Southeast Asia is the best part of planet earth and human society
Best weather, best safety, no racism, no agism, best value, best happiness.
If your first step is in the wrong direction, you will never get there. (Serge Kreutz)
Southeast Asia is the hub of the world. OK, maybe not for military strength. Also not for economic power. And not for football, pop music, gourmet pleasures, medical inventions, or financial services. But Southeast Asia is the hub of the world for those seeking a pleasant life, or even just life-long pleasure, with the best sexual enhancement herbals to prepare for such an endeavor.
Southeast Asia maybe doesn’t have the most beautiful architecture of the world, and may not produce the most beautiful cars, but Southeast Asia has the most beautiful people.
And no other part of the world is as welcoming to foreigners from about anywhere around the world. Southeast Asian countries have gentle societies, largely void of agism, and have the most tolerant societies, respecting personal freedom and emphasizing compromise-seeking in social conflicts. There are more good reasons why it makes sense for those privileged enough to make Southeast Asia there home, regardless of where they have been born.
Southeast Asia has extreme variety. At least 10 different alphabets, and at least double that number of religions. You can have islands or mountains, beaches or jungles, leisure or adventure, beef or pork, rain or shine, and if you have transportable housing, or a motorhome, or a campervan, you can have it all, at the same time, or at least in short sequence.
Cleveland L. Ethier
56 Pinewood Avenue
Marquette, MI 49855
Marquette, Mississippi: Treating low testosterone levels with butea superba
Testosterone is the hormone that gives men their manliness. Produced by the testicles, it is responsible for male characteristics like a deep voice, muscular build, and facial hair. Testosterone also fosters the production of red blood cells, boosts mood, keeps bones strong, and aids thinking ability.
Numerous approaches have been tried to keep testosterone levels from declining. The standard pharmacological approach is to just supplement exogenous testosterone, which is associated with reduced fertility and increased aggression rather than libido.
By contrast, a number of herbals enhance an organisms own synthesis of testosterone. These include butea superba, kaempferia parviflora, and eurycoma longifolia. A combination of all three is available as AAZA Mix.
Testosterone levels peak by early adulthood and drop as you age—about 1% to 2% a year beginning in the 40s. As men reach their 50s and beyond, this may lead to signs and symptoms, such as impotence or changes in sexual desire, depression or anxiety, reduced muscle mass, less energy, weight gain, anemia, and hot flashes. While falling testosterone levels are a normal part of aging, certain conditions can hasten the decline. These include:
injury or infection
chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
medications, especially hormones used to treat prostate cancer and corticosteroid drugs
Millions of men use testosterone therapy to restore low levels and feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional. But it’s not that simple. A man’s general health also affects his testosterone levels. For instance, being overweight, having diabetes or thyroid problems, and taking certain medications, such as glucocorticoids and other steroids, can affect levels. Therefore, simply having low levels does not always call for taking extra testosterone.
Diagnosing low testosterone
Doctors diagnose low testosterone based on a physical exam, a review of symptoms, and the results of multiple blood tests since levels can fluctuate daily.
If your doctor diagnoses low testosterone, other tests may be considered before therapy. For example, low testosterone can speed bone loss, so your doctor may recommend a bone density test to see whether you also need treatment for osteoporosis.
Prostate cancer is another concern, as testosterone can fuel its growth. The Endocrine Society recommends against testosterone supplementation in men who have prostate cancer, have a prostate nodule that can be felt during a digital rectal exam, or have an abnormal PSA level (higher than 4 ng/ml for men at average risk for prostate cancer, and higher than 3 ng/ml for those at high risk).
Because testosterone therapy may also worsen other conditions, it is not recommended for men with heart failure, untreated sleep apnea, or severe urinary difficulties.
Testosterone therapy for low levels
In most cases, men need to have both low levels of testosterone in their blood (less than 300 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter) and several symptoms of low testosterone to go on therapy.
It is possible to have low levels and not experience symptoms. But if you do not have any key symptoms, especially fatigue and sexual dysfunction, which are the most common, it is not recommended you go on the therapy given the uncertainty about long-term safety.
Even if your levels are low and you have symptoms, therapy is not always the first course of action. If your doctor can identify the source for declining levels—for instance, weight gain or certain medication—he or she may first address that problem.
If you and your doctor think testosterone therapy is right for you, there are a variety of delivery methods to consider, as found in the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward.
