The futile quest for the “perfect” breast

Over at Respectful Insolence, Orac discusses an article where a scientist has spent his days shut away, slaving endlessly over a data set–of pictures of topless models. Why? To produce the perfect boob job, of course–or as the article puts it, “to help Hollywood look even more perfect.”

Great. Just what we need.

According to the researcher, the ideal breast “…is a 45 to 55 per cent proportion – that is the nipple sits not at the half-way mark down the breast, but at least 45 per cent from the top.” Like it wasn’t enough before to worry about them being too perky, or too saggy, or uneven…now the nipple has to be a certain percentage up on the breast as well? Thank you, Mr Mallucci, for your meticulous research.

This ticks me off even more than it usually would because a reader had just sent me a link to this story in US magazine about Heidi Montag and her “revenge plastic surgery.” Apparently this girl is on a reality show and despite her already having fame and, I assume, some degree of wealth from that, well, her breasts were just too small. So she decided to have them augmented. My issue isn’t so much with that procedure itself as it is with her attitude toward it, and what her comments and studies like the one above say about our culture and the emphasis we place on the “perfect” set of breasts and body:
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My hometown…

…is underwater.

FINDLAY, Ohio – Hundreds of Ohio residents remained flooded out of their homes Thursday as some rivers continued to rise, while forecasters had bad news for the state and other parts of the Midwest: expect more storms and even a taste of the heat wave baking the South.


In Findlay, Ohio, firefighters and a volunteer armada navigated boats and canoes through streets waist-deep in water on Wednesday, plucking neighbors and their pets from porches. Every downtown street and many neighborhoods were under water as the Blanchard River topped 7 feet above flood stage, its highest level since a 1913 flood.

Though northwest Ohio has been the focus of many of these stories, cities around the midwest are flooded, including a few here in Iowa. Luckily we’re just soggy here in my neck of the woods, although if we go much longer without a rainless day, my poor dogs are going to be lost in the tall grass in my yard that I’ve been unable to mow with the rain and travel…

Phew, I’m tired

I mentioned August would be a hellish travel month. Beginning August 2nd, I drove to Chicago for YearlyKos, back to Iowa and grabbed the kids and dogs, headed to Ohio to visit family (including an almost-9-months-pregnant sister and her 18-month old son), headed out to Maryland/DC/Delaware for an impromptu road trip, back to Ohio, back to Iowa, to Wisconsin for a science conference, back to Iowa for the evening, then flew back to DC to pick up a friend, and then drove up to New York to meet up with many other Sciencebloggers for the weekend. Then back to DC, and back to Iowa this morning.

Or, I think I’m in Iowa. Everything is starting to look alike at this point.

Anyway, the conference in Wisconsin was great, and had a good amount of interest in the talk I gave there on Streptococcus suis (always a bonus). The weekend in New York was great fun as well. I’d met several other Sciencebloggers before, but never en masse quite like this. Friday they opened up Seed magazine’s office and let us poke around there, then followed up with a reception at Seed founder Adam Bly’s apartment. On Saturday, we were stuffed full of brunch and conversation, and followed that up with a trip to the Natural History museum, after which many of us gathered for dinner. I then headed up to the Washington Heights neighborhood on Sunday to visit yet another friend, before driving back down south to the DC area that afternoon (well, late evening by the time we arrived, thanks to a rainy day and many accidents along the way. None involving me, though).

I don’t have my pictures rounded up yet, but you can see photos others have shared: Bora’s roundup; a few from PZ; Mo’s photos; and a few from Zuska (including one of me blending into a chair…interesting…) I’ll try to get my own up tonight…

Well, this doesn’t happen every day…

Just a quick post from the “weird happenings in Iowa” file: Mysterious chunks of ice pelt Iowa town.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Large chunks of ice, one of them reportedly about 50 pounds, fell from the sky in this northeast Iowa city, smashing through a woman’s roof and tearing through nearby trees.

Authorities were unsure of the ice’s origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere — both rare occurrences.

“It sounded like a bomb!” 78-year-old Jan Kenkel said. She said she was standing in her kitchen when an ice chunk crashed through her roof at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday. “I jumped about a foot!”

The CNN story has pictures of the hole left in her roof. Bizarre.

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said investigators would contact Kenkel to try to determine the source of the ice.

