Posts tagged with "The Guardian"

From the toxic culture that gave us mansplaining, here comes …‘hepeating’

May 18, 2022

Have you ever noticed how some men make a habit of repeating what women say—and taking all the credit for it? There’s a word for that: “hepeating,” reports The Guardian.

The hepeat is just the latest in the expanding list of terms for sexist male behavior, a glossary that began with mansplaining. It’s the term used when a woman suggests an idea—often in a meeting—and it’s ignored, but then a guy says the same exact thing and everyone loves it.

How is the new term used in a typical conversation? “Ugh! I got hepeated in that meeting again,” or “He totally hepeated me!”

And it’s caught on.  The concept was immediately recognized. U.S. physics professor and astronomer Nicole Gugliucciv’s original tweet proposing the term, posted back in September 2017, got 185k likes and 58.8k retweets. And they weren’t all “shetweets.” Men liked it, too.

The Oxford English Dictionary hasn’t included it. Yet. But the term has just been introduced into an internal handbook for the staff of the U.K.-based exam regulator Ofqual, where hepeating is described as “a situation where a man repeats a woman’s comments or ideas and then is praised for them as if they were his own”.

It has been rejected in some quarters, though: The (male) historian Jeremy Black is not a massive fan of the term. It’s an “ugly new made-up word that’s foolish and devoid of meaning”, he told the Mail on Sunday. He went on to say that it “should play no role in educational advice”.

So who does think it’s an actual term, then?  Any woman who has been in a meeting, or at work—or indeed anywhere with men.

Research contact: @guardian

Why Zoomer green is the new Millennial pink

January 12, 2022

It doesn’t take a genius to see why green feels aspirational at the precise moment in history when we humans finally seem to be twigging that a green future is the only future that is going to exist. Green is good. Green is the zeitgeist. So, what to wear? Green—but make it fashion, reports The Guardian.

The expression “but make it fashion” means to add a splash of showbiz, but also a hit of sharpness. A dash of syrup, plus a squeeze of lime. If the taste is too vanilla, that’s not fashion. Which is how we have ended up with a color-of-the-moment that symbolizes nature, but actually looks a bit synthetic. The green that is everywhere right now is a flat, saturated, straightforward green. It is not the color of moss, or of olives, or of sea foam.

It is not a color that sparkles from a cocktail ring or from a slice in a highball glass. It speaks of crayons and grass lawns and lunchbox apples. It is green at its most blunt.

And in fashion, this green already has a name:. This is Bottega greensome call it Zoomer green to reference the generation who wear it. It’s the green that is everywhere, that lurid shade somewhere between a shamrock and a matcha latte, has for the past year been effectively owned by the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta. When Bottega staged a show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the stage was bathed in this green. Bottega has made the color a signature, just as Hermès has with orange, and Tiffany with duck-egg blue.

How did this green replace blush pink, which was the chic color a year or two ago? Green snuck in as an accessory first. Because you know what works great with blush pink? Green.

According to The Guardian, at a moment when sustainability is front and center of every fashion conversation, it is only logical that the hottest dresses would be green.

And there is another way of reading this color—one that decodes it not via a Pantone chart, but from the highway code. This is traffic light green, you see. A universal symbol, understood across ages and languages. It means that it is safe to proceed. After living life on pause for so long, the allure of a color that gives us permission to pick up where we left off is strong.

We want to wear green not because it makes us feel pretty or chic or elegant, but because it makes us feel safe.

A green light for a safe future? A handbag doesn’t get much more aspirational than that.

Research contact: @guardian

‘Ruff’ sketches: Animal portraits in the style of old masters

December 29, 2021

Transforming pet photos into old masters is big business for Dutch artist Tein Lucasson. In 2016, when the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam released many of its works into the public domain, Lucasson digitally inserted a photo of his beloved labradoodle Ventje into one of the paintings.

Since then, the Dutch graphic designer and visual artist has turned hundreds of cats, dogs and guinea pigs into works of art for his website L’animorphe, reports The Guardian.

