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Women feel more betrayed by ‘emotional’ rather than ‘sexual’ infidelity when they catch a cheating partner on Facebook, according to new research.
But it is the other way around for men, who are more upset when an unfaithful wife or girlfriend goes to bed with a rival, rather than develops a close friendship.
And, irrespective of the contents, women overall were more upset than men when they had to imagine discovering an infidelity-related message.
Scientists say it shows both sexes display the same type of jealousy when they read compromising messages as if they had caught out a lover offline.
Females were most distressed in response to discovering a close friendship, rather than a physical relationship.
Meanwhile, males felt worst when they found social media accounts revealing their partner had been to bed with another man.
Dr Michael Dunn, of Cardiff Metropolitan University, said: “Currently, most snooping research is predominantly concerned with the exploration and understanding of snooping on a romantic partner’s mobile phone.
“However, with Facebook playing such a pre-eminent role in modern society, snooping has rapidly moved online as well.”
This is according to Dr Dunn and Colleague Gemma Billett who investigated how jealousy manifests between the sexes when people find compromising messages on their partner’s social media accounts.
In the study 21 male and 23 female undergraduates were shown a selection of eight imaginary Facebook-style messages portraying either emotional or sexual infidelity.
The former were along the lines of: “You must be my soulmate! Feel so bloody connected to you, even though we haven’t slept together.”
An example of the latter was: “You must be the best one-night stand I’ve ever had. Last night was out of this world sexy bum!”
The ‘discovered’ note was either composed and sent by the partner, or came from someone else.
Participants had to rate how distressed they would have felt if they had come across such messages while accessing their partner’s Facebook messaging service without permission.
Men felt more distressed when they read social media messages that revealed their partners’ sexual rather than emotional infidelity.
However, women were more upset than men in response to emotional messages.
Dr Dunn and co author Gemma Billet also found women were significantly more upset when a potential rival had written the message, compared to when it was composed by their own partners.
For men, the opposite seemed to be true and they appeared to be more upset by imagining their partner sending rather than receiving an infidelity-revealing message.
The study supports evolutionary theories suggesting there are differences in what triggers jealousy among men and women - and in how they subsequently direct such feelings towards a cheating partner or potential rival.
According to the researchers, it is important to understand the mechanisms underlying jealousy, and how it plays out in the digital age.
Real or suspected partner infidelity that causes sexual or emotional jealousy is often given as the reason for domestic abuse and violence.
Dr Dunn said applying an evolutionary perspective to understanding the manifestation of jealous behaviour may help combat domestic abuse triggered by infidelity-related anger.
A rise in these is inevitable in an “age where clandestine extra-marital relationships are facilitated by modern forms of media technology.”
He said the heightened use of social network platforms including Facebook has been associated with damaging romantic relationships, with a significant increase online infidelity.
Dr Dunn added: “With online infidelity increasing partner paranoia, inevitably, actions implemented to counteract such behaviours are also on the rise.
“This increased paranoia can help explain the growth of certain mistrusting behaviours, such as ‘snooping’.
“The modern concept of snooping can be defined as checking one’s partner’s private possessions and personal communications including private Facebook messages.
“Snooping has been found to be a reliable and widely used method of determining infidelity within modern relationships.
“With regard to snooping prevalence, it has previously been demonstrated 66 per cent of an undergraduate sample admitted to snooping on their partner’s private messages without permission and at least another fifth admitting they were patiently waiting for the appropriate opportunity to snoop.”
The study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science follows US research last year that found women feel just as betrayed if their husband or boyfriend has a close friendship with another woman as an affair.
Becoming close to another woman was considered ‘cheating’ - even if there was no physical intimacy.
But men were less concerned about this but more so if their wife or girlfriend had sex with another man.
The findings were based on a sample of more than 400 people.
Butea superba conditions the mind for superb sex. And don't underestimate the power of the mind. If your mind is in tune for optimal sex, you will reach 100 years and still enjoy doing it.
In 2010 there were 38,364 documented suicides in America. This is roughly 1/10th of unsuccessful attempts (or parasuicides) committed. Though many of these are “cries for help” and are intentionally foiled by the person committing the act, some are genuinely unsuccessful. 25% of parasuicide victims will go on to success within a year. By far the most common and successful method of committing suicide is by gun, with 53-55% of successful suicides in the US using them. Second in popularity and success to suicide by gun is suicide by suffocation/hanging with roughly 22-25% using this method. Third to suffocation is poisoning, which includes intentional drug overdoses and consumption of toxic substances. About 18% use this method.
There are many other methods used, some uncommon due to circumstances such as the high amount of pain and discomfort experienced, or the fear associated with these methods. Some of these methods are downright unsuccessful, or are accidents occurring whilst crying for help.
