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What a Chocolate Hoax Can Teach Us About Junk Science

A journalist comes forward after publishing a faulty scientific report linking chocolate to weight loss.

You may have read (and vaguely believed) that dark chocolate is good for you thanks to its antioxidant content — after all, some diets even promote small amounts of chocolate as a component of a healthy eating plan. Last month, a study circulated suggesting that eating a dark-chocolate bar daily while on a low-carb diet could actually help you lose weight. The news was picked up by a handful of press outlets

The people behind that study were a journalist named John Bohannon, who, along with German documentary filmmakers, set out to exploit weaknesses in the scientific process to see if reporters would take the bait; now, on i09, they've admitted it was all a hoax.

As research on their film about how junk science can lead to lots of big headlines, they purposely commissioned a faulty scientific study, had a financial analyst crunch the results, set up a website for the fake Institute of Diet and Health, and listed the lead author as Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. (Bohannon does have a Ph.D., but in molecular biology).

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  • Yesterday at 6:15 PM

New York Magazine’s ‘Sex Lives’ Podcast: Why Are Balls Having a Cultural Moment?

Plus: a review of guaranteed blockbuster Chocolate City.

Have you heard of Chocolate City? On the off chance you haven't heard of it, seen it, and submitted its nomination for an Oscar, it's a fantastic movie that some have called the "black Magic Mike." On this week's "Sex Lives," Maureen O'Connor, Allison P. Davis, and David Wallace Wells discuss why the genius of this male stripper movie far surpasses anything Steven Soderbergh could dream up (spoiler alert: It has basically everything to do with Tyson Beckford's body rolls).

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Rick Owens Commissioned a Goth Mobile Home

Road trip!

Look, Rick Owens is hardly immune to Kerouac-style wanderlust. In a new Complex profile, the designer shares that he is having a mobile home built for a road trip across this great country of ours. It is currently under construction at the Winnebago factory in Iowa — where Owen's "chief architect" is overseeing things — and the process should take about a year. It's custom-painted: “Matte-black,” he says, “of course.” The question "What do you get for the man who already has a 25-foot-tall statue of himself?" has officially been answered. 

He's also an avid Agatha Christie reader. »

We Were Mom-BFFs, But I Was Pretty Sure She Had the Perfect Life

Of course things were more complicated than I imagined.

Two weeks after our first child was born, my husband returned to work leaving me marooned with a tiny, mewling creature. I sulked with the baby on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum and watched as two African-American women in yoga pants and stylish summer scarves strode past pushing strollers similar to mine. Probably going to meet the other new mothers, I thought, at some hip new-mother club to which I hadn’t been invited.

The solitary confinement of new motherhood was not to my style. My childless friends couldn’t imagine the emotional havoc brought on by hormonal imbalance, breast-feeding, stalled ambition, clueless spouses, sleeplessness, sexlessness. And then another mother appeared in front of the museum. Her child, older than mine, was taken by the fountain’s musical leap and splash. I half-smiled and she appeared at my side. Here’s an approximate transcript of our first meeting:

“Hey. I have a baby, too.” »
  • Yesterday at 5:12 PM
  • Study

Most Women Are Catcalled Before They Turn 17

According to a new study, 84 percent of women first experience street harassment as minors.

According to a new international study on catcalling, 84 percent of women are harassed on the street before they turn 17. Conducted by Hollaback! — the anti-street-harassment group behind last fall’s viral catcalling PSA — in partnership with Cornell University, it's the largest study on street harassment to date, surveying over 16,000 women from 21 countries. The findings show that across the globe, the majority of women are catcalled for the first time during puberty — between the ages of 11 and 17. Of the respondents, 50 percent of women reported being groped or fondled in public, and 71 percent said they had been followed by harassers.

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  • Yesterday at 4:50 PM

A Prominent Yogi on Fat Yoga, Instagram, and Changing Stereotypes

Jessamyn Stanley is a self-described fat femme who documents her yoga progression on Instagram.

If the thirst trap is a photo meant to “elicit compliments, high praise, or words of obsessive lust” then yoga enthusiasts have their own version, with their own set of unofficial rules. The image usually features a gravity-defying pose, either clouds or a sunset, and bright-patterned leggings. And it’s often a skinny white girl posting the photo.