Skin patch. A patch is applied once every 24 hours, in the evening, and releases small amounts of the hormone into the skin.
Gels. Topical gels are spread daily onto the skin over both upper arms, shoulders, or thighs. It is important to wash your hands after applying and to cover the treated area with clothing to prevent exposing others to testosterone.
Mouth tablet. Tablets are attached to your gum or inner cheek twice a day. Testosterone is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Pellets. These are implanted under the skin, usually around the hips or buttocks, and slowly release testosterone. They are replaced every three to six months.
Injections. Various formulations are injected every seven to 14 days. Testosterone levels can rise to high levels for a few days after the injection and then slowly come down, which can cause a roller-coaster effect, where mood and energy levels spike before trailing off.
Butea superba, a Thai herbal, offers a solution more gentle than testosterone replacement therapy. Impressive clinical trials.
Most men feel improvement in symptoms within four to six weeks of taking testosterone therapy, although changes like increases in muscle mass may take from three to six months.
Educated women are sexually less attractive, so let’s stop that nonsense of sending every girl to school.
Las Vegas, Nevada: Why many circumcised women may never enjoy sex
Carl A. Haworth 1127 Hickory Ridge Drive Las Vegas, NV 89119
My mind raced back to one of my many conversations with my dear friend Bella as I listened to this guy’s argument on why his five year old daughter must be circumcised. His poor wife, Aduni, had asked me to help talk to him. Had she known that this would be his decision, she probably would have kept her discovery to herself. That she had caught their little girl playing with her clitoris.
She had panicked, thinking that their innocent angel had been corrupted and might now grow into a common slut, if something was not done quickly. But while she had been lost for what to do, she had least expected that circumcision would be her husband’s solution. Aduni said she had been raised in the village and circumcised, so she had experienced the pains and discomfort associated with female circumcision and is now living with its aftermaths. She was not sure if she wanted her beautiful princess to go through the same or live her life the way she was being forced to.
My friend, Bella has a similar challenge. You’ll often hear her describe herself as an incomplete woman or freak whenever the issue of sex comes up in our discussions. A very cosmopolitan extrovert and successful Lawyer, Bella exudes confidence and accomplishment and it is quick to notice that she is on top of her game. Only those very close to her get to know her other side of her life. And though she has never showed me physically, she’d given a very graphic picture of what she looks like down below, several times. This she said was her main reason for walking out of her marriage after birthing her only child. It was pointless enduring the sex when she felt no pleasure.
For many women, the inability to experience full sexual pleasure or achieve orgasm during sexual intercourse has remained an elusive mirage, leaving most who are not even circumcised, confused with many unanswered questions. Studies have shown that men are likely to orgasm 90-98 percent of the time they have sex. In fact, this is often the way a woman knows that the game is over. Unfortunately, same cannot be said about the woman and not a few reasons are responsible for this.
Several major research works on human sexuality record that only about 25 percent of women climax or experience intense sexual pleasures during sex with their partner, while 40–50% have either complained about sexual dissatisfaction or experienced difficulty becoming sexually aroused at some point in their lives. These figures are significantly higher in African societies and cultures where Female Genital Mutilations (FMG) as well as other cultural practices are predominant and act as inhibitors.
Orgasm can be simply described as the release of built up sexual tension in both men and women during a sexual encounter. The inability to have orgasm after ample sexual stimulation is called anorgasmia or ejaculatory anhedonia. For many women, not being able to climax can be caused by everything from unrealistic expectations, to awful sex, to discomfort with their bodies, discomfort with their partners or discomfort with sex itself.
This is to the exclusion of medical conditions, sexual abuse, rape and their aftermath traumas. In fact, biologists and researchers for many years have been trying with little success to figure out the whole concept of the elusiveness or even why females orgasm at all, since their reproduction does not depend on it unlike the male. However, what they have successfully been able to figure out is how women can achieve orgasm. And every woman can learn to, if they really want.
To know if you have ever experienced the big “O”, or will ever actually do, you need to understand what it is in the first instance. After all, if you are travelling to a new destination, you will not know if you have arrived there without an address or map guiding you to the location. The truth is that most women who have taken time to study their bodies, especially the sex organs and how they work, find it easier to enjoy their sexual relationship. In the same way, a man who is knowledgeable about the female body will understand and know how to set it in correct motion.