He collects the portraits, along with his paintings of wild animals—such as zebras, flamingos, and raccoons—in a series of books published by the German, family owned company teNeues .

“It started as something I did for fun and it turned into a company,” he says. “The portraits are not meant to be anything other than a remembrance of the love of a dog or a cat. But it’s turned into something bigger.”

Research contact: @guardian

Italian man tries to dodge COVID vaccine by wearing fake arm

December 6, 2021

An Italian man is facing charges of fraud after turning up for his COVID-19 vaccination wearing a fake arm, reports The Guardian.

The anti-vaxxer was so determined to dodge the jab—but still obtain a health pass—that he may have paid hundreds of euros for the silicone prosthetic.

The bizarre episode at a vaccine hub in Biella, a town close to Turin in the northern Piedmont region, came a week after Italy announced measures barring unvaccinated people from a host of social, cultural, and sporting activities.

After completing the bureaucratic formalities—including signing a consent form in front of a doctor—the man, aged 50, sat down and lifted up the sleeve of his shirt as he prepared for a health worker to administer the jab.

Initially, the health worker did not notice anything odd, as the silicone looked similar to skin. But after taking a closer look and touching the arm, the medic asked the man to take off his shirt. His plan foiled, the man, who has not been named, then tried to persuade the health worker to turn a blind eye.

“I felt offended as a professional,” Filippa Bua told Italian daily newspaper La Republica. “The color of the arm made me suspicious and so I asked the man to uncover the rest of his left arm. It was well made but it wasn’t the same color.”

The man said to her: “Would you have imagined that I’d have such a physique?”

She told another Italian daily, La Stampa, that she could not see the man’s veins: “At first I thought I made a mistake, that it was a patient with an artificial arm.”

It is not clear whether he was wearing a whole fake arm or some kind of silicone layer over his skin.

“The promptness and skill of the health worker ruined the plans of this person, who will now have to respond to the judiciary,” Alberto Cirio, the president of Piedmont, said in a joint statement with Luigi Icardi, the regional health councilor.

La Repubblica suggested that the incident might not have been a one-off—citing a recent message on social media that might have been written by the man in Biella.

The Twitter post featured a silicone male chest half-body suit, complete with fake arms and neck, that was on sale on Amazon for €488 (US$552). Alongside the image was the message: “If I go with this, will they notice? Maybe beneath the silicone I’ll even put on some extra clothes to avoid the needle reaching my real arm.”

Cirio and Icardi said the case would “border on the ridiculous” were it not “for the fact that we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity”.

“It is unacceptable in the face of the sacrifice that the pandemic is making the whole community pay for,” they added.

Research contact: @guardian

Bombshell: Trump tested positive for COVID and lied about it before first presidential debate in 2020

December 6, 2021

In a bolt from the blue, a former member of the Trump Administration has revealed in a new book that former President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first general election debate with former Vice President Joe Biden and arrived late for the event so he wouldn’t have to be tested for the virus, reports CNN.

The revelation came in “A Chief’s Chief,” by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and was first reported by The Guardian. Meadows writes that after Trump tested positive, he then got a negative test—adding that “nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”

The debate was September 29. Two days later—on October 2 —Trump announced that he had contracted COVID-19.

You’ll remember that, according to debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, Trump and his entourage arrived too late on the day of the debate—the afternoon of the 29th—to be tested by an independent party.

As Wallace recounted: “For them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night,” he said. “They didn’t show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. There was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

The honor system isn’t really something that Donald Trump buys into. This is a man who made more than 30,000 — yes, that number is correct—false or misleading claims over the course of his four years, according to The Washington Post.

Trump released a statement on Wednesday morning, December 1, disputing Meadows’ account.

“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump said. “In fact, a test revealed I did not have Covid prior to the debate.”

However, according to CNN, the context around when Trump got sick is not helpful to the former president. The news network says, “He himself openly speculated that he contracted COVID during an event for military families at the White House. In an interview on October 8 on Fox Business, Trump speculated that it was that event where he got the virus.

