You Go Girls! and Other News of the Week

Go Aly!

This week the big buzz about Caterpickles Central is the news that local girl Aly Raisman has been named to the U.S. Olympics gymnastics team. Congratulations, Aly! We’ll be rooting for you, when we aren’t dodging sharks in the Cape, that is.

Go Julia, Emma, and Carina!

Next, I’d like to offer a heart-felt thank-you to eighth-grader Julia Bluhm whose crusade against airbrushed images in Seventeen Magazine convinced that magazine to pledge to never digitally alter the body shapes and faces of young women featured in its editorial pages. Julia’s online petition through Change.org generated 80,000 signatures and led to a demonstration in front of Seventeen‘s offices in New York City, prompting the magazine to commit to being more transparent about the way it handles the photos it prints in its publication.

The magazine will provide comprehensive behind-the-scenes photos on its website so that readers can see the types of changes that are routinely made to perfect its pictures — things such as taming flyaway hair, hiding bra straps, and changing the colors of curtains and other background objects. It’s a step in the right direction, even if Seventeen hasn’t committed to stop altering photos completely. Of course, the magazine has no control over the images used by its advertisers, most of whom haven’t taken similar pledges against digitally perfecting their models.

Inspired by Julia’s success, 16-year-old Carina Cruz and 17-year-old Emma Stydahar are taking the request to Teen Vogue. You can sign their petition here.

See? All those pennies really ARE worth saving!

In other news calculated to warm the heart of anyone who has ever spent a lifetime collecting pennies because her older brother told her when she was six that the United States would stop minting them any day now, a Massachusetts man made his final mortgage payment this week entirely with pennies — 62,000 pennies, to be exact. I can easily imagine every member of that family felt great joy that night, although perhaps for different reasons. I wonder what Mr. Daigle and his wife will put in that very large space formerly inhabited by 800 pounds worth of pennies?

Rejuvenating coral reefs

Coral Reef by Petr Kratochvil

And finally, from much further afield comes word of a new study indicating that dead coral reefs can come back to life, given the right conditions. NPR reported this week that Professor Richard Aronson at the Florida Institute of Technology and his team of researchers recently made a detailed study of the 6000-year history of the coral reef off the Pacific coast of Panama. They discovered that instead of growing continuously over the course of its history, there was a period of 2500 years or so when the reef shut down in response to unfavorable climate conditions. During that dormant period extreme weather conditions made the temperature of the ocean either too hot or too cold for the corals to grow. But once the ocean climate settled back down a bit, the coral began to recover. Which seems like wonderful news, until you get the part about the reef’s recovery taking 500 years.

So… what are you thinking about this Friday morning?

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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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