Monday News: End(?) of Harry Potter, listening v. reading, and the OMG history of home pregnancy tests
J.K. Rowling Says Harry Potter’s Story Is Done With The Release Of ‘Cursed Child’ – Although I don’t follow this franchise very closely, I seem to remember Rowling declaring the end of Potter before Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But apparently now it’s really done. Whatever that means. After, you know, all the tours of the play and the new movies, and what have you. But it’s done, done, done. Done.
“Harry is done now,” she told the media in London at the premiere of the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” according to Reuters.
“He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done,” she was quoted as saying. “This is the next generation, you know.” – Huffington Post
Is listening to a book ‘cheating?’ – So I yanked my eyes from the back of my head, where they aggrievedly rolled upon reading the title of this article, assuming a rant against audiobooks. They make our kids lazy, yada yada, yada. Instead, Daniel Willingham explains why he hates the construct of that question, particularly the implication that aural comprehension is not legitimate. Because apparently when it comes to listening and reading, listening can actually be better for understanding complex texts. When the text isn’t so difficult, listening and reading are not so much different, in terms of how the brain processes text.
Listening to an audiobook might be considered cheating if the act of decoding were the point; audio books allow you to seem to have decoded without doing so. But if appreciating the language and the story is the point, it’s not. Comparing audio books to cheating is like meeting a friend at Disneyland and saying: “You took a bus here? I drove myself, you big cheater.” – Washington Post
Could Women Be Trusted With Their Own Pregnancy Tests? – Did you know that the home pregnancy test was designed in 1967 by a 26-year-old pharmaceutical product designer named Margaret Crane? And that it didn’t come to market in the U.S. until ten years later? The delay had nothing to do with the test’s effectiveness or the existence of a market. It had to do with the perception that women would commit suicide at the news that they were pregnant, and that (primarily male) doctors would feel displaced, and because both abortion and birth control were not yet legal or readily available.
Why so much opposition? Some regulators worried that “frightened 13-year-olds” would be the main users of the test kits. But after the product did become available in the United States in 1977, it appealed instead to college-age and married women — many of whom desperately hoped for children.
Even so, the Texas Medical Association warned that women who used a home test might neglect prenatal care. An article in this newspaper in 1978 quoted a doctor who said customers “have a hard time following even relatively simple instructions,” and questioned their ability to accurately administer home tests. The next year, an article in The Indiana Evening Gazette in Pennsylvania made almost the same claim: Women use the products “in a state of emotional anxiety” that prevents them from following “the simplest instructions.” – New York Times
The Illegal Birth Control Handbook That Spread Across College Campuses in 1968 – The article on home pregnancy tests reminded me of this piece on a Canadian birth control handbook that was widely circulated in the late 60’s in both the U.S. and Canada (where it was written by some McGill students). Canada actually allowed for the sale of home pregnancy tests well before the U.S. (in 1970), even though this birth control handbook was illegal and birth control itself was available only by prescription to married women.
At a time when such information was nearly impossible to find, copies of their Birth Control Handbook were being distributed by the millions, with requests pouring in from across Canada and the U.S. “We joked that after the Bible, we were probably one of the most widely distributed publications in Canada,” recalls Donna Cherniak, one of the Handbook’s two original authors. . . .
In 1968, under Canada’s Criminal Code, the dissemination, sale, and advertisement of birth control methods were all illegal, and abortion was punishable by life imprisonment. In the U.S., the Comstock Act, passed in 1843 as an “Act of the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use” criminalized the publication, possession, and distribution of contraceptives, abortifacients, and anything related; not until 1971 did Congress remove Comstock’s language about contraception. – Atlas Obscura