Episode 70: "The End of Thirst"

According to the United Nations, 1.2 billion people already suffer from severe water shortages, and that number is expected to increase to 1.8 billion over the next decade, in part because of climate change.
— Sam Kean, "The End of Thirst", December 2015 issue of The Atlantic
Water recycling is a proven technology: California recycles hundreds of millions of gallons each day for irrigation and other uses. So what’s stopping recycled wastewater from going directly to our taps? Human psychology. The very idea of drinking it disgusts many people. They view such water as irredeemably dirty, little better than toilet water.
— Sam Kean, "The End of Thirst", December 2015 issue of The Atlantic

Although many of us may not think about it, water has always been and continues to be a precious resource for life on Earth - human and otherwise. As the global population has increased, however, supplies of fresh water have begun to dwindle. Various scientists, governments and communities around the world have started to think of solutions in response to the potential problem. This week, we react to an article in The Atlantic which deals with this issue. What are our preconceptions surrounding water and what ends would we consider pursuing for our own survival as a species? 

Episode 65: The Abolition of China's One-Child Policy

The abandonment of the one-child policy in China is a momentous change, and there is much to celebrate in the easing of restrictions on human freedom in a particularly private sphere of life. But we need to recognize that the big fall in fertility in China over the decades, for which the one-child policy is often credited, has, in fact, been less related to compulsion and much more to reasoned family decisions in favor of a new norm of smaller families.
— Amartya Sen, New York Times Op-Ed, November 2nd, 2015

Established in the 1970's to control population growth, China's One-Child Policy is likely to be repealed in coming months. The decision to end the restriction followed a four-day strategy meeting of senior Communist Party officials at a Beijing hotel in late October. This policy and its potential conclusion have had profound economic, social, psychological and personal effects on the Chinese people. We discuss our opinions on its impact and possible futures it might create. Of course, our primary lens is as Americans living on the outside and we acknowledge this.

Episode 44: Social Implications of Body Hair

I hit puberty at a really early age and had body hair before a lot of other kids, and was bullied for this ... My mum used to painstakingly pluck and wax my bushy eyebrows for me because I was so worried about fitting in. Now I just let them do their thing.
— Katie, 21, Sydney, Australia
My hair on my head is praised for being so long and beautiful, but my body hair is seen as ‘disgusting.’ Why? They both grow out of my skin.... If someone is offended or disgusted by my natural body hair, then in all honesty, I’m glad it repels them from my life.”
— Elvira, Los Angeles, California

This week we welcome Tim Jurney to discuss ideas surrounding body hair. Scientific research has not concluded its every purpose on the body, though several hypotheses have been put forth. Nonetheless, people and cultures around the globe have made statements of approval or dissatisfaction with gendered and socioeconomic motivations. How do we consider body hair on others and on ourselves? Are our views ever independent of the societies in which we live?