Slipped through the cracks

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.

Published April 24, 2009 11:06PM (EDT)

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.


By Katie Rolnick

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