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Giorgione's Sleeping Venus

Giorgione's Sleeping Venus

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How to enjoy sex after childbirth

Sex after childbirth can be scary for many women; even though childbirth makes them to have all it takes to make their husbands want more sex on mere sighting them; talk of larger (milk-filled) breasts and pointed nipples. It is even for this reason that some men ‘compete for’ or ‘alternate’ the breasts with their new babies.

Although sexual intercourse is not encouraged until six weeks after, for those who had normal delivery, to allow the body heal faster and avoid likely infections, some men have often described such women as more attractive. But those might not be enough to boost the confidence and preparedness of some women to resume sexual activities with their husbands, and the fears may not be misplaced after all.

For those who had normal delivery, some tend to be apprehensive of what their partners would think of what has become of their body, largely because of their fatigued and ‘loose body.’ Coupled with exhaustion and other things that could take their minds away from going for another romp in the sack, it is not uncommon to see that some couples’ sex lives derail after childbirth.

And on the other hand, for those who had Caesarean Section, the pain may not abate quickly, which makes sex somewhat painful. Even though the tightness of the vagina is retained when a woman gives birth through CS, which is the reason why some men encourage their wives to go through the operation to avoid having a loose vagina afterwards, studies have however shown that sex may become more painful for such couples after childbirth until it heals completely. Thus, such women shy away from it for some time.

Impliedly, whether the delivery was done through normal delivery, use of some equipment, through CS or there was episiotomy, which is a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth to widen the passage for easy delivery and prevent rupture of tissues, there is usually the possibility of a cut, tear or scar at the end of the exercise, which could dampen couples’ sex lives. But there is a way out.

For women who had CS, one good way to enjoy sex after childbirth and avoid nightmarish experiences would be to explore extensive foreplay or adopt other sex positions apart from the missionary style so as not to put too much pressure on the pain until it heals.

According to a popular nurse and sexual health expert, Samantha Evans, “Pressure on the wound arising from CS can cause pain, while some loss of sensation around the wound can also occur, making it sensitive to touch. Therefore these women should avoid sexual positions which exert pressure on their abdomens and over the wound site.”

And apart from using helpful sexual positions, experts have advised foreplay, which can take both parties to orgasm without any penile intercourse. Medical experts have pointed out that the stimulation of the glans (the rounded part forming the end of the penis) can make men ejaculate, and the stimulation of the clitoris or the nipples can take women to their own destination.

Thankfully, previous studies, as earlier discussed on this page, have shown that a significant number of women don’t reach orgasm through penetrative sex, but through the stimulation of such vital parts.

According to a consultant endocrinologist, Dr. Olamoyegun Michael, couples can still have an exciting sexual experience after childbirth because, physiologically, childbirth does not affect sexual performance in women.

He said if there was no problem at delivery and there were no injuries, there should be no reason for any reduced libido or enjoyment of sex and couples can enjoy sex after delivery, as much as they did before the pregnancy.

In fact, he said such women tend to experience increased vaginal secretion, which is key in sexual enjoyment, and that if there is dryness at all, it is possibly because there is no enough stimulation. Thus, the man should engage the woman in extensive foreplay so she could be wet.

He said, “There is no physiological explanation why somebody should have reduced libido after delivery. The hormones produced during pregnancy don’t necessarily increase or reduce libido and they go back to normal after delivery. The increased blood flow occurs during pregnancy and there is nothing like that after childbirth. Six weeks after delivery, the body goes back to pre-pregnancy state. So, whatever changes that occurred that period disappears six weeks after the childbirth.”

Be that as it may, Olamoyegun cautioned that whether such women would enjoy sex, or the extent to which they would, depend on the circumstances surrounding the delivery.

He explained, “If at delivery, the child was too big, or the child was in an abnormal position, making the delivery difficult and she sustains injury, or the woman was given episiotomy, which is a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth to expand it, and she had a tear or injury, if it is not allowed to heal very well, she may end up in pains and that can reduce her libido. It is called dyspareunia, meaning difficult or painful sexual intercourse.

