Writer Iva Skoch on NPR's Fresh Air

  In July, Iva Skoch wrote an amazing piece about cancertainment, the practice of dealing with a cancer diagnosis through comedy, happy hours, and online chat rooms. The piece was phenomenal, all the more so because Skoch herself was a survivor of colon cancer. In the piece, she wrote: Last year, a genetic test revealed that my mother and I are carriers of the Lynch syndrome, an inherited gene mutation that causes not only significant risk of colorectal cancer (check), but also cancers of...

Meet the Science Cheerleader: Darlene Cavalier Is Fired Up for Physics (And Biology. And Chemistry ...)

  Cheerleaders, who are basically just bundles of muscle fiber and energy in short skirts, get little respect as athletes. As intellectuals? Forget it. But Darlene Cavalier is banking on that very stereotype of the flighty, popular cheerleader to help make Americans more comfortable with core scientific concepts. Cavalier, a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader and a senior manager of global business development for Walt Disney Publishing Worldwide, is the Science Cheerleader: a vocal...

The Science of Hold Music: Audio Edition. Writer Russ Juskalian on NPR today at 3:30.

Last month supersmart science writer Russ Juskalian wrote a piece about the science and psychology of hold music. I am fascinated by this topic. Once, I spent 20 minutes on hold with an upscale salon that played pretty decent peppy bebop tunes—punctuated every five minutes by an irritating prerecorded message thanking me for waiting. By the time I had a real live human on the line, I was cranky, irritated, and annoyed. Is this really the most effective use of hold music? I wondered. Well,...

The Meaning of Matthew: Judy Shepard on Her New Memoir, Her Son's Lasting Legacy, and Moving Forward While Looking Back

  What is the meaning of Matthew? At a time when the gay community is struggling to secure the right to marry, Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming student who died after being violently beaten because he was gay, may seem like an emblem from days long past. And though Shepard's death was seen as a turning point─a point when the majority of Americans decided that no one should be targeted because of whom they chose to love─the truth is, Shepard was not the last gay American to die from a...

Heavy but Healthy? Send Us Your Photos

On Wednesday, Abby Ellin and I wrote about the increasing animosity towards fat people in America. One of the researchers quoted, Marlene Schwartz, said something in our interview that stuck with me, but that didn't make it in the article. Fat, she said, is so personal - it's something we can see right away, from a distance. There's no hiding it. Unlike HIV or mental illness or other stigmatized conditions, she said (or for that matter, bad breath, a nasty personality, split...

Confessions of a Skinny Fat Person: Welcome to The Fat Wars

Kate Harding almost got me fired. The week I started at NEWSWEEK, I read an advanced copy of Lessons From the Fat-o-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body. Written by Harding and Marianne Kirby, it put me into such a crisis of confidence that I wasn't sure I'd be able to do my job.            The book is a plea to overweight readers to stop trying to lose weight, stop blaming themselves for being overweight, and focus instead on being healthy and happy. Weight is...

Share Your Favorite Crazy Health Care Myths

We all have one: a dotty but well-meaning grandma, the Lyndon LaRuche fanatic at your gym who spouts nonsense, but also happens to have killer abs, the paranoid, anti-government boss who is otherwise a pretty nice guy. Since a new survey shows that fifty percent of Americans believe misinformation about healthcare, there's a good chance you've run into someone  spouting off crazy nonsense about death panels or drawing little Hitler moustaches on posters of Obama. Of course, most of...

Study: No Matter How Crazy, Health Care Myths Take Hold

by Kate Dailey and Sarah Kliff Yesterday, Barney Frank's takedown of a young woman comparing health-care reform to Nazi policy was heralded by reform advocates as long-overdue counterstrike against an increasingly absurd campaign of misinformation. In fact, one of the most difficult battles President Obama has fought in the health-care debate is explaining what exactly his health-care plan entails—and then getting people to believe him. Myths about health-care legislation have run...

Who, Exactly, Is Outraged At Michelle Obama's Shorts?

  Michelle Obama wore shorts to visit the Grand Canyon. Have you heard? Everyone is up in arms—if by "everyone" you mean no one, or rather a large, shadow-y group of no ones.  According to the Today show, "some" are calling her fashion choice inappropriate—but the article quotes only those who support the look or, in the case of Washington Post fashion writer Robin Gihven, those who are "ambivalent" about bare legs for an August hiking trip in Arizona. The Examiner declares...

