7.07.16: Defining Gender at the Olympics, STDs Are Back, & 10-Minute Writer's Workshop

Jul 7, 2016

Concepts of gender are shifting in workplaces, schools and public bathrooms across America. But how about on the track, or court or pool where athletes compete as male or female?  Today, how new Olympics guidelines define gender, and a fair fight.

And later in the show, an upset among the dignified crosswords puzzles set! We'll find out why the New York Times puzzle makers are being called tone-deaf. 

Listen to the full show. 

Defining Gender at the Olympics

Attitude about gender are shifting in workplaces, universities, schools and public bathrooms across America. Understanding gender along a spectrum may work in public interactions, but what happens when it comes to competition?

Last November, the IOC said it would allow athletes who've transitioned to another gender to compete without sex assignment surgery. Christie Aschwanden  is FiveThirtyEight's lead science writer and wrote about the decision, which is being applauded by some transgender activists, but not all. 

Lovemaps

Athletics are just one fraught arena for people who are born intersex -this story of discovery and partnership comes to us from the podcast Audio Smut – which has since changed its name to The Heart and producer Jen Ng. And heads up – this piece does discuss issues of sexuality.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

STDs Are Back

Record players, craft cocktails, and acid washed jeans. Everything old is new again. And while pop culture fads come and go, some vestiges of the past are meant to stay there – like syphilis.

Up until recently, syphilis was on the brink of extinction in the US. But now public health officials are scrambling. Cases of syphilis in Indiana surged 70% last year. Lubbock County, Texas was temporarily under a "syphilis alert." Olga Khazan is a staff writer with The Atlantic, where she and Russell Berman wrote about “How Syphilis Came Roaring Back.”

Crosswords Are Sexist (And Sometimes Racist Too)

The genteel pastime of crosswords has run into some trouble lately - this spring, a plagiarism scandal got USA Today editor Timothy Parker canned. Turns out he'd copied themes, grids, answers, and clues from New York Times puzzles for years. The story was reported by FiveThirtyEight in depth, and picked up by other outlets, revealing  how much people cared!  The Times crossword is again in the news - for less sympathetic reasons:  using yet another tone-deaf hint that observers say exposes the times puzzle masters to be clueless. 

Ruth Graham is a regular Slate contributor and a favorite Word of Mouth guest. She wrote about the recent brouhaha over a New York Times clue

10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Aaron Mahnke of Lore

In this episode of the 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop, Virginia speaks with Aaron Mahnke. He's the author of four novels, most recently Grave Suspicion and also host and creator of the hit podcast Lore.  

You can listen to this full episode again: 10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Aaron Mahnke of Lore