“If it was episiotomy and it was done by a competent professional and it was well sutured (a stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of a wound or surgical incision), and they allow it to heal very well before they start having sex, there shouldn’t be any problem. They can have a good sex life afterwards. But, there will be a problem if it didn’t heal very well or if it wasn’t well done.

“For example, the stitching may narrow the birth canal (vagina), and it may cause pain during sex. If they have a problem and they feel the woman’s vagina is tighter than how it should be, she would need to see a competent professional like an obstetrician gynaecologists, who could dilate it; make it wider, and find a way to correct or expand it.

“Beyond these, during sex after childbirth, the husband needs to be gentle with the wife, especially during penetration. Such women will need to relax and there is need for significant foreplay so she could be wet to avoid pain during penetration.”

From findings, loose vagina is a common experience after normal childbirth, and it is a major turn-off for men. So, on what is the way out, Olamoyegun has this to say.

“There are various forms of exercise that can be done to tighten the vagina wall if it is loose and one of such is pelvic floor exercise, also known as Kegel exercise, which helps to tighten the muscle around the vagina. And it works, but if that is not very effective, there are other procedures to tighten it.”

He said without exercise, the vagina can still firm up with time but it may not be very effective and it will take a longer time. So, for a tighter vagina, which is key in sexual enjoyment, women should take up such exercises.

But even when all these have been taken care of, it is not uncommon to see couples having difficulty with their post-partum sex life. According to Olamoyegun, this is due to some social factors that can be addressed.

He said, “Women usually add weight during pregnancy and most women don’t shed that weight after delivery, so they might not be as pretty and attractive to their husbands as they used to be. It may reduce the number of times they have sex, and that is why such women are advised to do some exercises.

“Also, some women shift their attention from the men to the child, so, they don’t have time for sex neither do they have time to look attractive for their husbands, which can lessen the interest of the man in the woman. The fear of pregnancy is also there and it is more so for those who are not interested in family planning. These are social factors, and if they are taken care of, there is no reason why there will be a decrease in sexual drive.”

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It's not that we would be madly in love with Donald Trump. But he may just ruin the US. That would be much welcomed in all corners of the world.

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Female Circumcision In Ghana

“Clitoridectomy and female circumcision, practices often labeled as female genital mutilations, are not just controversial cultural rites performed in foreign countries…

“…medical historian reports that American physicians treated women and girls for masturbation by removing the clitoris from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century. And physicians continue to perform female circumcision (removal of the clitoral hood) to enable women to reach orgasm, although the procedure is controversial and can result in lasting problems such as painful intercourse for some women…

“‘The medical view was to change the female body to treat a girl or woman’s ‘faulty’ sexual behavior, such as masturbation or difficulty having an orgasm, rather than questioning the narrowness of what counted as culturally appropriate behavior,’ said Rodriguez, who also is a lecturer in global health studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. ‘This practice is still alive and well in the United States as part of the trend in female cosmetic genital surgery…’” (Marla Paul, “Clitoridectomy and Female Circumcision in America: Centuries-old Procedures Reflect Views of ‘Appropriate’ Female Sexuality,” December 1, 2014).

INTRODUCTION

The issue of female genital mutilation, a practice encompassing a partial or complete removal of the clitoris, has been a tricky and contentious subject for many people across diverse religious, political, and ideological persuasions.

According to the World Health Organization, “An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM…In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually…It is mostly carried out on girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.”

Therefore, given these staggering statistics, the World Health Organization should monitor countries identified with the practice of female genital mutilation by educating their populace on the dangers to which infant girls and young women are inevitably subjected to and the need to minimize or eliminate them.

Then also Ghana News Agency (GNA), in 2013, reported an increase in cases of the practice in spite of a ban imposed on it. According to the GNA, a UNICEF multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) puts “FGM at 3.8 per cent for women between 15 to 49 years and four per cent for the most recent survey of 2011” (See also Article 39 of the Constitution; and the so-called Maputo Protocol (2007). We should also remember that Ghana abolished the practice as far back as 1994, under the administration of Rawlings).

