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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Skin Colour and Natural/Sexual Selection

"Although there is very good evidence supporting this hypothesis [that light skinned people produce more Vitamin D in temperate regions] (Jablonski and Chaplin 2000; Molnar 1983), it has also come in for criticism. Robins (1991), for example, argues that rickets was only a problem in urban industrial societies where people lived indoors, frequently in crowded slum conditions. This argument proposes that rickets would not have much of an effect on people who foraged or farmed outdoors, and thus it is unlikely that the disease had any effect on changes in skin coloration that happened thousands of years ago.

An alternative explanation for skin color difference is based on the reaction of different people to cold weather. Studies on soldiers from World War I through the 1950s showed that those with dark skin color were about four times more likely to suffer frostbite than soldiers with light skin (Boas and Almquist 1999:296; Post, Daniels, and Binford 1975). Thus, it might also be true that light skin color somehow confers a degree of protection against cold weather."

--- Cultural Anthropology / Serena Nanda, Richard Warms

"A preference for lighter than average skin, at least among males evaluating females, is reported with very high frequency in the ethnographic literature (van den Berghe and Frost 1986). Investigators working in modern, racially stratified societies often assume that preferences for lighter skin result from the political and social doininance of light-skinned over dark-skinned peoples (Lancaster 1991). However, cross-cultural evidence |nakes it clear that racial hierarchies. while they may exaggerate skin color preferences, do not create them. Some of the evidence comes from historical records of societies in which darker-skinned people dominated lighter-skinned subjects. In both the ancient Roman and the Islamic worlds the presence of large numbers of light-skinned northern slaves went hand in hand with an idealization of whiteness or lightness as a criterion of female beauty. More evidence comes from relatively unstratified societies that show it consistent pattern of preference for lighter than average skin color in females. This preference occurs across populations with a wide range of skin colors, and it is found even in societies whose standards of attractiveness with regard to fatness and facial proportions are sharply at variance with contemporary Western standards. It is reported by male and female and Western anti non-Western ethnographers, and it is manifest both in infonnants’ statements and in cosmetic practices. Evidence regarding female preferences for male skin color is much more mixed.

Why should there be a widespread preference for lighter than average skin color, and why should this preference be more marked in males’ evaluations of females than vice versa? Skin color, like the waist-to-hip ratio, seems to be a relatively invariant marker of female mate value. Estrogen production suppresses melanin production, so that females typically lighten with the onset of puberty, gradually darkening in step with declining ovarian function from young adulthood to old age. In light-haired populations hair color too may track changes in female fecundity. Thus an attraction to light-skinned mates may be a genetic adaptation in human males. This attrilction, however, is also affected by experience and social cues. Men adapt their preferences to local conditions. so that while men in dark-skinned populations commonly report an attraction to lighter than average females, they also commonly report an aversion to Europeans whose skin color puts them far outside the local normal range of variation. And in some modern societies, social responses to sun-tanning may also modify skin color preferences."

--- Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective / edited by Lee Cronk, Napoleon A. Chagnon, William Irons


Why The “Make Lupita Beautiful Campaign(TM)” Is A Fool’s Errand‏ | Just Four Guys

"'After a lecture of mine on the subject of sex differences in mate preferences, one woman suggested that I should suppress my findings because of the distress they would cause women. Women already have it bad enough in this male-dominated world, she felt, without having scientists tell them that their mating problems may be based in men’s evolved psychology. Yet suppression of this truth is unlikely to help, just as concealing the fact that people have evolved preferences for succulent, ripe fruit is unlikely to change their preferences. Railing against men for the importance they place on beauty, youth and fidelity is like railing against meat eaters because they prefer animal protein. Telling men not to become aroused by signs of youth and health is like telling them not to experience sugar as sweet'...

The above quotations are very important, for they deeply inform the current “campaign” to “Make Lupita Beautiful” – a “campaign” that, by all accounts, will not win many Black (and perhaps other male) male mating minds.

By “Lupita”, of course, I am referring to Ms. Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar-winning actress in the film “12 Years a Slave”. People Magazine has designated her the year’s most beautiful person, and it, along with other such “attempts” over the past year, have elicited quite a backlash from Black and other Men, in response: they do NOT agree with People and others in the entertainment business; as Buss has written in his highly acclaimed book, they “Want Something Else”...

