Ivory tower romances, "lesbian" koalas and more

A few of the zany, interesting news stories we're loving today.

Published March 1, 2007 1:24AM (EST)

UCLA Today Online: Hot for teacher? UCLA psych prof -- and, we suspect, campus Casanova in his own right -- Paul Abramson recently wrote a piece decrying university prohibitions against student-faculty nooky, arguing that the "right to romance" is, or should be, protected by the First and Ninth amendments. Abramson acknowledges that student-teacher relationships may suffer from problems of "status imbalance and the potential for favoritism," but wishes schools would look into "alternative remedies such as conflict-of-interest strategies" rather than banning such relationships outright. Compelling, or creepy? You decide.

Washington Post: A look at breast cancer sufferers under age 40, who compose 3 percent of sufferers nationwide and who often have different experiences of the disease than older women do. The women profiled in the piece seem to be bringing a heap of sincerity, creativity and constructive rage to the experience, swapping fertility tips, lobbying lingerie companies to fund reconstruction surgery for low-income women and striking back at Mattel's lame Pink Ribbon Barbie by creating more anatomically realistic "Real Breast Cancer Barbie" dolls.

New Zealand Herald: According to this grabby news story, Australia has been "rocked" by a "'lesbian' koala revelation." Apparently female koalas enjoy -- and sometimes even prefer -- same-sex play while in captivity, even though experts say they stay pretty strictly hetero in the wild. Scientists from the University of Queensland note that "homosexual behavior was restricted to females only"; also, "heterosexual encounters were typically twice as long as homosexual encounters."

Lastly, a little good-works news: Green household-products company Seventh Generation has a (rather earnest) menstruation Web site where users can "tampontificate" about their period-related experiences, learn about the company's chlorine-free feminine-care offerings and (most important) send pads and tampons to women's shelters in their area. No monetary contribution required (though I'm sure any contribution would be welcome) -- site visitors can just indicate their state of residence and click a little donation icon, and Seventh Generation will send a pack of pads or tampons to a shelter in that state. Sure, it's great P.R. for 7G, but as the site notes, "Women's shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly, and, while agencies generally assist with everyday necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, this most basic need is often overlooked." Couldn't hurt to pitch in!

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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