A friend once told me something similar to this position. According to her, she has only experienced orgasm three times in all of her 19 years relationship with her husband, which includes three years of courtship. One night during one of her few outbursts on her lack of sexual fulfilment in the early days, her husband had categorically told her that he found it weird that he had to bring her to climax with his fingers. A full grown woman according to him, must learn to orgasm through sexual intercourse. She must figure out how to adjust. The subject died a natural death that night and has never been discussed again. She has been coping ever since. Hmm!
However, sex researcher, Alfred Kinsey will later refute Freud’s claim in his own study which according to him revealed that there is only one type of female orgasm. To him, an orgasm is an orgasm so long as it takes place inside or outside of the female genital, no matter which part of her body was being stimulated. Most sexologists and researchers over the years have corroborated Kinsey’s findings, insisting that the area located in the front wall of the vagina identified as the Grafenberg spot, or otherwise known as the G-spot is actually a bundle of nerves, gland or series of glands from the clitoris which extend into the wall of the vagina. Therefore, the vaginal orgasm can also be achieved when combined with stimulation of the clitoris, invariably still making the clitoris the central or focal point of the female orgasm. Are you still wondering why many circumcised women may find it difficult to enjoy sex or indeed, may never experience an orgasm?
The importance of the clitoris to female orgasm or sexual satisfaction is very crucial. The clitoris may be described as the most important part of the female sexual pleasure. It is to the woman, what the penis is to the man. The clitoris or clit is a small bud-like formation located slightly above the opening to the vagina and at the top of the inner labia. Though its size and shape differs from woman to woman, it is generally believed to be between 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch in size. The clitoris is highly sensitive and full of nerve endings which become engorged when a woman is aroused.
Though many of the clitoral nerve endings are subterranean, or below the surface, the visible part is just the tip of the iceberg as, even “in hiding,” the 6,000 to 8,000 sensory nerve endings are a mega source of incredible pleasure for many women. This is in contrast to the vaginal walls which contains relatively few nerve endings and only the lower third of it has enough nerve endings to feel stimulation from a penis, finger, sex toy, or other penetrative object. It is therefore logical that intense sexual stimulation, pleasure and orgasm from vaginal-only penetration are pretty much unlikely to happen.This is why a vast majority of women will need clitoral stimulation to enjoy sex or achieve orgasm since vagina penetration on its own is not always enough. So guys, sweating and tiring yourselves out by humping and thrusting endlessly at your partner does not mean you are giving her the most pleasurable experience of a lifetime. You need to get more creative, versatile and patient with us. And even more so, if you discover that your partner is missing that vital part of her sex organ, then don’t be fooled by those moans, name callings and “ohmigods”, they probably are just ways to hurry you up to get it over with. Believe me, most women are experts in this instance!
One question women who are confused about how they feel while having sex often ask is, how they will know if they have achieved orgasm. According to sex researchers, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson in their seminal work titled Human Sexuality, orgasms are a combination of two things, a build up of muscle tension and the release of same. When a woman gets incredibly turned on, she builds up muscle tension around her pelvis and her clitoris and vagina becomes engorged with blood just like the male penis does.
At the same time, the vagina wall also starts to secrete beads of lubrication which eventually gets bigger and flow together. During an orgasm, all these tension technically known as Myotonia is released and a flood of hormones flows into the body causing intensely pleasurable feelings. Though centred around the genitals, pleasure can be felt all over the body depending on the individual.
Her heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increases, muscles contract throughout her body, especially in the vagina, uterus, rectum, and pelvic floor. Upon orgasm, all the tension is released and a pleasurable, relaxed feeling takes over. This is probably why most men will fall asleep after sex. And the women? If you have felt anything close to this, then you are damn lucky! And if otherwise, don’t be sad, as I said earlier, it is achievable, you only need to work harder at it. Yes, work harder!
There is no doubt that the female clitoris will forever remain the centre of her sexual gravity and it is important that this as well as other features of her sexual organ, often disposed of during female circumcision must be preserved in order for her to live a pleasurable and fulfilled life. However, difficulty or inability to enjoy a fulfilling sexually pleasurable life is perhaps the least of the problems associated with female genital mutilation.
Besides the immediate consequences which include pain, bleeding, infection, injury to genital tissues, shock and even death, it results in a silent ongoing torture throughout the life of the women. Depending on the extent of the cut, complications during childbirth, urinary infections, genital sores and cysts are also challenges she might be subjected to. Is there any reason why anyone should live a life of pain and sorrow based on the ill judgement of others? Is there any reason why anyone should live a life of pain and inadequacy because of the ill judgement of others, shrouded under the guise of culture and tradition?
