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The Cozy Spot

18 posts categorized "Science"

September 08, 2008

The End of the World on Wednesday?

Blackhole Get ready to shag like mad, get high, loot, or gorge on naughty food because the countdown is on (apparently) from this Wednesday. And you thought it would be global warming? The "Nostradamus" third world war and/or anti-Christ? Try a big arsed machine - the largest ever gadget known to the world that'll be switched on this Wednesday. When I read this article, I didn't know whether to laugh or think, 'Jesus H Christ WTF?' Then I thought, 'can the end wait until I get my tax refund?'

The machine is called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and it is located in Geneva. It's said to be the largest instrument on this planet and its function? To produce shitloads of data that scientists can access and analyze. By shitloads, I mean 15 Petabytes (15 million gigabytes) and it's all part of the Worldwide LHC computing grid.

You'll have to read the full newspaper article for a detailed breakdown in how the world is hypothesized to end but it basically involves the creation of a black hole that'll be like the blowjob of cosmic proportions.
What did make me laugh, even if it is macabre or bizarre, relates to German chemist Otto Rossler arguing that, should this gadget end everything then it would violate the right to live and the right to private family life. That's nice to know isn't it? Because once the ball started rolling, it would all end faster than a fart so there is no chance of a class (or global) action lawsuit, is there?

If a black hole did eventuate could you really blame the geeks who want this gadget? If they knew (in their calculations) that there was a probability of a black hole, could one hypothesize that they're secretly pushing the extreme limit, that they want to see what an Apocalypse would be like? Scientists tend to go bat-shit crazy about things they shouldn't be doing. One of the reasons I reversed my decision to follow science at uni was the proportion of nutty professors I had, the kind that had mad glints in their eye when they discussed the 'fantastic possibilities' that could result if you combined mammalian DNA with vegetable DNA; it makes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein look like a Golden Book kid's tale. I told my female relative this today when we were discussing science over the phone and why I took a detour; "some of the scientists at uni had no soul," I said, "they were so embroiled with their extreme curiosities that they never considered consequences." And that is true for things like the nuclear bomb. Oppenheimer didn't really allow the consequences to hinder his work or his team's work, going so far as to remember (from the Bhagavad-Gita) the quote "Now I am become death, the destroyer of all worlds," and it's ironic how it takes a huge nuclear explosion (test) for scientists to realize that. But they already knew that; Marie Curie was aware of the dangerous potential.

So if the world ends this's been nice knowing you all, but I wouldn't be hanging around on the Net if I were you. Go out, fuck like rabbits, gorge on all the food your doctor tells you to avoid (life is short, but according to the 'Armageddon speak', life is even shorter if a black hole suddenly appears under Geneva), have a few drinks, a few smokes (it's not like they're going to kill you know is it?) and have twenty minute HOT showers, don't worry about the recycled trash and thank the geeks in Geneva for creating the doomsday machine.

(I doubt anything will happen, but the Armageddon-ists out there can't function unless they have some 'end of the world' stimulation from time to time -I feel sorry for people like that, I really do but I also have bad days when all I want to do is stab them in the eye with my metal Parker pen; I'm terrible, I know).

There is one consolation: at least black holes are pretty. The last thing you need on your last day on this earth is to be confronted with a galactic eyesore.

August 25, 2008

Maybe, possibly...polygamy may extend life but don't hold your breath

I take surveys and 'studies' with kilograms of salt. Why? Because the researchers behind these studies make ten million presumptions and never arrive at a definite answer. These sorts of studies remind me of similar inconsistencies you'll find in newspapers: drinking coffee is good for you in one study but in another study, caffeine is a cardiac downer. Before you think 'wtf, make up your minds,' there are more and more studies and this latest study discussed in New Scientist magazine is just another study that proclaims that polygamist men live longer.

Here's a suggestion:
Is the world's well-being dependent on these stupid studies?

The basic presumption is that men who father children late in life live longer. Does it really take a genius here to see that those blokes who have ten million kids within three or four relationships do less child rearing and that the primary care giving role falls on the womens' shoulders? How many science degrees does it take to arrive to the conclusions within the New Scientist article? The other minor discrepancy within the study is the fact that it doesn't account for the stress related to being the supreme financial provider. Then again, if the women also go out and work for the head 'sheik' of the household (we're talking about life in the average 'burbs here, not Dubai or Saudi Arabia), that leaves the blokes with less stress. I've read about these sorts of scenarios relating to 'manly dominant chauvinist men who have 'slaves.'
Taking one quote from the NS article, that doesn't make sense to me AT ALL:

"The explanation could be both social and genetic. Men who continue fathering kids into their 60s and 70s could take better care for their bodies because they have mouths to feed. But evolutionary forces acting over thousands of years could also select for longer-lived men in polygamous cultures."It's a valid hypothesis and good prediction," says Chris Wilson, an evolutionary anthropologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who attended the talk."