This report further mentioned the three northern regions (the Northern Region, the Upper East Region, the Upper West Region), the Brong Ahafo Region, and Zongo communities in certain urban centers of the country, Ghana, where the practice still goes on. (see Rogaia M. Abusharaf’s edited volume “Female Circumcision: Multicultural Perspectives” for a much broader discussion of the subject matter across Africa).

Perhaps Adelaide Abankwah’s disgraceful case has not completely died yet. Adelaide, whose real name was Regina Norman Danson, from Biriwa in the Central Region of Ghana, used the female-genital-mutilation excuse to apply for political asylum in the US only to be found out, a case that unleashed a chain reaction of outright lies on the part of the asylee and embroiled Ghana in an international ignominy of sorts. How sad that Hillary Clinton and Julia Roberts publicly defended her. This author met in person with a Somali-American City College professor of African and African-American history who appeared on Gil Noble’s “Like It Is” to defend the fraud.

Finally, we should also want to make it clear that female genital mutilation was and still is practiced among whites, and in the white world at large, in the West (see Sarah Rodriguez’s book “Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment.” Dr. Rodriguez teaches in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, USA; Readers may also want to take a look at Isaac B. Brown’s book “On the Curability of Certain Forms of Insanity, Epilepsy, Catalepsy, and Hysteria in Females” for more information on clitoridectomy in 19-century Europe, Britain to be precise).

Well, this two-part article takes a general look at the practice as it is done across Africa.

NEED FOR CHANGE

The dilemma here is that proponents advance their arguments without evidently paying sufficient attention to what the practice actually is and to the enduring health hazards and psychological disequilibrium to which these female infants and young women are constantly exposed.

Indeed, some of these arguments are subtly constructed to further complicate the subject; for instance, the case is often made that male circumcision is no different from the female version, yet nowhere is it mentioned that the consequential long-lasting medical and psychological hazards resulting from the latter far outweigh those from the former (PalMD, 2008).

The following arguments therefore provide the requisite grounds for the active monitorial presence and educational intervention of the World Health Organization in countries known to tolerate the practice.

The first issue is the four major classification groups subsumed under female genital mutilation. These four groups are very important for the debate because they provide us with a vivid picture describing in some detail the various forms under which mutilation of the female genitalia is generally conducted.

In most of these cases the same excision instrument is used on several persons without the benefit of sanitization. In this regard, representatives from the World Health Organization should team up with the clergy, traditional rulers, lawyers, politicians, local scientists, and the like to collect and collate data in order to objectify the health hazards of the practice, as could be deduced from the following four broad categories defined by The Center for Reproductive Rights:

• Type I (also referred to as “clitoridectomy”): the excision of the prepuce with or without excision of the clitoris.

• Type II (also known as “excision”): the excision of the prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora.

• Type 111 (otherwise termed “infibulation”): the excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening.

• Type IV: all other procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.

The second pertinent controversy commonly encountered in the heated debates associated with female genital mutilation concerns the serious nature and permanency of the psychological perturbations many of these women inescapably inherit from the largely anesthesia-free surgeries, as well as from the multifariously severe medical consequences.

For the most part, these victims are surprisingly left to fend off these deleterious effects without the timely medical and legislative interventions required of the medical establishment and lawmakers, respectively, and the lack of political action or will on the part of politicians to reverse age-old cultural norms that have long provided the necessary ideological leverage for the practice.

In fact, supporters of the practice are quick to cite a plethora of reasons including custom and traditions, among others, as viable justifications for its incessant observation.

Here, for instance, the World Health Organization can wreck the cultural foundation of female genital mutilation by the sheer invocation of statistics exposing the cultural vacuity of the practice.

This suggestion is strongly supported by facts presented in the article “Female Genital Mutilation—The Facts,” a piece authored by Laura Reymond, Asha Mohamed, and Nancy Ali. They write:

• Intense pain and/or hemorrhage that can lead to shock during and after the procedure: A 1985 Sierra Leon study found that nearly 97 percent of the 269 women interviews experienced intense pain during and after FGM, and more than 13 percent went into shock.

• Hemorrhage can also lead to anemia.

• Wound infection, including tetanus: A survey in a clinic outside of Freetown (Sierra Leone) showed that of the 100 girls who had FGM, 1 died and 12 required hospitalization. Of the 12 hospitalized, 10 suffered from bleeding and 5 from tetanus. Tetanus is fatal in 50 to 60 percent of all cases.

• Damage to adjoining organs from the use of blunt instruments by unskilled operators: According to a 1993 nationwide study in the Sudan, this occurs approximately 0.3 percent of the time.

• Urine retention from swelling and/or blockage of the urethra.

Third, statistical validation from the medical profession establishing the causal relationship between female genital mutilation and the psychological health of victims is not extensive enough to merit considerable quotation here for purposes of serious analysis, since such data from the medical literature are shockingly lacking.

However, some evidence does seem to suggest that the causal relationship is there, but has not been thoroughly studied.

Therefore, there is the need for more research resources to be made available to those with the expertise to study the correlation between these two variables.

For this reason, the World Health Organization can provide much-needed technical assistance in this area. Despite this constraint, the Center for Reproductive Rights has this to say:

“There have been few studies on the psychological effects of FGM. Some women, however, have reported a number of problems, such as disturbances in sleep and mood.”

Furthermore, Reymond, et al., relate this causal relationship to their readers:

“Some researchers describe the psychological effects of FGM as ranging from anxiety to sever depression and psychosomatic illnesses. Many children exhibit behavioral changes after FGM, but problems may not be evident until the child reaches adulthood.”

Fourth, what is more, a constellation of problems of infertility, death, increased risks of maternal and child morbidity and mortality resulting from obstructed labor, painful or blocked menses, post-coital bleeding, tissue damage, urine retention, urinary infection, and difficult penetration during sexual intercourse have all been identified with FGM (Reymond at el.).

The practice also reeks of sexism and violation of girls’ and women’s rights (WHO). Also, in some of the areas where the practice is still deeply entrenched, for instance, in Somalia, the level of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have increased because of the failure of traditional circumcisers to sterilize excision tools between surgeries.

The gravity of this claim demands the undivided attention of the World Health Organization and FGM-prone national governments in addressing this complex issue, especially as it relates to the curtailment of disease transmission. It is reported in the piece, “Somali-Somaliland—Excision—AIDS: Female Genital Mutilation: Cause of Increased HIV/AIDS in Somalia: Doctors,” that:

“Objects used for the excision are not sterilized and at the same could again be used to mutilate more women, who could already be HIV-positive.”

Additionally, Margaret Brady, a nurse practitioner, with a master’s in nursing and extensive experience in her field of expertise, concurs in her masterfully written expose, “Female Genital Mutilation: Complications and Risk of HIV Transmission”:

“It has been postulated that FGM may play a role in the transmission of HIV. One recent article which, was presented at the International Conference on AIDS 1998, was a study performed on 7350 young girls less than 16 years old in Dar-es-Salaam. In addition to other aspects of the research, it was revealed that 97% of the time, the same equipment could be used on 15-20 girls. The conclusion of the study was that the use of the same equipment facilitated HIV/AIDS/STD transmission.”

As a final point, the UNFPA also reports:

“A recent study that surveyed the status of FGM/C in 28 obstetric centers in six African countries—Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan—found that women who had undergone FGM/C were significantly more likely than others to have adverse obstetric outcomes such as Caesarean sections, post-partum hemorrhaging, prolonged labour, resuscitation of the infant and low birth weight and in-patient prenatal deaths. The inquiry also discovered that the risks seemed to increase among women who had undergone more extensive forms of FGM/C.”

Fifth, why does female genital mutilation continue to exist despite widespread backlash against it? Part of the answer relates to the ideological, cultural, and psychological manipulation of the citizenry.

The other part lies with the immense power vested with traditional practitioners to carry out the mutilations, in addition to the attractive financial incentive and coveted social prestige they stand to gain.

Accordingly, any fruitful attempt designed to ameliorate female genital mutilation’s harmful consequences or to extirpate the practice from the unfathomable recesses of man’s consciousness must ultimately come from a frank and profound familiarity with the realistic interplay of these socio-cultural and economic elements.