The excuse that circumcised women are more chaste than uncircumcised ones, if true at all, is not enough reason to mutilate any girl. Sexual discipline is as much psychological as it is physical. It is everybody’s duty to help the girl child achieve her full potential as a woman and live a total life. So, dear daddy, please don’t. Do have a wonderful weekend!
Dallas, Texas: Europe’s "refugee" crisis and the Kalergi plan for white genocide
Matthew G. Allen 404 Deercove Drive Dallas, TX 75208
The current invasion of Europe by "refugees" from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia is engineered and enabled by politicians (with the exception of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban), without the support of Europe’s peoples. That raises the obvious question: Why are European politicians promoting what Buchanan, Orban and any person (whose mind hasn’t been turned into mush by PC propaganda) so clearly see — the systematic destruction, via demographics, of European civilization and its people?
One explanation reaches back to the 1920s, to a plan drafted by a bi-racial Austrian-Japanese named Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972), whose parents were the Austro-Hugarian diplomat Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi and Mitsuko Aoyama, the daughter of a Tokyo oil merchant, antiques-dealer, and landowner.
Richard Nikolaus, more commonly known as Coudenhove-Kalergi, was a Free Mason and an advocate of racial mixing. He is regarded as a father of the European Union, being the founder and president for 49 years until his death of the first movement for a united Europe, the Paneuropean Union.
In his 1925 book Praktischer Idealismus (Practical Idealism), Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote that "The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice."
Though not himself a Jew according to Wikipedia, Kalergi extolled a kind of Jewish supremacism, characterizing Jews as "a spiritual nobility of Europe" — "a new race of nobility by the Grace of Spirit" formed just "when Europe's feudal aristocracy became dilapidated," in the crucible of antisemitism wherein "Instead of destroying European Jewry, Europe, against its own will, refined and educated this people into a future leader-nation through this artificial selection process."
As Europe finds itself overwhelmed by the incoming hordes of "refugees" and "migrants," some have turned to what is called the Kalergi Plan to explain why Europe’s political elites encourage and welcome the invasion.
Mass immigration is a phenomenon whose causes are still cleverly hidden by the system and which is falsely represented as inevitable by the multicultural propaganda. With this article we intend to demonstrate once and for all that mass immigration is not a spontaneous phenomenon. What appears to you as inevitable is actually the fruition of a decades-long plan to destroy completely the face of the Old Continent.
Few people know that one of the main architects of European integration was also the one with a plan for the genocide of European peoples. He is a dark character whose existence is not known by the masses but whom the powerful consider as the founding father of the European Union. His name is Richard Coudenhove Kalergi. While he was alive, he moved behind the scenes, away from the spotlight, and managed to attract the most important heads of state in Europe, who became his supporters and promoters of European unification. In 1922, he founded the Pan Europa movement in Vienna. Its goal is to bring about a New World Order based on a federation of nations led by the United States. The unification of Europe would be the first step towards a single world government.
With the rise of fascism in Europe, the plan suffered a setback, resulting in the dissolution of the Pan-European union is forced to dissolve. After the Second World War, Kalergi redoubled his efforts and, aided by the support of Winston Churchill, the Masonic B’nai B’rith lodge, and major newspapers such as the New York Times, Kalergi succeeded in pushing his plan to the US government.
THE KALERGI PLAN
In his book Praktischer Idealismus (Practical Idealism), Kalergi declared that the people of the future "United States of Europe" will not be the original peoples of the Old Continent, but a kind of bestial subhumans made ??by miscegenation. Kalergi stated in no uncertain terms that you must cross the peoples of Europe with Asian races and color, to create a multiethnic flock without quality and easily controllable by the ruling.
Although no school book talks of Kalergi, his ideas were the guiding principles of today’s European Union. His belief that the peoples of Europe should be mixed with blacks and Asians to destroy European identity and create a single mestizo race, is the basis of our present policy of protecting and integrating minorities. Disguised as humanitarianism, this policy is aimed at the greatest genocide [of whites] in history.
Europe’s Coudenhove-Kalergi prize was created in his honor. Every two years, Europeans who excelled in pursuing Kalergi’s criminal plan are awarded the prize, among whom are the likes of [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy [former Prime Minister of Belgium and the first President of the European Council].