Take better care of their bodies? When, between job number one or three? Maybe they're using themselves (as tenured academics on above average salaries) as a baseline?
I think this study has been completely thrown to interpretation; the scientists make general conclusions (some are nonsensical, either that or they think every polygamist is a multi-millionaire), but what bothers me the most is that these types of generalizations make other indirect statements: that it's perfectly all right for polygamy in all relationships and that polygamy may be beneficial, when it isn't beneficial to some people. Believe it or not, there are many people who don't accept playing second, third, fourth or tenth fiddle, and television shows like Big Love don't make it any more real. The male head of the family in that show is financially well off. How is the average male prole going to handle polygamy on a minimal wage? Scientists don't take that into account. They also don't consider the emotional expectations within most societies. It's strange how the study doesn't even reveal how many men were studied.

There are many that view polygamy as a sexual add-on to a relationship or marriage, but true polygamy is so much more than sex, and many people have difficulty handling the emotional and financial aspects of one relationship, let alone two, three or five. It seems as though this study was taken in order to arrive at a hypothesis, instead of the other way round. Does it make it proper science or a pop-psych equivalent of crap?

At the end of the day there are other problems that require funding and research. Who really cares if men in polygamous relationships live longer? Really? Is that going to alter anyone's standard of living in the long run when mainstream society has difficulty coping with one relationship? Besides, polygamy would be a legal nightmare in mainstream society. Imagine deciding on who gets what?

BTW, strange how the researchers are male...hmmm?

August 16, 2008

Beer Goggles & Sexual Control

As an aside, controlled experiments are interesting if only for the term 'controlled' and while some experiments do shed light on behaviors and reactions, there are some studies that really (and I mean really and certainly) make you want to cry out...


The Beer Goggle Syndrome is one of those things that many (who have drunk a few extra, to wind up with a person that frightens them in the stark light of The Morning After) has experienced at some point in their adulthood. Do you need a research team from the University of Bristol to tell you that you can make crap decisions when you're drunk or tipsy? Not really, but it's now 'scientific fact' (I suppose some researchers do need jobs and journal appearances):

"A test on drunk university students has scientifically proven what was common pub knowledge - that drinking improves the appearance of those around you.

A team from the University of Bristol in England conducted a controlled experiment on 84 young heterosexuals, getting half of them tipsy on a drink and asking all of them to rate the attractiveness of people in photographs."

A second D'OHHHHHH to this research team from me personally.

If alcohol impedes driving and basic reflexes, of course it's going to impede partner selection. Excess alcohol can be compared to an internal collision: the conscious struggles with the subconscious. The Id fights with the Super-Ego. It's like a game of tug-o-war. Now we need a bunch of university researchers to tell us that we rate people (we normally wouldn't rate) more attractive based on excess alcohol consumption? I think not - that is what our morning after flight response is for.


More on why social control doesn't work. It appears that smoking bans haven't made a huge impact on the reduction of tobacco smoking. I could have told them that....a third d'ohhh.

August 13, 2008

A Man Enters a Bar...

And he could be invisible? Well, not really, but there is new -gobsmacking - research that involves a material that can control the way light travels (rendering invisibility).
Invisibility, a voyeur's wet dream (?), could be a reality in the foreseeable future but there are other fantastic uses for this material. For one, politicians can coat themselves in this material for us not to see them (wouldn't that be fantastic?).
However, there is a dark side to this. The researchers at the University of California, are funded by the military. It's enough to make anyone nervous. For example, if military aircraft are sprayed with the material, they would (theoretically) disappear from sight. The military potential for this type of technology is huge. It seems as though humans, and research departments, will never try to find alternatives to war as long as a technology has the capability of making billions in profit.

So where does that leave the ordinary guy or gal (in the bar)? This technology would be great for nervous first dates: scan your date before they see you. If they pass muster, unmask yourself (in the bathroom) and go ahead, or slink out the door: out of sight, out of mind. A blind dater's wet dream!

July 31, 2008

One Step Closer to Robot Sex

A new robot has been developed in the UK, one that will possibly accelerate the development of responsive robots. The implications for sex dolls like Realdolls?

Read more here.