Aside from “Alt” and/or “Feminist-Porn” (read: where Lesbians are heavily represented), one is hard put to find many examples of prominent porn actresses, of any color, who have very short hair. And when it comes to Black Porn, the Weave (or Lacefront wig), is Queen. One doesn’t even find many instances of Sistas rocking natural hairstyles that often in Porn – few braids, locs, afro-puffs and the like, and regardless of length. This suggests overwhelmingly, that Black (and other Men) who consume Porn featuring Black Women, have very specific sets of physical traits that they desire – and by all accounts, Ms. Lupita, ain’t it...

This brings us to the one notable standout exception in our time: our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. While many Black Urban Thinking types will knee-jerkingly assert that Obama was elected by more Whites than anyone else, the fact remains that one major reason as to WHY he has proven so electorally successful is due to Black Women voters – who, let’s not kid ourselves, make up the majority of the Black Vote, period – is BECAUSE of who he selected to be his eventual First Lady – a Black looking Black Woman, in Michelle Obama...

Yet, by his own hand, there is scant, if any, evidence of Barack Obama having EVER dated a Sista, regardless of skintone. In his sprawling autobiographical work, “Dreams From My Father”, he recounts several instances where he had girlfriends, all of whom were White. Moreover, no one has come forward from “Barry’s” past who has confirmed that he has indeed dated Sistas prior to Michelle. It just raises interesting – albeit, for many Sistas themselves – uncomfortable - questions, as to what were Obama’s motivations for courting Michelle – could it be possible that it was to burnish his “street cred”? After all, political marriages are by no means anything new...

We are now dealing with the revealed, empirical preferences of Men, in this case Black ones, and “campaigns” to “deprogram” them not only are likely to spectacularly fail, but they also raise very real questions as to the ethics of such an enterprise to begin with (think of the idea of attempts to “deprogram” Gays and Lesbians, for example)."

Links - 13th May 2014

Beijing introduces recycling banks that pay subway credits for bottles - ""In the west, recycling is seen as a green activity. In developing Asia, it is an economic activity," Minter says. "One thing is guaranteed. If donors are not paid market price, it is not going to work." A similar device was launched in Shanghai several years ago, but has not made any noticeable dent in the informal industry.

Good Samaritan Backfire - "As a result of my efforts to help injured bicyclists by calling 911, I was, in short order: separated from my friend, violently tackled, arrested, taken to county jail, stripped and left in a solitary cell."
Addendum: Some have raised questions about this person's account

Infographic: How Tall is the Tower of Sauron?

IslamicAwakening.Com: Slander - "Definition of Nameemah (Slander)
Nameemah refers to the act of carrying tales from one person to another. It also includes disclosing things that are disliked, whether by the person being told, the person being discussed, or a third party. This disclosure can be by speaking, writing, nodding, intimating (hinting) or signalling. The disclosed matter can be actions or speech, and may be a defect in the person being discussed or not. The reality of Nameemah is to disclose a secret and expose something about someone who does not like having such a thing exposed. A person should not talk about anything that he may see in people and dislike. He should only say something if, inherent within it, it is good for a Muslim and to block a wrong or harm. If he sees, for example, someone mistreating another's property then he should testify to obtain he right of the person. But if he sees someone hiding his own property and he discloses this, then it is Nameemah - the revealing of a secret. If what is stated is actually a fault or defect about the person being discussed, then it is a combination of Gheebah (backbiting) and Nameemah. Nameemah is carrying discussions from one to another for the intention of mischief, disclosing secrets and exposing secret matters. Buhtaan (saying something untrue about a person) about an innocent person is a very grave sin indeed as well.
The Islamic Ruling On Slander
Nameemah is an abomination. It is prohibited by Ijmaa` (consensus of the Muslim scholars). There are many clear references from the Qur`an, Sunnah, and Ijmaa` of the Ummah about the prohibition of Nameemah. This act is prohibited due to the hatred and enmity it may cause amongst Muslims."
Slander in Islam doesn't refer to speaking an untruth

Cake requires 6 "C" batteries - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Researchers find the diseases with the greatest global burden aren’t the most researched - "the study compared the global disease burden (defined as healthy life years lost to disease or disability) of 111 diseases against relevant research articles using data from the World Health Organization and the National Library of Medicine’s biomedical journal database. From the outset, the researchers wrote that they expected to find only a weak association. But they were surprised to find no relationship at all, said lead author James Evans, director of the Knowledge Lab at the University of Chicago and an associate professor of sociology. And for randomized controlled trials and animal model studies, a higher global need was actually associated with less global research."

What is BPA? Should I be worried about it? - "the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. This assessment is based on review of hundreds of studies."

Rivers Refuses to Apologize to Women Held Captive - "Joan Rivers refuses to apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity of three women kidnapped in Cleveland. Rivers and her daughter discussed their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show and she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space." In a statement sent to The Associated Press by her publicist, Rivers says it was a joke she made as a comedian. She says the women are free and people should move on. She says she's "thrilled they are OK.""

5 date rule means single girls now wait before having sex with new partner - "Forget the three date rule, the average single girl is not prepared to have sex with a new partner until the fifth date, new research has revealed. The typical woman needs four dates to judge the suitability of a potential new boyfriend, a study of 2,000 people found. During these dates they will tick off of a mental ten-point checklist which involves soul-searching questions such as: Is he trustworthy? Do we click? Can he make me laugh? And a woman will expect 12 text conversations, five long phone chats and ideally a bunch of flowers before considering taking things further. Watching three films, sharing seven passionate kisses and eating four meals together are also likely to have taken place before things become more intimate"

Does sex tonight impact your workout tomorrow? - "All of these studies suggested that sex the night before competition does not alter physiological testing results"

Study of sex workers and pimps reveals how the market for underage sex actually operates. - "nterviewed a total of 372 sex workers (262 of whom were minors and 70 who had previously worked as minors) to present a more complicated idea of how the market for underage sex work functions, one that some well-meaning activists—and legislation like the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act, which seeks to prosecute pimps to save underage sex workers—may not fully understand. Previous research in the area, much of which relied on interviews with a handful of underage sex workers who turn up in rescue institutions, rehabilitation programs, or in jail, “paints a skewed picture of the complex environment of prostitution,” they wrote. Really, “stereotypical pimps are far less common and important to street sex markets than would be expected.” In their sample, only 14 percent of female underage sex workers in New York City (and 6 percent of the males) had a pimp. Some testified that they had recruited their friends and boyfriends to help them with their business. And “all sex workers in both Atlantic City and New York City described experiencing increasing, rather than decreasing, agency and control over their work over time.” Many of the girls and boys they interviewed “had left pimps because they were violent, mentally abusive, lazy, poor business associates, unable to protect them, extracting too much money, or no longer fun to be around,” sometimes within days or weeks of meeting. One 17-year-old sex worker in New York says her boyfriend tricked her into sex work at the age of 12. But he’s not the one keeping her on the street—she left him and began working independently less than a year later. Another 17-year-old sex worker in Atlantic City says that she was initiated into sex work by a pimp, but dropped him after her first gig. “I’d rather work for myself,” she told them. “It’s more money.”"

Women in pain don't like sex - "Our finding that female mice, too, show pain-inhibited sexual desire suggests there may be an evolutionary biology explanation for these effects in humans - and not simply a sociocultural one, he added... Female mice in pain spent less time on the "male side" of the testing chamber, and, as a result, less sexual behaviour occurred. The researchers found that the sexual motivation of the female mice could be revived, however with a pain-relieving drug or with desire-enhancing drugs. Male mice were tested in an undivided chamber in which they had free access to a female partner in heat. Their sexual behaviour was entirely unaffected by the same inflammatory pain."

Why GrabTaxi is giving Singapore’s largest taxi operator a run for its money - "The number of bookings now available through GrabTaxi is now so good that some taxi drivers are buying new phones just to be able to take GrabTaxi bookings (since the driver app is only available for Android phones currently). GrabTaxi in Singapore easily completes more than 200,000 bookings a week now with its present fleet of drivers. It is arranging regular meetings with LTA to show the authorities that it has a higher rate of success in matching drivers to commuters than the current fleet operators. GrabTaxi is more commuter- and driver-friendly GrabTaxi’s app is fast. Because it is constantly updated on the locations of its drivers, it knows exactly which drivers to tender a booking to. All drivers within a certain radius of a booking is given a chance to bid. A notification pops up on each driver’s phone, and if many drivers bid for a job, the conflict is immediately resolved by Grab Taxi’s servers and the successful driver is notified immediately, and so is the commuter. When a booking is made by a commuter, the phone shows in real-time a list of cabs being offered the job. Once a match is made, the commuter’s and the driver’s phone numbers are immediately made available to each other so that they can communicate about any unexpected issues. Dialing can be done from within the app. Because drivers and commuters are likely to be using 3G devices, the response times are much faster than those from the operator’s terminals, which are on the much slower GPRS. This eliminates annoyances such as many drivers turning up for the same job or commuters getting on another cab because they think their booking was not successful."

Gender Differences in Five Factor Model Personality Traits in an Elderly Cohort: Extension of Robust and Surprising Findings to an Older Generation - "In college and adult samples, women score higher then men on the Five Factor Model (FFM) personality traits of Neuroticism and Agreeableness. The present study assessed the extent to which these gender differences held in a sample of 486 older adults, ranging in age from 65-98... The consistency of these findings with prior work in younger samples attests to the stability of gender differentiation on Neuroticism and Agreeableness across the lifespan. Gender differences on these traits should be considered in personality research among older, as well as middle age and younger adults... These findings cannot easily be attributed to self-report artifacts, asMcCrae and colleagues (2005) have replicated them in observer reports of FFM traits across 50 cultures. Goodwin and Gotlib (2004) replicated the Neuroticism and Agreeableness findings in a nationally representative sample using a brief trait-adjective measure of the lexical Big Five (cf. also Goldberg et al., 1998), suggesting these gender differences are not a sole function of the instrument on which Costa and McCrae's findings are based"

10 things you never knew about MILO - "MILO was developed for Nestle in the 1930s during the depresson, as a direct response to the fact that children were not receiving enough nutrients from their daily diet... Aussie MILO still tastes the same as it always has — the recipe has remained unchanged in Australia since its creation. Around the world, however, the recipe is slightly different"
"Slightly different" is a great euphemism for Malaysian Milo

Singapore Planned Parenthood Association responds to parenthood talk controversy - "naturopathic physician Dr Sundardas D. Annamalay, who has helmed the SPPA since last year, acknowledged the controversy that ensued after Jolene Tan, a senior communications manager at women’s rights organisation AWARE used Twitter to broadcast updates from Friday's talk, but explained the SPPA had in fact wanted to bring together diverse views. "That goes without saying," he said. "If our speakers had identical views to us, why would we need to bring them in? (By doing this) we open it up for debate, and have different people commenting... if we really didn't allow diversity, we wouldn't allow people who disagreed with us to attend the programme, make comments, ask questions or make comments about this in public. We are encouraging public opinion... Turning to the tweets from Tan, he said, "I want to give people a fair representation of what happened, and this means that even divergent opinions about the conference and what was said should be aired, while at the same time misrepresentations need to be corrected"... according to more tweets from Tan, Wong -- who in late 2003 peddled a controversial “treatment” for homosexuality known as “Reparative Therapy” through a seminar in Singapore -- said parents “should have (the) right to decide on (the) sexual orientation of (their) children” among other anti-homosexual comments like it is “almost child abuse” for one to have gay parents. Dr Sundardas again defended Wong, saying he did not use the word "decide" but "guide"and that he was expressing his personal view that parents should have the right to guide their children from young. "(Wong) made no apologies about being a Christian; he talked about his own opinions... there was significant distortion here," said Dr Sundardas. "At no point did he say that homosexuality is inherently wrong; neither did he say that every homosexual should be converted to a heterosexual relationship"... When she tried to speak up and ask questions or express disapproval of what was being said, Tan said she was either asked to keep quiet or leave, and tweeted that she was called “confrontational”. Responding to Tan's claims that she was suppressed, Dr Sundardas said Wong had initially told her to stop interrupting him while he was talking, as she was clapping in response to parts of what he said that she agreed with."
If I go to an AWARE talk, clap as loudly as I can at inappropriate moments & am asked to leave, can I claim I'm being silenced?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Big Four Oh

"Hi, we understand you are 40 and still not married."
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