“While You Were Out,” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to whether whether it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week!
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls’ education activist who at age 15 was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban, and Indian child-rights champion Kailash Satyarthi have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai, who at 17 is the youngest Prize recipient in history, reminds us, "One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world."
Male Allies or Not
Women in tech gathered last week at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. The lack of women in tech is ever a hot-button equality issue, so when the conference organized a “male allies” panel, a collective eyebrow was raised. The execution wasn’t much better. As readwrite reported, at one point panelist Alan Eustace, Google’s SVP of search, said:
“I don’t think people are actively protecting the [toxic culture] or holding on to it ... or trying to keep [diverse workers] from the power structure that is technology,” Eustace said. “I don’t think that’s it.” To which women in the audience said very loudly: “Yes it is!”
Figuring that the panel would featured many of the platitudes women get all the time, a group called The Union of Concerned Feminists handed out satirical bingo cards to attendees, with squares like “calls a woman articulate” and “my mother taught me to respect women.” There was eventually a BINGO in the room—ouch.
I applaud the conference coordinators for encouraging dialog on how men and women can work together for a more equitable work environment. Like many male dominated industries, there is a disconnect between men in charge and women who want a vibrant career but don’t think they’re heard. Which is why I’m so happy for what happened next...
Let's Reverse That
After seeing all the frustrated tweets from the first male allies panel, Alan Eustace organized an impromptu followup panel to give women the floor. Per Eustace’s tweet: “Let's reverse the male allies panel. You talk. I listen.” Bravo!
Tori Burch Shares Her Story
Tori Burch’s first book was released this week. In Color shares the fashion designer’s influences and inspirations, as you might expect—organized by color. Among them family plays a prominent role—sharing as she does stories of her parents as well as family trips with her boys.
In Music News
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its nominees for 2015. I’m rooting for Lou Reed and The Smiths. Okay, and maybe Green Day, although doesn’t hearing their music on Broadway sort of hurts their rockstar-ness?
Snoop Dogg Really Is a Dog
After Iggy Azalea was photographed without makeup, fellow rapper Snoop Dogg started a Twitter feud, mocking her as ugly and suggesting she belonged in “White Chicks 2,” based on the comedy starring the Wayan Brothers dressed as white women. When Azalea replied with surprise, “every time I've ever spoken to you you've always been nice as hell . . . I'm disappointed you'd be such an ass for no reason,” Snoop Dogg continued with a threatening video that she better “check herself” before he does.
"Ima be the bigger man in this situation and leave it be," Azalea tweeted. "It's like the guy that asks for your number and then says you ugly and a b---- when you say no."
Snoop Dogg since posted an apology saying, “I just got off the phone with my homeboy TIP (rapper TI), the king of Atlanta, and it is officially over. No more bad talk. I apologize. Yeah I apologize I won't do it again.” Leave it to a misogynist like Snoop Dogg to show respect for a woman only after being instructed by another man. Regardless, Azalea remained the biggest man in the situation, avoiding the drama, and replying simply “I appreciate your apology.”
And then, revealing how much she cares what jerky men think about her, she went out the next day, again, looking gorgeous, and with no makeup.
Taylor Swift Does It Again
Taylor Swift released her latest song from her album 1989, “Out of the Woods.” Describing a relationship that’s not yet “in the clear,” Swift has managed once again to capture with perfect pitch what so many people dating today experience.
Beck’s Gift to Mankind
Speaking of rockstars, if an artist were to curate an album of cover songs, featuring other artists singing songs he had written, it might seem like an ugly narcissistic move. But when Beck does it, it’s true charity to the world. And I’m not referring to how his recent album Song Reader actually donates proceeds to 826 National, a nonprofit organization that helps students with creative and expository writing. I mean the album is charitable in that he’s doing a service to all who hear it.
Try not to cry during Swamp Dogg’s rendition of “America, Here’s My Boy.” Try not to frolic, for that matter, during “Please Leave the Light on When You Go,” by Fun. Or not to click repeat immediately after hearing “Just Noise” sung by Norah Jones or “Sorry” by Laura Marling—both songs so rich in lyrics you’re stunned they’re over in a short two minutes. Beck has always been a master of the bittersweet ballad. But, in this album, filled with his music sung by a variety of musicians, his songwriting talent stands out even more. Song Reader proves that, if songs were novels, Beck would be master of the short story.
HBO Finally Joins the Millenium
HBO has announced plans to offer programming to viewers who don’t subscribe to the old traditional cable structure. The move may win me back as a viewer, but it still won’t get me to watch The Leftovers.
Ebola Worries Spread
A second nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tested positive for Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to be admitted to a U.S. hospital on September 28. Nurse Amber Joy Vinson showed symptoms shortly after flying from Cleveland to Dallas. The CDC says it is highly unlikely any passengers on the plane were infected since she was not sick on the plane and the disease is believed to be contagious only after symptoms appear.
So we should all panic, right? Of course not. But if you’re feeling nervous, why not channel that energy into jump-starting some good health habits? Biology 101 tells us that for a virus to spread it requires a trigger and a host. We may not have much power as to whether we’re exposed to viruses (as anyone who’s had a cold can attest), we do have power over whether or not we’re a likely host. Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Amy O’Linn, who Verily interviewed last spring, recommends five steps to decrease one’s host factor: 1) Get the flu vaccine. 2) Get a good night's sleep. 3) Eat well and practice good nutrition. 4) Maintain a healthy level of exercise. And 5) keep strict hand hygiene. There’s no better time than now to learn habits that, let’s face it, we should all be doing anyway.
Facebook and Apple are now offering to pay for egg freezing as a part of their employee-benefit packages. The companies have bought into sales pitches from groups like EggBanxx that egg-freezing will help women “chill” and “tackle conception later.” While it may seem well-intentioned, the companies have to admit that, for some women, there’s an uncomfortable message of expectations underlying their move to foot the bill: Keep working, ladies. Want kids? It can wait.
If it weren’t bad enough to sound like they’re suggesting female employees check their eggs at the door (er, the freezer), even for women who personally do choose to delay conception, the benefits are dubious. Companies like EggBanxx will certainly make bank from women delaying family past the point of natural fertility, but they can’t guarantee successful conception later. Worse, the research on the health risks to women and the children conceived is lacking, which is why, when Bloomberg BusinessWeek featured the cover story “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career” last spring, Verily couldn’t help but ask, “Is Egg Freezing Really the Pro-Woman Solution?”