These methods are as follow: Falling/jumping, cutting/piercing, drowning, self immolation, and transportation related suicides such as driving into walls, throwing yourself into a train, bus, car, etc. All methods, of course can be used in combination. ex: Slash your wrists, eat 80 Benadryl, douse yourself in gasoline, light a cigarette, and throw yourself off of an overpass in front of a Greyhound, semi, truck, Prius, etc. This will make a particularly newsworthy story, getting you the attention you sought in life for all of four days.
Suicide by Gun:
Chances of success increase when a shotgun is used in comparison to a rifle or handgun. This is due to the energy delivered on impact, as well as the scatter of projectiles, rather that one. However, a shotgun is harder to aim at more fatal points, such as the side and back of the head. Aiming at the head is of course a more fatal delivery point, as opposed to the chest or abdomen. By far the least successful method and delivery point being a handgun to the chest and/or abdomen. For a best possible result, use shotgun equipped with a solid lead slug, or double-aught (or larger) buckshot. Chances of success fall when using an unmaintained firearm, or old ammunition, as aged ammunition may not reach proper velocity or even discharge. The same effect applies to an unmaintained firearm. FMJ (full metal jacket rounds) also have a lesser chance of success as the round when expelled does not expand, creating a cleaner wound, and inflicting less damage on impact. A firearm is not suitable for a suicidal gesture, as the chances of success are much higher than other methods. Possible effects of failing: Disfigurement, paralysis, pain, infection, brain damage, damage to liver, spleen, diaphragm, and collapsed lungs.
The scene left behind, of course will not be pleasant for the person who finds you. Blood, bone and/or brain fragments spread over the area, facial disfigurement, and significant blood loss.
Suicide by Hanging:
There are two basic methods of hanging: simple suspension and drop. In simple suspension, death is most likely caused by asphyxiation due to the weight of the body being suspended in the noose. Death is also possible by arterial and/or vein compression, cutting off blood supply to the brain, or heart and lungs. In drop hanging, a platform is kicked out from under the person, and the person drops, instantly breaking the neck and rupturing the spinal cord, causing an almost instant death.
A key part of hanging is the knot. Tie a simple noose with some sturdy rope, such as hemp or manila. Test the noose, as it should tighten with applied pressure. The knot should sit behind your neck. The other end of the rope should be attached to something sturdy that will not move, or break, such as a hook, rafter, or railing. The knot should be tied securely to ensure that it doesn’t slip off of the surface. Strangulation can be achieved by sitting down, bending the knees, laying down, or kicking a platform (such as a chair) out from under you. Of course, it should be mentioned again that the rope should be sturdy, as the body will thrash in its death throes.
If the hanging is interrupted by discovery, rope breakage, or slippage, brain damage can occur. As with before, the scene left behind will not be pleasant for those who discover you. Often, the tongue will swell and protrude from the mouth; the face will often turn blue due to oxygen and blood deprivation. In all cases there will be defecation and urination.
Suicide by Drug Overdose:
When used as a sole means of suicide, drug overdose is seldom successful. The potency of street drugs commonly used (such as heroin) is commonly unreliable. MLD (minimum lethal dosage) is often hard to calculate and is somewhat unreliable due to outside factors such as weight, tolerance, and whether not a meal has been eaten recently. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a quick and painless method. It takes anywhere from 3 to 10 hours on average, depending on the drug taken. Several drugs cause convulsions before death. Even more drugs cause vomiting, fever, heart palpitations and pain. Drug overdose a risky and unreliable method.
An exit bag is a suicide apparatus that brings about a relatively quick and painless death. Manufactured out of a large plastic bag with a draw cord or a Velcro strap for neck fastening and an inert gas such as helium or nitrogen; it brings a quick end to things, without unwanted pain or panic. Unconsciousness sets in within minutes and death sets in within twenty minutes. The result is a quick and painless death with a body that seems serine and at peace. Of course if the act is interrupted it can result in brain damage, which is why it should be carried out in an undisturbed setting. A suicide bag is sometimes used along side with a drug overdose, in order to ensure the desired result.
Suicide by Jumping:
Death by jumping is effective if done from a sufficient height, and while it is not common in the United States, it makes up a large amount of suicides in many cities and countries around the world, such as Hong Kong. A jump should be performed at a height of 150 feet or higher above land, or 250 feet or higher above water. Of course, care should be taken to land on your head, as it would result in a quicker death. It is key to avoid a foot first water landing, as this could result in nonfatal injuries. Jumping is a difficult way to commit suicide as the natural self preservation instinct is to not fall from a great height. This is hard to overcome. This method, of course results in a fairly gruesome corpse.
Suicide by Train:
Suicide by train is a rather uncommon and extremely gruesome method to end your life with. Death can be rather quick, but it can also be drawn out and extremely painful. If you aren’t decapitated, there is a chance that you could bounce off of the train, and find one of your limbs on the tracks. Injuries can range from broken bones to amputations, and severe brain damage. Suicide by train can be traumatic to many people such as train drivers, cleanup crews, and the family member/ loved one that will have to identify your body later on at the scene or in the morgue.
