• Ekaterina Gerasimova is supposedly a latter day Russian Mata Hari. Political figures claim that she has been trusted with the mission of ruining their reputations by luring them into compromising situations with sex and drugs.
"Katya," as she is called by her "victims," films her conquests and puts them online. It has taken weeks for the men to realize that they have been set up by the same woman. It is reported that she targeted primarily anti-Kremlin opposition figures and activists. • Students at Princeton will have the opportunity this Thursday to learn from Tristan Taormino, a feminist pornographer and adult educator. She has written and edited several erotica books and she works as an editor for Vivid Entertainment. Lucky students will be able to view some of her work and ask Taormino questions. Unsurprisingly, some people are pissed about her appearance on campus, and have asked why they should use Princeton funds to screen porn. • Journalist Lynn Harris deserves a pat on the back for her work reporting on female genital mutilation. An article published at Salon in earlier this year has inspired Reps. Joseph Crowley and Mary Bono Mack to introduce a new piece of legislation, the Girls Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to transport a minor outside the U.S. for the purpose of genital mutilation. Good work, everyone! • Yesterday, news outlets reported that Oh Eun-sun had become the first woman to scale the world's 14 highest peaks. But even before Oh could take off her backpack, the backlash began. Many doubt that she ever actually made it up Mount Kanchenjunga, which she says she climbed in 2009. • This Saturday, 45-year-old Shannon Ritter will attempt to become the first woman to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner. Ritter has been training for this race - with her horse, Endorsement - for decades. Endorsement will be ridden by jockey Robbie Albarado. "I think that would be great for women overall," she said. "There aren't as many, but is that because there just aren't that many women trainers or are women trainers just not making it?" • Make/shift covers the work of female activists against mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia: "Today's activists are part of a long tradition. In 1965, Ollie "Widow" Combs laid down in front of the bulldozer ready to strip-mine her Kentucky farm..." Women like Judy Bonds, Maria Gunnoe, Majora Carter, and Zoe Beavers are keeping tradition alive by working to stop the industry from doing more damage. • On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a giant memorial for artist Jeanne-Claude, who died in November. Many artists were in attendance to mourn the co-creator of The Gates and other large-scale pieces. They also paid lip service to his partnership with Christo, who left her former husband for Jeanne-Claude in a hilarious, albeit drastic, way. • Hawaii legislators have passed a measure allowing state agencies to ignore requests for a birth certificate. The measure, which is designed to support Barack Obama, was passed Tuesday and will carve out an exemption in the public records law for our current president. State officials say they get ten to twenty emails a week asking for verification of Obama's birth. • A Mississippi high school has come under fire from the ACLU for pulling the yearbook photo of a female student simply because she was wearing a tuxedo. Ceara Sturgis, an out lesbian, has been entirely removed from the yearbook. "It's like she's nobody there," remarked her mother. The school claims their decision is "based upon sound educational policy and legal precedent." • A group of celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson, Courtney Cox, Robin Williams (and seriously, like a dozen more) have come together to save the dolphins in a YouTube video about fishing practices. It is a sweet effort, but something about it comes across a little heavy-handed. Perhaps one celebrity would have sufficed? • Sarah Palin declared on Tuesday night that she believes Obama has been "perpetuating [the] myth" that Arizona immigration laws will encourage racial profiling. "There is no ability or opportunity in there for the racial profiling," she said. "Shame on the lame stream media again for turning this into something that it is not." • Speaking of Sarah Palin, her former arch-nemesis (or at least, that is how I imagine it going down), Maryline Blackburn, will announce tomorrow her plans to run for Republican House seat in Alaska. Maryline Blackburn beat Sarah Palin for the title Miss Alaska in 1984, who was named Miss Congeniality. • According to convention, wine critics are usually older European men with a slight attitude problem. Enter Jeannie Cho Lee, a Korean-born 41-year-old Master of Wines - one of only 75 women to hold that title. Lee says she is used to being the odd woman out, but she will not let that stop her from continuing her business plans. • On Thursday, President Obama will deliver the eulogy for civil rights leader Dorothy Height, according to a White House spokesman. Height, who served as the president for the National Council of Negro Women for 41 years, died last week at the age of 98. • Recent research indicates that cervical cancer screening might not be the best way to prevent the disease. Instead, doctors recommend we begin using HPV tests, rather than the current standard visual examination of cells from a pap smear. DNA testing of HPV cells from the cervix is far more effective at detecting cancer, according to a large-scale study published today in the British Medical Journal. This would also allow women to be screened less often, but there is a risk of seeing an increased number of false-positives. • Fortunately, almost all U.S. states are doing their part to reduce cervical cancer rates by offering the HPV vaccine to adolescent girls in the juvenile justice system. Many of the girls in the juvenile justice system are at a very high risk for contracting STDs and this, coupled with the fact that they often do not have access to health care, makes their vaccination especially significant. •