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Posts Tagged "sex"

The Artful Amoeba

How Mosses Have Sex in Spite of Their Swimming-Challenged Sperm

moss_splash_cup_200

Last summer I was hiking in the tundra near Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks when I came upon a moss that looked strange. It had little flattened discs that looked something like this: What were these things? Then I happened to pick up a book called “Gathering Moss“, and suddenly I knew what it was I [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Ferns, Secret Ninja Ferns, and their Alluring Asexual Bits

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A fern may seem a simple thing. It’s a leaf; it sprouts from the forest floor. But it’s much more than that. Ferns were one of the first plant forms to evolve, and they retain features that show it. For instance, unlike mosses and their wacky buddies the liverworts, ferns possess true stems (which usually [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

No Silly Love Songs? Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Our Latest E-Book: Love, Sex and Science

eBook - Disarming Cupid: Love, Sex and Science

Will “Love Will Keep Us Together” or is it true that “Love Is a Battlefield”? Whereas the topic of romance has provided limitless inspiration for artists, writers and musicians, scientists are just as fascinated by affairs of the heart, though they seldom sing about it. Cupid’s unpredictable arrow explains little, so it can be more [...]

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Bering in Mind

The Original Cupid Was a Sociopath

“Winged Cupid, rash and hardy, who by his evil manners, contemning all public justice and law, armed with fire and arrows, running up and down in the nights from house to house, and corrupting lawful marriages of every person, doth nothing but evil.” —Lucius Apuleius, The Tale of Cupid and Psyche (late second century A.D.) [...]

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Bering in Mind

Beware the Ultimate Orgasm: Autoerotic Fatalities

The recent headlining report of a 70-year-old man who inserted a fork into his urethra in a misplaced effort to obtain sexual gratification—and who, in the process, unleashed a collective wince heard ’round the world once the x-ray image of his sounding went viral online—shines a light on the lengths some people will go to [...]

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Bering in Mind

Hearts of Stone: Sexual Deviants in Antiquity

Venus and Mars, c. 175 A.D., Palazzo Chigi in Rome

Paraphilias change with the times—and with the materials at hand. One of the reasons that completely new forms of sexual deviancy continue to emerge, while others vanish, is the fact that, as society changes, so too do the cultural factors upon which sexual imprinting occurs. In 1975, the scholars Alex Scobie and Tony Taylor argued [...]

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Bering in Mind

Bromidrophilia: Beauty is in the Nose of the Besniffer

Close-up of a Human Nose in Side View, by Cristina Pedrazzina

“Coming home soon; don’t wash,” Napoleon Bonaparte once wrote to his wife, Joséphine. It’s unclear from this snippet of a love note if the most famous Emperor in French history had a certifiable case of bromidrophilia—a paraphilia in which the individual finds the natural body odors of attractive people to be the most arousing erotic [...]

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Bering in Mind

Meet the Feeders: Getting Off by Getting Fat

“If I offered you a million dollars if you could have an orgasm in the next 60 seconds,” said the psychologist to the woman, “what would you do or fantasize about in order to achieve that orgasm as quickly as possible?” “I would use my vibrator and probably run the other hand over the thicker [...]

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Bering in Mind

Apotemnophilia: A Cut Above the Rest (of the Sexual Deviancies)

Apotemnophiles (from the Greek, apo, away from + temnien, to cut) are individuals who exhibit an intense desire for one of their own limbs to be shorn off. The available evidence suggests that a strong motivation for many of them, if perhaps not every single case, is autoerotic in nature. In 2005, the psychiatrist Michael [...]

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Bering in Mind

(Ever)lasting Beauty: A Sexual Attraction to the Elderly

Gerontophilia is an “erotic age orientation” in which one is most strongly aroused by the elderly, and so it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from pedophilia. In fact, perhaps the most bizarre theory concerning its etiological (or clinical) origins was put forth, without any supporting data, by the British psychiatrist T. C. [...]

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Bering in Mind

Paraphilic Infantalism: The Case of the Old Baby

Autonepiophilia, or paraphilic infantalism, involves impersonating a baby to achieve sexual gratification. You may have encountered such pampered individuals on an old episode of Jerry Springer or some other tabloid venue that paraded them out on stage, but in fact these “Adult Babies,” as they refer to themselves, are not as uncommon as you might [...]

