Blogs by Women

Pay Per Post Just Makes My Life Difficult

Tuesday
I rarely post on this blog - it's not my job. My job (among others) is to sort through the submissions to the BlogsByWomen directory (you didn't think a human had to do that did you :)

Yesterday, instead of being mildly amusing with occasional highlights, checking the blogs sucked.

Why? Because of all the Pay Per Post spam!

A full 40% of the sites submitted had PPP in them.

I had to fully read and check every blog instead of a quick scan to catch the obvious spammers and stinky boys. It took three times longer than usual. I figure I'll learn to spot these as fast as the usual suspects, but for right now... Ugh.

Because of that we have had to add a PPP checkbox to the submission form.

One of the thoughts that kept paddling across my head as I bumped into more and more of these was how out of place these postings are. For example, on a blog about TV shows is a post about "Understanding men", and "Sell Your home Fast" with the required link back to the spam site.

Other musings were:
Well, that's enough from me. Two posts from me is way too much. Hopefully I won't get as annoyed by this tomorrow.



What Gives With All The Pay Per Post?

We're behind on updating the blogsbywomen.org directory and a funny thing happened over those few days... PayPerPost submissions are stuffed into almost every blog we've reviewed so far (there's another 40+ to go so maybe it'll get better).

Here's the reaction I personally had when reviewing those particular sites... ick!

As an example, here are the titles from the first blog that really had me saying WTF? From the About Us , the site is "by three girls" who are about breast cancer walks and such.

golf course living
garage sale
fertility facts
$500 lanyard
ask an eye doctor
at it again
find a therapist
viruz
straighten up
cottage cheese thighs

See if you can figure out which ones of those are sponsored, as none of them are categorized or marked in any way as being promos.

Give up? The ones with stars are paid:

golf course living *
garage sale
fertility facts *
$500 lanyard
ask an eye doctor *
at it again
find a therapist *
viruz *
straighten up
cottage cheese thighs *

So 60% of the first page is paid posts. None of the posts are about cancer walks, or the "girls" posting to the blog, or about womens issues, but at least the blog poster is a woman.

We don't have a problem with people making a living through blogging but this just feels like the spammy end of the business pool to us.

As the old ad says, "Where's the Beef?".

Maybe we're just seeing the poorly executed (although the only poster on this example blog, Collen, is one of the top earners on PayPerPost), or maybe payperpost is just kinda icky as a way to make money online.

We may have to implement a policy on this so dive in and give us your opinions.



High-Fat Dairy Products Linked to Improved Fertility

An interesting new study has determined that women that are trying to conceive may improve their chances by drinking whole fat milk and eating ice cream. Apparently, women following diets that include low-fat dairy products are actually reducing their chances of conceiving.

This latest news was recently published in a reproductive medicine journal in Europe. But, researchers in the United States have also discovered a similar link between following a low-fat dairy diet and an increased risk for infertility. It appears that following a low-fat dairy diet decreases ovulation and, in fact, women that consumed two or more servings of low-fat dairy foods increased their risk of decreased ovulation by 85% when compared to women that ate only one serving of low-fat dairy foods per week.

Conversely, the research in the United States demonstrated that women who ate at least one serving of high-fat dairy foods every day had a 27% reduced risk of infertility due to problems with ovulation when compared to women that ate one or less high-fat dairy servings per week.

As a result of this study, some doctors are recommending that women trying to conceive should change their low-fat dairy products out for those that are high in fat. But, women need to take into consideration that consuming high fat dairy products will also increase their calorie intake. Therefore, they need to cut back on calories elsewhere in order to prevent gaining weight.


“They [women trying to conceive] should consider changing low-fat dairy foods for high-fat dairy foods; for instance, by swapping skimmed milk for whole milk and eating ice cream, not low fat yogurt.” – Dr. Jorge Chavarro, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health
This research sheds new light on the Dietary Guidelines currently being recommended to Americans, which includes consuming three or more servings of low-fat dairy products. Obviously, following these guidelines could be detrimental to a woman trying to conceive.

Of course, women that are not trying to conceive should continue to consume low-fat dairy products, as they are far healthier in terms of limiting the amount of fat the woman consumes. In addition, after the woman successfully conceives, she should resume consuming low-fat dairy products rather than high-fat products.

The exact connection between high-fat dairy products and improved fertility are still not completely understood. Researchers believe, however, that a fat-soluble substance is present in high-fat dairy products and that this substance helps to actually improve ovarian function.



Menstrual Cycles Cause Muscle Injuries?

Friday
New research has demonstrated that the sudden change in hormone levels that a woman experiences during her menstrual cycle can make them more prone to developing muscle injuries. The study indicates that the sudden rising and falling of estrogen and relaxin during different times of the month can actually weaken the ligaments and muscles, making women more likely to experience injury.

Portland Hospital in London tracked 17 women that experience what is considered to be “regular” menstrual cycles. The researchers found that these women experienced a sudden drop in their estrogen levels in the middle of their cycle. Since estrogen is responsible for strengthening ligaments and muscles, it makes sense that a drop in these levels makes injury more likely.

