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Pics from the ‘hood

16 May

Cruising around the neighborhood last week turned up all kinds of items of note. Here are a couple of freebies, a la the November Toilet:

 

It amazes me how generous people are with their large appliances. Until I haul them home to discover they don’t work and there’s a fee associated with disposing of them. Pfft.

And here’s the requisite old used condom, a la the Courthouse Rubber of ’07:

Scientific condom-carbon dating proves this to be a much older specimen, perhaps offering more clues to the origins of the species. Further examination by teams of condo-thropologists needed.

And, the pièce de résistance: some kind of fag-related graffiti:

I’ll transcribe it for you, as it’s hard to read: “GO FAGS.” The message, although scrawled in emphatic caps lock, is unclear. Do they mean, “Go home fags”? Because that is precisely what I was doing when I saw this! Perhaps it’s a message akin to “Go Blazers!”, in which case, hey thanks! Although I didn’t realize faggotry was a competitive sport. Perhaps it’s meant to be read from bottom to top, as in “FAGS GO”? Which makes me wonder: Fags go where? Where are all the fags going, and why did no one tell me??

Pretty ladies are pissed off

31 Mar

According to research featured by the BBC, “pretty women anger more easily.” According to research by me, they have every right to be pissed off.

After all, it’s pretty ladies that are warned not to dress too nicely, or behave too joyously, lest the boys be compelled to physically assault them. It’s pretty ladies who, shortly after being hired, are told that the boss only chose them because they met the minimum standards for attractiveness. And it’s pretty ladies who can’t trust the integrity of their relationships — how do they know they’re loved for themselves, when they’re told every day it’s their looks that sets them apart?

There are lots of studies out there assessing the link between attractiveness and happiness. The interesting thing about this one is that the article skewed the findings to make the anger sound like a bad thing (“uppity bitches!”), when in practice, it turns out it’s actually a good thing:

Attractive women also had higher expectations of what they deserved. … the same women were better at resolving situations in their favour.

So wait. They are good at resolving situations in their favor. They do this by using a tool called anger. Where’s the bad? My guess is the reason the journalist framed his or her story this way is because, culturally, women are supposed to be self-sacrificial martyrs.

The article explains as an afterthought that a similar link in men was found, “…but with physical strength rather than attractiveness per se.” This is interesting for two reasons:

  1. Most science-y studies sample men first and foremost, and then study women as an afterthought. This is because men are considered default humans, and results from studying them are of course always applicable to the female of the species, when she is considered at all.
  2. The only exception to the above rule is when the science-y study is about physical attractiveness. Because sexiness is solely the purview of women. They have no other identifying characteristics! Why study heart disease in women, when instead you can try to figure out which hair color is the sexiest? This study also ventures into that most noble of scientific pursuits

“…blondes rated as more attractive than brunettes and redheads.”

If we can learn anything from this study, it’s that all ladies, whether pretty by society’s standards or not, have damn good reasons to be pissed off.

So go forth and get pissed, ladies and gents. Tell me why you’re pissed, or not, in the comments.

Related posts: Boys of Facebook, Casey Johnson: Beauty, wealth won’t save you

X vs. Y, or, How I Learned to Love the Manly Double Helix

14 Jan

NPR aired a brief segment this morning on the evolving nature of the Y chromosome. Apparently:

“A few years ago, scientists began wondering whether [the Y chromosome] was in trouble. When they compared it to the X chromosome, which is carried by both men and women, the Y chromosome didn’t seem to measure up.”

When they say “didn’t measure up,” they mean that the Y chromosome has been shedding genes like crazy, and now has only 70 or 80 or so. Compare that to the X chromosome, which carries hundreds of genes. White science-y dudes everywhere are worried because the type of evolution the Y chromosome is doing – gene shedding – “can’t go on forever.”

But rather than delving into the implications of the incredible shrinking Y chromosome, NPR reporter David Page chose instead to wrap the package up with a neat little bow, concluding that the Y chromosome (which is really just a fun science-y way of saying menfolk) is a paragon of agility, and should be commended for its innovative evolutionary techniques.

Left unanswered were several questions any reasonable listener, and indeed any self-respecting journalist, would ask:

Why are the genes evolving in this disparate fashion?
Why can’t the gene-shedding carry on forever?
What happens if said gene-shedding continues? Do men become obsolete, or somehow less complete? Or do they just get EVEN MORE AWESOME, as the story would have us believe?
Why isn’t the X chromosome evolving this way?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of the different forms of evolution for these two genes?
What are the freakin’ implications, huh?

The story brought up more questions than answers – questions that the reporter could’ve easily used the segment’s two minutes of airtime to address, rather than just reassuring his male audience that they needn’t worry about obsolescence, but instead should congratulate themselves on their superior evolutionary skills.

White male scientist David Page, of MIT’s Whitehead Institute, summed it up this way:

“It shows quite a degree of inventiveness and creativity that maybe the rest of the genome could learn something from.”

Thanks for the edification, white guys! I guess I should set about training my inferior X chromosomes to adopt an unsustainable pattern of evolution, huh?

Listen to the full segment here.

Science proves men are unnecessary

9 Jan


Turns out there’s a type of ant that reproduces entirely without males! At first the scientists were all, “Preposterous! Impossible!” but then they used Science to determine they were wronger than words pluralized with apostrophes. Quoth the article:

“One study in particular … showed that the ants reproduced in the lab without males, and that no amount of stress induced the production of males.”

I find it deeply amusing that the first method tried to get the ants to produce males was to place the poor devils under stress. One wonders what methods they used to induce stress. Perhaps they began paying them less, or calling them “hon.”

I could expositate on the implications of such a scientific discovery for several more hours, but I have to get back to my artery-clogging breakfast of pork products and cholesterol derivatives.

Full article: Ant Has Given Up Sex Completely, Researchers Confirm

*Note: Photo from Alex Wild at http://www.alexanderwild.com

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