“It is very uncommon for something like this to come from an aircraft,” Cory said. “That is really unusual if it is pure white ice, especially at this time of year.”

The moisture involved in such a scenario could have come from the tops of strong thunderstorms. However, Dubuque had clear skies at the time the ice fell, said Andy Ervin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport. “There was nothing unusual going on,” he said.


Blogging will probably be light this week; while I was in Ohio a week ago for a happy event, this weekend was much the opposite, and I’ll be out of town part of the week at a memorial service. In the meantime, though, I got tagged (twice!) with a meme that I’ve already seen pop up recently on Scienceblogs, and since it’s Kate’s first meme ever, well, how can I refuse?

The rules: to make it short and sweet, the meme just asks for 8 random facts, then I’m supposed to tag 8 others. I’ll comply with the first; for the latter, anyone who’s not been hit already, feel free to consider yourself tagged. Here goes…
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Creation museum—more posts from the gang

I mentioned that a whole group of us went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Professor Steve Steve has his account now up at the Thumb, while Jason Rosenhouse has a two-parter at EvolutionBlog, and Wes Elsberry’s account is here. Oh, and a group picture:

Rear, L to R: Evil Monkey, Richard Hoppe (“RBH”), Wes Elsberry, Andrea “I’m Italian, not female!” Bottaro, Jason Rosenhouse, and Art Hunt. Front row: RBH’s wife (whose name I didn’t catch, sorry!); journalist Lauri Lebo; me; Professor Steve Steve, and Art’s daughter (and Steve Steve’s kind tour guide), Amy Hunt.

Waxing indignant: pointless?

In the comments to the XDR-TB update post, Scott suggested that bloggers were putting too much emphasis on whether the TB patient was stupid/arrogant/self-centered/whatever, and later that “waxing indignant is pointless.” I started this as a response to those comments, but thought instead it might be an interesting conversation–is it pointless? Certainly indignation about this guy’s behavior won’t change what’s happened. Indignation about creationists’ abuse of science won’t make them stop. Does it have a point? My thoughts on it below the fold.
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“Intelligent design” the world actually needs

Scanning today’s New York Times, I ran across this article on designing for the world’s poor, which isn’t really an issue I’d spent much time considering previously. From the article:

“A billion customers in the world,” Dr. Paul Polak told a crowd of inventors recently, “are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house.”

The world’s cleverest designers, said Dr. Polak, a former psychiatrist who now runs an organization helping poor farmers become entrepreneurs, cater to the globe’s richest 10 percent, creating items like wine labels, couture and Maseratis.

“We need a revolution to reverse that silly ratio,” he said.

Their creations, on display in the museum garden until Sept. 23, have a sort of forehead-thumping “Why didn’t someone think of that before?” quality.

More details after the jump…

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Touchdown in Toronto

Well, I made it here for the American Society for Microbiology general meeting. In Canada. So far, I had the people at my hotel completely screw up where the airport shuttle left from, leaving me waiting at the airport for an hour and a half, screwing up my reservation by almost shorting me a night, then having no internet access in my room (not just that I’d have to pay; but no possibility of getting it because my floor isn’t even wired, and my roomate–whom I’ve not even met yet–is already settled in). So I’m here in this little tiny corner lounge where there’s a wireless signal, right by the door with a cold breeze whenever someone walks in.

Oh, and our bus driver got lost on the way back from tonight’s reception and wasted an hour of my time. *And*, it’s Victoria Day and stuff closed early, or something. Toronto, you suck today. But there’s supposed to be fabulous weather the rest of the week, and there are more interesting sessions and posters than I can ever hope to catch, and I did at least make it to E.O. Wilson’s entertaining talk, so Monday will shortly be ancient history and hopefully tomorrow will be much better….

Where I am again marginalized

So, Dave over at The World’s Fair has started a coffee mug meme, suggesting that “…it’s almost like it s an emblem of your character. As if the type of cup you use can offer insight into the sort of personality you are.

Or maybe not…”

He asks then:

1. Can you show us your coffee mug?
2. Can you comment on it? Do you think it reflects on your personality?
3. Do you have any interesting anecdotes resulting from coffee cup commentary?
3. Can you try to get others to comment on it?

1). I’d love to, but the problem is…
Continue reading “Where I am again marginalized”