Thursday, July 12, 2007
Environmentalists Mum on Poisoned Streams
BY WAYNE LAUGESEN
July 15-21, 2007 Issue | Posted 7/10/07 at 2:25 PM
BOULDER, Colo. — When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.
It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.
They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek.
Woodling, University of Colorado physiology professor David Norris, and their EPA-study team were among the first scientists in the country to learn that a slurry of hormones, antibiotics, caffeine and steroids is coursing down the nation’s waterways, threatening fish and contaminating drinking water.
Since their findings, stories have been emerging everywhere. Scientists in western Washington found that synthetic estrogen — a common ingredient in oral contraceptives — drastically reduces the fertility of male rainbow trout.
Doug Myers, wetlands and habitat specialist for Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that in frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.” . . .
It turns out we find androgynous computer generated images less trustworthy than those who are clearly male or female.
People regularly use avatars online while chatting with friends or exploring virtual worlds and companies are increasingly using them to interact with customers.
To find out whether your choice of avatar affects how others perceive you researchers Kristine Nowak and Christian Rauh of the University of Connecticut paired up volunteers and asked them to chat by typing messages into a computer.
Although they didn't meet face to face each person was shown a computer-generated image representing the other person.
These avatars ranged from an obviously female blonde to ones with no clear gender to strong-jawed males, reports New Scientist.
When asked to rate the other person the volunteers found those represented by androgynous-looking avatars less
Similarly a second group of volunteers was asked to make snap judgements based on a glimpse of the images - and they were also less willing to trust the androgynous ones.
The researchers say androgyny makes avatars appear less human causing a breakdown in trust and people should consider this when selecting one. Distrust could also stem from a lack of context.
"If someone says 'that's so sweet' was it sisterly or patronising," asks Judith Donath of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab."
If it's difficult to tell knowing someone's gender can help you sort it out, she says.
Friday, 25 November 2005
As a boy, Pankaj Sharma realised he preferred being a woman. He paid for his ‘deviance’ when his father disowned him. Giving up was not in his script. So he ran away to Mumbai to reinvent himself. Today, he is Bobby Darling, the actor who redefines gender anew in a conservative industry, writes Sonia Faleiro.
Bobby Darling totters down the road in transparent block heels embroidered with pink flowers, denim hipsters, and a black lace shirt. One long white finger is crowned with a diamond, on another, a moonstone catches the light. His glossy brown hair switch, 12 o’ clock shadow, and a hint of cleavage induced by hormone pills he started taking five months ago, encourage a group of little boys to feign a drunken stagger: “Bobby Darling, oh Bobby Darling!” Another crowd of children, can’t get enough of the actor. “Bobby Darling!” they sigh, cuddling him. Bobby Darling appears impervious to the first reaction, and at the second, smiles, tosses his hair, wiggles a manicured finger: “Go wash your hands, first.” . . .
|Posted on 28 February 2004|
How could we have bypassed an extremely unusual face on the small and big screen both? Our sleuths inform us that he is a gay who does not go by his actual name Pankaj Sharma but calls himself Bobby Darling. Big deal!
What surprises, sorry, shocks us is the additional information that he is screaming from the rooftops about his deviant sexual behaviour. We track him down on his mobile and he invites us home. I express that it would be better if we catch up at a food or a coffee joint. He laughs, "Are you scared?" We have been challenged.
An hour later, we are ringing his doorbell. It's pitch dark inside. No one attends. We are about to return. Just before we turn back, he comes roaring from behind, in a sleeveless T-shirt. "Hi," he nearly shrieks. As we enter his flat, we start straight-away. We are feeling slightly uncomfortable and would prefer to finish this fast.
Here's an excerpt of what transpired between indiantelevision.com's Vickey Lalwani and Bobby Darling:
Being a gay, how did you get into films?
But what makes you go so open?
Rolling backwards. When and how did you realize that you were a gay?
What happened when his parents came to know?
Published on July 12, 2007
If you haven't been to Unity Fellowship Church in Northwest in the past two weeks, you might not know that it's Transgender Awareness Month. But for those in the know, including local transgender activist Toni Collins, , it's a positive effort to bring the GLBT community closer together by building awareness about its transgender members.
''It's really still a very marginalized community and we're just trying to strengthen our bond between the [GLBT] community by making the community aware that we have a voice,'' says Collins, a board member of Transgender Health Empowerment (THE).
The awareness month events at Unity Fellowship, organized by THE and a planning committee, mark the first Transgender Awareness Month in Washington, Collins says. . . .