500+ Women Are Running for Office in 2018

US Capitol Building (City Segway Tours)

Are you a woman running for office this year? If so, you’re in good and widespread company. Initial estimates made by the Associated Press indicate that that a record number of women are running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives during this year’s midterm elections.

Overall, 526 women have been counted as running. As of last week, 309 women from both parties had registered to run. The previous record was set in 2012, when 298 women registered to run for office.

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First Female President of South Korea Impeached

South Korean President Park Guen-hye (NovoRossia)

South Korean President Park Guen-hye (NovoRossia)

South Korean President Park Guen-hye made history in 2012 by becoming the first woman elected to the country’s highest office. Now, she’s made history for a more ignominious reason: Park is the first female president of South Korea to be impeached.

Park is battling various charges of corruption. The South Korean National Assembly voted to impeach her 234 to 56. The vote now will move to the Constitutional Court, which could take up to six months.

And if the Constitutional Court is in favor?

Park will be formally removed from office if six of the court’s nine justices support her impeachment, and the country would then hold a presidential election within 60 days.

According to a recent poll from Gallup Korea, Park’s current approval rating sits at a measly 5%. Incredibly, this is an improvement from her 4% approval rating. Poll respondents supported her impeachment at a rate of 81%.

 

 

Tinder Usage Up 129% Among Athletes at the Rio Summer Olympics

Rio Olympics 2016 (Indian Express)

Rio Olympics 2016 (Indian Express)

By now, it’s common knowledge that Olympic athletes hook up during their time in the Olympic Village. And naturally, one way to facilitate this is via dating apps. Specifically, Tinder has proved to be the number one choice for Olympic athletes looking to get laid.

Over the first weekend of this year’s Olympics, Tinder usage spiked a whopping 129% amongst the athletes. Impressive, right? But the data is incomplete.

This is the second Olympics where Tinder has made a splash. During the Sochi Olympics in 2014, it was reported that mobile dating usage surged, and that Tinder was the app of choice. However, since this is solely anecdotal evidence, no numbers have been reported so that we can’t gauge the size of said surge. And we cannot make any year-over-year comparisons of the growth.

Another issue is that, yes, Tinder usage is up 129% among athletes, but to what are we comparing the activity? Are we comparing to the usage data to the previous Summer Olympics (which would be London in 2012) or the most recent Olympics (the aforementioned Sochi)?

Though the number raises a few questions, it’s pretty entertaining to realize that elite athletes are just like the rest of us.

#ThrowbackThursday: John Ashcroft Covers the Spirit of Justice Statue’s Nudity, 2002

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Spirit of Justice statue, 2002 (Medieval POC Tumblr)

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Spirit of Justice statue, 2002 (Medieval POC Tumblr)

So this became weirdly relevant again: In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft put up drapes (that cost $8,000) on the Spirit of Justice statue housed in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Why? Ostensibly to make a better backdrop for television. What Ashcroft didn’t mention was that his head was generally centered in between Lady Justice’s nude breasts. Better backdrop, my ass.

Just yesterday, Rome’s Capitoline Museum covered up classical nude statues before a press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani occurred. There seems to be some confusion as to who and why this happened: Though the Iranian embassy asked that the statues be covered, neither Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini nor Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had been aware of the request.

An investigation into the matter is currently underway.

 

China Ends Its Famous One-Child Policy

Chinese One-Child Policy poster (The Galloping Beaver)

Chinese One-Child Policy poster (The Galloping Beaver)

Whoa. Here’s something I didn’t expect to happen within my lifetime: Last week, China officially ended its one-child-per-family policy. Now, married couples are allowed to have up to two children. Crazy! (Though I kind of doubt that many couples will get crazy, and have more than two.)

The one-child policy was informally adopted (i.e. “strongly encouraged”) in 1975, made into law by the country’s Communist Party four years later. The law followed China’s population exceeding 800M+ people in 1970, with leaders realizing that the then-current growth rate was unsustainable.

However, the law has been relaxed for exceptions. In 1984, parents were allowed to have two children if one parent was an only. In 2013, this became alright if only one parent was an only child.

It’s estimated that the policy has prevented 400M+ births.

But why was the policy abolished, and why now? There are a few reasons. One is that the male-to-female sex ratio is becoming unbearably skewed, which tends to happen when preference for one sex greatly outweighs the other. (In this case, the Chinese preferred boys to girls, even going so far as to commit infanticide if a child was born a girl.) The birth rate is also declining, and the mortality rate is on track to outpace it. Per “The New York Times:”

China’s working-age population, those 15 to 64, grew by at least 100 million people from 1990 until a couple of years ago. But that expansion is petering out, and more people are living longer, leaving a greater burden on a shrinking work force. Now, about 10 percent of the population is 65 or older, and according to earlier estimates, that proportion is likely to reach 15 percent by 2027 and 20 percent by 2035.

China’s population is now 1.3B+, with 30% being over 50. It’s estimated that the decision will affect 100M+ couples.

 

Two Suicides Linked to Ashley Madison Hack

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

We’re beginning to see some fallout from the Ashley Madison hack from earlier this month: Police in Toronto, Canada, have reported two suicides related to the hack, and are undertaking further investigation of the cases.

Reports of the number of Ashley Madison’s users range from 30M+ to 37M+. With those numbers in mind, these two suicides constitute between .00000006% and .000000054% of the site’s total registered users whose data was leaked in the security breach.

I’m curious to see how the hack continues to affect its outed users and those close to them.

 

Transgender People May Soon Serve in the Military

Soldiers (US Army)

Soldiers (US Army)

According to reports, the Pentagon is very close to lifting a ban on transgender people serving in the military. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is in the midst of creating a task force that will examine how allowing transgender people to serve their country will affect every aspect of the service. The task force will take about six months to completely analyze what changes are needed.

Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like Ash would ever decide to keep the ban in place: He’s already denounced the policy as “outdated” and “caus[es] uncertainty that distracts commanders from their core missions.” Sounds to me like he’s already made up his mind to do so (yay!); he just needs a roadmap to implement the necessary changes.

From the Department of Defense’s press release, Ash seems like a guy who gets it:

At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

I’m looking forward to seeing how accommodating the military is willing towards transmen and transwomen interested in serving their country to be in the near future.