The stories we missed this week: Boys perform worse in mixed-gender English classrooms, a verdict in the controversial transgender murder trial and a woman's life saved by her bra.
Here are a few of the stories we missed this week:
Justice is served: On Wednesday, a Colorado court sentenced Allen Andrade to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder of transgender 18-year-old Angie Zapata. Andrade was also found guilty of a hate crime; as Tracy Clark-Flory has previously written about on Broadsheet, the case marked the first time the hate-crime statute was used to prosecute the death of a transgender person. You can watch the heartwrenching statement from Zapata’s family here.
French women still thin, not satisfied: Yes, they’re the thinnest women in Western Europe, with the lowest average body mass index, but French women don’t consider themselves slim and worry more about their weight compared with other Western European women. Oh, go bask in the sun of the Mediterranean coast and eat some fromage already!
Sex in the classroom: In Britain a study conducted at Bristol University found that mixed-gender classrooms hinder the achievement of elementary school boys in English classes but have little to no effect on either gender in math and science. The study’s author, Steven Proud, suggests that it may be beneficial to teach English in single-sex classrooms.
Meanwhile, a study in California has found that the state’s mandatory high school exit exam is keeping a disproportionate number of girls and minorities from graduating despite these students’ ability to perform at the same academic level with white boys on other tests. The exam was implemented in 2007 and is used for state and federal accountability programs like No Child Left Behind.
Diet torture or torture diet?: While we’ve spent the week reeling from the release of the Bush administration’s torture memos, Huffington Post blogger Sam Stein homed in on a footnote to a May 10, 2005, memorandum from the Office of the Legal Counsel. It seems the Bush attorney general’s office looked to commercial diet programs (you know, the ones you drink out of cans or get delivered to your homes) to justify extreme caloric restriction for detainees. The note explains that, “While detainees subject to dietary manipulation are obviously situated differently from individuals who voluntarily engage in commercial weight-loss programs, we note that widely available commercial weight-loss programs in the United States employ diets of 1000 kcal/day for sustained periods of weeks or longer without requiring medical supervision.” The restrictive, liquid-diet routine was meant to enhance other techniques, like sleep deprivation.
Faster than a speeding bullet bra: Underwires really can save your life.
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Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
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