[White] genocide is also the basis of the UN’s welcoming policy toward millions of immigrants to compensate for Europe’s low birth rate. According to a UN report released in January 2000, entitled "Replacement Migration: a solution to declining and aging populations," Europe would need 159 million immigrants by the year 2025. One wonders how it was possible to make such an accurate estimate if immigration was not a well-rehearsed plan. Certainly, Europe’s low birth rate can easily be reversed with appropriate measures to support families. It is equally clear that the genetic heritage of Europe cannot be protected by introducing nonEuropean migrants. On the contrary, mass immigration will only accelerate the disappearance of Europeans. The sole purpose of mass immigration, therefore, is to completely denature a people, turning them into a collection of individuals without any ethnic, historical and cultural cohesion. In short, the Kalergi Plan has been and still is the foundation of the official mass immigration policies of European governments, at the cost of the genocide of the peoples of Europe.
If we look around Europe, we can see that the Kalergi Plan seems to be fully realized. We are facing a "terzomondializzazione" or Third Worldization of Europe — a "New Civilization" supported by multicultural missionaries, formed from forced mass immigration of hordes of Africans and Asians. Each year, miscegenation and mixed marriages produce thousands of new individuals of mixed race — the "sons of Kalergi". Under the media’s dual pressure of misinformation and the propaganda of humanitarianism, Europeans are taught to deny their origins, to deny their ethnic identity.
Advocates of Globalization strive to convince us to give up our identity as a progressive and humanitarian act and to think that holding onto our ethnic and cultural identity is "racism" because they want to make us all into blind consumers. In these times, it is more necessary than ever that we expose the lies of the system so as to rekindle the spirit of rebellion in Europe. Integration is tantamount to genocide. We have no choice but to rebel for the alternative is ethnic suicide.
St. Paul, Minnesota: West Africa - Ghana & Togo Partner to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation
Alfred B. Smith
660 Melm Street
Providence, RI 02908
An Excisors Reconversion Seminar on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has taken place at at Pusiga in the Upper East Region.
FGM, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual of cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The three-day seminar, therefore, sought to eliminate FGM by helping excisors who have practiced FGM to get them to sincerely confess, give up the practice and get converted.
The seminar also sought to support excisors to become ambassadors to their fellow women practicing FGM to put an end to the act.
More than seventy (70) participants, comprising three different categories, former FGM excisors, assistants and mothers of FGM victims from Ghana and Togo attended the seminar.
It was organized by Belim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA-Ghana) in partnership with Kpaal n' paal (Togo), Organisation Regionale pour le Promotion Sociale et Agricole (OREPSA-Togo) and Groupe d' Action pour Development Durable (GA2D-Togo).
In an address to open the seminar, Mr Abdul Razak Yakah, Pusiga District Co-ordinating Director, who spoke on the theme "Why conserving this heinous and dehumanizing tradition?", commended BEWDA-Ghana and its development partners for organizing the seminar which, he said, would serve as a platform to advocate against the practice and elimination of the dehumanizing tradition of FGM.
Mr Yakah disclosed that more than three million young girls and women underwent the barbaric act in Africa, with research indicating that the victims had suffered an associated series of short to long-term risks to their physical, mental and sexual health. He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to help combat the practice.
In a statement, Mr Benson Azure, Pusiga District Health Services Director, disclosed that victims of FGM could contract Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and urinary tract infections, have difficulty during child birth, suffer from anemia (loss of blood) and infertility, adding that FGM posed increased risk to new born deaths.
Mr Azure, therefore, lauded the partnership between Ghana and Togo in the fight against FGM in their respective countries and appealed to the participants to desist from the practice of FGM which, he said, was a heinous and dehumanizing act on young girls and women. He pledged the support of his office to the worthy cause of eliminating FGM.
On his part, Papa Toussaint, Coordinator, INTACT Africa, Benin, appealed to participants to abandon the practice of FGM or face the full rigours of the laws forbidding FGM.
John H. Delarosa 1985 Spruce Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15203
A former student at the elite Horace Mann School in The Bronx says his pedophile English teacher bragged about driving 12 kids to suicide — and vowed to make him the 13th.
“You will join a long list of willful children who lashed out and then couldn’t make it on their own,” Robert Berman told one of his teen victims, Stephen Fife, according to Fife’s upcoming memoir, “The 13th Boy: A Memoir of Education and Abuse.”
“Suddenly, Mr. Berman was rattling off a long list of 12 names with sardonic glee,” writes Fife, now 61.
