A shocking discovery has been made in China: having more money doesn't make you happier. Which I think we knew from earlier studies, with the caveat that having enough money to cover your basic necessities does impact your happiness ranking, but once you're out of that ball park, it has little or no effect.
sugar consumption appears to make you dumb. Which isn't terribly surprising. And I thought we already had enough other reasons to avoid sugary beverages - especially those with HFCS in them. ...or any food containing HFCS, for that matter.
An interesting new study examines the relationship between teenage motherhood and economic status. In Why is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States so High and Why Does it Matter? Melissa Schettini Kearney and Phillip B. Levine challenge the dominant view that becoming a teen mom is what puts so many young women in the U.S. on a low-income trajectory. Rather, they argue that more teens choose to have babies when there is little economic opportunity or social mobility available to them. In other words, this study seems to show that the causal relationship (if there is one in this particular correlation of factors) goes the opposite way from how it's conventionally viewed. Girls don't become/stay poor because they get pregnant - they are more likely to get pregnant and raise a baby if they are already on an economically-deprived trajectory. I think this merits some serious conversation.
Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank. So far it's interesting, amusing, and fairly light reading. Here's an excerpt on the topic of the hymen:
There simply are no symptoms occasioned by virginity loss that are uniform enough to point directly and unequivocally to the existence of the hymen. One would in any case reason that if there were, or if human beings did possess some innate awareness of the existence of hymens-an awareness, again, that all other hymen-bearing animals appear to lack-it would not have taken us until 1544 to figure out exactly what the hymen was and where it was located in the body. Truly, human beings are not so different from all the other animals that have hymens. We too very rarely have any inkling that our hymens exist.
It seems much more probable, given the importance human beings attach to virginity, that our awareness of the hymen came into existence the other way around. In other words, we became aware of hymens because we are aware of something we call virginity. We found the hymen because we found reasons to search women's bodies for some bit of flesh that embodied this quality we call "virginity," some physical proof that it existed. Humans are not alone in having hymens. We're merely alone in knowing it, and in having given ourselves a reason to care.
What are y'all reading these days?
And finally, a video for your viewing pleasure: