Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Inventiveness: “The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

“The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”—that’s what the promoters say in promoting their invention called CuloClean. It’s a propulsive bottle cap. The promotional video and crowdfunding campaign, like the device itself, comes with minimal information.

You may find it tricky to flush out information about the people behind CuloClean. Their press kit says only this:  “This is Ana and Guillermo, two young engineers from Madrid (Spain) concerned about the environment and willing to offer an efficient, reusable, discreet and cheap solution to everyone’s intimate hygiene​.”

Their materials make the claim “there hasn’t been until now an actual discreet, portable bidet that can fit in a pocket.” Here is a promotional photo-spread showing the device viewed from three different vantage points:(Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Lluis Pallarés, co-inventor of Babypod, the device that delivers vagina music to pregnant women, for bringing CuloClean to our attention.)

“Lesbians Evolved to Please Men” Theorist Menelaos and the Single Men of Reddit

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Menelaos Apostolou, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Nicosia in the Republic of Cyprus, wondered why so many men on Reddit do not have an intimate partner.

Apostolou is also lead author on a recent study that explains that lesbians have evolved to please men. We wrote about that study. That study is called “The evolution of female same-sex attraction: The male choice hypothesis.”

On the new question—about why so many men on Reddit do not have an intimate partner—Apostolou did what professors of evolutionary psychology sometimes do when wondering about a question. He looked at data, and wrote a study about what he saw and what he thought about what he saw.

Here is a little chunk of a data table from the study:

The study is:

Why Men Stay Single? Evidence from Reddit,” Menelaos Apostolou, Evolutionary Psychological Science, epub 2018. The author [pictured below], at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, explains:

“In Western societies, a substantial proportion of the adult population does not have an intimate partner. The current paper puts forward an evolutionary theoretical framework, where people stay single for three main reasons, namely the mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions has resulted in several individuals lacking the adaptations necessary for attracting and retaining mates, individuals can increase their fitness by opting out of relationships, and individuals have constraints that prevent them from attracting a mate. The paper attempted to identify the reasons that drive men to be single and to investigate whether they were consistent with the proposed theoretical framework. More specifically, 13,429 responses from a recent Reddit thread were analyzed, and 6794 responses were coded and classified in 43 categories. Among the most frequent reasons that men indicated for being single included poor flirting skills, low self-confidence, poor looks, shyness, low effort, and bad experience from previous relationships.”

Apostolou also wondered “Why Do Men Play and Watch Sports?” He has thought and written about that question:

“[This] gives rise to another question, namely “Why people’s mind interprets doing and watching sports as entertaining?” In an evolutionary perspective, people interpret as entertaining and enjoyable these activities which, in an ancestral context, enabled them to increase their reproductive and survival success, usually termed fitness…

“In human species, one way for men to gain access to the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex is to fight other men and monopolize access to women. This so-called male-male competition results in fights between men which can…”

Using Smartphone Apps to Find Sexual Partners [research study]

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

How to use smartphones to pick up sex partners is a problem that’s been studied by scholars. Now, three other scholars have studied those studies. Here’s what they say they found:

Using Smartphone Apps to Find Sexual Partners: A Review of the Literature,” A. Anzani, M. Di Sarno, and A. Prunas [pictured here], Sexologies, vol. 27, no. 3, July–September 2018, pp. e61-e65.

The authors, at the University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy, explain:

The current paper aims to offer an overview of recent research on mobile dating apps as a way to find sexual partners… The average app user profile is that of a white man having sex with men (MSM), between 25 and 35 years of age, with high education and income, who has a large number of sexual encounters and often engages in risky behavior (e.g., unprotected anal intercourse, drug or alcohol use during sex). Studies in the field suffer from several limitations, including a… paucity of studies on the positive sexual and relational outcomes of app use; finally, few studies explored app use in the LGBTQIA population as a whole, in addition to heterosexuals….

Finally, the large majority of studies were conducted in the United States, Australia or Asia, and there is still a lack of data from European countries.

Beetles mating with beer bottles, in a minute

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

A pithy (1-minute-long) telling, by TheBrainScoop, of the story of beetles that mate with beer bottles:

The discovery of this biological fact was rewarded with an Ig Nobel Prize. The 2011 Ig Nobel Prize for biology was awarded to Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle.

Do small dogs urinate dishonestly? [research study]

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

The height of dogged dishonesty or honesty, when dogs urinate, gets analyzed in this new study:

Urine Marking in Male Domestic Dogs: Honest or Dishonest?B. McGuire [pictured here],  B. Olsen,  K.E. Bemis, and  D. Orantes, Journal of Zoology, epub 2018. The authors, at Cornell University, explain:

Via two studies, we tested the hypothesis that urine marking is a dishonest signal in adult male domestic dogs, which raise a hindlimb when marking vertical objects. In Study 1, we tested whether raised-leg angle (i.e., during a urination, the angle between a dog’s raised leg and the axis normal to the ground) is a proxy for urine mark height (n = 15 dogs) and, in Study 2, we tested whether small dogs exhibit larger raised-leg angles than large dogs (n = 45 dogs).

Our findings support raised-leg angle as a proxy for urine mark height and provide additional evidence that scent marking can be dishonest. Assuming body size is a proxy for competitive ability, small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability. We did not control for over marking, which also may explain our findings.

The study also says “Dogs set the pace of walks, explored freely, and investigated prospective marking targets as they pleased,” and points out an alternative, dog-honesty-heavy explanation for what’s happening:

Alternatively, over marking may explain our findings. Over marking is used by mammals to cover deposits by conspecifics in favor of displaying their own scent (Johnston, Chiang & Tung, 1994) and is a common behavior in dogs that may, in combination with adjacent marking (i.e., depositing a scent mark adjacent to that of a conspecific), constitute 63% of all urinations (Lisberg & Snowdon, 2011). If a large dog places a scent mark at the height of its hip, a small dog would need to place its urine higher, relative to its own hip, to over mark the large dog’s deposit. This requires the small dog to perform a larger raised-leg angle than the large dog (per Study 1). Compared to large dogs, small dogs will encounter more marks that are higher in relation to their own body size for them to over mark; this could explain the negative relationship between body size and average raised-leg angle.

(Thanks to Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention, and for pointing out that “fake news” has now become an issue with dogs.)