Are Jocks Jerks? Kids, Sports and Life Lessons

 A three-part series on the role sports play in childhood development.  Depending on one's high-school experience, there are two distinct philosophies about the role sports plays in a child's development. There's the idea that youth sports teaches kids discipline and respect, keeps them off the street, and helps them mature into adults: it's sports that turned athletically gifted but insecure Daniel Larusso into The Karate Kid. But just as pervasive is the opinion that jocks are jerks, and...

New Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars': Dancing Their Asses Off?

The new cast of Dancing With the Stars was announced today, and more than half of the female contestants are women who have had public weight gains or losses in their career.Kathy Ireland published a book this year detailing her struggle with weight loss, and told People that while she has no plans to don a bikini for the cameras any time soon, she does want to "be healthy, to be there for [her] husband and [her] kids. Melissa Joan Hart did pose in a bikini on the cover of People after...

Safer Sex, Better Sex: The Truth About Condom Design

Consider the noble condom: it shows up (when invited), does its job, and does it well (98 percent of the time, unless we somehow manage to mess it up, in which case it still works more than eight out of 10 times). It protects us from disease and unwanted pregnancy, allowing us to enjoy sex with minimal consternation over serious, long-term consequences.And yet, what respect do we give the condom? What appreciation? None, that's what. "People often talk about the fact that condoms are a 'grudge...

Philadelphia Eagles Sign Michael Vick?

  The Philadelphia Eagles have reportedly signed Michael Vick to a two-year contract. I'm a Philadelphia native, and the reaction from my Facebook feed tells me that the fans are less than pleased. One of my friends has designated her Eagles jersey as her dog's new chew toy. Another is convinced that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is just creating a smokescreen to take a little attention away from the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, and this will all turn out to be a hoax. A few have...

Models Without Makeup: Cindy Crawford and Friends Go Bare in Harper's Bazaar

  The September issue of Harper's Bazaar (on stands Aug. 18)  features several iconic models baring naked faces. Kristen McMenamy, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Tatian Patitz, Amber Valetta, Helena Christiansen, Nadia Auerman, and Claudia Schiffer all went before the camera without any cosmetic help─and since they're models, they all look freaking gorgeous. (The superb lighting and semigrainy black-and-white footage seems to take care of whatever flaws genetics missed.)Any...

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics, and the Power of Sports

    "Let me win. And If I can't win, let me be brave in the attempt." ─Special Olympics oath Eunice Kennedy Shriver died today at 88, after a long and very full life. She was one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of the physically and intellectually disabled, and the global consequences of her early activism mean that her legacy will live on long after all the Kennedys─and all of us─have gone as well. Shriver did more than found the Special Olympics─for instance, she...

The Human Condition on 'The Takeaway' Tomorrow: More on Texting and Dating

I'll be back on The Takeaway tomorrow, discussing texting and dating─as well as the other pros and cons of dating in a technology-saturated world. I'll be joined by Steve Calechman, the author of the Boston Globe article that started this whole to-do, and we'll finally get the in-person grudge match for which everyone's been clamoring. Steve will give voice to all of you who think I'm a classless, selfish jerk for my habit of checking my BlackBerry during dates. I...

Lose The Weight And Keep It Off: Mission Impossible?

   Last week was not a good week for Tyler.Tyler, a 24-year-old from South Carolina, writes the blog 344pounds.com, which documents his progress as he tries to lose weight. Since beginning the site in January, he's lost 109.8 pounds, thanks to an intense exercise regime. (As part of a blog promotion, for instance, he performed over three hours of cardio one Friday night). But last week—his birthday week—he gained weight for the first time since beginning his blog, a fact he chalked up...

Paid Family Leave: Share Your Best Horror Stories

Lew Daly's impassioned editorial on the need for more paid family leave in the U.S. elicited a strong reaction from readers. The commenters are split between those who think more time to spend with an ailing family member or newborn baby is an essential part of building a strong society, and those who think Americans need to plan better for their own medical needs, whether expected or not, and not rely on the government. (In between these two sides, of course, are those who think blame should...

The Human Condition Comes To Amazon's Kindle

We're very pleased to announce that The Human Condition is now available for your Kindle (you do have a Kindle, correct?) Now you can take us on a train, on a plane, in a box... you get the idea.  It costs $1.99 for a monthly subscription. Each purchase comes with a 14-day free trial and the delightful-sounding Amazon Whispernet. (Apparently, that's a very fancy name for free wireless delivery, which one could argue is a very fancy process.) And while you're shopping at Amazon,...

Takeaway From The Takeaway: Don't Let Reality TV Turn Your Kids Into Judgmental Jerks

Just as I suspected, my time on The Takeaway this morning discussing the impact of reality TV on teenagers had me sounding very much like an old-fashioned school marm. There I was talking about values and judgment and parental supervision, while 17-year old Grace stole the show with her concise analysis of the current reality lineup. Initially, I thought the issue was more about what kind of bad behavior kids could learn from reality TV. Teenage brains aren't fully developed, meaning they're...