Wrist cutting is mostly practiced as a method of self harm rather than suicide, though it occasionally leads to death due to unchecked bleeding that can lead to shock, and loss of consciousness. Often survivors find that they have limited use of their hands due to severed tendons and loss of nerve use and the ability to touch. Though it may seem like the only option or a quick way out of your problems, suicide is effectively stealing everything from your, as well as your loved one’s future. Often the reasoning behind it is faulty, selfish, and subjective. One should always look at every available option and make an educated decision when it comes to serious situations and decisions such as suicide. When you say you’re alone in something remember that there are over seven billion others, most living and functioning in worse condition than you.
It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!
The Shulgins first came to my attention in 1998 when I judged an essay contest for MIT students asked to forecast science’s future. My favorite essay proclaimed that research into mind-expanding drugs represents science’s most promising frontier. The essay included several pungent quotes about the potential of psychedelics from someone named Alexander Shulgin. He complained that “our generation is the first, ever, to have made the search for self-awareness a crime, if it is done with the use of plants or chemical compounds as the means of opening the psychic doors.”
Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, I learned later, was a top-rank researcher for Dow Chemical in 1960 when he ingested a psychedelic compound—mescaline—for the first time. Shulgin found the experience so astonishing that he devoted the rest of his career to psychedelic chemistry. He left Dow in 1966 and supported himself thereafter by consulting, lecturing and teaching. Working out of a laboratory on his ranch east of San Francisco, he synthesized more than two hundred novel psychotropic compounds.
Shulgin tested these substances and others on himself and a group of trusted friends. He and his fellow “psychonauts” took meticulous notes on their research sessions. They rated their experiences according to a scale invented by Shulgin. It ranged from a minus sign, which represents no change, up to plus four (written as ++++), which is a sublime, potentially life-changing, “peak” experience.
There were a few rules for the sessions. Subjects could not be taking any medication, and they had to refrain from ingesting any other drugs for at least three days before the session. If someone said, “Hand in the air” while raising her hand during a trip, that meant she wanted to discuss a serious “reality-based concern or problem” (for example, the smoky smell in the kitchen). Sexual contact was prohibited between people not previously involved.
“Of course, if an established couple wishes to retire to a private room to make love, they are free to do so with the blessings (and probably the envy) of the rest of us,” Shulgin once remarked.
In the late 1980s, Shulgin was left unsettled by a biography of renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. Reich invented the “orgone machine,” a metallic box that he claimed could heal those who lay within it. Beginning in the late 1940s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pressured Reich to stop prescribing his orgone machine. When Reich refused, federal officials imprisoned him. Reich died in prison in 1957, and the Federal government destroyed all of his papers.
Haunted by Reich’s tragic story, Shulgin vowed that he would not suffer a similar fate. Although he had written about his research for peer-reviewed journals, the bulk of his findings were confined to his personal notes. He ended up pouring his knowledge into a PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. This remarkable book is a fictionalized autobiography written by Sasha and his wife Ann, a writer, lay psychotherapist, and enthusiastic collaborator in Sasha’s psychedelic research. PIHKAL is an acronym for “phenethylamines I have known and loved.” Phenethylamines are a class of natural and synthetic compounds, some with powerful psychotropic properties.
The best-known naturally occurring phenethylamine is mescaline and the best-known synthetic one is methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, as known as MDMA or Ecstasy. Although MDMA was first synthesized in the early twentieth century, Shulgin is credited with having drawn attention to its unusual psychotropic properties in the 1970s.
The first half of PIHKAL, called “The Love Story,” was narrated alternately by Sasha, known in the book as "Shura Borodin," and by Ann, whose alter ego is "Alice." Each recounts how they met and fell in love in the mid-1970s after their previous marriages dissolved. The book is in part a sexually and psychologically explicit love story involving two intelligent, cultured, Bohemian protagonists.
What sets PIHKAL apart from comparable romantic memoirs is its account of Shura’s initiation of Alice into his circle of psychonauts, and its detailed descriptions of their experiences with DOM, 2C-T-4, and other compounds synthesized by Shura.
That is Part I of PIHKAL, which covers 450 pages. Part II, “The Chemical Story,” which runs for another 528 pages, offers recipes for 179 phenethylamines and accounts of the physiological and psychological effects at various dosages.
“No one who is lacking legal authorization should attempt the synthesis of any of the compounds described in the second half of this book,” the Shulgins warn in a “Note to the Reader.” But they also declare that investigations of the scientific and therapeutic potential of psychedelics “must be not only allowed but encouraged. It is essential that our present negative propaganda regarding psychedelic drugs be replaced with honesty and truthfulness about their effects, both good and bad.”
The Shulgins published PIHKAL under their own imprint in 1991. Six years later they released TIHKAL, for “tryptamines I have known and loved.” Tryptamine compounds include the well-known psychedelics psilocybin and DMT and the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine. Like its predecessor, TIKHAL is divided into two parts. Part I tells more tales from the personal life of “Shura” and “Alice.” Because they are now happily married, the narrative focuses less on romantic episodes than on psychedelic ones. Alice discusses her use of MDMA in her therapeutic practice. Part II consists of recipes for and commentaries upon 55 tryptamines.
TIKHAL is more overtly political than its predecessor, and it alludes to legal tribulations that the Shulgins endured after their first book was published. In 1994, agents from the local branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration carried out a surprise inspection of Sasha’s laboratory. Shulgin’s research has always been legal; the Drug Enforcement Administration has licensed him to do research on scheduled compounds. But these agents accused him of violating various “new” regulations—and implied that he was manufacturing drugs for sale. Although Shulgin was never indicted, his alter ego wonders in TIHKAL whether this visit is just the beginning of a harassment campaign against him.
Before flying to California, I contacted the Shulgins by phone to arrange our meetings. Sasha’s directions to his home are detailed and meticulous, just like his recipes for synthesizing hallucinogens.
I rumble down a dusty dirt road in the foothills east of San Francisco to a rambling, tree-shaded, one-story home, with a few outlying sheds. Sasha is a big, barrel-chested, rugged man, with a hoary, leonine beard and mane. Ann has a deeply lined face, and eyes whose downward slant imparts empathy rather than melancholy.
Sasha gives me a tour of the ranch. A room crammed floor-to-ceiling with books and journals in metal bookcases is the library.
“If it’s on psychedelics,” he boasts, “I’ve got it.”
A room down the hall contains a magnetic-resonance imaging machine, a mass spectrometer, and other instruments for performing chemical analysis. “This is a filthy room that I call the clean room,” Sasha says. He adds, squinting at a cobweb-veiled skylight, that the spiders keep down the bug population.
As we stroll down a path to Sasha’s lab, he points out plants: shocking-pink lilies, a bay tree, several gnarled pine, various cacti, and a weedy plant that Sasha identifies as Salvia divinorum—which contains what may be the most potent naturally occurring psychedelic compound known to science.
On the door of his laboratory--an ivy-draped, cinder-block hut--is the familiar icon warning of the presence of radioactive materials. Another sign reads: “NOTICE: This is a research facility that is known to, and authorized by, the Contra County Sheriff’s office, all San Francisco DEA personnel, and the State and Federal EPA authorities.”
Within the lab is a dusty, twilit jungle of exotic glassware, tubing, racks, clamps, and labeled bottles. The lab’s pungent, sulfuric odor stirs up long-buried childhood memories in me of playing mad scientist with my chemistry set. A voodoo doll hangs from a test-tube rack. A friend gave it to Sasha to improve his luck with difficult copper-based experiments. It worked for a while, then it didn’t, Sasha says.
Back at the house, Ann makes sandwiches in the kitchen while Sasha and I sit in an adjoining room crammed with books, papers, potted plants. A picture window looks across a valley at a great brown mound: Mount Diablo, Sasha informs me. Pinned to one wall is a piece of yellow tape that reads: “SHERIFF’S LINE: DO NOT CROSS.” That is a memento of a 1998 raid by the local Sheriff’s department, which suspected Sasha of manufacturing methamphetamine, also known as “crystal” or “ice.” After a few telephone calls, the agents apologized for the misunderstanding and left the Shulgins in peace.
A pattern emerges early on in my conversation with Ann and Sasha. At one point I ask, Do you think the legal and political climate for psychedelics is improving? No, Sasha replies, shaking his head. If anything, things are getting worse. He is appalled by a recent federal law giving police power to confiscate property of those accused of breaking drug laws.
“I have a different view on that,” Ann calls out from the kitchen. She is encouraged by the fact that commentators, or at least intelligent ones, increasingly refer to the “failed” war on drugs. “Everyone knows this thing has not only failed; it has made the drug problem actually worse,” she says. “If we get one politician with courage, that's all it's going to take to break the whole thing apart and start changing things.”
“She's optimistic, I'm pessimistic,” Sasha summarizes. “We balance out very nicely.”
Later, Ann says she firmly believes in reincarnation. Sasha finds reports about people remembering past lives interesting but ultimately unconvincing. Ann intuits a divine intelligence guiding the cosmos, while Sasha is skeptical. She is the romantic empath, he the hard-headed rationalist. She is the psychotherapist, he the chemist. But they are unfailingly gracious toward each other. When Ann interrupts Sasha to disagree with him, as she does often, he seems less irritated than charmed.
Sasha likes to turn my questions back on me. What do I mean by "mysticism"? By "God"? When I ask if he meditates, he replies that it depends on my definition of meditation.
“Are you doing things with your mind, or are you undoing things?" he asks. "Structuring, or destructuring? Assembling and analyzing, or disassembling and avoiding?”
Sasha tried Zen but found no benefit in it. “The idea of sitting there quietly and voiding your mind of any thoughts, of any process, of turning off the record, just turning the amplifier not down but off--I find it frightening! I don't see what the virtue is. You’re in absolute, thoughtless, mindless space for about twenty seconds. And I say to myself, ‘Why the hell am I doing this?’”
If meditation means total immersion in an activity, being absorbed in the moment, Sasha continues, well, he does that whenever he works in his laboratory. “I consider that meditation, but very active,” he says. “For me that's a treasure.”
When I ask Sasha how many drug trips he has taken in all, he says it depends on how I define “trip.” When exploring a new compound, he starts with very small amounts to test for potency and gradually increases the dose.
“Not all of these were trips, and a lot of them were just exploring.” He has taken compounds that are at least potentially psychoactive three or four times a week for more than 40 years, but only a few thousand of those experiments were genuine trips.
Their psychedelic days are over, Sasha and Ann assure me. Ann used to give MDMA to her psychotherapeutic patients, but she stopped after the drug was outlawed in 1986 under the so-called Designer Drug Act. The team of psychonauts that had tested compounds concocted by Sasha has disbanded. Sasha's research continues; one of his current projects involves searching for new antidepressants. But he no longer either ingests or synthesizes psychedelics.
Like other spiritual practices, psychedelics are a two-edged sword, Sasha emphasizes. They may help us become more compassionate and wise, but they may also lead to ego-inflation or worse. He poses a hypothetical question: What if a psychedelic drug helps an evil person accept his evil nature? Would that be a positive step?
“It's not a panacea,” he warns.
I ask if they believe in God. Define God, Sasha demands. I mumble something about a creative force or intelligence underlying the design of the universe.
“I believe the concept of God is absolutely unnecessary,” Sasha declares.
“Unnecessary?” Ann responds, staring at him.
“That’s a straight answer,” Sasha growls. “Things are what they are.”
“Do you think the concept of a purposeful universe is nonsense?” Ann presses him.
“It's nonsense. Yeah,” Sasha replies. “I don't think it's created by a divine force with a beard.”
No one of any intelligence, Ann tells her husband sternly, takes that old patriarchal image of God seriously any more. Turning back to me, she says she believes that some sort of God or intelligence or consciousness or something underlies material reality, but it is not distinct from us.
“We’re all parts of it, expressions of it. So we are it.”
Ann has a friend who experiences God as pure love. “That brings out the cynicism even in non-cynics,” Ann grants. How can anyone believe that God is love, given how suffused nature is with pain and suffering? The answer, Ann suggests, is that our suffering is somehow a necessary part of our development and learning.
“It's a little bit like watching your one-year-old experimenting,” Ann says. When they fall down and cry, “you sympathize, because they are having a little bit of pain on their bottom. But you realize that that is a step toward growing up.” Psychedelics, Ann says, can help you see things from this cosmic perspective.
Sasha and Ann both reject the notion of enlightenment as a final state of mystical knowledge. There is no final state, Sasha says, only a never-ending process. Ann agrees. She has had a few flashes of what Zen Buddhists call satori, both in psychedelic visions and in lucid dreams. “But they are not a destination. They are a reminder.”
I say that psychedelics have drawn me in two opposite directions: They can make me feel blissfully connected to all things, or alienated and alone. Which experience is truer?
“The place I think the Buddhists try and get you to,” Ann responds, “is right on the knife edge between the two. That's where the truth is. But don't ever forget that the truth of the universe changes second by second. It's not the same universe it was when we sat down at this table.”
Our development, our learning, never stops, Ann says. “You learn in your sleep, from conversations. You learn unconsciously, consciously. You learn from every book you read and every trip you take,” she says. “You're experiencing and taking in and changing as a result all the time, and yet you remain the same, essentially.”
Sasha gives me advice that has helped get him “through many years, and will get me through a few more”: Never lose your sense of humor or take yourself too seriously.
“The laughing Buddha is your best guide,” Ann adds. “What the heck is he laughing about? You can't explain that logically, but you can get into that state. And the final answer you're looking for is the knife edge, because both exist: that terrible darkness, and that absolute life.”
I ask whether their psychedelic experiences have helped them come to terms with their mortality. Ann says her psychedelic experiences have bolstered her faith that “the mind, consciousness, almost certainly exists outside of the body” and will survive death. After her brother died unexpectedly of a heart attack a year ago, she was overcome by grief. But when she viewed her brother’s body before he was buried, her grief gave way to a strange joy, as she felt her brother’s intelligent, humorous presence still surrounding her.
Ann has much she wants to accomplish before she dies, but otherwise she does not fear death. “I’ve never believed there was nothing on the other side,” she says. “It doesn't make any sense. We are continuing streams of energy. Now the form you take afterwards, the form of the consciousness, that's open to some question. But I have a feeling that we all know, because we all have the unconscious memory of having gone through it many times before. I think it is really a going home. I think it will be familiar as soon as you get to the door.”
Sasha says his view of death keeps evolving. As a young man, he believed that when you die, that's it; your consciousness is extinguished. In middle age, his fear of death became so acute that it complicated his research on psychedelics.
Now, at the age of 74, he does not exactly look forward to death, but he no longer fears it. Speaking quietly, calmly, Sasha says he views death as “another transition, another state of consciousness. Admittedly it's one I've not explored, but then again, any new drug is one you've not explored.”
Shockwave therapy is the new Pfizer’s Blue. It actually cures erectile dysfunction and causes. You can do your own shockwave therapy. Just dangle your dick in front of the subwoofer, and turn your ghetto blaster to full power.
Here’s the fascinating issue with duck sex. Ducks are different from most birds in the fact that male ducks have a penis, analogous with the mammalian or human penis. And the fact that ducks still have a penis allows them to force copulation in ways that are unavailable to other birds.
Unpaired males will attempt to force copulation during the egg-laying season. There are even socially organized groups of males pursuing females to force copulation. This is really physically harmful for the female ducks. They are stressed out. They fly away, dive, and do everything they can to avoid it. Sometimes they even drown because ducks often copulate in the water.
Patricia Brennan and I, and other colleagues, started studying this about 10 years ago. We were interested both in how the very large penis of the duck functions and how that is related to this violent sexual coercion. What we discovered was that some duck species evolved ribbed and even thorny penises. Very bizarre stuff! [Laughs]
Co-evolving with that are a series of innovations in vaginal structures that include dead ends, cul-de-sacs, or spirals. The male penis is counterclockwise coiled, and the female vagina in species with large penises is clockwise coiled.
We hypothesize that it functions literally as an “anti-screw” device, to prevent penetration during forced copulation. This is confirmed by genetic evidence. When forced copulation is as high as 50 percent, only 2-5 percent of the offspring are from extra-pair males, or forced copulation. That means these ducks have a 98 percent effective contraceptive device in their bodies!
The females are still incurring all the risk and damage of resistance. But, in the face of violence, they are maintaining control over who is fertilizing their eggs.
It was in 2013, during one of the ritual political squabbles over wasteful government spending, instigated by conservative news sources. I assume an enterprising intern or journalist at one of these websites found our National Science Foundation grant to do research on duck penises and turned it into news. Suddenly, we were being discussed on Fox News by Sean Hannity and his colleagues, and across the media. We had good defense from other folks in the media, but people were shocked to discover that their tax dollars were going to study the evolution of duck genitalia. What they didn’t know is that it is really fascinating!
When Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species he had no theory of genetics. He also had no theory or, at least, delayed a proposal about the evolution of human beings. He also had no real working theory for the evolution of beauty or, as he called it, “impracticable beauty”—beauty that served no purpose in survival. He went back to Down House, cogitated for a decade or more and came up with a second book, Descent of Man, in 1871.
At this point he was already world-famous for the idea of natural selection and so this new book caused a huge stir. He knew lots of people were sympathetic, but he knew that he was going to be working with very touchy subjects: human origins, human sexuality, and sexuality in general. He wrote a very long and granular book, with lots of nitty-gritty detail, which proposed sexual selection as an independent mechanism of evolution.
It had two components. One was competition within one sex, for control or access to the other sex, usually male competition. The other was choice of mates by the other sex, which could be female choice, mutual mate choice, or male mate choice, depending on the species. His idea that male competition, in particular, was a force in evolution, was a great sell in Victorian England. The other idea, of mate choice—and female mate choice in particular—was a bomb.
Even his biggest supporters didn’t buy it. People were concerned that he was attributing cognitive complexity to animals that they couldn’t possibly have. The other was the notion of female willfulness: The idea of females choosing mates on the basis of sensory information, in a licentious way, was very threatening! Some of the original criticism of the idea even attacked the concept as a sign of moral corruption.
The idea that was banished was Darwin’s original proposal for mate choice, which was explicitly aesthetic. He thought animals choose their mates because of the pleasure they have in observing and selecting them, and that was an explicit explanation for why ornaments in nature are beautiful. They’re beautiful because they’re beautiful to the animals themselves.
In bowerbirds, for example, females have used choice preferences to make males less aggressive and more amenable. Female bowerbirds do all the work: They build the nest, lay the eggs, care for the young. But they need to choose a mate.
They do so based on the quality and beauty of a bower. Males build a bower, which is like a seduction theater where courtship takes place. In addition, the male goes out and finds a bunch of beautiful things, like flowers or butterflies or white stones, and makes a big array of interesting stuff.
When the female comes to visit, the architecture of the bower is attractive, but also protective. It allows her a refuge so that she can get intimately close to the male and watch him strut his stuff while being protected from being forcibly copulated by the male.
There are these things called “avenue bowers.” The famous satin bowerbird has two parallel walls. She sits between the walls looking forward at him and his stuff. If he wants to copulate, he has to go around the bower to the back and mount her. But if she doesn’t like it, if she’s not ready or wants to keep looking, she just pops out the front.