July 14, 2008

Relationships in the Modern Age: From Christie Brinkley to Frilly Theories on Male Behavior

Christiebrinkleyb Christie Brinkley's divorce has appeared in many shows and magazines. The divorce aired her ex husband's dirty laundry across the world, everything from his affair with a teenager to his addiction to Internet porn, with allegations of his web cam masturbation sessions. It's a tale of yet another celebrity relationship biting the dust for reasons that can (and do) affect non-celebrity couples: infidelity, addiction and humiliation. It's like agreeing to certain relationship terms and finding that the errant partner disrespects the mutual terms, taking a secret detour to find temporary nirvana. Although celebrity relationships are viewed as a unique example, the issues aren't unique or exclusive to celebrities. Infidelity and betrayal are equal opportunity quantities that rear their heads in most relationships, which raise further questions regarding contemporary society, and whether this information driven society is compatible with traditional relationships.

Peter Cook won't be the first or last errant husband to use the Internet to get his jollies off. There are many who opt to reveal their private parts to maintain anonymity, to satisfy their yen for a different partner. The virtual partner or fuck buddy is a popular mod-con; anonymous, distant and open to suggestion, the virtual fuck buddy won't create problems, until Internet histories are discovered or one is busted in the act of preening online. I'm betting that Brinkley didn't see this coming, or anticipated her husband's infidelity or Internet porn addiction. There are things that are impossible to predict, so the statement made by a court appointed psychologist was really interesting because it indicates that some psychologists either have no clue or live on an intellectual pedestal.

Psychologists are renowned for discussing their theories on gender. Some are guilty of promoting their theory of biologically unfaithful men; it's all in the DNA! Where is the proof? Are there any prehistoric cave paintings that prove man's natural need to sow his seed with every vagina he meets? Of course there isn't. Never has been. I feel that the polygamy theory is social and is more closely related to contemporary society. I mean, in an age where all parents are financially responsible for the children they bring to this earth, it doesn't make sense for a man to procreate with every woman, and the same applies to bygone eras. But the present economic world is about disposability, convenience and sales. Thousands of years ago, it was the opposite and closer to the idea of sustainability. Only the wealthy could afford more than one wife, and many royal families featured many wives but the unions weren't sexual or based on the modern idea of romantic/sexual infatuation. It was about bloodlines or maintaining bloodlines within a dynasty. Ordinary men, or men without royal or aristocratic means, couldn't afford to have more than one wife, but not only that, there is no proof to support the theory of men being naturally or genetically promiscuous.

The court appointed psychologist allegedly said (of Brinkley) that Brinkley needed to start working on deeper issues, including her choice of male partners.

I don't think that Brinkley has a bad track record. Her marriage to Peter Cook wasn't an overnight affair and it doesn't seem to be based on whim. Sometimes it is difficult to penetrate the mask that people wear. One marries and sees the bad behavior later. What is the real difference between living together and marriage? Hardly anything. What is the point of cohabiting with a person for years before deciding on marriage? Common law partners are still treated the same way during the separation process and all are legally responsible for the children within a common law partnership. The law in most countries doesn't differ. Why isn't the court appointed psychologist quoted about Peter Cook and his activities? Where is that? Nowhere to be found, that's where but women 'need' to investigate their deeper issues relating to partner choice: here's news for them – sometimes it isn't so easy, and it is impossible to be clairvoyant on such matters.

As a woman, I'm sick and tired of the 'men are naturally promiscuous,' excuse. I think it all a bunch of bollocks, a cop out. Men are conditioned to view women as sex objects, and this conditioning has become something else after research on conditioning was published in the 20th Century. Psychological manipulation is prevalent in the world of commerce. Advertising operates on subtle psychological principles and conditioning and association is popular. You watch a television advert on household cleaning products and you see a woman starring in the advert, in fact you see women in these commercials for decades, so it comes as no surprise that women are associated with housework and cleaning products. Ask a man about the best oven cleaner and chances are that he'll have no bloody clue whatsoever. And no, let's not be rash and blame the entire 'patriarchy' because many executives in the business of conditioning and association are female as well. So it's not that simple to blame the patriarchy. After all, in order for a patriarchy to exist, it had to be supported by the female sector, and by support I mean the subtle support or nonchalant attitudes that exist. The idea of women removing themselves from the patriarchal equation is naïve and tends to be the easy way out or the easy argument. The world isn't about a mysterious Bilderberg-like group named The Patriarchy. It's about commerce, economies and profit. These three things dominate. Take the porn industry as one example: the idea of promiscuity is widely explored in pornography. There are more girls than a guy can handle, but in the ideal world of porn films the guy can handle more than one girl without his dick going soft. In fact, there are no soft-cock episodes in the world of porn, and while a portion of female actresses earn more than men, the idea of 'man conquering' pussy in porn can be considered patriarchal in the modern sense or according to the theory of male biological promiscuity, but it isn't purely patriarchal because women are also making the choice to participate in the films and there is also a portion of women purchasing the films to augment their sexual fantasies. In other words, the theory of supposed genetic infidelity is a fantasy and it is a commercial fantasy.