The research also found that relaxin rises as around the 24th to 26th days of the cycle, as it approaches its end. The body increases the levels of this hormone in order to help open the cervix for menstruation to occur. This also causes a relaxation of the ligaments, which can cause problems with the neck and lower back.

In light of this research, those involved with the study hope that female athletes can create a training routine that makes them less likely to be injured by working around their menstrual cycle. Taking a combined contraceptive pill can also help avoid risk, as these pills help keep hormonal levels fairly consistent.



More Women Waiting to Tie the Knot

Tuesday
Apparently, it is becoming far more common for women to live without a spouse. With the exception of periods of war, more women in the United States are currently living without a spouse than ever before. According to a 2005 census, 51% if women in the United States are now living along. This is in stark contrast to 1950 when only 35% of women were living without a spouse.

According to Professor Stephanie Coontz, who is the Director of Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, this change is just a natural reflection of the fact that women are increasingly waiting to get married. In addition, more women are willing - and able - to leave marriages that are making them unhappy. In fact, many women are simply choosing to say no to marriage in general as they find they are capable of living a happy and full life without having a spouse.

Everywhere around the world, except in Afghanistan under the Taliban, women have been pouring into the labor force. They have been increasing their representation in education. Women are now a majority of university students in many, many countries, not just in the United States. That means that they have more options than in the past. They can postpone marriage. And when they do enter marriage, they have different expectations than women who used to be forced to marry even if they are not fully in love because they needed a man to confer their legal rights, to support them economically, and give them the social respectability. - Professor Stephanie Coontz, Director of Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families


Coontz does not, however, mean to imply that women do not believe in marriage. Rather, they are more willing to wait for a relationship based on mutual regard, equality, and common interests before tying the knot. In the past, many women chose a spouse based on the economic security it provides or on the social status it offers. As women increasingly earn their own wages and levels of respect, these factors are no longer a consideration for most.

Coontz predicts that this change will actually be positive for the American society, and for the rest of the world where women are increasingly getting into the workforce and becoming more independent. According to Coontz, this change will result in women making better choices in their spouses and raising more stable and happy families.



Harvard Promotes its First Woman to Position of President

Friday
Harvard has recently announced that it will be promoting its first woman to position of president. Drew Gilpin Faust, currently the dean for the University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, will be the first women to fill this prestigious position in the 371 history of the University.

The news of Faust’s promotion to this position is particularly meaningful considering the previous president, Lawrence H. Summers, had remarked that women have a lower “intrinsic aptitude” for science than their male counterparts.

Faust will be the 28th president of the University, and reports indicate that the members of the Harvard faculty and staff are pleased with her placement in the position. Apparently, her predecessor was not very accomplished when it comes to bringing together workers and persuading them to jump on board with change. In fact, Faust has been referred to as an “experienced consensus-builder.” In fact, Bruce H. Mann from the Carl Schipper law department commented “she knows that you can get people to go a lot farther if you persuade them rather than if you drag them.”

In her move to University president, Faust will go from overseeing just 100 employees in her current position to overseeing 25,000.



FDA Concerned About the Effectiveness of Current Birth Control Pills

Wednesday
According to the FDA, newer forms of birth control pills are failing to be as effective against preventing pregnancy as those that have been around for several years.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 60% if women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States are using some type of birth control, with 11.6 million of these women using the pill. Throughout the world, this form of contraception is a $5 billion market. Nonetheless, new documents indicate that newer forms of hormonal contraception are not as effective as older forms. In fact, some have twice the failure rate as their older counterparts.

The reasons behind the decrease in effectiveness is not fully understood, though researchers believe it is likely because the manufacturers of hormonal contraception are using lower doses of the hormones used to stop ovulation. Lowering the doses, however, was done in order to reduce the risk of developing blood clots while taking the pill.

"Today most birth control pills are very safe for the vast majority of
women."- Amy Allina, Program Director for the National Women’s Health
Network


So, now the question is this: Which is more important – to improve the efficiency of birth control pills or to decrease the risks associated with hormonal contraception?

The FDA hopes to answer this question by bringing it to a panel comprised of obstetricians, gynecologists, neurologists, and statisticians. In the past, the FDA approved birth control pills that effectively prevented 99 out of 100 pregnancies. Current pills are shown to effectively prevent 98 out of 100 pregnancies. The panel will determine whether or not this small change in failure rates is acceptable

The panel will also determine whether or not the women used in the clinical trials are an appropriate representative mix of those using the pills. Currently, these trials typically exclude women that are overweight or that smoke, as well as those with a history of heart trouble.



Non-Smoking Women at Increasing Risks for Lung Cancer

Monday
According to recent reports, women are increasingly becoming more likely to develop lung cancer than men – including those that have never smoked. The reasons behind this phenomenon are not understood. Nonetheless, data shows that women that never smoked develop lung cancer in 14.4 to 20.8 per 100,000 people. Men, on the other hand, develop lung cancer in 4.8 to 13.7 per 100,000 people. In all, it is estimated that 8% to 20% of people with lung cancer have never smoked.