The Human Condition on PRI's 'The Takeaway'

Set those alarm clocks, Human Condition fans (and by that I mean "Mom"). I'll be on Public Radio International's morning talk show The Takeaway this Monday at 6:20 a.m. (ET). We'll discuss whether parents should be worried if their kids are obsessed with reality TV. Does the excessive cursing, nudity, and inane behavior shown on screen rot young minds? Will watching too many episodes of My Super Sweet Sixteen convince young girls that the only way have a proper birthday party is...

What Price Kidneys? NEWSWEEK's Take on Black-Market Organs.

Guess who was thinking of running a Q&A on organ sales Wednesday, only to decide that it wasn't newsy enough?  I'll give you a hint: her giant head is smirking at you in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen right now. Still, any coverage we might have surreptitiously planned would likely pale in comparison with the fantastic story Jeneen Interlandi wrote in January of this year. Called "Not Just Urban Legend," it looked at the very real practice of organ trafficking in America,...

This Week in NEWSWEEK: Ted Kennedy and Others Explore the Drama, Intrigue, and Passions of Health Care

NEWSWEEK's health-care coverage has been amazing this past week, both online and in the magazine. And for those of us who are more interested in petty manners of dating etiquette than one of the most important political and social issues of our time, reading the assorted NEWSWEEK articles has been a great way to quickly feel like a health-care expert. Still unsure if you have the time or dedication to dive in? Allow me, a newly minted health-care expert, to summarize. First, Jacob Weisberg...

Beastie Boy MCA Has Cancer of Salivary Gland: Tour Canceled and Album Postponed

MCA, a.k.a. Adam Yauch, will need surgery and radiation to attack the cancer, which is located in his parotid gland and lymph node. The good news: Yauch says the cancer is localized, and that treatments won't affect his voice. He describes the diagnosis as a "setback and a pain in the ass," but a treatable one. According to the American Cancer Society, salivary gland cancer is rare: about 2 cases per 100,000 people per year in the United States, which is less than 1 percent of all cancer...

Kids These Days: Is Texting While Dating a Dealbreaker?

 This weekend, I made a cameo appearance in The Boston Globe Magazine's "Coupling" column. Written by the very funny Steve Calechman, the article examines the modern dilemma of texting while dating. Calecheman argues that:A line needs to be drawn, because keypads have been showing up too often as a third wheel. By no means is this a gender issue, but since I go out with women, they've been the culprits. Women texting while walking into the restaurant. Women texting while I go to...

Better With Age: Tom Watson and Other Over-40 Sports Sensations

Editor's Note: Since posting this article on Friday, Watson played some more fantastic golf, coming from behind to finish the Open tied for first with Stuart Cink, a 36-year old America. After missing a 10-foot putt in the playoffs, Watson placed second—not bad for a man who will be kicked off the tour next year, when he turns 60, but not enough for me to win the bet I made with my editor. Tom Watson, you owe me a dollar.  Tiger who? For most of yesterday, the British Open was...

Preventing Pregnancy 'One-Step' Easier: FDA Approves Simpler Plan B

The Food and Drug administration yesterday approved a new advancement in reproductive health. Starting next month, women 17 and over can purchase Plan B One-Step, a one-dose version of the emergency contraception. (Women under 17 can access the medication only with a prescription). With Plan B: Original Flavor, the pills—which contain a high dose of the hormone levonorgestrel—had to be taken 12 hours apart. Not a problem if you're an early riser who makes it to the pharmacy before...

Obama Selects Regina Benjamin as New Surgeon General

As Holly mentioned over in The Gaggle, President Obama has selected Dr. Regina Benjamin, founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., as his pick for surgeon general. From The Washington Post, in an article written before today's late-morning announcement. President Obama has chosen Regina Benjamin, a family physician from Alabama, to be the next Surgeon General, filling a key public health post ahead of an expected surge in the H1N1 flu next fall, White...

Steve McNair, Sahel Kazemi, and the Sad Truths About Murder-Suicide

by Kate Dailey and Rebecca Shabad After four days of speculation, the Nashville police department confirmed on Wednesday what many people had already assumed: Steve McNair was shot and killed by his girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, who then turned the gun on herself. It was a shocking death, and the fact that a former NFL All-Pro quarterback died at the hands of a 20-year-old waitress seemed more shocking still, defying both preconceived stereotypes about women and violence and criminal profiles...

Pages