Therefore, a defensive maneuver calculated to enervate proponents’ viewpoints and to divest them of their flimsy ideological clothes must surely connect well with these noble objectives. This is also why the following reasons presented by the World Health Organization should be challenged:

• It endows a girl with cultural identity as a woman.

• It imparts on a girl a sense of pride, a coming of age and admission to the community.

• Not undergoing the operation brands a girl as a social outcast and reduces her prospects of finding a husband.

• It is part of a mother’s duties in raising a girl “properly” and preparing her for adulthood and marriage.

• It is believed to preserve a girl’s virginity, widely regarded as a prerequisite for marriage, and helps to preserve her morality and fidelity.

Not unsurprisingly, however, these misguided claims are made without any concrete allusion to scientific verification or approbation, even though they may possess some measure of anthropological verity.

Yet the harsh realities on the ground do not impute substantial health benefits to anthropological claims of the practice, let alone be used to justify it.

Thus, the preceding analyses can provide the World Health Organization with indubitable moral and political impetus, at least from the perspective of this essay, to monitor and educate countries associated with the practice and the masses populating them.

Moreover, the challenge now is to formulate a corrective framework within which the World Health Organization should operate in order to bring about the needed changes. This concern is expressed below.

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Educated women are sexually less attractive, so let's stop that nonsense of sending every girl to school.

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Feminism, by creating artificial scarcity of sexual resources, is responsible for much of the deadly infighting among men, as well as male suicides.

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Anesthesia Awareness: Breaking Down the Barriers to Prevention

Opinions surrounding intraoperative awareness may vary, but one thing is certain, even a single case is one too many.

The clinical definition of intraoperative awareness — consciousness during general anesthesia — is a seemingly simple explanation for a complex, and controversial, phenomenon. Opinions surrounding how often intraoperative awareness, also described as anesthesia awareness, occurs, its implications for victims, as well as the best methods for prevention are varied.

But for Carol Weihrer, the issue is crystal clear. Weihrer, who claims she was conscious during a 1998 surgical procedure to remove her right eye, believes that anesthesia awareness is more widespread and debilitating than people realize. And she has the proof, she says, to back-up her claim.

“I have spoken to thousands of people with experiences similar to mine,” said Weihrer. “People like me, whose lives have been turned upside down because of it.”

As founder of the international Anesthesia Awareness Campaign, Weihrer’s goal is to educate the public about the phenomenon and to be a touchstone for other victims.

Weihrer is also lobbying for the mandated use of brain function monitors for patients undergoing general anesthesia. She believes that until these monitors become a standard of care, patients must be proactive in protecting themselves in the OR. “It’s not enough to ask whether a facility has brain function monitors or whether they use them. You must demand that they use them on you during your surgery,” she explained.

Tracking brain waves When used in the OR, brain function monitors reportedly measure a patient’s depth of anesthesia and level of consciousness. One of the most popular tools for this purpose is bispectral index (BIS) technology.

Aspect Medical’s BIS monitor involves measuring the brain’s electrical activity through a sensor placed on the patient’s forehead. The BIS value ranges from 100 (indicating an awake patient) to zero (indicating the absence of brain activity). This information is used to guide administration of anesthetic medication. Aspect’s BIS technology is available as a stand-alone monitor or as a module that can be incorporated into other manufacturers’ monitoring systems.

Irene Osborn, M.D., associate professor of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and director, Division of Neuroanesthesia, began using BIS technology in 1996 while at NYU Medical Center and currently uses it in about 80 percent of the surgeries she performs. She says it has definitely made an impact on her ability to care for patients.

“The ability to monitor the brain really helps you improve anesthetic care,” said Dr. Osborn. “There is variability in patients’ response to anesthesia — not everyone requires the same dose or concentration,” she continued. “With BIS, I can separate out the different components of anesthesia and determine how much anesthetic is needed for a particular patient.”