In that same debate, when the conversation turned to the importance of masking as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus, Trump offered this comparison to Biden: “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from him, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Research contact: @CNN

Study: Climate crisis pushes albatross ‘divorce’ rates higher

November 25, 2021

Albatrosses, some of the world’s most loyally monogamous creatures, are “divorcing” more often—and researchers say global warming may be to blame, The Guardian reports.

In a new Royal Society study of the large oceanic birds found mainly in the North Pacific, researchers say climate change and warming waters are pushing black-browed albatross break-up rates higher. Typically, after choosing a partner, only between 1% and 3% would separate in search of greener romantic pastures.

But in the years with unusually warm water temperatures, that average consistently rose, with up to 8% of couples splitting up. The study looked at a wild population of 15,500 breeding pairs in the Falkland Islands over 15 years.

For seabirds, warmer waters mean fewer fish, less food, and a harsher environment. Fewer chicks survive. The birds’ stress hormones increase. They are forced farther afield to hunt.

As some of the most loyal partners of the animal kingdom, the love lives of albatrosses have long been a subject of scientific study. “There are all these things we think of as being super-duper human,” says Dr. Graeme Elliot, principal science adviser at New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, who has been studying albatrosses in the country’s waters for three decades.

The birds lend themselves to anthropomorphism: Living for 50-60 years, they have a long, awkward teen phase, as they learn how to seduce a mate through dance; and take years-long trips away from home as they mature. They usually to mate for life, and loudly celebrate when greeting a partner after a long absence.

But now, they increasingly share another rite of passage that may sound familiar to young humans: Under stress from the climate crisis, working longer hours to eat, and faced with the logistical difficulties of a traveling partner, some are struggling to maintain relationships.

Francesco Ventura, researcher at University of Lisbon and co-author of the Royal Society study, said the researchers were surprised to learn that warmer waters were associated with unusually high rates of albatross couples splitting up, even when the lack of fish were accounted for.

Albatross divorce was usually predicted by a reproductive failure, Ventura said. If a pair failed to produce a chick, they had a higher chance of splitting up. Less food for birds could lead to more failures. But the researchers were surprised to find that even when they accounted for that, higher water temperatures were having an extra effect—pushing up divorce rates even when reproduction was successful.

Ventura floated two possible reasons—one that warming waters were forcing the birds to hunt for longer and fly further. If birds then failed return for a breeding season, their partners may move on with someone new. Added to that, when waters are warmer and in harsher environments, albatross stress hormones go up. Ventura said the birds may feel that and blame their partners.

​ “We propose this partner-blaming hypothesis—under which a stressed female might feel this physiological stress and attribute these higher stress levels to a poor performance of the male,” he says.

What’s more, dropping population numbers have changed the birds’ mating patterns in other ways, Elliot said, with more homosexual couplings appearing. “We’re getting male-male pairs amongst the birds on Antipodes Island, which we haven’t had before,” he said. “A few percent of the boys are pairing up with another boy because they can’t find a female partner.”

Now, Elliot hopes that some of the sympathies people have for albatrosses could motivate changes in behavior, to address the environmental threats the birds are facing—particularly climate change, and tuna fishing. “We kind of need an international campaign to save these birds,” Elliot says. “If we don’t turn it around, they’ll go extinct.”

Research contact: @guardian

Grandmothers may be more connected to grandchildren than to own offspring

November 22, 2021

They say that grandchildren are life’s greatest joy, and now the first study to examine grandmothers’ brain function has suggested that grannies may be more emotionally connected to their grandkids than to their own sons and daughters, reports The Guardian.

Since the 1960s, researchers have posited that one reason women tend to live decades past their reproductive years is that it increases the chances of their grandchildren surviving, through the physical support they often provide—the grandmother hypothesis. More recent evidence has suggested that children’s wellbeing and educational performance is also boosted by the presence of engaged grandparents.