A couple theories have been created to explain this shocking finding. One theory is that more women are affected by second-hand smoke because more men smoke than women and women may be exposed to second-hand smoke on a more frequent basis. These women would still fall under the category as people that have never smoked.

Another theory is that exposure to certain environmental factors that lead to lung cancer may be more common for women. Dietary factors and genetic factors are other theories under investigation. Despite the various theories, no one knows or sure why non-smoking women are becoming increasingly victimized by lung cancer.
There is good news to report, however. For example, lung cancer victimized that never smoked are more likely to respond positively to drug therapy. In addition, they have a higher survival rate than their smoking counterparts.



Male Sweat Causes Women to Become Sexually Aroused

Friday
A recent study revealed that male sweat actually contains a compound called androstadienone that sexually arouses women and gives a boost to their moods.

According to Claire Wyart, PhD, who headed up Berkley Olfactory Research Project at the University of California, this compound causes hormonal, psychological, and physiological changes to women. This research is expected to actually help researchers develop new treatments for people experiencing hormone problems.

In order to conduct the study, the researchers found 21 healthy and heterosexual of the average age of 22. The women then watched a nature video that was considered to be soothing in order to get them in a relaxed mood. Then, they smelled either a jar containing androstadienone or baker’s yeast as the researchers monitored their heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, breathing, and fidgeting.

After sniffing the contents of the jar, the women watched a five minute video that was either sad, funny, or erotic. Then, they watched a ten minute video that was emotionally neutral. The women then rated their moods as well as the pleasantness of the odor in the vial and their level of sexual arousal. The effects of androstadienone were found to more pronounced when in these various emotional settings.

In regard to the pleasantness of the smells, both the androstadienone and baker’s yeast were rated the same. The intensity of both smells were rated the same as well. Yet, the androstadienone caused a difference in mood. Of course, there are more compounds in sweat than androstadienone, but it is promising that this chemical can be used to help induce hormonal changes in those needing them for medical purposes.



New Blog Hits the Fashio Runways

Wednesday
A new blog has just been launched that makes it easier for every woman to keep her finger on the pulse of fashion. Today, the Wall Street Journal Online launched its new blog entitled “Heard on the Runway.” This blog is to be continually updated with news and images from the runway. In addition, it will provide an analysis of the runways from Milan, New York, and Paris.

The blog is meant to provide up-to-the-minute updates direct from the runways, making it a truly even-driven blog. So, even the most fashion conscious women will be able to stay current on what is sweeping the runways.

The blog will be maintained by a number of fashion and luxury gurus and, in addition to bringing the latest news from the runway, it will also provide readers with a behind-the-scenes look at exclusive events and parties that these experts will be attending. It will also include interviews with designers, CEOs and retailers.



Trends in Pregnancies Changing at a Fairly Rapid Pace

Monday
It seems that the trend in pregnancies has been taking quite a turn in recent years. Whereas many have worried about teenage pregnancies, the number of teenage girls getting pregnancy is going down. Conversely, the number of women waiting until they are 30 years old or older to have children is going up.

In the past 30 years, the number of women 30 years old and older having children has climbed to 96 out of every 1,000 women. Similarly, girls between the ages of 15 and 19 having babies has fallen to about 40 out of every 1,000 girls – a 2% decrease. The decrease is especially prevalent in non-Hispanic teenage black girls, who have experienced a 59% drop in pregnancies since 1991.

The reason for these changes? According to Brady Hamilton of the National Center for Health Statistics, more and more women are choosing to pursue their education and their careers before starting a family. This appears to be a natural evolution in the changing roles of women in the American society.

Hamilton states that the decrease in teenage pregnancies appears to be from a combination of factors, including a push in programs promoting abstinence and those that promote taking responsibility for sexual behavior. Despite these apparently positive affects of these programs, the number of births to unmarried woman has risen, with 48 of every 1,000 births being to unmarried women.



Gel Intended to Prevent AIDS in Women Actually Increases Their Risks

Friday
A new gel designed to help protect women from the AIDS virus has shown disappointing results. The gel, which goes by the name of Ushercell and is produced by a company called Polydex Pharmaceuticals, is a microbicide that is intended to stop women from getting infected with the deadly virus. Unfortunately, it was actually found to increase the chance of a woman becoming infected.

39 million people around the world are infected with AIDS - Half of which are women

In the preliminary trials, which involved 500 women, there was no indication of an increased risk of infection. The advanced trial, which involved 1,333 women from Benin, South Africa, India, and Uganda showed different results. As a result, the second trial that was supposed to take place in Nigeria was stopped.

Similar trials had taken place previously with a spermicide called nonoxynol-9. This gel was also found it increase the risk of HIV infection rather than reduce it.

The World Health Organization and UNAIDS were both involved with coordinating the trial studies. Both organizations are obviously disappointed with the results and have stated they are unsure of why the gels were not only unsuccessful, but actually had the opposite of the desired results. The organizations claim to have three other compounds that are being studied for preventing HIV infection. All three are in the advanced stages of trials.