Colbert. He’s a witless dick. He’s not clever, he’s not funny, he’s not anything – he’s simply an arse.

    His area of specialty is writing books on how to show off by pretending to be a rich douchebag (rather than the middle class douchebag that you certainly are if you read any of them). He’s basically famous for being unaccountably famous. Why anybody would pay him to speak at any event at all is a mystery.

    • Avatar of apuc

      People becoming famous for no readily apparent reason does seem to have become an international problem in recent years. If only most of them weren’t so stupid..

  3. Avatar of criticaldragon1177

    What Zimbabwe is doing is really bad. Not only will it not stop men from having sex and spreading aids, but it will lead to other health problems. In addition its really mean to women.

  4. Avatar of nomaduk

    I inverted day and month on the date.

    No, you didn’t; you restored them to the order everyone on the planet — with one or two minor exceptions — puts them.

  5. Avatar of Madfishmonger

    There is only one positive article, and it’s a reminder that creationism is sticky and hard to get out.

  6. Avatar of DrMcCoy

    Eh. You should rather use ISO 8601 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601 ), i.e. YYYY-MM-DD , 2012-05-21 in this case.

  7. Avatar of emmastaf

    Me gustan los Global Quickies!
    It’s hilarious to think that men won’t want to have sex with gross women. Every day, millions of gross people have sex all over the world, irrespective of race, class, or gender. Europe made it through the Middle Ages, when (as far as I’ve heard) everyone was extremely gross.

    • Avatar of Buzz Parsec

      Little known true fact that I just made up: The Black Death didn’t actually kill anyone. The population declined because everyone was too grossed out by the ugly black lumps and all the rats and fleas scurrying around to have sex.

  8. Avatar of pciszek

    In a rational world, we would write dates in the form 2012.05.22 (or 12.05.22 if you are lazy and don’t mind bequeathing a problem to computer programmers 88 years from now) so that dates could be sorted alphabetically and come out in chronological order.

    • Avatar of DrMcCoy

      Well, the ISO standard 8601 suggests an hyphen (U+2010, ?) or ASCII hyphen (aka hyphen-minus, U+002D, -) as a separator, so it should be 2012-05-22, not 2012.05.22. :P

      /pedant

      • Avatar of DrMcCoy

        Hmmpf, the comments here apparently don’t like the unicode hyphen and change it into a question mark.

  9. Avatar of Daniela

    Wow! I didn’t think my off-hand joke about Americans writing the date differently from everyone else would cause a debate.

    I mostly did it to make it easier to tell apart regular Quickies from Global Quickies.(Also, it still takes me a few seconds to process dates when the month is written first.)

    • Avatar of Buzz Parsec

      No need to apologize. People are just having fun. On the other hand, Don’t Lose Randi Again!

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