Global Quickies: Diploma Mills, High Heels, and Iron Fish

The same-sex marriage referendum will be comfortably passed, based on early tallies from across the country.

“The Cannes Film Festival is facing an angry backlash after it was accused of turning away women from a red-carpet screening for not wearing high heels.” This includes film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated, being stopped for not wearing high heels.

“Egyptian security forces are using sexual violence against detainees on a massive scale, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.”

Two judges reduced a convicted child abuser’s sentence almost by half, ruling his six-year-old ‘was gay’ and had already been traumatized by sexual abuse from his father.

A 19 year-old singer competing on a Turkish television singing show was shot in the head on Monday by an attacker who fired through a window from outside her house. She had told producers that some relatives had told her they would kill her if she joined the competition.

“A woman in India is hoping her response outing a man who sent her a lewd message on Facebook will inspire others to speak up against harassment.”

“Pakistani investigators on Tuesday raided the offices of Axact, a software firm in Karachi that has come under scrutiny for running a global diploma mill that made tens of millions of dollars through a network of fake online schools.”

The Spanish government doesn’t consider the murder of a prostitute by her client as gender-based violence because there’s not a sentimental bond between them.

“In what’s believed to be the first ever gay matrimonial advertisement in India, a mother has placed an advert in a Mumbai-based newspaper seeking a husband for her son. Padma Iyer’s notice seeks a “well-placed, vegetarian, animal-loving groom” for her son Harish, a gay rights activist.”

Seeing that anemia was a huge health problem in Cambodia, a Canadian scientist came up with a great idea to increase the iron content of food: put a metal fish in the cooking pot. If the iron fish is used every day in the correct way, it should provide 75% of an adult’s daily recommended intake of iron.

In Saudi Arabia, you need a man: Female engineers on a Spanish-led subway project in Riyadh reveal what life is like for them”

The Boko Haram crisis in northern Nigeria could fuel child marriage as parents pull their daughters out of school following mass abductions by the militants”

“Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, a former nurse who spent over four decades in a vegetative state after being raped at a Mumbai hospital in 1973, died Monday morning after a heart attack following a bout of pneumonia. She was 68.” “In March 2011, Shanbaug became the face of the debate on euthanasia in India after the country’s Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the writer Pinki Virani that sought permission for a ‘mercy killing’.”

“Former Grand Slam tennis star Bob Hewitt has been jailed for six years by a South African court for raping underage girls.”

Featured image: Lucky Iron Fish


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.

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One Comment

  1. My attitudes about euthanasia of the vegetative have completely changed since my own six-week coma. The doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. But while they were shining lights in my eyes to gauge my level of consciousness, I was telling them to leave me alone so I could get back to sleep…in my coma dream, as I call it. I was experiencing covert cognition, which means that while the doctors were writing me off as a basket case, I was aware of much of what was going on around me.

    The doctors pooh-poohed my loved ones observations of my improving awareness. And my mother thinks that when the nurses lamented my supposedly poor quality of life, they were trying to edge her into eventually pulling the plug.

    As you may have guessed, I emerged from the coma with absolutely not cognitive damage, and there were few physical effects, which have mostly disappeared and are expected to go away completely eventually.

    Of course, that poor Indian woman wasn’t as lucky as I was. But was she tested for covert cognition? Probably not; you’d have to be fortunate enough to be part of a medical study, like Kate Bainbridge, who has express similar concerns. For all we know, Aruna was experiencing her own entertaining coma-dream. My quality of life in my fantasy world–interrupted by real world events–was just fine.

    Sorry about the rant, but as you can see, I’m passionate about this now. Dr. Adrian Owen and his lab at Canada’s Western University has had some success in detecting covert awareness using EEGs, which I did receive. Using the much more expensive and rare fMRI machines, he’s been able to ask some patients yes or no questions. He was the one who detected Kate Bainbridge’s covert cognition. She received therapy after that. I did not, but recovered anyway.

    End of rant.

    Perhaps someday, doctors will be able to ask patients like Aruna if they want to die, or if they’re perfectly happy in their dream world.

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