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Bering in Mind

Partial for Protuberant: The Man Who Was Into “Outies”

Here’s a question for you: When did you last spend some serious, quality time with your belly button? As for me, it was the bellbottomed year of our Lord 1979 that I last engaged in a literal bout of navel-gazing, back when I was a hyperactive preschool contortionist bending myself into an awkward ball just [...]

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Bering in Mind

Getting a Little Racy: On Black Beauty, Evolution and the Science of Interracial Sex

A few weeks ago, Satoshi Kanazawa, a blogger at Psychology Today who was already notorious for his dubious claims about racial differences, especially with respect to intelligence, proclaimed on the basis of a bizarre data analysis that Black women are “objectively” the least attractive females of all the races. Objectively, mind you, which implies that [...]

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Food Matters

Probiotics, the Immune System, and Mouse Balls

yogurt

I don’t think I’m alone in my prurient interest in research related to sex, since those posts tend to be wildly popular. At the same time, I try mostly to stick to my field of expertise while blogging, and the intersection between sex and the immune system doesn’t happen that often (unless we’re talking about [...]

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Food Matters

Sexually Transmitted Food Allergens

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A few years ago, while casting out to twitter asking for immunology-themed post ideas, Christie Wilcox mentioned that a friend of hers seemed to have an allergic reaction after having sex. It turns out, “seminal plasma protein allergy” (or SPPA) is actually quite common, and I wrote a post about it. While doing research for [...]

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Guest Blog

Breaking Brick Stereotypes: LEGO Unveils a Female Scientist

scientist-minifig-sm

It’s 11:47 am on the Sunday before Labor Day, and I’m staking out a LEGO store inside a Byzantine shopping mall on the outskirts of Boston. I am here with a coterie of children and parents, the lot of us waiting impatiently while three LEGO associates in black shirts and khakis make their last-minute preparations [...]

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Guest Blog

We Can’t Blame Everything on Powerful Men

There’s certainly been no shortage of news headlines proclaiming that we can now add former CIA director General David Petraeus to the list of powerful men who have been brought down by very well-publicized sex scandals. It’s particularly dismaying to see how many of these headlines are broadly asserting, as news outlet headlines often do [...]

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Guest Blog

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Natural Selection and Evolution, with a Key to Many Complicating Factors

June is Pride Month in the United States, and in communities across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans are celebrating with carnivals, parades, and marches. Pride is a rebuke to the shame and marginalization many LGBT people face growing up, and a celebration of the freedoms we’ve won since the days when our [...]

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Guest Blog

We all need (a little bit of) sex

"The males of the four salamander species whose genomes can be found in unisexual species. From left to right: A. jeffersonianum, A. tigrinum, A. laterale and A. texanum."

Sex costs amazing amounts of time and energy. Just take birds of paradise touting their tails, stags jousting with their antlers or singles spending their weekends in loud and sweaty bars. Is sex really worth all the effort that we, sexual species, collectively put into it? Despite many teenage frustrations and MTV, most biologists think [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Finding the “Ideal” Partner When You Feel Insecure

Credit: InnovatedCaptures/Thinkstock/iStock

Many people – too many people – are drained by efforts to cover up their sense that they are essentially inadequate and flawed. This causes many problems in their lives, including feeling chronically distressed about their intimate relationships. The good news is that there are ways to help alleviate these problems. One part of the [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

The Warning Signs That Depression Is Affecting Your Relationship

Adapted from When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How To Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed. Copyright 2014 Shannon Kolakowski. If your relationship is struggling, depression may be the culprit. A resounding body of research has shown how closely depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality [...]

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Not bad science

Can Chimpanzees Teach us Anything About Differences Between Boys and Girls?

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Whether there exist differences between boys and girls is passionately debated (for example, see this debate about gender disparity between Stephen Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke). Some studies have found that girls are more sociable than boys, but prefer to play with just one other person, while boys prefer a larger group to play with. However, [...]

