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Nobody Can Have It All, Including—and Especially—Women
No human gets everything they want in life, as Ariel Levy discovered in the worst possible way.
Ariel Levy is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and author of the book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, Slate, Men's Journal and Blender. Levy was named one of the "Forty Under 40" most influential out individuals in the June/July 2009 issue of The Advocate.
Levy was raised in Larchmont, New York, and attended Wesleyan University in the 1990s. She says that her experiences at Wesleyan, which had "co-ed showers, on principle", strongly influenced her views regarding modern sexuality. After graduating from Wesleyan, she was briefly employed by Planned Parenthood, but claims that she was fired because she is "an extremely poor typist". She was hired by New York magazine shortly thereafter.
At New York magazine, where Levy was a contributing editor for 12 years, she wrote about John Waters, Donatella Versace, the writer George Trow, the feminist Andrea Dworkin, the artists Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow, Al Franken, Clay Aiken, Maureen Dowd, and Jude Law. Levy has explored issues regarding American drug use, gender roles, lesbian culture, and the popularity of U.S. pop culture staples such as Sex and the City and Gwen Stefani. At The New Yorker magazine, where Levy has been a staff writer since 2008, she has written profiles of Cindy McCain and Marc Jacobs.
In her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, Levy recalls her experiences with loss and reexamines the feminist ideal of “having it all.”
Ariel Levy: Well, I mean I think that there's this funny idea that people have, that women have that feminism somehow said that we can have it all. And feminism did not to say that. I think that the thinking that you can have every single thing you want in life is not the thinking of a feminist, it's the thinking of a toddler. And it's not just about women—not anybody can have everything they want.
Feminism says you're fully human, you're a full human being as a woman; but the human condition is not getting everything you want in life, so it stands to reason that would apply to us too. I think that there are plenty of cultures and religions that impress that upon their adherence, and I think that ours at this moment in time is not one of them.
I really thought that it was a worthwhile project to try to be the protagonist in my own life and that I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to be like an adventurer. I mean those are the kinds of non-traditional female lives that I looked up to and aspired to emulate. And I did get to do that, I do get to do that as a writer for The New Yorker and it's great. I love it.
But what my experience is, if you decide at 37 “I’m ready to have a family,” and anything goes wrong, as it did for me, then you've kind of run out the clock and then you don't get to do that. Then you've missed that part of life, that field of experience. So I think that that's what I was trying to say is that just, I think that there's sort of a design flaw in the human female animal, that like at exactly the moment you feel you finally might be mature enough to be equipped to take care of a person other than your own self, that is the moment when your body says, “I’m out.” And it's not the same for men. That is a woman's cross to bear.
A couple months after it happened I was at my friends 40th birthday party and I was talking to this woman and she said, "Are you the Ariel who all the bad things happen to?" And my first thought was, How many Ariel's do you know? But then, of course, I said, "Yes I am that Ariel."
And she said, "Well, everything happens for a reason." And my response to that was like, “Well everything happens for several reasons; I'm out here talking to you because I left the living room and came onto the porch, so that's the reason this is happening.”
I mean everything of course happens for a reason and a bunch of reasons. What people really mean when they say, “Everything happens for a reason” is, “Everything happens for your own good,” which I just think is an incredibly ludicrous lullaby to sing to yourself.
I think the more important thing—It's not like “oh everything happens for a reason,” it's like, “well no, everything happens.”
Once something has happened – so for example, when I was like in the thick of my grief I would wake up in the morning and I would just feel like, “No. This is unacceptable. I don't accept this. I don't agree to this reality. I don't want my son to be dead. It's not cool with me.” I think that's one of the stages of grief, is denial—or bargaining I suppose that is.
Anyway whatever, the point is that I don't know that everything happens for a reason, but once something has happened the sooner you admit it—like the sooner you admit, “Whether I accept it or not, this is the truth, so I better find a way to surrender to it.” I mean I think that's the trick really.
"The thinking that you can have every single thing you want in life is not the thinking of a feminist," says Ariel Levy, "it's the thinking of a toddler." According to Levy, Western culture isn't telling the whole truth about the human condition: you will not get everything you want in life. Levy knows this firsthand, having lost her child in her fifth month of pregnancy, which she wrote about for The New Yorker. By choosing to be an adventurer and "the protagonist in [her] own life," Levy admits she may have left it too late to start the process of having a child at 37 years old.The biological clock, which she refers to as a design flaw of the female body, is very much a women's cross to bear, and when it went wrong for her, the much-offered popular notion of "everything happens for a reason" brought her no solace. What helped her cope after her loss — and the series of hardships that followed — was not the comforting thought of a greater good, but surrendering fully to grief. Ariel Levy's most recent book is The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.
- 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
- Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
- Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.
The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.
In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.
That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.
70 data points and machine learning
Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash
Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:
"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."
The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.
Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."
Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.
Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.
On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.
Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash
Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."
"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.
The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.