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:
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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