January 14, 2013

Save The Pubic Lice! Or, Adventures In Lousy Reporting

Culture, Health, News, Research 3 Comments

Brazilians are killing crabs and genital lice?

Well, if anyone ever wondered why scientists hate to speak to people in the media, now we know for sure.

Yesterday, Bloomberg ran a piece about pubic lice titled “Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species” that might have been brilliant (because: pubes!) except it wasn’t. Not even a little bit.

The article starts by saying crabs are disappearing, a fact its authors never get around to corroborating. They provide interesting data about one Australian clinic that hasn’t seen a case of pubic lice since 2008 but get data from no other clinics. Later they note that crabs can be self-treated with insecticide yet fail to provide further information — did legislation make insecticide available to the public after 2008 in Australia? Was a more effective type of insecticide introduced? A change in the form of application? Have sales figures among the major insecticide brands suffered in the country since waxing started to take off?

No, none of that. But why are we thinking about journalism right now? Have we no heart? CRABS ARE DYING OUT AND DOCTORS SAY THAT BIKINI WAXES ARE THE REASON.

Specifically, Brazilians, the type of waxing that removes all the hair in the pubic area. No doctor quoted in the piece said that the cause of lice demise was Brazilians. Basil Donovan, a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre (the clinic that hadn’t seen a louse in years) said it was “better grooming.” The closest expert to make any such statement, perhaps, was Ian F. Burgess, a British entomologist, who pointed a finger at pubic grooming and “other aspects of body hair depilation.”

The Brazilian link appears toward the end of the article, where its authors cite a letter in the journal Sexually Tranmitted Infections written in 2006 that suggests there may exist a correlation between decrease of body lice and increasing popularity of genital waxing among patients at the General Infirmary in Leeds, England. But, as we know, correlation does not equal causation. The authors of the letter are still looking over data and won’t be presenting their findings until May (at which time you may expect more articles about the demise of the pubic louse). What to one is a springboard for more research is pure linkbait to others.

As mentioned earlier, the authors of the article never got around to giving us factual information relating to the status of the pubic louse. They do concede: “Incidence data aren’t kept by the World Health Organization in Geneva because the gray, six-legged, millimeter-long louse doesn’t transmit disease, and national authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and U.K.’s Health Protection Agency don’t collect the information.” So, really, no one knows if lice are truly becoming extinct at all.

“It makes sense from the point of the view of the biology of the beast, but how you’d ever find out, I don’t know,” Richard Russell, the director of medical entomology at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital, told Bloomberg reporters, fulfilling the role of careful science-type person every reporter needs to close a sensationalist article so they can still sleep at night.

At least Bloomberg tried to cover their bases. The Daily Mail had “Add this to the list of ever growing reasons to praise the bikini wax — it may have made pubic lice an endangered species.” Rawstory had “The pubic lice may have met a predator it can’t overcome: the Brazilian bikini wax.” And Gizmodo “According to doctors, public lice or crabs or whatever the hell that makes people scratch down there is disappearing because everybody is getting Brazilian waxes.” Everyone grab the quotes from the scientists in the original piece and take them out of context to support! Ready, set, go!

Okay, enough righteous indignation for you. Go read this for a lol.

Header image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Staff

We're your creatures, putting to words things to inform you, amuse you, educate you and move you. Be nice to us, we already have a cruel mistress in our editrix. We say that with love, of course, we do love her whip.

More Posts

Facebook

Add our page on Google+!

Keep up with everything we're covering right in your stream. Please note this page is limited to users 18+.

Featured

Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.

Masthead

Send us news!

Editrix-in-Command:
AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
Robert Fischer

Eros and Desire Scholar:
Dawn Kaczmar

Scientific Consultant:
Jason Goldman

East Coast Liaison:
Jackie Summers

Arch-Nemesis:
Barbie Davenporte

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

Follow SAT405 on:
Twitter
Facebook

RSS

Hosted by (mt)

About

Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...