To better understand the biological underpinnings of this connection, Professor James Rilling, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited 50 women with at least one biological grandchild aged between three and 12, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan their brains as they looked at photos of that child, the child’s parents, and images of an unrelated child and adult.

“What really jumps out is the activation in areas of the brain associated with emotional empathy,” Rilling said. “That suggests that grandmothers are geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them. If their grandchild is smiling, they’re feeling the child’s joy. And if their grandchild is crying, they’re feeling the child’s pain and distress.”

Rilling previously performed a similar exercise with fathers as they looked at pictures of their children. The activation seen in the grandmothers’ emotion processing areas, and in those associated with reward and motivation, was stronger, on average, than the fathers’—although there were some dads who had just as much activation in these areas.

By contrast, when the grandmothers looked at images of their adult child, slightly different brain areas tended to be activated: those associated with cognitive empathy. This could indicate that they were trying to cognitively understand their adult child, rather than experiencing this more direct emotional connection.

“Emotional empathy is when you’re able to feel what someone else is feeling, but cognitive empathy is when you understand at a cognitive level what someone else is feeling and why,” Rilling said.

This could possibly help to explain the experience many grown-up children have of their parents often seeming more excited to see their grandchildren than them. “I think that’s plausible,” said Rilling, whose findings were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Young children have likely evolved traits to be able to manipulate not just the maternal brain, but the grand-maternal brain. An adult child doesn’t have the same cute factor, so they may not the same emotional response.”

The results support the idea that there may be a global caregiving system in the brain that is activated in mothers (who have been examined in separate studies), fathers, and grandmothers. Rilling now hopes to study grandfathers and other childcare providers to see how they compare.

Research contact: @guardian

Cats track their owners’ movements, Japanese research finds

November 17, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered whether your pet cat gives a whisker about your whereabouts, research may have an answer: Cats appear to track their owners as they move about the house and are surprised if they turn up somewhere they’re not expecting them, reports The Guardian.

The finding supports the idea that cats retain a mental representation of their owners, even when they can’t see the—a crucial bridge to higher cognitive processes, such as forward planning and imagination.

Cats are notoriously inscrutable creatures. Although previous research has suggested that cats will search in the correct place, if food disappears; and will expect to see their owner’s face, if they hear his or her voice; until now it has been unclear how much they will seek their owner out.

“It is [also] said that cats are not as interested in their owners as dogs are, but we had doubts about this point,” said Dr. Saho Takagi at the University of Kyoto, Japan.

To investigate, Takagi and colleagues recorded what happened when 50 domestic cats were individually shut inside a room, and repeatedly heard their owner calling their name from outside, followed by either a stranger’s voice, or that of their owner, coming through a speaker on the opposite side of the room they were inhabiting.

“This study shows that cats can mentally map their location based on their owner’s voice,” said Takagi, whose research has been published in the journal PLOS One. “[It suggests] that cats have the ability to picture the invisible in their minds. Cats [may] have a more profound mind than is thought.”

However, it’s not entirely surprising that cats possess this ability: “That awareness of movement—tracking things they cannot see—is critical to a cat’s survival,” said Roger Tabor, a biologist, author and presenter of the BBC TV series ‘Cats.

A lot of what a cat has to interpret in its territory is an awareness of where other cats are. It is also important for hunting: how could a cat catch a field vole moving around beneath the grass if it couldn’t use clues, such as the occasional rustle, to see in its mind’s eye, where they are? A cat’s owner is extremely significant in its life as a source of food and security, so where we are is very important.”

Anita Kelsey, a UK feline behaviorist and author of ‘Let’s Talk About Cats,’ said: “Cats have a close relationship with us and most feel settled and safe within our company so our human voice would be part of that bond or relationship. When I am dealing with cats that suffer separation anxiety, I usually do not advocate playing the owner’s voice in the home as this can cause anxiety with the cat hearing the voice, but not knowing where their human is.”

Curiously, the cats did not show the same surprise response when the owners’ voices were replaced with cat meows or electronic sounds. Possibly, this is because adult cats do not tend to use voice as their primary means of communication with one other; many may rely on other cues, such as scent, instead.