Dr. Osborn uses BIS technology to improve the quality of anesthesia and also to monitor for awareness. Often times Versed is administered just prior to surgery to produce amnesia. With the BIS monitor, Dr. Osborn says she can see the effects of the Versed dose and increase it if necessary.

“In the OR there is a lot of monitoring going on — heart rate, blood pressure and various body systems. With BIS, I can also monitor the brain,” Dr. Osborn said.

Not ready for prime time? The American Society of Anesthesiology’s (ASA) “Practice Advisory for Intraoperative Awareness and Brain Function Monitoring” makes several recommendations to assist decision-making for patient care with the goal of reducing awareness, but stops short of mandating the use of brain function monitors for this purpose. Instead, the ASA advises anesthesiologists to use their own discretion when it comes to using the monitors.

Although she personally chooses to use brain function monitoring, Dr. Osborn understands why many of her colleagues have yet to embrace it.

“Brain function monitoring technology is not yet good enough, it’s not real time,” explained Dr. Osborn. “What you see on the monitor reflects something that happened 15 seconds ago.”

Others may simply not want to take the time to understand the monitors. If, for example, there was no muscle relaxant administered to the patient, there may be EMG artifact on the monitor and anesthesiologists must be familiar in working around that, says Dr. Osborn. The monitor will not predict movement, rather, it tells how asleep the patient is.

At Mount Sinai, Dr. Osborn estimates that one-third of the physicians use the technology quite frequently, one-third use it for special cases and one-third refuse to use it at all. She does believe, however, that brain function monitors will become standard operating procedure in all hospitals in about 10 years.

“As the technology matures and as we train another generation of anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists on how to use it, more will want it and the timing will be right for it to become a standard of care,” Dr. Osborn said.

Determined that this is the case — sooner rather than later — Weihrer has taken her Anesthesia Awareness Campaign on the road, speaking both nationally and internationally to physician groups and other organizations. She has performed Grand Rounds, speaking to anesthesia staff at several East Coast hospitals about her own and others’ experiences. She has worked with The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), American Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN) and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), and says she is currently collaborating with the ASA on an anesthesia awareness victims database. MedicAlert bracelets are available through the campaign for patients who have suffered awareness in the past or have a familial disposition to anesthesia awareness.

“The Anesthesia Awareness Campaign is definitely gaining momentum,” Weihrer said. “The public is becoming more involved and demanding assurances.”

Weihrer says she will continue to advocate for change in the OR until her efforts are no longer needed — until brain function monitors are used on every general anesthesia patient and there are no more anesthesia awareness victims.

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If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. And it won't be just one. Chemical weapons are just so easy to produce.

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EXPAT TRAGEDY - First pics of Brit couple found hanged in Cambodia ‘alongside suicide note blaming NHS for their mental health problems’

The couple were named locally by expats as Robert Goldie-Wells, 36, from Sunderland and his wife Imogen, 28, from South London, who died on her birthday

The Sun

A BRIT couple have been found dead in Cambodia after killing themselves in an apparent suicide pact.

The tragic lovers left a note blaming the NHS for “constantly letting [them] down”.

They were named locally by expats as Robert Goldie-Wells, 36, from Sunderland and his wife Imogen, 28, from South London, who died on her birthday.

The pair are believed to have been discovered by friends in the Cambodian seaside town of Sihanouville.

The note found with their bodies also described the couple’s struggle with mental health issues.

Video footage taken from the scene appeared to show rope that had been tied to the bars of an outside window.

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Fake news is great news. The more, the better. Because it undermines the media's credibility.

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95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women feel flattered when men fight each other and kill each other to prove that they are real men.

