Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tapir Time

I subscribed to National Geographic about a year ago, and I am finally finally FINALLY slogging through past editions.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them.  I feel the need to read every single article, so it takes time.  They are invariably interesting.  Informative.  Often times depressing.  But they are well written, they address important issues of our times, and they have amazing photographs.  Rarely do they make me laugh, but this particular article in the October 2016 edition made me cackle:

If it is too hard to read from the image above, here is a transcript:

Tapirs Are Surprisingly Well Endowed 

Their genitalia is “ungainly” but evolved that way for a reason. 


Perissodactyla, roughly translated, means “odd number of toes.” It’s the order of mammals that includes rhinos (three toes), horses (one hoofed toe), and tapirs (three toes in back and four toes in front).

Extra toes are an evolutionary advantage that helps barrel-bodied tapirs with weight bearing and traction. Another adaptive trait that male rhinos, horses, and tapirs share: They’re “extremely well endowed,” says tapir expert Michele Stancer, director of animal care at Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.

An aroused tapir’s manhood is so “large and ungainly,” Stancer says, “I actually have seen the male step on it and scream.” Maneuvering the organ into mating position involves many swings and misses. And yet, she says, the male “had to evolve to that size and shape to get where it needs to go” in the female’s lengthy genital tract to inseminate her. Another evolutionary adaptation: large flaps near the end of the penis that Stancer says “make a seal inside the female” so that tapirs can successfully breed underwater as well as on land.

Tapirs’ sex lives start when they’re about two years old and can last into their 20s. If all goes well in a tapir tryst, the female likely will bear a single infant (or, very rarely, twins) 13 months later.

BAH!  I think I read this article 3 times, and then unfortunately I felt the need to poke around a bit and get a visual.

Warning: Proceed with caution and only press play if you are certain you can handle it.  You won't be able to unsee this!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Crying Game

Well Happy New Year to anybody that bothers to check this blog anymore!

I was listening to the radio the other day and some deejay said that the average woman cries 60 times a year, and the average man cries 6 times a year.  Hmmm.  We are sixteen days into this year, and I think I have already cried 3 times (new year, possible new dude that I am ridiculously excited/nervous about, so that means new issues plus old hang ups from my last relationship DEBACLE, but it's all good and we will see what happens).  LOL!  Whatever.  If you need a good cry, go for it.  Why not.

I found this article on-line which elaborates on the crying thing:

As stereotypes go, it is one of the oldest. But women do shed a tear more often than men, a study shows.

The researchers said hormonal differences between the sexes could be to blame, but social conditioning plays a part too.

Women well up between 30 and 64 times a year, while men shed a tear between six and 17 times per year, the study found. 

And when women cry, it is also for longer than men. Researchers found women’s tears last for six minutes on average, while for men, they last for between two and three minutes.

The study was carried out by Professor Ad Vingerhoets, a clinical psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and author of the book, Why Only Humans Weep: Unravelling the Mysteries of Tears.

He spoke to more than 5,000 people in 37 countries and asked them questions about their emotional responses.

Among men, 66 percent of participants cried for less than five minutes and 24 percent cried for between six and 15 minutes. 

With women, however, 43 percent cried for less than five minutes but more cried for between six and 15 minutes – 38 percent.

Also, more than twice as many women cry for between 16 and 30 minutes: 11 percent versus 5 percent of men. 

The findings also showed women cried twice as often as men for between 31 minutes and an hour, as well as for 60 minutes plus. 

Professor Vingerhoets said the differences in the sexes ‘could perhaps be explained to a large extent by the fact that women more often watch tearjerkers and read sentimental literature’.

The findings suggest men should be more understanding next time they watch a romantic film with their partners. Professor Vingerhoets said at the sight of a woman crying, men ‘often feel irritation and tend to ignore the crier’.

However, it’s not just women that cry at the movies. According to Esquire magazine, the films that make men cry include The Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan and surprisingly Babe, a comedy drama about a talking pig.

Previous studies showed tears contain prolactin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland associated with emotion. 

Women have higher levels of this than men, which could explain why they cry more often.

And because men have bigger tear ducts in their eyes, it takes more for them to well up and for the tears to spill over.

Thoughts on this?  I have never bothered to CHART how many times a year I cry, nor have I bothered to track the duration of each cry, and I think it varies quite a bit.  Mostly I just wonder how the above-referenced data was collected and verified (Did participants agree to time themselves on each occasion that they cried?! Was their crying monitored? Verified? If they were monitored, did that inhibit or encourage the process?  Yawn to all of my questions.), but I'll let my irritating questions go for now because who really cares.  

In ridiculous news, my cat Simba has this new thing -- when I am sitting on the couch he likes to climb on my chest and lay his head on my shoulder while I pet him and pet him and pet him.  It's like having a 15 pound furry baby to hug and love on.  And if you need a good cry, he is willing to soak it all up while you do it, as long as you keep petting him.  WHAT A DREAMBOAT HE IS!