“The ‘meow’ that we used in this study is a voice signal that is only emitted to humans, except for kittens,” said Takagi. “Cats may not be able to identify individuals from the ‘meow’ of other individuals.”

Research contact: @guardian

Trump tells former aides to defy subpoenas from January 6 House panel

October 11, 2021

Former President Donald Trump has instructed his former aides not to comply with subpoenas from the special congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot—raising the prospect of the panel issuing criminal referrals for some of his closest advisers as early as Friday, October 8, The New York Times reports.

In a letter reviewed by the Times. Trump’s lawyer asked that witnesses not provide testimony or documents related to their “official” duties, and instead to invoke any immunities they might have “to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

The House committee has ordered four former Trump administration officials — Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Dan Scavino Jr., a deputy chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, an adviser; and Kash Patel, a Pentagon chief of staff — to sit for depositions and furnish documents and other materials relevant to its investigation. They all faced a Thursday, October 7, deadline to respond.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi—and the chairman of the select committee—has threatened criminal referrals for witnesses who do not comply with the subpoenas, and said the panel expected witnesses “to cooperate fully with our probe.”

The move amounted to a declaration of war by Trump on the investigation, and raised legal questions about how far the committee could go in compelling information from a former president and his advisers, the Times said.

The committee is demanding that Meadows and Patel submit to questioning on Thursday, October 14; and Bannon and Scavino, the following day.

While President Biden already has said that extending Trump’s “executive privilege” is unlikely, it remains unclear whether his Administration will see fit to offer the privilege to those who have been subpoenaed.

The Justice Department and the White House already have waived executive privilege for a previous batch of witnesses who were asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary and House Oversight committees, which were investigating both the January 6 attack and the Trump Administration’s efforts to subvert the results of the presidential election. The Justice Department argued that privilege was conferred to protect the institution of the presidency—not to provide immunity for wrongdoing.

Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump, said that the records request by the select committee was “outrageously broad” and that it lacked “both legal precedent and legislative merit.

The instructions from Trump were reported earlier by The Guardian.

Research contact: @nytimes

Like falling off a log? Viral milk crate challenge on TikTok is denounced by orthopedists

August 26, 2021

The latest challenge to take the Internet by storm involves precariously stacked milk crates, balance—and some painful falls, The Guardian reports.

To complete the challenge, which recently started on TikTok, participants face a set of milk crates piled up in the shape of a pyramid—and attempt to climb to the top and then back down again without toppling over.

As videos of people falling painfully go viral on social media and rack up millions of views, doctors across the US are coming out to warn people of the dangerous injuries that can occur.

“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” Shawn Anthony, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City told The Washington Post this week, adding, “It’s very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I’ve seen in these videos. They’re putting their joints at an even higher risk for injury.”

With many hospitals nationwide already overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and running short on space and staff, health departments are urging people to reconsider their choices before taking on the challenge.

George Gantsoudes, a Virginia-based orthopedic surgeon, wrote on Twitter: “The orthopaedic surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries’.”

On Monday, the Baltimore city health department tweeted: “With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising around the country, please check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you, before attempting the #milkcratechallenge.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also weighed in on the challenge after comedian Conan O’Brien  joked about how he needed federal officials to grant permission to the challenge before attempting it—playing off the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week.

“Waiting for FDA approval before I take the Milk Crate Challenge,” O’Brien tweeted on Monday. The FDA responded shortly after, writing: “Although we regulate milk, we can’t recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2% and return all those crates to the grocery store?”

The milk crate challenge is the latest of a slew of dares that have gone viral on TikTok. In recent months, the video-sharing platform has seen a rise of dangerous challenge—among them, the blackout challenge, which encouraged young people to hold their breath until they passed out, and the Benadryl challenge, which challenged young people to intentionally consume large amounts of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations.

In a statement about the most recent challenge, a TikTok spokesperson said: “TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our community guidelines to discourage such content. We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or offline.”

Research contact: @guardian