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Not bad science

A Glimpse Into the Sexual Lives of Chimpanzees

No prizes for guessing what this chimpanzee might be trying to communicate

Brittany Fallon is a PhD candidate at the Université de Neuchâtel  who works on the Sonso chimpanzee community of the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda. Here she shares some of her insights into their sexual displays.   In today’s focal party, the main characters are Nambi, the Alpha female who engages in regular sexual relations [...]

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Observations

5 (Scientific) Reasons to Stay Single This Summer

For better or worse, humans do not have a distinct “mating season.”  Healthy females ovulate every month, which means that mating too can take place any time of year. And that’s just the “reproductive” sort of sexual behavior, which is to say, a very small portion of the sexual behavior we merrily exhibit.  So then, [...]

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Observations

Common STD Grows Resistant to Treatment in North America

antibiotic resistance gonorrhea std

The most commonly acquired sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S., chlamydia and gonorrhea, are usually cleared out swiftly and easily with a dose of oral antibiotics. But one of these infections is growing bold and finding ways to evade treatment. More than 321,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported each year in the U.S. alone—and [...]

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Observations

50 Shades of Sea Slug Sex: It’s Stranger Than You Think

sea slug sex traumatic mating female

Two-part barbed penises, a physical struggle and 20 minutes of penetration. That’s how some sea slugs do it. But the real shocker is that, for one species at least, those in the female role seem to engage in these bizarre, violent sexual encounters more often than might be biologically necessary. Nothing about sea-slug sex sounds [...]

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Observations

How Computers Could Reduce the Spread of HIV

computer model spread hiv prevention program

Condom use, earlier treatment and increased education have gone a long way to reducing HIV spread in the U.S. Nonetheless, some 4,000 inhabitants of New York City still became infected with HIV in 2009. Injection drug users make up a small portion of the new infections (just over 4 percent in NYC, and about 9 percent [...]

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Observations

Moss Sperm Smells Sweet Enough for Sex

moss uses bugs to spread sperm

Moss, that cushy, moisture-loving ground cover, is more promiscuous than we thought. These plants might not have the sexy flowers of a peony, but according to new research, they do manage to attract small pollinators with a subtle sweet smell. Previously, scientists had presumed that these primitive plants needed a layer of water for their [...]

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Observations

For Unendowed Fish, a Fake Dinner Leads to Sex

fish lure sex food

The promise of a nice dinner might not always win over a woman, but for some male fish, a tasty-looking lure seems to get the girl pretty reliably. The trick is to make sure the offering resembles the local cuisine and then they can reel in the ladies hook, line and sinker. Swordtail charachin (Corynopoma [...]

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Observations

Ramachandran’s Lab Looks into Whether You Can Be a Man in the Morning and a Woman at Night

Neuroscience of transgenderism

A graduate student of famed neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran has found a group of men and women who report that their sexual identity can switch involuntarily to that of the opposite sex and back again. The transgender metamorphosis, these people assert, can occur several times a day and at inopportune moments. It is also accompanied [...]

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Observations

Poor Diets Lower Sperm Counts

sperm count

Fellas, want a better chance of passing along your genes? Try laying off the fried food. A more healthful diet will not only help you get fitter, but, new research indicates, it might also increase the odds that your sperm are in better shape, too. A whole host of factors might impair male fertility—including alcohol [...]

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Observations

Sex Is Safe for Many with Heart Disease, Report Says

Sex might seem like a risky occupation for the more than 27 million Americans who have been diagnosed with heart disease. But that’s not necessarily so, says a new report. The risk varies greatly depending on the severity of a person’s condition—as well as how stressful (or, perhaps, exciting) the sex is. Cardiac patients whose [...]

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Observations

Only Epilepsy Brings More Activity to Women’s Brains than Does ‘Self-Stimulation’ to Orgasm

A still from the "Brain Symphony" movie, courtesy of Dr.Barry Komisaruk.

