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🔊 Listen RSS has an article coming out July 7 on The Coming Boom in sexdrugs. I get print Wired, so I’ll share. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Big Pharma has made millions pumping up the male population. Now neuroscientists are reverse engineering the female orgasm…the first arousal drugs aimed at women’s gray matter are expected to be on the market in the next couple of years.
And how are they testing these drugs?
“Women self-stimulate”, Komisaruk explains, “and we use fMRIs to look at what parts of their brains respond.”

Now, what did I say? Sex drugs will be the first to be developed and the most lucrative.
Oh God!!!!

Posted by jinnderella at 12:26 PM

• Category: Science 
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My blogfather, Joe Katzman sent me this oxytocin link. Lots of good stuff there! Recently we have talked about the neural-hormonal cascades involved in Dr. Helen Fisher’s three kinds of love, here, here, and here. I thought about this in the context of Ramez Naam’s excellent new book, More Than Human.
Ramez sez (pg. 55):
In the next few decades, this accumulated knowledge base could be used to create new drugs that sculpt or alter any aspect of human behavior: infatuation, empathy, pair bonding, appetite, spirituality, thrill-seeking, arousal, even sexual orientation…..The next step– a step tens of millions of consumers will pay for…

What do you think, dear readers, would be the first commercial result of this technology that consumers would pay big bucks for? A love philtre? An aphrodisiac? Something to make someone fall into romantic love with you? Or lust? Something to keep your spouse faithful and happy? Or an antidote for the wrenching pangs of unrequited or unresolved romantic love?

Hard to say. But given the success of viagra-like compounds, drugs about sex will be very popular, and may be among the first transhuman technologies to hit the market.

Gentlemen, start your patents. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by jinnderella at 04:14 AM

• Category: Science 
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My friend Dymphna sent me this pdf, (one of her irish cousins is a co-author), on Constructing an Animat Mind Using 505 Sub-Minds from 234 Different Authors. Coolio. Animat looks like an excellent paradigm for growing a hive mind on the internet. Perhaps the Singularity is already underway. ๐Ÿ˜‰
And then I looked at the bibliography.

I was struck by the ubiquitous presense of Sir Richard’s Blind Watchmaker. This probably is the book that has inspired more genetic algorithm design than any Cos Sci text. In this article from Wired,
NaturalMotion, a startup founded by former Oxford researchers Torsten Reil and Colm Massey, is ushering in a new age of digital animation. The company’s sole app, Endorphin, employs neural networks and artificial evolution to produce self-animating software robots that walk and run and fly with startling verisimilitude.
Two years before enrolling at Oxford, Reil read The Blind Watchmaker, the evolutionary biologist’s recasting of Darwin for the information age. “It was a turning point,” Reil says. “From then on, I was fascinated with biology.”
FYI, most of the 15,000 horses in LOTR:Return of the King were generated by Natural Motion, which is especially good at modelling cg horses. If we can now use the strong paradigms of evolutionary biology to create excellent cg horses, can excellent hive minds and brains be far behind?

Posted by jinnderella at 10:33 AM

• Category: Science 
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I thought this comment from razib is apropos to my poll, since I hypothesize that mate selection on IQ is an important factor for the XX.
in the mating mind one way geoff miller pumps up sexual selection and polygyny is that it is a way to reduce genetic load and avoid mutational meltdown. miller also asserts that since around 1/3 of genes might have some impact on the brain (i’ve seen this quoted elsewhere, don’t know where it comes from), cognitive display is a good way to evaluate genetic health.
Here are the results:

Steven Pinker…………14%……….9
Pascal Boyer……………3%……….2
Spencer Wells………….3%……….2
Steve Sailor…………….6%……….4
Godless Capitalist…….23%………15
Razib Khan……………..12%……….8
Jeff Percifield…………..18%……..12

total votes…………………………..65

As you can see, godless swept into an early lead, and no one was able to catch him. Given the small sample size, and the basically frivolous nature of the poll, there are only a few things I can say–
1) The local talent section was much more appealing on the whole to our readers.
2) Using a representation instead of an actual pic of the candidate did not seem to affect the respondants. The two highest scorers were portrayed by fanciful representations I chose based on my knowledge of their personalities.
3) The romantic appeal of the masked outlaw is hard to beat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by jinnderella at 05:22 AM

• Category: Science 
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There’s been a lot of high talk lately about how the XX are poorly represented in the fields of mathematics and physics (see razib’s seminal (heh) post Much Ado about Women and Larry Summers). Yet actually women are biologically superior to men in many aspects, including tolerance of heat, cold, pain and radiation. Women are also far less likely than men to fall asleep after the sex act, according to David Wilkes in Why Men Fall Asleep After Sex .

Wilkes says:”The blood rush after climax depletes the muscles of energy-producing glycogen, leaving men feeling physically drained. “Because they have more muscle mass than women, men become tired after sex and this subsequently leads to them feeling sleepy.”Another benefit of that extra X is the capacity for multiple orgasms. Is this a spandrel, or possibly an incentive to increased reproductive potential? I think there needs to be more research! But how to keep men awake long enough to research this?Wilkes also suggests:”Have sex out of the bedroom, away from the usual sleeping environment, or play uplifting music – not the usual romantic sounds,” An anonymous source also told me that keeping the lights on can have excellent results.But what sort of music would work the best? I don’t think I could tolerate any of Wilkes’ suggestions: I Feel Good by James Brown, Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation or Britney Spears’s Toxic. So, umm, I have a poll! And if you have other suggestions for good stay awake music, please put them in the comments. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Which Musical Title Would Be Most Likely to Keep You Awake After Sex?
(alternative) Offspring: Spare Me the Details
(techno) KMFDM: Attack Reload
(metal) Anthrax : Greater of Two Evils
(goth-rock) Skinny Puppy: Facist Jock Itch
(classical) Stravinsky : Le Sacre Du Printemps
(jpop) Puffy-Amiyumi : aoi namida
(hip-hop) J-Zone : Gimme Dat Beat Fool!
(country&western) Terri Clark : Girls Lie Too
(jazz) Glenn Miller : String of Pearls
(more hiphop) Aesop Rock : Fast Cars, Danger, Fire, & Knives

Posted by jinnderella at 01:48 PM

• Category: Science 
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My New Year’s Resolution was to get way more serious, and write elegant, severe posts with lashings of bibliographies. But I have something I must get off my chest first.

Laura visited us last month and said this– I’ve been reading gnxp for awhile now and have noticed the on going pattern that occurs on this site. There is much talk of superior intelligence and the contemplatings of much higher things and the deep seeded thoughts of scientific minds then WHAM! some form of women cheese cake is smeared all over the sight followed by various comments of “me like” I find it interesting that despite the higher brow of thought that occurs in this site that men cannot get past/seperate their most desperatly unsatisfied urges. It just goes to show that no matter how much they achive the mind of a man is still a very simple thing.

Heh. We XX are just as interested in sex as our XY contemporaries, but we don’t cue our sexual preferences strictly off two dimensional visual offerings. We are also interested in SES and percieved IQ. So here is my version of “man-cheesecake”. We will use “intellectual quality” to simulate IQ and SES, and the candidates are drawn from a pool of scientists whose writings should be familiar to the grrls who read here. Without further ado, please vote for Which Intellectual Superstar of Gene Expression Would You Rather Sleep With?

Stephen Pinker– “reputed to be quite the swordsman”

Pascal Boyer– “sensitive and gallic”

Spencer Wells– “bracing and outdoorsy”

Steve Sailer– “radio-active! rrrrowh!”


Godless Capitalist– “he comes and goes like Zorro” prolly has a price on his head, too!

ScottM aka Scorpy– “Dark Pleasures”

Razib “Sheik Fever” Khan– “Beware of Tasp”


Jeff “Special Request of Jemima” Percifield– “Ultimate Transgender Appeal”

Which Do You Prefer?
Stephen Pinker
Pascal Boyer
Spencer Wells
Steve Sailer
Godless Capitalist
Razib Khan
Jeff Percifield

See Laura? It is sooo much more fun to turn them into sex-objects! Posted by jinnderella at 04:17 PM

• Category: Science 
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David Boxenhorn is nominated in multiple categories at Israellycool, host of the Jewish/Israeli Blog Awards. His post from gnxp, Maladapted to Our Habitat is nominated for best individual post, and his Valley posts for best series. You can vote once a day, here. David’s blog, Rishon-rishon is also nominated for Best Overall, Best New, Best Jewish Culture and Best Jewish Religion.

