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Sex ed’s too late

ThinkProgress writes about a new Centers for Disease Control survey that found 83 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 don’t receive formal sex-ed instruction until after they’ve become sexually active. The researchers warned that “this represents a missed opportunity” to ensure teens receive the medically accurate information they need to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

ThinkProgress points out that “the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and the National Education Association all endorse comprehensive sex ed programs. But, thanks to social conservatives who falsely claim that teaching kids about sex will spur more of them to become sexually active, there’s still considerable resistance to adopting these policies.

“Although conservatives tend to deride efforts to overhaul human sexuality curricula as inappropriate attempts to implement ‘kindergarten sex ed,’ the CDC’s research underscores the point that teaching kids about their bodies can’t wait until senior year of high school. Other data on the subject has confirmed that … messages about abstinence don’t convince them to make different choices.”

Sky’s the limit

On last week’s New Yorker Political Scene podcast, Jeffrey Toobin and others discuss the Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which removed limits on the total amount of money a donor can give to multiple candidates in one election cycle. Mr. Toobin said the greater significance of the decision “is that this court is now really committed to the idea that money is speech, and the giving of money to a campaign is a First Amendment-protected activity, like giving a speech, writing a book. So any kind of rules limiting campaign contributions, I think, are in real jeopardy.”

Mr. Toobin later offered some advice to wealthy donors who’ve used donation limits as an excuse to slip away from fund-raisers: “Change your phone number.”

Facebook takes up arms

The Borowitz Report: “One day after Google outbid Facebook for a manufacturer of solar-powered drones, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg served warning that his company was prepared to blow Google’s drones out of the skies. At a presentation for Facebook employees at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Zuckerberg announced plans to build a $24 billion Facebook laser shield, a global network of satellites capable of identifying and incinerating Google drones in midair.

“Zuckerberg delighted his audience with a brief animated demonstration showing a Facebook satellite locking in on a Google drone and obliterating it with a green laser. ‘Unfriended …!’ said Zuckerberg, to a roaring ovation from his employees.”

Bye, bye beards?

Via the Atlantic Wire: Christopher Howse at The Telegraph wonders whether we’ve reached “peak beard”:

“If you are repelled by the inexplicably large number of young men wearing big beards, the prediction by a pogonologist, or beard-scientist, from New South Wales will cheer you. We have reached ‘peak beard,’ declares Dr. Rob Brooks. From now on, beards will dwindle and fail, soon to be despised and shunned.

“In his book, the popularity of beards is a matter of ‘negative frequency-dependent selection.’ When everyone has one, there’s no advantage in growing facial foliage.”

Mr. Howse, himself a bearded man, writes, “Some women say they like a man with a beard, but I suspect their preference is for the man behind the rebarbative barrier. When beards reigned, women just put up with them as they did with the wing-collars, spats, cigars and a strong smell of horse that characterized male life in the Victorian heyday.”

Elect me, I’m a crook!!

And you thought Congress was bad. From a Foreign Policy news digest: “Roughly 17 percent of contestants for a seat in [India’s] Lok Sabha, or lower parliament, are facing criminal convictions, a report by advocacy group Association for Democratic Alliance showed (Hindustan Times).” In fact, the report said, “a candidate with a criminal case is twice as likely to win an election (23 percent) compared to a candidate without any charges (12 percent).”


Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).

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