The pop psychology section of Barnes & Noble is filled with self-help books that dutifully explain how the brain is the body’s primary erogenous zone. Now researchers have spliced together a series of fMRI images to make a movie that shows the extent to which that clichéd adage rings true. A video, shown on an [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Mistaken Octopus Sex Identity Leads to Multi-Armed Wrestling Match [Video]

The octopus, by in large, practices very safe sex. You would, too, if you and the object of your affection were both cannibals. But the algae octopus (Abdopus aculeatus) has developed a relatively sophisticated mating system that involves far more close contact than many other octopus species. In populations of these cephalopods, males and females [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

16 Arms + 6 Hearts = Love? Watch an Octopus Blind Date Live

octopus date love

  This Valentine’s Day, two octopuses are getting set up on a blind date. And you can watch what happens. Ace, a male giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) between 40 and 50 pounds and two-and-a-half to three-years old, and YoYo, a female of a similar size and age, will be introduced for the first time [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Odd Male Octopus Flaunts 2 Unexpected Arm Phalluses

octopus arm phallus hectocotyli

Is that a case of bilateral hectocotylization, or are you just extra happy to see me? Or so might a female octopus say if she met the young subject of a new report about a certain biological oddity—or oddities. A rare juvenile octopus was captured off the coast of Alaska flaunting not one but two [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Lady Octopus Attracts Mates with a Glowing Kisser

glowing mouth octopus

Many animals go to great lengths to attract a mate. This goal is especially challenging for a solitary animal, such as the octopus, living in the large, lonely ocean. Another major disadvantage: being a deep-sea octopod that lives in the dark, vast water column. But the females of Bolitaena pygmaea have a peculiar—and apparently effective—strategy: [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Argonaut Octopus Builds a “Shell” for Swimming [Video]

Argonaut octopus

The vast majority of octopus species live along the sea floor—whether that is in the sandy shallows off a tropical coast or in the dark depths around hydrothermal vents. But a handful of octopuses spend their lives swimming in the open seas, many using internal air-filled swim bladders to stay buoyant. But females of one [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Get One Chance at Love [Video]

giant pacific octopus love date mating

The octopus is a solitary creature. Most known species of octopus avoid the company their own kind. And you might, too, if you knew your conspecific were capable of cannibalism. So in public aquariums, these animals are usually kept in separate tanks to keep them safe (and to avoid any unsightly encounters in front of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Rare Social Octopuses Break All the (Mating) Rules [Video]

larger Pacific striped octopus rare study captivity

Of the hundreds of known octopus species, most are anti-social, practice safe sex (to avoid getting eaten by a mate) and lay just one clutch of eggs before dying. The poorly understood larger Pacific striped octopus, however, seems to break from these conventions: They are somewhat social, they mate face-to-face, and the females produce multiple [...]

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PsySociety

Sex and the Married Neurotic

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There are few things in this world that I truly loathe. One of those things is the show Everybody Loves Raymond. Why, you might ask? First of all, it’s actually quite hard to really ‘love’ Raymond. From what I’ve seen of the show (which is admittedly not much), he seems to care about three things: golf, [...]

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Roots of Unity

Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying

Sex and money: the Bearina IUD, a conceptual intrauterine device design that would incorporate a (thoroughly cleaned, I hope) copper coin. One of the most effective forms of reversible contraception is the copper IUD. Image: Ronen Kadushin

On Saturday, my Twitter feed alerted me to a totally non-sensationalistic Gawker article called More Buck For Your Bang: People Who Have More Sex Make The Most Money. “Scientists in the adonis-laden European country [Germany] found that people who have sex more than four times a week receive a 3.2 percent higher paycheck than those [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Decoding Sexual Desire: Why You’re Into It—or Not

Courtesy of h.koppdelaney via Flickr

Desire. When you have it, nobody questions it. When it is absent, it can be tricky to talk about. After all, the subject is delicate, and what is the point? You probably have little clue what is going on anyway. Luckily, scientists are looking out for you—because it is not even close to being just [...]

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Talking back

German Court: Circumcision Is Cruel and Usual Punishment

Conventional wisdom has it that the only thing that will unite races, religions and political factions will be the landing of a hostile Martian space ship. It’s a little hard to plan for the exact moment of the next Mars attack. So invoking global terror from extraterrestrials might not be such a great strategy for [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Wordless Wednesday: Research Snapshots 8 – taking measurements

Young female pouched rat getting her anogenital distance measured

Research snaphots from what’s active on my desk right now. Yes, this is what has my attention these days – anogenital distances, AGD. Simple basic physical measures of anatomy of AGD can tell scientists a lot of important information about a species. In most mammaliam species AGD is a dimorphic – meaning different in size [...]