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Duck Sex and the Patriarchy

Four years ago, as the country was wrestling with a federal-budget crisis, conservative news outlets turned their attention, once again, to the topic of wasteful government spending. That March, a reporter with CNS News, a Web site devoted to countering “liberal bias” in the media, came across what seemed to be the quintessential example of such waste—a National Science Foundation grant to Yale University for a study of duck penises. Within days, the story had made its way to Fox News. “It’s part of President Obama’s stimulus plan, and it’s just one example of the kind of spending decisions that have added up to massive debt and deficits,” Shannon Bream told viewers. The following week, Sean Hannity piled on. “Don’t we really need to know about duck genitalia, Tucker Carlson?” he asked. To which Carlson responded, with a smirk, “I know more than I want to know already!” The controversy, dubbed Duckpenisgate by Mother Jones, roared back to life some months later, when Senator Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, included the N.S.F. grant in his “Wastebook 2013.” At $384,949, it accounted for only a thousandth of one per cent of all the spending that Coburn had tallied up, but it made headlines again. Clearly, the combination of money, sex, and power—your money, ducks’ sex, and Ivy League power—was irresistible to the graying male demographic for conservative news.

I followed Duckpenisgate with particular trepidation, since I was one of the co-investigators on the maligned study. For the past decade, in collaboration with Patricia Brennan, of Mount Holyoke College, and other colleagues, I have explored the sexual behavior and genital evolution of waterfowl. Contrary to what Carlson thinks, it is a fascinating business. It can also be shockingly brutal. In the wintry months before breeding begins, male ducks flaunt their plumage, putting on dramatic courtship displays in an effort to entrance a mate. The females can be choosy, often picking a male only after extensive deliberation. (Their preferences tend to coalesce, like a genetic fashion trend, around a shared ideal of male beauty, with each species evolving off in its own distinct aesthetic direction.) When spring arrives, the pairs migrate together to the breeding grounds. But, as the nest-building and egg-laying season approaches, unpaired males start causing trouble. Many attempt to force copulation with paired females, sometimes even ganging up on them in groups. The female ducks resist strenuously; often they are injured, or even killed, in the process.

The males’ sexual attacks are made possible by the fact that, unlike most birds, ducks still have a penis. It is not, however, an organ that most humans would recognize, being shaped like a counterclockwise corkscrew and possessing a ribbed or spiky surface. Ducks’ erections are driven by lymphatic, not vascular, pressure, which means that their penises never become stiff. Rather, they erect flexibly, but explosively, into the female’s body in less than half a second. Ejaculation takes place immediately. And duck penises can be long—really long. A breeding male mallard in your typical city park has a five-inch penis. In the case of the diminutive Argentine lake duck, the penis is longer than the duck itself—more than sixteen inches.

What, exactly, is the function of these bizarre organs? To find out, Brennan dissected the genitalia of fourteen species of waterfowl. By comparing the results, we discovered that, as males have evolved longer penises with more heavily armed surfaces, females have coevolved increasingly complex vaginal structures—dead ends, cul-de-sac side pockets, clockwise spirals. We hypothesized that these twists and turns create a mechanical barrier to the penis, frustrating forced intercourse and lowering the likelihood of a female duck being fertilized against her will. Our subsequent experiments—high-speed videos of duck penises erecting into glass tubes of various shapes—suggested we were right. (Our observations also revealed that when a female duck solicits sex with a chosen mate, her cloacal muscles dilate to allow uninhibited entry.) The result is that, even for species in which nearly forty per cent of all copulations are violently coerced, only between two and five per cent of ducklings come from extra-pair matings. As a method of contraception, ducks’ vaginal barriers can be ninety-eight-per-cent effective—a level of reliability that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would readily approve.

A female duck’s vaginal barriers cannot shield her from physical harm. On an evolutionary level, though, they protect her in another way—by allowing her to choose the father of her offspring. If she has ducklings with her chosen mate, then they will inherit the fancy plumage that she and other females prefer. But, if she is fertilized by force, then her offspring will inherit either random display traits or traits that she has specifically rejected as less attractive. These extra-pair offspring will, on average, be less attractive to their peers, which could mean fewer grand-ducklings for the mother duck—and fewer of her genes passed on to posterity. By using her vaginal barriers, she is able to maintain her sexual autonomy in the face of sexual violence. Freedom of choice, in other words, matters to animals; even if they lack the capacity to conceptualize it, there is an evolutionary difference between having what they want and not having it. Unfortunately for female ducks, though, evolving complex vaginal structures doesn’t solve the scourge of sexual violence; it exacerbates it. Each advance results in males with longer, spikier penises, and the coevolutionary arms race continues.