Maybe that’s why people find Jessamyn Stanley’s feed so refreshing. Stanley, 27, is a self-described fat femme who documents her yoga progression on her Instagram account, where she has more than 40,000 followers. She originally tried Bikram yoga in late 2011, and began a daily practice two summers ago (her account garnered attention earlier this year). She’s since advanced to tricky forearm balances and challenging poses like king dancer, and she often photographs herself in swimsuits or her underwear. She spoke to the Cut about preconceived notions about beauty in the yoga world, “fat yoga” studios, and becoming a teacher herself.

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  • Yesterday at 3:04 PM

An Iconic ’70s Designer Plots His Kickstarter-Assisted Comeback

People of the internet, Stephen Burrows needs you.

Like his contemporary Halston, Stephen Burrows is synonymous with the swinging-’70s, Studio 54 aesthetic. The 71-year-old designer, who was one of the stars of 1973's Battle of Versailles, has been off the radar for a bit, not having shown for four years, but the New York Times reports that he is turning to a Kickstarter campaign to fund his comeback. (Other big-name designers who have gone this route recently include Patrick Robinson and Maria Pinto, according to the piece.) “My last collection was financed by rich friends,” Burrows told the paper. “I pitched my model to numerous investors, but this time no one stepped up. It did and didn’t surprise me. Fashion is a difficult business. Taxing. Tedious.” And if his Kickstarter page (where, as of this writing, he had made it to $9,400 of his $300,000 goal) doesn't pan out? "I’m sure I’ll think of something,” the ever-resourceful Burrows said.

Forced Ultrasounds: ‘Just a Cool Thing,’ Says Scott Walker

Silly media, trying to make state-mandated vaginal probes “sound like a crazy idea.”

In a visit to conservative radio host Dana Loesch’s show, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker chatted about the state’s mandatory (and medically unnecessary) ultrasound provision. Walker signed a 2013 law that requires anyone seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound; since most abortions happen before 12 weeks, the insertion of a vaginal probe is necessary to detect a fetus, ruling out the less invasive abdominal ultrasound. Afterward, abortion providers must show patients the image and describe it.

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There’s Going to Be a Chanel Spa in Paris Soon

And it will surely become the world's most Instagrammed spa. 

Meet the soon-to-be most Instagrammable spa in the world. Today, Chanel announced its first-ever spa will be opening at the Ritz Paris with a spa concept called "Chanel au Ritz Paris." The brand said, "The strong bond that unites CHANEL and the Ritz Paris was initiated by Mademoiselle Chanel who lived 34 years at the Ritz. Located in the Ritz Club, 'CHANEL au Ritz Paris' will provide women with a unique sensorial and customized experience." No details have been revealed about the spa's opening date, as the Ritz has been closed since July 2012 for renovations. But expect lots of French touching, extra-fancy Chanel-logo cotton pads, and maybe even Choupette-inspired eye treatments.

Stella McCartney Unleashes Digital Snow in Her Latest Video Series

Just in time to beat the early summer heat wave.

If busted-AC-unit season already has you longing for winter, take heart. Stella McCartney is continuing her series of videos with artist Petra Cortright. (You can see the fruits of their two previous linkups here and here.) In "Snowy," above, the artist cavorts with digital flakes. In "Dreamy," below, she blows bubbles (echoes of the model antics at the designer's playful presentations) while wearing McCartney's Fur Free Fur collection. It's all to celebrate McCartney's pre-fall collection, in all its fuzzy glory. Brrr.

How to Live, According to One Very Pretty Rich Person

Always pack a party dress, don't fight your inner Wasp, and more!

I love advice but in this current day and age, it is just so hard to get it. You don’t know how many times I have opened a memoir, literally begging for someone to give me a life lesson, and then am confronted with some version of “I don’t want to tell you how to live your life — this is just me”  or “I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing, I’m just telling you what I’ve learned.” This is insane. Tell me what to do! I need to know! I can’t go on this way! 

That’s why I picked up Always Pack a Party Dress, a memoir by Amanda Brooks, the former creative director at Barneys, whose English farm was in a J.Crew catalogue. “Always Pack a Party Dress” sounds like advice — the exact type of advice I need, because I am so bad at packing.

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Solange Wore an Ambitious Shoulder Train

As one does.

Continuing on her spring fashion tour (which has included everything from death shadows to dirigibles), Solange Knowles has served up another hit: a cream-colored Marios Schwab dress with a long, surprisingly elegant shoulder train. She wore it with Aquazzura fringe sandals to last night's Veuve Clicquot event in London, and it proved to be the perfect dress for party-going, twirling, and, of course, "walking like Mariah runs."