How can a woman like Christie, or any other woman, anticipate relationship disaster? Is it obvious beforehand, when a person puts on their best clothes for a date or displays perfect manners and conduct? After the relationship enters a regular routine, people find themselves living their life according to the agreements they made, and I'm not talking about wedding vows here, just the regular agreements and they can be anything. Even couples in open relationships have rules. Every individual relies on some code of conduct. It all boils down to knowing where one stands in a relationship.

You're an individual in the contemporary era and you're a female who is advised to analyze choices or the reason behind certain choices. It's what women have been advised to do for many decades but there are never any clear answers, and each relationship is different because people are different. There are patterns of behavior, definitely, but they often materialize differently (different time intervals), and it's not easy to step into the subconscious and demand instant answers. In Christie's case, one can't say, 'oh it's easy, all her partners were philanderers,' because they weren't. Thus, the issue is more subtle or subtle to the point of escaping the individual; the closer one gets to the reason behind certain choices, the reasons elude the individual and when coupled with the modern era of convenience, relationships become more difficult to negotiate in the long term. Is Christie's latest statement, vowing never to marry again, wise? It probably is wise. What does that say about the idea of marriage in contemporary society?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket and always have an escape hatch ready; have your finances sorted, a career ahead of you (and Christie is a great example: maintaining her own career), because we're living in a volatile era, and life isn't a romance novel.

Image: US Magazine

June 20, 2008

Pregnancy Scan Enters a New Era

This technology reminds me of Star Trek. It's the pregnancy scan that doesn't require any hands on application by a technician. There is no messy gel, and there are no ambiguous ultrasound images that raise the eyebrows each time a technician tells you the sex ('how on earth do you see that?').

This new method keeps track of previous scans, so progress can be tracked, and the baby can be viewed from any direction. Watch the Youtube video below. It's magical, but is the technology of tomorrow.

May 27, 2008

Pushing Our (Genetic) Buttons

Scanning the latest scientific developments on the web, I was surprised by the latest on genetic breakthroughs. Yes girls, our genome has been mapped, and it makes me wonder why they took so long. Why do men, yes blokes, get to go first?

What closely followed the above thought was the possibilities this presents. What else will be unraveled twenty or even fifty years from now? Will sexuality be next, our sexual mechanism and the inner workings of our libido? I doubt that I’d care in fifty years time. I’ll be an eighty plus geezer yelling expletives at a nurse in a home. It will be, ‘where are my cigarettes nurse!?’ for the nurse to reply, ‘Erm, cigarettes were taken off the market thirty years ago.’

On a more serious note, the mapping of the first female genome may improve medical research in the areas of breast and uterine cancer.

May 20, 2008

Futuresex & Petri Dish Bestiality II

Before one can ask the real question of, 'Is it Eugenics all over again?' the reality of radical stem cell research and chimera embryos is here, with a stamp of approval. It's a huge step forward, and while half of me is intrigued at the prospect of genetic diseases being cured, the other half questions the possibility of custom designed babies one day. There is always a flip side to technology.

Genetics is interesting. Decoding the Human Genome has been a considerable project that has taken decades, and research is still going on. If genes are isolated, and the genes are found to cause disease, then further research is done and diseases are easy to eradicate. There will be no debate in eradicating life threatening genetic diseases, but what about the blurred line between ideal and non-ideal traits?

May 10, 2008

Lazing Around in the Wee Hours

I watched I Am Legend in the early hours of this morning, and I wish I knew there were going to be freakishly virulent humans writhing with anger. I jumped a few times, and almost dropped my cup of tea on my return from the kitchen.

The film made me think. In terms of film making, I couldn’t get how Will Smith’s character still had running electricity for his lab and his flat screen television, but I thought ‘ignore that, it’s a movie,’ but the fantastic thing about this film is that it mainly relied on one character and a dog. There were no hot chicks, there was no nudity. There were no sexual references, or jokes.

Continue reading "Lazing Around in the Wee Hours" »

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