Wandering Eye: Maryland moves to recall Confederate plates, the next battery hope, and more

Sexual assault can have a lot of negative effects on a survivor long after the assault itself: For example, almost one-third of all rape victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their life. Aside from PTSD, survivors can develop problems with their body image and feelings of control over their body. Student nurse Pavan Amara in the UK had that happen to her after someone raped her when she was a teenager: "I couldn't go to the doctor any more because I didn't want to be touched. I didn't want to be in a crowd [and] it affected my relationships, but the biggest thing it affected was my perception of my body and my body image. I felt terrible," she tells The Guardian. She reached out to other women who were sexual assault survivors and found that many of them had similar problems, with consequences on their health: "Just like Amara, some described avoiding mirrors, and half said that, despite wanting to, they hadn't felt able to attend screenings for cervical cancer or sexually transmitted infections. 'They just couldn’t have somebody touch them. They were triggered badly by it, so they felt it was a choice between their mental health and their physical health.' One woman summed it up perfectly, Amara recalls: 'She said that her rapist had taken away so much from her and now he was taking her health, too.'" So Amara started working with Barts Health NHS Trust in east London, and this August, they will open "the UK's first cervical screening and STI clinic designed specifically for women who have experienced sexual violence," which is set up to let women "dictate every detail, down to music or aromatherapy to help them relax, specific phrases they do or don't want the healthcare practitioner to use, body positions they'd like to avoid – they can even decide whether they want to insert the speculum themselves." It's a great step in addressing some of the public health consequences of sexual assault. (Anna Walsh)

 

Here's Quartz on the next Big Battery Hope. As everyone knows, one of the big obstacles to affordable electric vehicles with gas-car range is the size and expense of the batteries. The story here is convoluted—it starts with the bankruptcy of inventor Yet-Ming Chiang and moves smoothly into his next failure, a "flow battery" that, turns out, would have to be the size of a nuclear power plant to compete with fossil fuels. But then the breakthrough: Make regular batteries in a better way. Most U.S. inventors don't spend a lot of time improving manufacturing processes for existing products. This sets the U.S.A. back, when compared to German and Japanese manufacturers. Chiang's insight (or, rather, the insight of his team) is to reimagine and simplify how ordinary lithium-ion batteries are made now. "According to the Economic Policy Institute, the US lost about 5 million manufacturing jobs just from 1997 to 2014," the story says. "This includes the production of lithium-ion batteries, which, though invented by Americans, were commercialized in Japan and later South Korea and China." The new battery-making machine could bring some manufacturing back to the U.S., the story says (though not so many jobs as have been lost, of course). Maybe. Here is the thing, though: Most manufacturing process improvement comes not in MIT-stocked start-ups; it comes from the factory floor, from the workers themselves. Here is hoping Chiang's project makes the transition from lab to reality. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

A movement has swept across the country to get rid of the many flags, monuments, items, and names that honor the old Confederacy from the Civil War. This comes nearly a week after nine African-American people were murdered in a historic Charleston, South Carolina church; a white man who posted pictures on social media with the Confederate States of America's stars-and-bars is charged with the murders. Here in Maryland, City Paper has gotten behind the effort to rename Robert E. Lee Park on the city-county line—a move backed by Baltimore County. Now, Gov. Larry Hogan is taking steps to get the flag removed from state license plates, The Sun reports. "The Supreme Court ruled last week that Texas is not required to issue a similar plate there, and aides said Hogan has approached the MVA about stopping the practice in Maryland," Yvonne Wenger's writes. Oddly, an African-American delegate from Baltimore, Curt Anderson, called the effort "a waste of time." "Will it resolve the poverty problem in Baltimore? Probably not," he went on to say. "Will it resolve the high death rate in Baltimore City? I don't think so." No, probably not, but that doesn't mean expunging these honorariums to traitorous men who fought for an army assembled to protect human bondage is something that shouldn't be done. (Brandon Weigel)

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