This is shown in bowerbirds: Females receive dramatic and even violent displays because those displays are stimulating and because the females can keep their autonomy intact. That applies perfectly well to humans, as well. The problem with humans is that they’ve mostly been described as having evolved through natural selection or male-male competition. There has been very little role for the concept of mate choice—particularly female mate choice—in the evolution of humans.
Having done all this work on birds I became intrigued how some of these ideas about mate choice and sexual autonomy were providing fascinating and interesting explanations for the origin of social and sexual behavior in humans. Male primates, for the most part, have deadly weapons in their faces, in the form of large canine fangs that sharpen themselves on the pre-molars of the lower jaw as they chew. Our immediate relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, have prominent canine teeth in the males, which females lack.
The question is: Under what conditions did human males give up these weapons? The proposal is that, taking a lesson from bowerbirds, human mate choice may have preceded in a similar way. By making weapons like fangs unsexy, females could expand their capacity to get mates they like. There’s lots of data showing that the biggest, burliest, and hairiest are not actually preferred by females.
My former student at Cornell, Kim Bostwick, showed that, in order to make those sounds, the wing bones of the male are enormous, particularly the trailing bone of the hind wing, where the wing feathers are attached. They’re also solid, like ivory. That’s amazing! Even T-Rex has a hollow ulna bone. That’s how ancient this property is.
In order to make sounds, the wing bones of the male manakin have been transformed into a structure serving both flight, as in all birds, but also attracting a mate—to sing a song. We’ve recently discovered that female wing bones have also been transformed. They are not solid, but they are 3-4 times wider than wing bones of closely related species of manakin. So, by selecting males for the songs they prefer, females have transformed their wings into a form that doesn’t fly so well, which is, I think, a kind of evolutionary decadence.
The whole species has become less fit for survival because of this aesthetic elaboration. If you adopt the aesthetic, Darwinian view of nature, the beauty of bird song and plumage is the result of 10,000 different standards of beauty evolving over this complicated history of mate choice. That prospect is something that has motivated my research over the last years and is one of the primary thrills I’m eager to communicate in the book.
Female sexuality is a trade merchandise. And in feminism, the seller and the merchandise are the same person. Merchandise that sells itself? That can impossibly work out. This is why the patriarchy is the only sensible form of human social organization.
A repeat sex offender is set to undergo chemical castration for the first time in South Korea.
The measure, already in place like Germany, Sweden, and some U.S. states, prescribes hormone suppressants to a serial sex offender to suppress his libido by reducing the production of male testosterone.
A young man facing beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia was tortured and sentenced for political reasons, according to rights groups and a source close to his family calling for a halt to his execution.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for participating in a protest. He was later sentenced to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police forces in proceedings which a United Nations body said "fell short of international standards."
The conviction was upheld this week by Saudi Arabia's highest court, and the execution could take place at any time. Al-Nimr's family has appealed for Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to issue a pardon during the current Muslim holiday period of Eid.
"We hope that the king will not sign [the execution order]," al-Nimr's father Mohammed told Agence France Presse, warning that his son's grisly execution could also provoke a violent reaction in the minority Shiite community.
"We don't need that, we don't need even one drop of blood," he said.
The crucifixion sentence means that al-Nimr will most likely be beheaded first and his body later displayed on a cross in a public location, according to campaigners.
The fear that al-Nimr could be executed at any time has taken a steep toll on his father and other relatives, a source close to the family told NBC News.
They are "acting like they are okay, but I know the family and they are not," the source said, adding that Ali was defiantly "dreaming about the future" and was still hoping to study psychology one day.
A group of United Nations experts on torture and capital punishment urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution, saying that al-Nimr was a child at the time of his offense and that the proceedings against him were flawed.
"Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia's international obligations," they said in a statement, citing Saudi Arabia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human-rights charities Reprieve and Amnesty International claim that Ali was tortured and forced to sign a confession after being arrested.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve's death penalty team, called Ali's fate "an outrage" and said it was "deeply troubling" that the United States and other allies of Saudi Arabia were "staying silent" over the case.
"The international community must stand firm against this utterly unjustified sentence," she said in a statement.
Repeated approaches by NBC News to the Saudi authorities for comment have not received a response.
Ali was convicted in 2014 on range of charges including being part of a terrorist organization, carrying weapons and targeting security patrols with Molotov cocktails, the charity said. Additional charges included encouraging others to protest using his BlackBerry and explaining to others how to give first aid, they added.
Reprieve said Ali raised the torture claims at trial but that no investigation took place and the court used the confession to sentence him. Ali's final appeal was held in secret, according to Reprieve.
Ali's lawyer, Dr. Saqeb Mohamed tweeted on Tuesday that the defense team had not been able to visit his client or object to the sentence, adding that he was "surprised" the court had ratified the conviction.
He also called for Saudi authorities to investigate the case.
