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Mary Tim Baggott
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Mary Tim Baggott

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"[G]ender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression. I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to help others achieve health and wellness. I co-own two medical centers in Seattle. Doctor kits used to be for all children, but now they are on the boys’ aisle. I simply believe that they should be marketed to all children again, and the same with LEGOs and other toys.”
The Little Girl from the 1981 LEGO Ad is All Grown Up, and She’s Got Something to Say
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Mary Tim Baggott

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Guardian Coverup?

16) Finally, I have to report an example of a particularly misguided and deplorable form of media censorship, by none other than the much-respected Guardian newspaper, for which I contributed articles from Africa for three years in the mid-1980s, and which has always been my own newspaper of choice, not least because of its recent fine coverage of the Snowden and Assange stories. The Faria paper was covered by an uncritical article by the paper's Science Editor, Ian Sample, entitled "HIV pandemic originated in Kinshasa in the 1920s, say scientists". Comments were invited on the Guardian web-site. I scanned through and noticed that one person, "Worried", had posted a comment saying: "I would like the Guardian to ask the author of THE RIVER to reply to this ATL. As far as I know he is the only person qualified to do so." Although I was heading out an hour later, I quickly penned a comment that came in just under the word limit, and posted it on the site. When I got back 3 hours later, I found that my comment had been removed, with a note saying that it was in a state of "pre-moderation" which, as was later made clear, was tantamount to being transferred to a state of permanent limbo. I was now referred to only as "ID4556018". The initial comment by "Worried" had now also been removed by a community moderator. Two other mildly-phrased comments that were supportive of the OPV hypothesis by one Tom Holzinger had been removed as well. (I know this because Holzinger emailed me via my web-site after posting his comments. He was completely shocked when they were subsequently taken down. Holzinger, by the way, is the only person who made comments on the Guardian web-page whom I know, and then only through email contact.) Another reader who had obviously seen my web-site comment before it was removed had left the following comment: "Could you please explain how exactly the highly interesting and relevant post from ID4556018 posed a problem?" Of course, this meant nothing to those who did not know what had been written by ID4556018. All this was intriguing, for it was now clear that pro-OPV comments were being removed by the team of community moderators. (Many other comments had also been removed by the moderators, and it is not known how many, if any, of these might have been supportive of the OPV hypothesis. Yet two rancid examples of racism and sexism were left untouched, merely because they had included an asterisk in the middle of the more offensive words.) It seemed clear that the moderators were exceeding their official remit as protectors of community standards, and were acting instead as censors in a scientific debate. (By contrast, when the New York Times wrote about a paper by Michael Worobey that featured his highly contentious claim that he had proved with 99.8% certainty that the US epidemic of AIDS had started with the introduction of a single virus from Haiti, the web-site comments included more entries that were supportive of the OPV hypothesis and myself than of Worobey and his phylogenetic dating approach. This was despite the fact that neither the OPV hypothesis nor my name had been mentioned in the original article. The NYT web-site, at least, was apparently not censored.) I wondered whether Ian Sample, the Guardian Science Editor, or any of the authors of the Faria paper might have been involved with the community moderation process. I therefore wrote a letter reporting what had happened and explaining my concerns. I emailed it to the Guardian team of community moderators, asking them to reconsider their position, and in any case asking them to explain why the pro-OPV comments had been taken down. I waited 3 days and got no response. I then wrote a letter to Chris Elliott, the Guardian readers' editor, a sort of internal ombudsman for the newspaper, again explaining my concerns. It was over the 500-word limit that one learns (as one is about to send one's email) is supposed to apply, but (as I explained in a postscript email) I felt that the situation was so grave that it could only be explained properly in a greater number of words. He never responded. The only thing that has happened is that after a week, by which time the on-line comments section on Ian Sample's article had closed because the topic was no longer deemed newsworthy, one of Holzinger's posts was put back up by the moderators. The news was conveyed to Holzinger in what struck me as a sanctimonious email, which pointed out that in future he would need to respect the fact that nobody is allowed to discuss the moderators' decisions on line. (He had apparently done this in a follow-up posting to his two initial comments.) The real purpose of this about-face on Holzinger may well have been to allow the moderators to argue that they had not been inherently biased against the OPV hypothesis. I, however, believe there is prima facie evidence indicating that they have been prejudiced, and shamefully so. Sorry, Guardian, but I've waited over a month for an explanation, and none has come. In any case, in a debate such as this, one can't afford to have favourites.
[A recent communication from one of the co-authors of the Faria paper has provided new information, which requires an updated response from myself. Surprisingly, this information reveals even more evidence in favour of the OPV theory. Ed Hooper, November 11th, 2014.] ...
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Your source for credible news and authoritative insights from Hong Kong, China and the world.
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Have her in circles
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h/t +Joanne Jackson – "It is high time for non-Native Americans to come to terms with the fact that the United States is built on someone else’s land." 
The story of Native American dispossession is too easily swept aside, but new visualisations should make it unforgettable
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"A long-forgotten letter, discovered in early November of 2014 by regional planner and historian, Michael Jacobs, has provided very significant collaborating evidence that an English colony thrived in what is now northeast Metro Atlanta throughout the 17th century."
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Aug. 19, 1915
My dear mother,
We have had a lot of rain these last few days, and we naturally enjoy the inevitable mud in our sleeping holes. However, since we don’t sleep very often nor for very long, having had only two hours of rest last night, and the two hours weren’t all in a row, you can imagine that I was in a great mood, while cooking our breakfast with wet wood and kneeling in the mud!
André
Even with Remembrance Day serving as an annual reminder, and with so many iconic images attached to it, the First World War is a subject difficult for...
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R.I.P. Tom
Tom Magliozzi bantered weekly with his brother, Ray, on the public radio show. They joked, laughed and sometimes even gave good advice to listeners with car troubles. Tom Magliozzi was 77 years old.
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The Royal Observatory Greenwich and BBC Sky at Night Magazine announced the winners of this year's astrophotography contest.
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A British-American scientist and two Norwegians were awarded the prize for identifying the cells that help animals determine where they are.
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Have her in circles
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Rohil sinz's profile photo
Ivan Oransky's profile photo
Nguyễn Hạnh's profile photo
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