Thinning the Herd

The Bison of Catalina Island showcase responsible wildlife stewardship

On a perfectly balmy day in the rugged hills of Catalina Island, about an hour off the coast of California, biologist Julie King peers through the crosshairs of a mounted telescope at a pooping bison.

She records the time the droppings hit the ground, the identification tag of the half-ton offender, and which telescope was used to mark the pile’s location. A few minutes later, calling out instructions over the steady hum of planes flying overhead toward island's private airport, she guides fellow biologist Calvin Duncan down to exact location of the dung.

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8 Contraception Questions Every Woman Should Ask

From first-time users to moms getting back into birth control, make sure these topics get covered.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

It seems like every couple years a new contraceptive for women comes on the market. Decades after the FDA approved “the pill” as birth control, women have seen their options expand into shots, patches, implants, sponges, etc … each with their own benefits, drawbacks, and side effects.

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IUDs Are 20 Times As Effective as the Pill, So Why Aren't More Women Using Them?

The IUD is 20 times better at preventing pregnancy than the pill, the patch, and the ring.

The intrauterine device, or IUD, is the most effective form of reversible birth control available to women. New research shows that when the small, T-shaped device is inserted into a woman's uterus to deter sperm from reaching an egg, it's 20 times better at preventing pregnancy than the birth control pill, the hormonal patch, or the vaginal ring. Condom failure rates are even worse. In one study, 75 percent of women said they'd prefer an IUD to alternate forms of contraception. Still, only 5 percent of women actually use them.

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4 Things The Hunger Games Can Teach Us About the War on Women

Katniss manages to destabilize and ultimately upend a government hell-bent on manipulating her to its nefarious ends.

The romantic subplot of The Hunger Games can make it seem like a Twilight clone: a young woman torn between two men who are driven to protect her, yet can’t seem to help endangering her. But scratch the surface, and you’ll find that heroine Katniss is quite the opposite of pallid, passive, lovesick Bella, and she’s got a lot to teach us about the current culture wars. In fact, it’s hard not to think of President Snow’s creepy obsession with controlling Katniss' love life without being reminded of the Republican Party's similar fixation on controlling our ladyparts. When Katniss manages to destabilize and ultimately upend a government hell-bent on manipulating her to its nefarious ends, she offers a blueprint for how to not only survive, but win, the war on women. Here's what we should learn:

The rules are set up to ensure we fail.

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How to Wage a Modern Culture War: Blame Big Government

When the GOP defends "religious freedom," ultraconservatives see a moral crusade, while moderates see a defense of citizens' rights.

The term "culture war" has been in the news lately, describing a shift in political focus from unemployment and taxes to birth control and gay marriage. Some say it's because the economy is improving (although we have a long way to go). Others, like me, say it's because it's a perennially important discussion that will never go away. But something peculiar is happening this election season: Instead of putting their moral cards out on the table, conservatives are couching their cultural crusades in the libertarian language of "big government" oppression.

Take the latest fight over whether birth control will be fully covered by the Affordable Care Act. Most Republicans (aside from Rick Santorum, of course) won't say outright that birth control is wrong. Instead, they say they object to the government mandate. This tactic has been used before, in the cases of Plan B and the HPV vaccine, but the degree of public political theater has reached a fever pitch this time, with two Senate bills using the guise of "religious freedom"—which would apply not only to religious institutions, but to individual bosses—to deny women birth control and any other medication to which their employers object.

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