The polls are open until Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by jinnderella at 04:04 PM

• Category: Science 
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Has anyone else noticed a change in the estrogen level here lately? I see a lot more XX types commenting and posting at gnxp. For example, long-time gnxper Jacqueline calls our attention to this article on a possible correlation between iron deficiency and math skills in girls. razib provides the complete pdf here.Also, the whole “Summerian” issue seems to have drawn an influx of females, empirically supporting Summer’s position, in that they represent females in science and math, in approximately the predicted ratios. ๐Ÿ™‚

Addendum: Gnxp readers, please take the sex-and-MBTI survey in the extended entry– I need sample size! ๐Ÿ™‚

It would be nice if something as fixable as iron deficiency totally informed the differences between the sexes in math aptitude, but I doubt that is a viable hypothesis. There are gross morphological variations between male and female brains and hormonal differences as well. Would you help me test my hypothesis? I remember the last time razib polled readership gnxp was 92% XY. Please vote. ๐Ÿ™‚


And while we’re polling, let’s see the distribution of gnxp readers against MBTI–If your type is not in the voting box, leave it blank. Note separate voting boxen for guyz and grrls.

MBTI part I XY

Posted by jinnderella at 11:38 AM

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I’d like to remind gnxpers that the polls are open at Aziz’s Brass Crescent Awards and (shocka!) razib is nominated for Best Thinker. You can vote here.

Also, our own David Boxenhorn is nominated in several categories at Israellycool, but the polls are not open there yet.

Posted by jinnderella at 10:16 AM

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Godless has said before that the “Intelligent Design” contingent is foolish and wrong. This article in Wired points out that they don’t have to be correct, accurate or scientific, they just have to have good lawyers.

As a pre-breeder that plans on using public schools, this scared the heck out of me. ๐Ÿ™

Posted by jinnderella at 03:23 PM

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Since razib wrote on Up From Ignorance I and II, and Consilience, I have begun to look at my daily reads a little more critically. How much do Science and Opinion really intersect?
I think Belmont Club is a good model, and I am interested to see if gnxpers agree. So, I will point you to my three favorite reads by Wretchard (who remains at least as mysterious as Spengler, who arcane wrote about here).

Dark Networks (network theory and the Dunbar number)

Three Conjectures ( a much sited projection of the possible outcomes of the Terrorist War– I admire the maths)

Memo to Osama (a brilliantly clever satire of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, I think important to demonstrate Wretchard’s style, powers of persuasion, and crafty-sly way of arguing theories. Wretchard uses art, science, and literature to drive home his points.)

And besides, I think you guyz should get out more! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by jinnderella at 08:41 AM

• Category: Science 
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Now it is the time of night,
when all the graves are open wide,
to let forth every dancing sprite,
along the churchway paths to glide…Midsummer Night’s Dream

In Scottm’s post on Japanese Ghosts, gnxpers wondered is there scientific proof of ghosts? I argue that we cannot provide it. Any proof offered is corrupted by our innate ability to believe in ghosts. We’re wired for it. In his wonderful book, Religion Explained, Pascal Boyer says–
“The religious concept preserves all the relevant default inferences except the ones that are explicitly barred by the counterintuitive element.”
For ‘religious concept’, read ‘supernatural concept’.
He continues–

The concept [ghost] is that of a PERSON that has counterintuitive physical properties. Unlike other persons, ghosts can go through solid objects like walls. But notice that apart from this ability, ghosts follow very strictly the ordinary intuitive concept of PERSON.

For example, clothes.

Here is Boyer’s partial list of “departures from normative reasoning”. Note that these mental processes are present in exactly the situations where people “acquire and use information about supernatural agents”: consensus effect, false consenus effect, generation effect, memory illusions, source monitoring defects, confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance reduction. Any and all of these processes will tend to cloud rational collection of empirical data on ghosts.

Razib has spoken about this effect here, here, and here.

We are preprogrammed to believe in the supernatural. So it becomes difficult to furnish “ghost proof”. How do we become unbiased observers? I think we cannot.

My question is (and of course I have one), why would this trait be an evolutionary advantage? Or is it?

