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On Why There's Still No Birth Control Pill for Men

@wallsdonotfall Exactly. Even setting aside the question of having to alter a trial's protocol, there are also general standards that a new treatment has to measure up to for a trial to continue. As I understand it, observed side effects (and/or outcomes) cannot be worse that what would happen with no treatment at all (if there is currently no treatment) OR what happens if a patient is given the already-existing standard of treatment (if that exists).

So the question is crucially NOT: "are there individuals who are willing to engage in this trial?" The question is: "as a researcher, can I ethically continue a trial that results in worse health than my subjects would otherwise enjoy, even if they're willing to make the trade?"

And yes, this assumes a narrow standard of what 'health' is: pregnancy is exclusively a woman's health issue, totally irrelevant to her partner; a man's intellectual or emotional comfort in controlling his own fertility isn't part of his health; etc, etc.

Sorry to ramble on. I'm not a medical ethicist, but Mr. Weathering is (and I have a degree in philosophy, so we talk a lot about this kind of stuff from a fairly theoretical perspective).

ETA: @leon s I commented as you were typing! I agree that this is a narrow definition of ethics, but medical ethics is a lot like the common law: it's built up a (mostly) internally-consistent intellectual framework, so that people have some common understanding of what things like: "first, do no harm" actually MEAN. I absolutely think that a lot of it could stand to be reworked, but this is the current standard that medical research is held to.

While it sounds great in theory, it's not enough that there are men willing to take BCP: there's an asymmetric power relationship between patients and the medical establishment, so 'consent' is a lot more complicated than it might be.

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm 7

On "Nipples on a C or D-cup can accelerate up to 45 mph in one second, faster than a Ferrari"

@SarcasticFringehead I don't think breasts are objectively this complicated, but I'm totally blaming the patriarchy for the fact that we've managed to put people in space but still don't have straightforwardly-available sports bras that work. It should not be this hard.

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm 2

On "Nipples on a C or D-cup can accelerate up to 45 mph in one second, faster than a Ferrari"

@feartie Thank you! I was reading this article and got to the "weight of breast is constant to cup size" bit and it was like a record needle screeching. "On the Hairpin?!" I thought to myself.

@mrsnurse My experience is that 32C bras are pretty widely available in the same places that sell 34B bras? Not as common, but still around? Am I wrong? It's been like 10 years since I stopped buying bras in department stores, but surely things haven't changed that much?

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm 0

On You're One in Eight Million

@squeefish Other Toronto 'pinners! I actually moved here a year ago, but at the time was maybe only going to be here for a year (now at least two more), and was busy with work and settling in, etc etc, and the net result is that I didn't make any friends. My goal is to change that this year! And I also like all the things on your list -- except for hot yoga, which makes me feel like I'm about to pass out just thinking about it.

There should totally be a Toronto 'pinup. (Have there been Toronto 'pinups? Have I just been unlucky enough to miss them all?) Is there someone out there other than me who is willing to organize? I would help, it's just that I don't have the first idea where to start.

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm 0

On Remembering Lilith: Jewel

Oh wow, Jewel and Lilith Fair. So many memories.

The feminist credentials of Lilith Fair are interesting to me, though, because the same Christmas my mother gave me the second Lilith Fair album, she also gave me the first Women and Songs album -- which is a late-90s series of compilation albums apparently released only in Canada, also headlining Jewel.

So I cannot think of one of these albums without thinking of the other, and on this comparison Lilith Fair is the edgy feminist album, hands down, no question. Women and Songs was... well, I think the cover shown on Wikipedia says it all.

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm 1

On Pinch, Dash, or Smidgen?

@sintaxis This! I ended up clicking 2.33, because I figured that technically that was right, but for real? Consider first the fact that no-one has 1/3 of a muffin tin, and then reflect on how precisely you'd add 2.66 eggs to your batter.

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm 2

On Considering Criticism, Impostor Syndrome, and Married-People Ethics

@frigwiggin This is so true! Argh! I feel like I've finally managed to get over academic imposter syndrome, but only recently realized how irrational my social imposter syndrome is. Clearly everyone is just putting up with me to be polite, and secretly find me super obnoxious and annoying! I must be ever vigilant, or they will realize that I am secretly a terrible person!

It's kind of exhausting, but I don't know how to stop? I would suspect that it's the result of being deeply unpopular as a child/teenager, but I get the impression that people who have always had lots of friends still feel like this.

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm 3

On Considering Criticism, Impostor Syndrome, and Married-People Ethics

Like so many other people, I have all the feelings about LW2 and imposter syndrome. Some of my feelings kind of re-hash what others have already said? But I'm writing them anyway because, like so many other (post-)grad students, I've thought a lot about this.

I kind of disagree that the way to deal with imposter syndrome is to think "it's okay, I'm not the smartest, but I can work hard to be where I am!" I feel like that is part of what convinces grad students that they always have to work 20-hour days, even if other people are working 8 hour days, because otherwise they'll flunk out, because they're not really smart enough to be there. Which is totally wrong!

Things that helped me deal with imposter syndrome as a grad student (and now as a junior Ph.D without a tenure-track job):

1. Realizing that 90-98% of my colleagues felt the same way.

This includes people I think are really competent/smart. Some people honestly don't feel that way, true. That's awesome for them and I try not to resent them.

2. Asking questions, even questions that feel trivial to me.

I've learned that how I feel about a question has nothing to do with how intelligent other people seem to find it. Asking questions makes you sound smart and confident, is my hypothesis -- I feel like every time someone has complimented me for an insightful question, it was either "I didn't understand your point on page X -- could you explain it again?", or else a question I asked only because no one else was asking any questions, and I wanted to rescue the presenter from the Silent Question Period of Doom.

3. Reminding myself of these two points constantly, until they become automatic response to any feelings of insecurity. I do not even care if they are 100% true -- what's more important is that they leave me with the emotional energy to cope with all the other shit going on in my life, work and otherwise.

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm 6

On The Best Time I Quit Drinking

I wanted to chime in with others and say thank you for this post. Does anyone else ever have the experience where something happens in your life, and suddenly you see related discussions All Over The Internet? I feel like that's been me and alcoholism recently.

In my case it's not me but a parent -- but like others I've been re-evaluating my relationship with alcohol, because while I don't have a problem now, I am so scared of winding up like [insert list of relatives here]. And because of that fear I watch a lot of my other behaviours -- for example, I absolutely have an unhealthy relationship with reading fiction. That sounds really stupid, but it's totally true. And going cold turkey on fiction seems... strange? Not like something I can imagine doing?

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 1:14 am 3

On Someone Please Tell Me What to Do With This Rutabaga

The best thing ever to do with all greens (at least greens that are less tough than collard or kale) is Namul! I think it's supposed to be made with bean sprouts, to which I am mildly allergic, but I make it with chard or spinach or beet greens or turnip greens or bok choy and it always turns out amazing. Tip: It turns out much better if you don't overcook the greens, so watch them closely! (I always overcook the greens...)

Posted on July 13, 2012 at 11:13 am 1