French Senate Says "Non" To Child Beauty Pageants

Sorry, Honey Boo Boo: The French government moved one step closer to restricting pageant participation to contestants aged 16 and over, citing concerns about hypersexualization of young girls.

What's the Latest Development?

This week, as part of a larger bill focusing on gender equality, France's upper house of Parliament voted to end beauty pageants for participants under the age of 16. The measure isn't law yet; the lower house still needs to weigh in. If it passes, violators could spend up to two years in prison and pay US$40,000 in fines. Paris senator and measure proponent Chantal Jouanno, who wrote a report in response to a controversial photo display in Paris Vogue, says the purpose of the ban is "to say: What counts is what [young girls] have in their brains."

What's the Big Idea?

The pageants Jouanno and supporters are targeting aren't nearly as extravagant as American versions such as those seen on the reality show "Toddlers and Tiaras." Still, the outrage that followed the Paris Vogue spread, which showed young girls in "sexy clothes and postures...high heels, makeup and painted fingernails" prompted France's health minister to commission the report. For her part, pageant organizer Maud Chevalier says the penalties are too severe: "[The proponents] think that children parade on a stage to look like a Barbie....In our contests, girls are princesses for a day, they make friends with others."

Photo Credit:

Read it at The New York Times

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less