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The heat is on in Caracas, Venezuela
The heat is on in Caracas, Venezuela

CARACAS — It might be funny if it weren't true — which Venezuelan reporter Nitu Pérez Osuna didn't think it was before witnessing it with her own eyes: people lining up along a Caracas street to get a "shot" or "lick" of deodorant.

"I'd seen something similar two years ago on Twitter and thought it was a hoax," Pérez told Blu Radio.

Walking through the city center, the journalist spotted a queue of about 40 people — "a relatively short line," given supply conditions in Venezuela — and asked people what they were waiting for. "A lick of deodorant on the armpit," she was told, for 20 bolivars (about 1.80 euros).

Nitu Pérez Osuna and a sign advertising for deodorant in Caracas — Source: Revista Semana via Twitter

The reporter hesitated to take a photo, but as she stealthily pulled out her smartphone, some of the people queuing up warned her, saying she risked being robbed. "Don't even think about it," one of them said.

Dabs of deodorant are one of a number of services being offered on the street as a result of Venezuela's deep economic crisis, which has resulted in serious shortages of basic supplies. Other makeshift dispensaries offer things like dentistry services — with people sharing the same toothbrushes all day long — shaves and manicures, all on the street. It is something that has "become normal, and nobody is surprised," said Pérez.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

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-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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