Posted by jinnderella at 05:01 PM

• Category: Science 
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Razib is the muse that inspired this, with his “Islam should be gelded” remark. Blame him. ๐Ÿ™‚

David B has a discussion of Sykes’ book, Adam’s Curse here, from a year ago. Sykes projects the end of the Y-chromosome in 50,000 generations or approx 120,000 years. David and the gnxpers disagree with him in the comments, and so do I, for different reasons. What about Otzi, the Iceman?

I visited Otzi once in his personal museum in Bolzano, Italy. He lies in state, in a great cryogenic coffin, with a small slab of thick glass for viewing stuck into the side. He is very short. The most interesting thingto me about him was his genotype, though. Otzi had 1/3 more active loci on his Y-chromosome than modern man! In four thousand years, the Y has lost one third of its active loci. How has that happened so fast?

So, here’s my Modest Proposal:

I always thought parthenogenesis was just so kewl. There had to be a better use for it than making clone turkeys and self-starting frog egg cleavage stages. Why not use it to build a race of amazons? I mean, since we’re headed there anyways?

At work one of my [guy] colleagues went on a rant about tv-violence, and how it would make rapists and robbers show up at his door. I said, the problem is more basic than that– why not just get rid of the aggression in the form of the Y-chromosome? He was not amused. Neither were my brothers, but my dad, a surgeon, agreed that the only things carried on the Y-chromosome are the delivery vehicle and aggression. Well we can do the delivery vehicle (in vitro), and we can ensure the genetic variabilty of the species by ovum recombination, and the mammalian dna imprinting problem has been solved, so, Y-not?

Think of the benefits! Instant population control, birth control, no unwanted pregnancies. Huge reduction in violent crime, global warfare and conflicts, oppression of women, and sex crimes! Islamic fundamentalism would quickly run out of steam! No more sexual harassment training! Toilet seats can be made in one piece!

It’s not like anyone would have to be killed, XY beings would just be “fixed”. In a couple of generations all the world would be equal, reduced to XX. So, what do you gnxpers think of my modest proposal? Would Jonathan Swift be amused?

Posted by jinnderella at 10:52 AM

• Category: Science 
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Umm, this is my first post at Gene Expression, and I think I should explain the rather fanciful style of my writing. I adore faerytales, myths and legends, art and music, great literature and poetry, anime, film, and scifi. So these things always are incorporated into the way I think and write. The basic question for me is, why music, art, and literature? Why should the appreciation of those things be wired for us? Is there a selective advantage? Is it only a side-effect? Why do faerytales, myths and legends persist? Why do we tell the same stories? Why do we remember them?

LOL, I am more full of questions than the Elephant’s Child! I hope you Crocodiles will not pull my nose too badly! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is from my blog– The Hot Needle of Inquiry– do you recognize the name? (hint: Larry Niven) And, I’ll remind you, I’ve mixed in the scifi, but Matt Ridley brings in the Bard.

Don’t let anyone kid you. You never write for anyone else. You write because you have to! So, when I say, I wrote this for Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil, that is only part true! I started it for me, but I finished it for him, and for the Bene Gesserit! Oh, and ‘Love’ is something way different than I usually discuss with him. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s be blunt– sex is the greatest thing in the world. It has to be, to ensure the survival of the species. IMHO, the two greatest works of Science Fiction anywhere ever are the first six Dune books and the Ringworld cycle. If you are unfamiliar with these books, you had better stop reading here and and go read them ! Immediately! All! Just kidding– but you might want to later. Both of these book cycles have important sexual plot devices. The hominids of Ringworld employ the device of rishathra to make trade agreements or alliances. Rishathra is defined as sex practices outside one’s own species, but within the hominids (also useful for birthcontrol). Imagine treaty negotiations between Kim Jong Il and Bill Clinton. Wouldn’t that be the schznitz? But it probably won’t happen any time soon.

In the Dune cycle, The Bene Gesserit and Honored Matres females control known space with sexual Imprinting. Men become absolute slaves. How empowering is that for XX beings? However, recent advances in the study of cognitive neuroscience reveal that sexual imprinting is actually occurring all the time, and that Frank Herbert was wonderfully prescient in the mechanics. Remember, Herbert wrote “Heretics of Dune” twenty years ago!

From the February 12th, 2004 Economist– “I Get a Kick out of You”:

The scientific tale of love begins innocently enough, with voles. The prairie vole is a sociable creature, one of the only 3% of mammal species that appear to form monogamous relationships. Mating between prairie voles is a tremendous 24-hour effort. After this, they bond for life. The details of what is going on–the vole story, as it were–is a fascinating one. When prairie voles have sex, two hormones called oxytocin and vasopressin are released. The question is, do humans (another species in the 3% of allegedly monogamous mammals) have brains similar to prairie voles? The answer is YES!

