Evolutionary adaptation: women’s beach volleyball and the smell of urine…

Ok; this is a weird title…on purpose.

Workout notes I am planning to swim over lunch. This morning Lynn and I went to yoga with Ms. Nancy; Ms. Nancy is very creative; some of her classes are good but once in a while her creations will flop. Today, she was “on” and I left class feeling relaxed and limber.

Economics and Health Care
True, the Ryan plan sets up health care exchanges as does “Obamacare”. But: the Ryan plan removes current Medicare coverage and replaces it with something that is likely to be inadequate (the Ryan plan has supplements going up by inflation whereas premiums are going up much faster) whereas Obamacare helps people who don’t have insurance now to obtain some. That is, one reduces coverage, the other increases it. Paul Krugman has a humorous way of explaining the fallacy of the comparison:

So the argument that Ryancare is just like Obamacare is like saying that the company janitor, who gets paid $18,000 a year, and a senior vice president who gets paid 20 or 30 times that much both get paid salaries, so hey, they get exactly the same deal!

It’s truly amazing that the Very Serious don’t get this point.

One other thing: it might make sense to put young, healthy people into the insurance pool; after all their risk is lower. But older people are all but certain to be a bad deal; who wants to insure someone who is all but guaranteed to get sick? If anything, it makes sense to put everyone into Medicare (or at least allow people to buy into it); this would add money to the pool by adding lower risk people to the pool.

The title of this blog post
Yes, masturbation probably has an adaptive purpose:

1. Masturbation might remove old, worn-out, broken sperm from the reproductive tract. That would increase the fraction of healthy, speedy sperm, improving a male’s chance of becoming a father. “In humans, masturbation increases sperm quality (by promoting younger sperm) without affecting sperm numbers in the female reproductive tract,” notes biologist Jane Waterman of the University of Central Florida in a new paper in the journal PLoS One. As far back as 1993, biologists had observed that masturbating decreased the number of sperm a man delivered the next time he had sex with his partner, but not the number of sperm the woman retained. They concluded that “masturbation is a male strategy to increase sperm fitness.”

Research presented at a science meeting last year offered support for the fitter-sperm idea. Ejaculating daily for seven days improved sperm quality as measured by the amount of DNA damage: levels of damage averaged 34 percent on a standard measurement index after three days’ abstinence, but after a week of … um, non-abstinence, the level of damage dropped to 26 percent, in the “fair” range for sperm quality. Looking only at men whose sperm damage decreased (in a few, damage got worse for some reason), the average damage level fell to just under 23 percent—putting them in the “good” range. In addition, sperm motility rose significantly. Result: healthier and possibly more babies.

Note: there are three more points that are explained: hygienic, sexual advertising, and “victory lap”, at least among males. Females aren’t covered as there isn’t nearly as much data from nature.

What does this have to do with women’s beach volleyball? Do you really need to ask?

The smell of urine: yes, evolution uses this too!
Consider the following finding:

So the researchers collected urine samples from a range of sources, including zoos in New England and South Dakota. Their collection covered 38 species from predators such as lions, snow leopards and servals to herbivores including cows, giraffes and zebra. They also tested humans, cats and various rodents.[…]

Liberles and his team double-checked the role of 2-phenylethylamine by placing a few drops of it – on its own, or within lion urine – in a cage. They found that mice and rats stayed away from that part of the cage. But when they used an enzyme to remove the chemical from lion urine, the drops no longer caused any reaction.

Note: the mice stayed away from this chemical when it was taken from urine of animals that are not native to its area; that is, meat eating animals tend to have this chemical and the mice and rats have “learned” to avoid animals that smell like that! Surf to the article to read more; there are still some questions which are being researched.


June 23, 2011 - Posted by | biology, economy, evolution, health care, human sexuality, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, science

1 Comment »

  1. Brazilian women have lovely buttocks!

    Comment by Marcus Spitzicus | July 23, 2012 | Reply

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