In the wake of the March 2011 Arab Spring, thousands took to the streets to protest decades of discrimination and religious and political repression by the country's Sunni dynasty, House of Saud, which has controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 1930s. The uprising was met with a violent crackdown from the government.
The source close to the family admitted that al-Nimr had attended demonstrations and anti-government protests in his hometown of Qatif — but that the young man was not political.
The source suggested that political "revenge" was behind the charges laid against the young man — who is the nephew of Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, also separately facing execution.
Al-Nimr's cleric uncle was sentenced to death in a separate trial on terrorism charges and for "waging war on God" because of his speech during anti-government protests in Qatif, according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty called Sheikh al-Nimr's trial "deeply flawed" and said it was "part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shia Muslim community."
There have been 134 executions in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 90 last year, they said.
The younger al-Nimr had no ambitions to follow his uncle's footsteps, the source close to the family said — describing a normal teen, who liked motorcycles, movies and photography.
Now the family hopes his life will be spared so they could spend more time with him.
"We are praying to God," they said. "It is all we can do. We are hopeful."
The world in 200 years will be populated by a few thousand male humans who live indefinitely, and a huge number of female looking robots. Women aren't needed, really, and anyway, women are troublemakers, more than anything else.
Scientists believe it may be possible in the future for human brains to survive death in robotic bodies. but would we want to?
I recently had the unusual experience of seeing three renowned scientists discuss whether it’s possible to remove a human brain from a body, put it in a tank, and give it a robotic body. This wasn’t some bizarre late-night bar discussion: The conversation was a serious talk conducted on stage at a conference at New York’s Lincoln Center. The University of Southern California’s Theodore Berger, Duke University’s Mikhail Lebedev, and Alexander Kaplan of Moscow University, all believe it’s possible for the brain to survive body-death inside a cybernetic shell.
In their panel at the Global Future 2045 conference, the trio discussed a future that sounds like a combination of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the recent mouse inception, and Krang, the brain-in-a-box villain of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The talk, which took place in a mixture of Russian and English, focused on making it possible in our lifetime to conduct brain transplants, harvesting human parts from the body for cybernetic integration, and making self-aware brains comfortable in their new robot homes. It was just another Saturday afternoon, in other words.
Notably absent from the conversation was what the quality of life would be for human brains harvested into robotic bodies. Although all three researchers come from impeccable neurology backgrounds, the talk centered on mostly whether it would be possible to make the technology work. Whether it would be wise, or what the experience would be like for both patients and loved ones, wasn’t discussed as much.
The three researchers believe brain transplants are possible because the human brain is the last organ in the body to cease function after death. Because the death process includes a short window where the brain functions without support from other organs, Berger, Kaplan, and Lebedev all believe there is precedent to have the human brain functioning indefinitely in a non-human carrier–as long as the appropriate support system is there for the brain. They also stress the fact that nerve cells age slowly compared to other organs.
This brain-in-a-robot would be supported by biological blood substitutes (with “the necessary hormonal-biochemical and energetic substrate”), multi-channel brain-computer interfaces with two-way information exchange, neural prostheses, artificially regrown human organs, and other biotech tools that we can’t even imagine. Because there is no precedent for the human brain surviving and functioning outside of a human body, degrees of consciousness, intelligence, comprehension, and a million other existential quandaries that would or wouldn’t exist in a robo-brain simply aren’t evaluated. The data points aren’t there for us to understand, even if it’s possible to transplant a human brain into a robot, what it’s like to be a human brain transplanted into a robot.
There are even interim holding facilities where living human brains could hypothetically be stored before transplantation.
While their roundtable discussion admittedly sounded like a master’s exercise in strange science, the kicker is that all three are engaged in preliminary efforts to make this happen. Last year, at the resolutely mainstream MIT Media Lab, I saw Dr. Berger speak about hacking the memories of rats. Berger’s lab at USC is actively working on prosthetic brain implants that both falsify memories and stimulate brain function in damaged neurons. The lab’s work recently received media attention when it successfully generated new memories in a rat that had its hippocampus chemically disabled. In literature, Berger emphasizes his technology’s potential for treating Alzheimer’s and dementia through the possibility of “building spare parts for the brain;” on-stage in New York, he said it could also lead in the future to full-on brain transplants.
This would work in tandem with Kaplan’s and Lebedev’s specialties. The two Russian scientists research brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)–plug-in interfaces which meld the human brain and nervous system to computer operating systems. While BCIs are most commonly found in toys that read brainwaves to detect stress or concentration, they have revolutionary potential to change the lives of stroke victims and the disabled.
When combined, brain prosthetics and brain-computer interfaces could lead to brain transplants decades from now. Would you want to spend decades or even a century living inside a robotic body at the mercy of a software interface to navigate the world? We’re just beginning to grasp the ethical, philosophical, and scientific implications. But with the right amount of funding, research, and cooperation, it’s entirely possible.
This site contains photos of brutality. Semantically and philosophically speaking, the photos are not brutal. What is brutal is the depicted reality.
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