Dr Young and his colleagues suggest this idea in an article published last month in the JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE NEUROLOGY. They argue that prairie voles become addicted to each other through a process of sexual imprinting.
Sex stimulates the release of vasopressin and oxytocin in people, as well as voles, though the role of these hormones in the human brain is not yet well understood.

In 2000, Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of University College, London, located the areas of the brain activated by romantic love. They took students who said they were madly in love, put them into a brain scanner, and looked at their patterns of brain activity. The results were surprising. For a start, a relatively small area of the human brain is active in love, compared with that involved in, say,ordinary friendship. “It is fascinating to reflect”, the pair conclude,”that the face that launched a thousand ships should have done so through such a limited expanse of cortex.”

The second surprise was that the brain areas active in love are different from the areas activated in other emotional states, such as fear and anger. Parts of the brain that are love-bitten include the one responsible for gut feelings, and the ones which generate the euphoria induced by drugs such as cocaine. So the brains of people deeply in love do not look like those of people experiencing strong emotions, but instead like those of people snorting coke. Love, in other words, uses the neural mechanisms that are activated during the process of addiction. “We are literally addicted to love,” Dr Young observes.

Helen Fisher, a researcher at Rutgers University, and the author of a new book on love, suggests it comes in three flavours: lust, romantic love and long-term attachment. Jim Pfaus, a psychologistat Concordia University, in Montreal, says the aftermath of lustful sex is similar to the state induced by taking opiates. A heady mix ofchemical changes occurs, including increases in the levels of serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin and endogenous opioids (the body’s natural equivalent of heroin). “This may serve many functions, to relax the body, induce pleasure and satiety, and perhaps induce bonding to the very features that one has just experienced all this with”, says DrPfaus.Then there is attraction, or the state of being in love (what is sometimes known as romantic or obsessive love). This is a refinement of mere lust that allows people to home in on a particular mate. This state is characterised by feelings of exhilaration, and intrusive, obsessive thoughts about the object of one’s affection, similiar to OCD. Dr Fisher suggests it might, indeed, be possible to inhibit feelings of romantic love, but only at its early stages. OCD is characterised by low levels of a chemical called serotonin. Drugs such as Prozac work by keeping serotonin hanging around in the brain for longer than normal, so they might stave off romantic feelings. But once romantic love begins in earnest, it is one of the strongest drives on Earth. Dr Fisher says it seems to be more powerful than hunger.

What did we learn here? Well, deliberate sexual imprinting certainly is possible. Imagine giving the object of one’s affections a special cocktail before indulging. But if Herbert and Dr. Young are the authorities, Imprinting cannot occur without the “act”. So, abstinence and/or a management dose of serontonin will prevent the attacks of Imprinters.
Sadly, according to Dr. Fisher, and to my great personal disappointment, there is no insta-cure for unrequited romantic love. *sigh* The only way to avoid the powerful and painful addiction is to prevent the initial infection– but wait!! A cure could be achieved if only the object of affection could be persuaded to return it– how likely is that?

Matt Ridley, in Nature Via Nurture says he can do it!
And Shakespeare gives us a direction to try!

Matt sez–
“In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon tells Puck that the juice of a flower will

“…on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees. ”

Puck duly fetches a pansy, and Oberon wreaks havoc with the lives of those sleeping in the forest, causing Lysander to fall in love with Helena, whom he has previouslyscorned; and causing Titania to fall in love with Bottom the weaver wearing the head of an ass.

Who would now wager against me that I could not soon do something like this to a modern Lysander or Titania? Admittedly, a drop on the eyelids would not suffice. I would have to give th
em a general anesthetic while I cannulated their medial amygdala and injected oxytocin into it. I doubt even then I could make either of them love a donkey. But I might stand a fair chance of making them feel attracted to the first member of the opposite sex they see upon waking. Would you bet aginst me?”

No, not I, Matt.

Posted by jinnderella at 01:48 PM

• Category: Science 
The โ€œwar heroโ€ candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The sources of Americaโ€™s immigration problemsโ€”and a possible solution