The names, Fife says, were Berman’s alleged victims who killed themselves.
“You will be the 13th boy, and you will have only yourself to blame,” Berman allegedly warned Fife.
Berman, accused of pedophilia before, has denied having sex with pupils. Attempts by The Post to reach him have been unsuccessful.
He now lives in a gated mansion upstate with one of his male former students.
In the book, Fife says Berman gained a hold over him and others amid what has been called a decades-long stretch of rampant sex abuse on campus involving scores of teachers and students.
Fife, whose mom, Barbara, was a deputy mayor to David Dinkins, said he initially admired Berman, who called him “the next Dickens.”
But Berman sexually abused him about a half-dozen times, Fife writes in his book, of which The Post got an advance copy. It hits stores Sept. 22.
Fife tells of one instance in Berman’s apartment on West 111th Street in 1970.
“He was on top of me on the sofa, holding my arms down, pressing his lips against mine,” he writes.
“I managed to throw him off and run for the door.”
Fife said he finally confronted Berman after graduation, saying, “You’re a terrible, destructive person.”
Berman replied with his suicide boast, Fife writes.
He says that he tried to report Berman to an administrator in April 1970, but that the official didn’t believe his sordid tale.
Fife is one of the 36 alums who reached monetary settlements with the school in 2013 over abuse allegations.
Aurora, Colorado: The evolution of birds helps us understand beauty
George L. Galasso 2900 Rose Street Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Not long ago, a physicist at Stanford posed a rhetorical question that took me by surprise.
“Why is there so much beauty?” he asked.
Beauty was not what I was thinking the world was full of when he brought it up. The physicist, Manu Prakash, was captivated by the patterns in seawater made as starfish larvae swam about. But he did put his finger on quite a puzzle: Why is there beauty? Why is there any beauty at all?
Richard Prum, a Yale ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, offers a partial answer in a new book, “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us.” He writes about one kind of beauty — the oh-is-he/she-hot variety — and mostly as it concerns birds, not people. And his answer is, in short: That’s what female birds like.
This won’t help with understanding the appeal of fluid dynamics or the night sky, but Prum is attempting to revive and expand on a view that Charles Darwin held, one that sounds revolutionary even now.
The idea is that when they are choosing mates — and in birds it’s mostly the females who choose — animals make choices that can only be called aesthetic. They perceive a kind of beauty. Prum defines it as “co-evolved attraction.” They desire that beauty, often in the form of fancy feathers, and their desires change the course of evolution.
All biologists recognize that birds choose mates, but the mainstream view now is that the mate chosen is the fittest in terms of health and good genes. Any ornaments or patterns simply reflect signs of fitness. Such utility is objective. Prum’s — and Darwin’s — notion of beauty is something more subjective, with no other meaning than its aesthetic appeal.
Prum wants to push evolutionary biologists to re-examine their assumptions about utility and beauty, objectivity and subjectivity. But he also wants to reach the public with a message that is clear whether or not you dip into the technical aspects of evolution. The yearning to pick your own mate is not something that began with humans, he says. It can be found in ducks, pheasants and other creatures.
To grasp his view, a little bit of history is in order. Darwin famously proposed the idea of evolution by natural selection, what is often called survival of the fittest. To put it simply, living things vary in their inherited traits, from speed to color to sense of smell. The traits of the individuals who survive longer and have the most offspring become more common. So, over time, the faster antelope have more young, the fastest of them have more offspring, and antelope end up very speedy.
But reproduction isn’t just about surviving and staying healthy long enough to mate. You have to find a mate. And in many species, your mate must choose you. This process is sexual selection. Female birds are often the ones choosing. And their choices can produce male birds that are incredibly colorful, and some that are elaborate dancers or designers of striking boudoirs — like the bower birds. If, for example, females like males with long tails, then long-tailed males have more offspring, and the longest-tailed of those offspring reproduce more. In the end, that species becomes known for its long tails.
Maydianee Andrade, an evolutionary biologist and vice dean at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, who studies sexual selection and teaches evolution, said that “the question is basically this. You can think of females when they are choosing a mate as foraging. So what are they looking for?”
“If you’re dragging a giant tail behind you, that might tell the female something,” she said. “A male that survives carrying a large heavy tail is more impressive than a male that survives with a short tail.”