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The Urban Scientist

The House that Fitz Built: A Scandal Explanation of the Polygyny Threshold Hypothesis

love_triangle

I don’t watch Scandal but I have a pretty good idea of the major plot lines and characters. Thanks to the awesomeness that is Social Media and #BlackTwitter, I have a close captioning service that is beyond compare. I never felt the desire to pipe up until now. Episode 308 of Scandal was the talk of my [...]

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The Urban Scientist

#DispatchesDNLee back on Oklahoma Research Grind & on the Road

#DispatchesDNLee posing with baby rat, panyabukuu African Giant Pouched Rat Cricetomys

I’m back, in Oklahoma and in the research saddle as it were; and I am as busy as ever. My research field trip to Tanzania was a success. I got a lot done and collected much data. Plus, I completed an entire behavioral experiment. And of course, I soaked in the culture, wildlife, and natural [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Love & Lust in the Animal Kingdom presented by the NY Academy of Sciences

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I’m coming to the east coast in 3 weeks. I’m honored (and excited) to participate in the New York Academy of Sciences Science & the City event on Lust and Love in the Animal Kingdom! It will be a conversational panel discussion (not individual presentations) about the science sex and love. Science & the City, [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Feministing Friday: Why does the F-word bother some men?

Men who wear big diamond earrings are bitches Tariq Nasheed

That word would be FEMINISM. (click on images to embiggen and read) Late night on Monday, January 14, the day before Dr. Martin Luther the-King Birthday I happened upon a Twitterbeef. I was a casual observer noting the typical side-eyes of Luvvie (I totes love her – in her totality. She’s funny, smart, innovative. ERRTHANG, [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Hip Hop Evolution Files: What’s so special about tight vaginas?

Keri Hilson with Lil Wayne Lil Wayne’s monologue really says it all: mami i dig your persona right, you look baby mama type, i know that got you kinda hyped, my ice is albino white, i hope your vagina tight i go underwater and i hope your piranha bite hahaha Why does vagina muscle tone [...]

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The Urban Scientist

The Intersection of Culture and Science – Hip Hop, Feminism, Sex, & Sexual Selection

Lee-poster Denison University

The Intersection of Culture and Science – Hip Hop, Feminism, Sex, & Sexual Selection: That’s essentially what my presentation (and my time interacting with students and faculty) at Denison University was about.  It was a blast and most exciting talk I have every given (outside of my dissertation defense).  Hip Hop and Science is a [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Wordless Wednesday: My Favorite Pollinators

Carpenter bee

June 18-24, 2012 is Pollinator Week. Join me is raising awareness of the importance of pollinators our ecosystems.   How well do you know your bees? Take this quick and see: Bee Identification.    

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The Urban Scientist

Feministing Friday: Why Serial Monogamy is bad propaganda for women

Feminsiting Friday is a series of posts dissecting hip-hop and pop culture for its sexist influences and/or portrayals on women and girls. Offering insight as an evolutionary biologist, I promise to be analytical, scathing, and downright snarky.  I began the series at my previous blog, SouthernPlayalisticEvolutionMusic on the Southern Fried Science Network. I still have [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Hip Hop Evolution Files: Examining Infidelity from a Biological Perspective

It takes two the cheat, but actually cheating involves at least three individuals. First are the two betrothed lovers and next there is the one who indulges the betrayer. Cheating is one of the most popular relationship topics of all time.  It never seems to get a rest. Why is that? Well, the affair itself [...]

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Voices

Breaking Brick Stereotypes: LEGO Unveils a Female Scientist

It’s 11:47 am on the Sunday before Labor Day, and I’m staking out a LEGO store inside a Byzantine shopping mall on the outskirts of Boston. I am here with a coterie of children and parents, the lot of us waiting impatiently while three LEGO associates in black shirts and khakis make their last-minute preparations [...]

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The White Noise

Mental Illness, Sexual Advances and What Women Face

Cavern, Hunts Point

This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts Point, Bronx. For more on the series, look here. ————————- OBJECTIVE: To examine the comorbidity of severe mental illness with sexual offending in men. METHOD: A case-control [...]

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