  • Yesterday at 11:52 AM

Granny Panties Are Not About Politics

They're just a comfortable way to make butts look cool.

Granny panties. High-waisted briefs. Generously cut, full-coverage undies. Sales of such underpants have grown by 17 percent in the past year, reports the New York Times "Style" section. And who is buying them? Certified grandmas? Wannabe grandmas? Maybe teens, because who knows what teens are up to? And anyway, why? 

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Is Patagonia Actually a Luxury Brand?

Despite a marketing strategy that's more Naomi Klein than Calvin Klein, it does have some things in common with Gucci.

A 2011 Patagonia ad with the tagline "Don't Buy This Jacket," which warned of the potential wastefulness of buying the brand's R2 fleece, or any other garment, helped contribute to significant sales growth the following year. (Evidently, plenty of people bought that jacket.)

This is an emblematic approach for the 42-year-old company, and today The New Yorker did a deep dive into its so-called "anti-growth strategy." Rather than rely on a barely dressed Kendall Jenner to draw attention to its wares, the company does things like post essays about the deleterious effects of climate change on its website. And for the environmentally conscious customers that Patagonia aims to attract, that game plan is working, resulting in double-digit growth for the outdoorsy label. In the past four years, Patagonia has opened 40 stores, and has introduced a sustainable-foods business, Patagonia Provisions, that sells things like Alaskan salmon and energy bars. The brand just concluded a cross-country tour in a camper nicknamed Delia, collecting people's used Patagonia items for recycling, and repairing those that needed a little TLC.

How the brand earned the nickname Patagucci. »

Resort Town That Banned Mankinis Is Thriving

Crime is down, tourism is up.

Officials in a British resort town that banned mankinis say the crackdown has been the solution to all of their civic woes. The Cornish town of Newquay took a hard line on the one-pieces back in 2009, after residents protested the party town’s excessive public disorder. Six years later, The Guardian reports that, in the absence of reprehensible bathing attire, the formerly debaucherous destination has transformed into a haven for bachelorette parties and family vacations.

"I remember back in the 2000s you couldn’t walk the streets on a Saturday without seeing someone wearing a mankini." »
  • Yesterday at 10:33 AM

VA Can’t Cover IVF for Injured Soldiers

Republicans in Congress think embryos are more important.

When Army Staff Sergeant Alex Dillmann was paralyzed from the stomach down after a bomb blast in Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stepped in to provide heath care and benefits. After 25 surgeries on his spinal cord, the VA retrofitted his truck and provided exercise equipment. But the VA is banned from covering IVF treatment, which would give Dillmann and his wife, Holly, their best shot at conceiving. “At the end of the day, I’m so lucky to be alive. Part of that is this dream to be a parent,” Dillmann told the Washington Post, “But this is a big pill to swallow for all veterans facing combat injuries, which have hurt their chances to have children.”

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Why Did It Take So Long to Make Lasers for Black Skin?

Dermatology catches up to the hair-removal needs of nonwhite patients.

I’ve come close to getting laser treatments three times. The first, when I was in college, was after a friend’s older sister announced that it was "the greatest thing ever." She explained that hair-removal treatment was expensive but worth every penny, especially since she never had to worry about a messy bikini line ever again. “I've read that black people can’t use lasers,” I said, hoping that her esthetician might have mentioned it to her, though I knew that was unlikely because my friend was white. But all she said was, “Yeah, you should look into that first.”

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How to Contour Easily Without Going Too Far

Blend, blend, blend. 

If last week's contouring look was too subtle for you, try a more dramatic one to zhuzh it up for night. Although some use bronzer or specific "contour" shades to sculpt the face, celebrity makeup artists like Dior Beauty brand ambassador Daniel Martin prefer using foundation to create a more natural, seamless look. Here, he demonstrates on actress Halle Morse how important it is to blend, blend, blend when attempting to contour. 

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Cool, Lightweight Sunglasses to Wear All Summer

Yes, they will look good on you. 

Why is it so hard to find sunglasses that you know look good on you? With such a wide variety of shapes and sizes out there, it can feel like an uphill climb to find a pair that are both flattering and will look good with any outfit. Luckily, Madewell brings us this cool, round tortoise frame with retro metal details that clocks in at only $55. They'll look great with a bathing suit and a cover-up on the beach — or wear them with a work shirt and a flowing skirt for your morning commute. 

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Copyright © 2015, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2015, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2015, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.