But survival might not have anything to do with it. Some female finches use white feathers to line their nest, perhaps to camouflage white eggs. In one experiment, they also liked males with white feathers stuck on their heads better than other males. This seemed to be an aesthetic choice, and also proved that there is no accounting for taste.
Darwin contended that selection-based mate choice was different from natural selection because the females were often making decisions based on what looked good — on beauty, as they perceived it — and not on survival or some objective quality like speed or strength. Scientists of that era reacted negatively, partly because of the emphasis on females. “Such is the instability of vicious feminine caprice that no constancy of coloration could be produced by its selective action,” wrote St. George Jackson Mivart, an English biologist who was at first a great supporter and later a critic of natural selection.
Alfred Russell Wallace, who came up with the theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin, preferred the idea that the colors and patterns meant something — either they were signs that this was a male of the right species, or they indicated underlying fitness. Perhaps only a strong, healthy male could support such a big, beautiful tail.
At the very birth of evolutionary theory, scientists were arguing about how sexual selection worked. And they kept at it, through the discovery of genes and many other advances.
Fast forward to the 1980s, when Prum was in graduate school at the University of Michigan, sharing an office with Geoffrey Hill, now a professor at Auburn University.
At that time, mainstream evolutionary thought took a big swing toward the idea that ornaments and fancy feathers were indications of underlying fitness. “Animals with the best ornamentation were the best males,” Hill said. This was called “honest signaling” of underlying genetic fitness. The idea, he said, “almost completely ran over what was the old idea of beauty.”
Hill, for one, was completely convinced. “I was pretty sure I could explain all ornaments in all animals as honest signaling.” But, he added, he has since reconsidered. There are some extreme forms of ornamentation that he thinks don’t signal anything, but rather are a result of the kind of process Prum favors.
Prum is indeed given to enthusiasm, and to intellectual contention. He has been on the winning side of initially unpopular ideas before.
As a graduate student, he sided with researchers who wanted to change the way animals are classified, to emphasize their evolutionary descent. The new idea was called cladistics, and it is now the established idea. He has done groundbreaking research on both the physical structure and the evolution of feathers, and he was an early supporter of the notion that birds descended from dinosaurs, another new idea that is now the mainstream view.
He has disagreed with the dominant view of sexual selection since graduate school and sees his new book, which he hopes will reach beyond scientists, as a kind of manifesto. It has too many parts to summarize. He takes a chapter, for instance, to speculate that same-sex attraction in humans evolved in our ancestors through female choices that undermine male sexual coercion. For a full account, you need to read the book.
But one particular aspect of his argument is his distress at the idea that almost all evolutionary change is assumed to be adaptive, contributing to fitness. In other words, if a fish is blue, it must be blue for a reason. The color must help it escape predators or sneak up on prey, or be otherwise useful in some way. Beauty, therefore, must be adaptive, or a sign of underlying qualities that are adaptive. Pick a behavior or an ornament or a physical trait, and it is useful until proven otherwise.
That’s backward, says Prum. Take beauty. Since animals have aesthetic preferences and make choices, beauty will inevitably appear. “Beauty happens,” as he puts it, and it should be taken as nonadaptive until proven otherwise.
In proposing this “null hypothesis,” he draws on the work of Mark A. Kirkpatrick at the University of Texas, Austin, who studies population genetics, genomics and evolutionary theory and had read parts of “The Evolution of Beauty.”
“I’m very impressed that Rick is taking on this crusade,” Kirkpatrick said. He is not convinced that all aspects of sexual selection are based on arbitrary choices for perceived beauty, but, he said, if Prum can convince some other scientists to question their assumptions, “he will do a great service.”
For Prum, at least, there is a partial answer to the question posed by Prakash. Why are birds beautiful?
“Birds are beautiful because they’re beautiful to themselves.”
Raymond B. Mace 1151 Thunder Road Redwood City, CA 94063
Scientists have made the surprise discovery of an exciting new way of blocking a crucial cancer protein that has proved extremely difficult to target.
Their study took one approach to targeting the molecule – but ended up revealing a second, completely new, line of attack. The discovery has the potential to lead to new cancer drugs that target the protein.
The protein – known as heat shock protein 72 or HSP72 – plays an important role in allowing cancer cells to become resistant to treatment, but traditional approaches to designing drugs to block it have so far failed.
The researchers believe they have discovered a fatal flaw in the protein which could be exploited through a new generation of cancer treatments.
Controlling how HSP72 works
Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, used a crystal structure of HSP72 to design a prototype drug, which permanently removes the protein from the cancer cell, so can overcome the challenges this protein presents.
