Several studies have now led to a scientific consensus that American girls are hitting puberty earlier. Now, a new study suggests that the same might also be true of boys. The New York Times has a very good article on this that gets into the nuances of the research and explains what this information might mean (and what it doesn't mean).
There are a couple of key things that I found to be particularly interesting:
• There's enough evidence now that scientists generally agree girls are growing breasts at a younger age than they used to. But it's a lot less clear whether or not their periods are starting earlier, too. In fact, the evidence accumulating on that is leading scientists to start wondering whether breast development and menstruation aren't as closely tied together as we previously thought.
• It's a bit difficult to know whether this study in boys actually represents a real change because earlier research on when boys hit puberty — essentially, the stuff this study is comparing modern boys against — is often flawed. One 40-year-old study mentioned in the story established guidelines for how all boys should be developing and when based solely on photographs of 228 white boys from a London juvie facility.
• Even if both boys and girls are hitting puberty earlier, scientists acknowledge that the social results are very, very different. Parents don't particularly care when their 9-year-old son's testicles get bigger. Parents are deeply concerned when their 9-year-old daughter grows breasts. And with good reason. Even if a woman otherwise looks very young, people start treating her differently once the boobs kick in — "differently" in ways that can be really problematic for a 9-year-old. I had a friend in grade school who had breasts by 4th or 5th grade. She'd get cat-called on the street by grown men.
• There is a legitimate medical tool that consists of a string of wooden beads used to estimate testicle volume. Doctors hold the beads up and compare the size of the beads to the size of the guy's nuts. You can't make this stuff up.
Read the full story at The New York Times
Image: Boy climbs tree, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from devcentre's photostream
More than 800 American energy and Earth science researchers have signed a letter to Donald Trump outlining six steps they’re urging him to take to address human-caused climate change to protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” The letter is accompanied by a public change.org petition to “Tell Trump To #ActOnClimate.” Here […]
James Delingpole is an invective-hurling anti-climate science columnist who has candidly admitted that he doesn’t bother to read scientific papers, calling himself a “an interpreter of interpretations.”
Kratom (previously) is a widely used herb that has been very effective in treating opioid withdrawal and other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions — it also became very controversial this year because the DEA decided, without evidence, to class it as a dangerous drug, and then changed its mind (unprecedented!) after a mass-scale petition that included interventions […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]