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Week of 1 November 2002 · Vol. VI, No. 10

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Time: Cycling into impotence

Can years of riding a bike cause impotence? Absolutely, says Irwin Goldstein, a School of Medicine professor of urology and gynecology. An article in the October 28 issue of Time magazine cites Goldstein’s warning, which he has issued since 1997, that hours of sitting on a bike saddle can create enough pressure on the perineum, the area between the anus and the pubic bone, to permanently damage the artery that supplies blood to the penis. On the basis of a study of several thousand men in a Boston riding club, Goldstein believes that as many as 4 percent of male cyclists have problems with impotence because of cycling. While there may be a variety of factors to consider as a cause for perineal pressure in cyclists, the bike seat seems to predominantly be the culprit. Goldstein advocates eliminating the seat saddle nose.

Los Angeles Times: Democracy held together by small gestures

One small gesture can hold an entire democracy together, writes Thomas Cottle, a School of Education special education professor, in the October 26 Los Angeles Times -- a reference to the salute often seen exchanged between drivers in pickup trucks on country roads. “His baseball cap perched firmly on his head, the driver of the truck sees another truck approaching,” Cottle writes. “Then, just as the two trucks pass, the driver lifts his fingers off the steering wheel for a brief second. Perhaps he glances at the driver of the second truck to see his fingers do the same; perhaps there will be a barely discernible nod. Then, just as quickly, the eyes return to the road, the fingers again grip the wheel, the salute completed. In a moment, two men have acknowledged each other. More precisely, two workers have acknowledged each other for being workers, laborers, craftsmen. They have acknowledged what it means to work, earn a living, stay at a job, especially on those days when it would be far more fun to fish or hang around the house fixing a back deck or playing with a child. . . . the ritual will be repeated within minutes when yet another truck passes . . . A small gesture, yet one that holds an entire democracy together. One doesn’t need to know what the other man does, where he works, what he’s good at, what he earns. It is all about respect for the worker, for the sense of duty implied in any job and the competence and training that jobs require. It is also about a man defining and judging himself in terms of his work. Good and steady employment means good and steady spirit and the right to hold oneself in some esteem. . . . And what of women? They’re driving and they’re saluting, too, so the same goes for them.”

Boston Herald: Crime rate low, anxiety high

Despite the fact that the U.S. Justice Department says that violent crime rates in America are at their lowest level in nearly 20 years, two Gallup surveys released before the Washington, D.C., snipers were caught reveal that Americans believe crime is on the rise and that those polled on the East Coast think that they or a family member could be the target of a sniper, reports the October 27 Boston Herald. The recent sniper shootings, combined with the threat of anthrax poisoning, nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea, war looming with Iraq, and government alerts of terrorist threats have kept Americans on edge. “We all operate with an illusion of control,” says David Barlow, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of psychology and director of BU’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. All these things have ratcheted up anxiety levels among the center’s patients, he says. “When things like this happen, when they go on for days and weeks, then we’re at risk of having that illusion of control disrupted, and anxiety goes up, even though statistics show the danger has not gone up,” he explains.

Boston Globe: BU alumna is first black elected to office in Greece

Yvette Jarvis (CAS’79) is not only the first black to win public office in Greece, but also one of the first non-Greek, reports the October 27 Boston Globe. Jarvis finished fifth on the Socialist Party ballot for the Athens City Council, with 5,140 votes. She immigrated to Greece in 1982 from Boston and became a citizen after marrying a Greek. She gained fame in Greece as the first African-American woman to play professional basketball, for Panathinaikos Athens, as well as for being a model and the first African-American woman to host a national television show in Greece. In an interview with GreeceNow prior to the election, she said she was running on a ticket of “equality and equal opportunity” and promoting a multicultural society that both preserves the old and tolerates the new. “When I see how it is now, that people have difficulty finding a place to live and are subjected to racist remarks, those are things I never experienced here in Greece,” she said. “But those things are prevalent now. The hardest thing for Greeks to understand is that there is a problem. They just don’t want to accept it. . . . All people are prejudiced. All. All. There is no society that is not prejudiced. Period.” After the election, Jarvis said that she never believed that “the love and the exuberance that I experienced with people could actually translate into votes.”

Finger Lakes Times: Stith speaks on terrorism

The terrorist attacks of September 11 showed America that the insulation of the oceans no longer protects it from evils in the world, according to Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and director of BU’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center, reports the October 30 Finger Lakes Times. Speaking at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., Stith urged the United States to find the answers to the problems of discontent and poverty in hot spot areas around the world rather than just supply military action. He said the United States also has a moral responsibility to help other nations develop democratic governments and prosper. “This is our challenge, to do what we can, and with what we can, in consistency with our highest morals,” he said. “My point is that it is not enough to curse the darkness, but you also have to bring in some light.”


1 November 2002
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