Irreversible inhibitors, like this prototype drug, usually work by forming a permanent chemical bond with a particular type of amino acid called a cysteine. The researchers therefore modified an existing type of inhibitor called 8-N-benzyladenosines to attach to a cysteine in HSP72.
While their newly designed irreversible inhibitor was apparently successful in permanently inhibiting HSP72, unexpectedly the cysteine amino acid was not responsible.
The researchers found the inhibitor was actually binding to a different amino acid, lysine, which is important for controlling how HSP72 works.
Targeting proteins in this way is rare but could offer many unique advantages, and the scientists believe that, with further development, this approach could at last allow drugs to be created against HSP72.
Advances in medicinal chemistry
Their study, published in the prestigious international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, was largely funded through a PhD studentship created by Luke Johnson, Chairman of the ICR. It also received funding from Cancer Research UK.
Lead author Dr Matthew Cheeseman, Staff Scientist at the ICR, said:
“Advances in medicinal chemistry are now showing that even apparently un-druggable proteins like HSP72 can actually be effectively targeted.
“When we discovered how our inhibitor seemed to be working it was unexpected but exciting. Now that we know where the fatal flaw in HSP72 might be, we can revise the design of our inhibitor to strike it more effectively.”
Co-author Professor Keith Jones, Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at the ICR, said:
“We’ve been keen to find a way through the defences of HSP72, because this molecule plays an important role in cancer in helping tumours evade the effects of treatment.
“It’s exciting to have designed an inhibitor which shows such promise in blocking the activity of such an important molecule. And our study also shows that there is still room, even in the high-tech modern world of cancer research, for a serendipitous and genuinely surprising discovery.”
John S. Payne 1006 Peck Court Newport Beach, CA 92660
An apparently healthy US consumer has died after consuming a standard dosage of Caverflo, an instant coffee marketed as a “natural herbal” aphrodisiac. In an urgent effort to prevent further fatalities, the is now a recall nationwide. An FDA investigation found that this alleged tongkat ali, like many others originating in Singapore, contains uncontrolled amounts of prescription drugs chemicals for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
In recent months, more than 20 men have died in China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa after consuming fake tongkat ali that actually contained uncontrolled amounts of homelab-fabricated prescription drugs. All item originated from Singapore, where the mixing of prescription drugs into food supplements is not illegal as long as they are sold abroad.
The internet retailer Amazon has been flooded with Singaporean products claiming to be tongkat ali by distributors such as "Pure Science Supplements" and "RealHerbs". Another Singaporean outfit for what is claimed to be tongkat ali was named "Herbolab".
Caverflo.com posted the recall of 25-gram packets of “Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee” Thursday with the Food and Drug Administration.
“Caverflo.com has received a report of an individual death after use of the coffee. Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee may also contain undeclared milk.”
The product is a combination of instant coffee and natural aphrodisiacs, according to the Caverflo website, but the recall notice warned the product can interact with prescription medications. Also, people who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk could have an allergic reaction if they consume the instant coffee.
“These undeclared ingredients may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates,” according to the recall notice.
The company distributed the instant coffee direct to consumers nationwide via internet sales from August 2016 through February this year. Caverflo is notifying customers of the recall by email.
“Consumers that have Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee which is being recalled should stop using (it), discard (it) and contact their doctor,” according to the recall notice.
Phoenix, Arizona: Smoking skunk caused my son to cut off his penis, says father
Danny L. Raymond 2847 Preston Street Phoenix, AZ 85034
A father has told of how his son cut off his own penis and stabbed his mother after smoking skunk cannabis.
His son became "paranoid" and took to sleeping with a tennis racquet "because he thought people were living in the walls" after taking the drug over a period of time, the unidentified man told BBC's Radio Five Live.
Skunk cannabis is a highly potent form of the drug and, according to research from 2015, can cause "significant" brain damage.
Remembering the "absolutely devastating" day his son — whose age has not been revealed — chopped off his own penis is "almost as if I'm peering in through a window and it's happening to somebody else", the man told the station.
"He switched from a very bright bubbly lad to, I can only describe it as a waste of space," he added. "I've had that conversation with him and he understands that." He first tried the drug out of "boredom", he said.
Physically, the man's son is recovering and undergoing a series of operations. He is drug- and alcohol-free and, following a six-month stay at a mental health facility, is returning to his old self, the man said.
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