In this week’s Wednesday 5: an innovative device that is saving the lives of premature babies; Karyn Parsons has a new organization focusing on African-American history; lessons on the wrong way to praise 42-year-old women; the first list featuring “Most Powerful Women: The Food & Drink Innovators” comes out in the fall; and 35 writers who make up the literary Internet.



Jane Chen: A Warm Embrace That Saves Lives

In this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the work of Jane Chen, the founder of Embrace, a nonprofit social enterprise that helps premature and low- birth-weight babies through the use of a low-cost infant warmer. Unlike traditional incubators that cost up to $20,000, the Embrace infant warmer costs around $200. The device requires no electricity, has no moving parts, is portable, and is safe and intuitive to use. According to Chen, “I have seen firsthand that mothers will do anything they can to save their babies. And yet 450 babies die every hour around the world. In villages where this toll is a reality, it is simply beyond a mother’s means to save her children.” Watch the video below as Cheb explains this life-saving technology.



Karyn Parsons, Actress Turned Educator

We know her as the often stuffy older sister Hilary from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But actress Karyn Parsons has long shed her TV persona and has a new organization—Sweet Blackberry—that makes “short, animated films about influential, yet lesser-known African-Americans,” reported NPR. In Weekend All Things Considered, Parsons shared that since becoming a mother, she thinks more critically about what children are not learning in schools.

“In school we learn about a handful of stories—great stories—but still, we’re missing out on so much. We want to celebrate black history but we don’t want to separate it from American history.”

Watch the intro video above on Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring little-known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere.




The Wrong Way to Praise 42-Year-Old Women

Who would have thought that an article focused on “In Praise of 42-Year-Old Women” could turn out so badly. Tom Junod of Esquire really thought he was doing a good thing by offering up the following in this July 10 article about 42-year-olds:

“It is hard to feel sorry for a young man who goes to bed with the woman everybody else in the theater wants to go to bed with.”

“. . .it may be said that the best thing that forty-two-year-old American men have going for them is forty-two-year-old American women.”

See the problem? The Los Angeles Times’ Alexandra Le Tellier wasn’t having it! She found a lot of problems in her response, “What’s so offensive about Esquire’s praise of 42-year-old women?” She cites an amazing lineup of women at The Los Angeles Times who respond to Junod’s “complimentary” article with a dose of setting “men in feminist clothing” straight. Here are two of our favorite come backs:

Men, you now have Esquire’s permission to objectify women in their 40s without being creepy to other men. (But, again, only if the women do Pilates and yoga.) This expands your potential ogling to hundreds, even thousands more women each year. —Kerry Cavanaugh

“As forward-thinking as Tom Junod’s article purports to be, he reveals himself to be more of a relic of mid-20th century values than as a smasher of them.” — Karin Klein



Most Powerful Women: The Food & Drink Innovators

Watch Master Chef lately? Notice that the master judges are all men? Yep, it’s a problem—but as Emma Bazilian of AdWeek tells us, major foodie magazines are shifting the tide:

The topic of women in the epicurean world (or the seeming lack of) has long been a hot potato, but last year when Time published a cover story, “The Gods of Food,” about the world’s top chefs—all men—the debate exploded.

“That sparked a conversation in the food world, but also in the world at large. Why were women missing from the picture?” said Dana Cowin, editor in chief of Food & Wine. “Part of the answer is that there are a lot of women in food, but they are not all chefs. There are also female politicians who work on hunger issues, women who own vineyards, women who are investing in food startups.”

To help spotlight those women, Food & Wine turned to Time Inc. sister title Fortune, whose “Most Powerful Women in Business” list has become a cornerstone of the brand since 1998. Together, the magazines created the “Most Powerful Women: The Food & Drink Innovators,” comprising 25 women across various industries who have played key roles in redefining how we think about food. The list will run in F & W’s October issue and in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” issue, on newsstands September 22.

Read the full article on Adweek.



Writers Online

Speaking of lists, Flavorwire just put out a great list of “The 35 Writers Who Run the Literary Internet.” The criteria are serious:

These aren’t the writers who have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers but only tweet when they have a book come out, or the ones who write a guest blog post every year to get their names back into the conversation.

Some are young authors, others are firmly established. Some of them are publishing industry veterans or new media superstars who want to use their clout (or Klout) to talk up writers they love, while others command small armies via their Tumblrs. Some start hashtag trends, while others have scored book deals with their clever tweets.

Here’s the list; get your Follow button ready.


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  • Roz Warren July 16, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I can always rely on “The Wednesday 5” to find great content for me. THANKS!