Nov 102012

(NY Times) My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD

Read A Message From Beyond – for their answer.

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 3:03 pm Comments Off
Nov 092012

By Ed Yong (Discover) In Australia, a pair of superb fairy-wrens return to their nest with food for their newborn chick. As they arrive, the chick makes its begging call. It’s hard to see in the darkness of the domed nest, but the parents know that something isn’t right. Whatever’s in their nest, it’s not their chick. It doesn’t  know the secret password. They abandon it, flying off to start a new nest and a new family somewhere else.

The bird in their nest was a Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo. These birds are “brood parasites” – they lay their eggs in those of other birds, passing on their parenting duties to some unwitting surrogates. The bronze-cuckoo egg looks very much like a fairy-wren egg, although it tends to hatch earlier. The cuckoo chick then ejects its foster siblings from the nest, so it can monopolise its foster parents’ attention.

But fairy-wrens have a way of telling their chicks apart from cuckoos. Diane Colombelli-Negrel from Flinders University in Australia has shown that mothers sing a special tune to their eggs before they’ve hatched. This “incubation call” contains a special note that acts like a familial password. The embryonic chicks learn it, and when they hatch, they incorporate it into their begging calls. Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoos lay their eggs too late in the breeding cycle for their chicks to pick up the same notes. They can’t learn the password in time, and their identities can be rumbled.

via Fairy wrens teach secret passwords to their unborn chicks to tell them apart from cuckoo impostors | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine.

 November 9, 2012  Posted by at 9:28 am Comments Off
Nov 092012

By Claire Ellicott (Daily Mail) Research published in the Journal of Economic Psychology claims to have discovered the ideal waking hours of the average woman. Tops on the list: 106 minutes of sexual intimacy.

Via A woman’s perfect day? She’d like 106 minutes of romance and 82 minutes of socialising (but only 36 minutes at work) | DailyMail

 November 9, 2012  Posted by at 9:14 am Comments Off
Jun 272012

(UCLA) A classic study from more than 60 years ago suggesting that males are more promiscuous and females more choosy in selecting mates may, in fact, be wrong, say life scientists who are the first to repeat the historic experiment using the same methods as the original.

In 1948, English geneticist Angus John Bateman published a study showing that male fruit flies gain an evolutionary advantage from having multiple mates, while their female counterparts do not. Bateman’s conclusions have informed and influenced an entire sub-field of evolutionary biology for decades.

“Bateman’s 1948 study is the most-cited experimental paper in sexual selection today because of its conclusions about how the number of mates influences fitness in males and females,” said Patricia Adair Gowaty, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA. “Yet despite its important status, the experiment has never been repeated with the methods that Bateman himself originally used, until now.

“Our team repeated Bateman’s experiment and found that what some accepted as bedrock may actually be quicksand. It is possible that Bateman’s paper should never have been published.”

Gowaty’s study was published June 11 in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is scheduled for publication in an upcoming print edition.

Continue reading »

 June 27, 2012  Posted by at 8:01 am Comments Off
May 092012

By Dave Smith (International Business Times) A promising new birth control treatment — for men, not women — looks to be the future of contraception. It’s safe, relatively uninvasive, 100 percent effective, and completely reversible. Developed by Prof. Sujoy K. Guha of the Indian Institute of Technology, the procedure called “Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance,” or RISUG, is currently in advanced clinical trials in India. Researchers hope to get Vasalgel (or “RISUG” in the Indian trials) on the market as a common alternative to vasectomy as early as 2015.

In this new procedure, a doctor would inject a polymer gel called “Vasalgel” directly into the vas deferens instead of cutting it, which coats the walls of the duct and kills sperm as they go by. Should the man want to reverse the treatment for any reason at all, the procedure can be reversed simply by flushing out the Vasalgel with another injection of DMSO, a compound that is used in the medical treatment of many conditions and that is bioacceptable in the small quantities necessary.


via New Male Birth Control Procedure Is 100 Percent Effective, Completely Reversible [STUDY] – International Business Times.

 May 9, 2012  Posted by at 12:12 pm Comments Off