Although many duck species are trapped in costly and unproductive sexual battles, other birds have pursued different evolutionary paths toward male disarmament. In bowerbirds, for instance, females have used mate choice to transform male behavior in ways that have advanced their own sexual autonomy. Male bowerbirds build elaborate seduction theatres, called bowers, out of sticks, which they decorate with gathered artifacts such as feathers, fruits, and flowers. When the time comes to breed, females visit a number of prospective mates, choosing one based on the attractiveness of the male, his bower, and his ornaments. As a result, the architecture of the bowers is shaped by females’ aesthetic preferences. Males work from a blueprint that actually prevents them from successfully coercing copulations. A so-called avenue bower, for example, features two parallel walls of sticks. The female sits cozily between them while the male does his dance at a safe remove. To copulate with her, he must go around the walls and mount her from behind, which gives her a chance to pop out the front, if she prefers, with her freedom of choice intact.

Scientists admonish one another, often with good reason, to avoid anthropomorphizing animals. But they themselves regularly redraw the line between good science and anthropomorphism as a way of policing scientific discourse and favoring particular ideas. Most of us, for example, learned a strictly adaptationist version of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution; we were told that almost every feature of the biotic world, no matter how tiny, could be explained by how it contributed to an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce. In fact, though, Darwin also proposed a theory of sexual selection, in which animals may choose their mates according to aesthetic standards—their own subjective desires. This view has frequently been rejected as too anthropomorphic precisely because it implies that sexual selection can act independently of natural selection—an unsettling thought for the typical adaptationist. When it comes to the sexual politics of birds and people, there are, of course, enormous differences. Birds don’t have elaborate social cultures, money, or any notion of their own histories. Humans do. But, in seeking to understand the complexities of human evolution and sexuality, we can learn a lot by examining the diversity of life on Earth and acknowledging the parallels where they exist.

Consider, for a moment, that the sexual arms race between male and female ducks is not really a fair fight. While male ducks evolve to gain physical and sexual control over females, female ducks evolve to assert, and reassert, their freedom of choice. Sound familiar? The human “war of the sexes” is similarly one-sided. Contemporary anti-feminists often portray men as victims of the coercive social control of women, even as they actively organize to diminish women’s sexual autonomy by impeding their access to health care, contraception, and abortion. But this view is a grotesque distortion. Like convoluted duck vaginas, feminism is about autonomy, not power over men. Although one is genetic and the other is cultural, the asymmetry in ducks between the male push for power and the female push for choice is mirrored in the ideologies of patriarchy and feminism.

If ducks reflect our cultural present, bowerbirds may illuminate both our evolutionary origins and our social future. It is well established that our ape ancestors were more violent than we are. But the traditional evolutionary mechanisms—natural selection and male-male sexual competition—have not yet produced a satisfying explanation for why this violence declined and coöperative social cognition flourished in its place. In my forthcoming book, “The Evolution of Beauty,” I propose that, as in some birds, female mate choice among our forebears transformed male behavior. Since the time of our last common ancestry with chimpanzees, millions of years ago, it may have contributed to the de-weaponization of maleness, including the elimination of self-sharpening male canine teeth, the reduction in male body size relative to females, the elimination of infanticide by ascendant alpha males, and the origin of paternal investment in their offspring. By evolving to regard violent, antisocial maleness as unsexy, females may have instigated the evolution of many elements critical to our biology, including big brains, language, and even our capacity for self-awareness and reflection.

At first, the idea that humans evolved through the expansion of female sexual autonomy would seem to conflict with the fact that, practically everywhere on the planet, men are socially dominant. But this phenomenon is, I maintain, more cultural than biological. Men and women are closer to each other in size than are the famously peaceful, and non-hierarchical, male and female bonobos. How could male dominance be a result of biological destiny in people but somehow not in bonobos? Here again, the coevolutionary dynamics of duck sex may clarify how men came to regain social control over female sexuality. Like a cultural version of the toothy spikes on a ruddy duck’s penis, patriarchy may have arisen as a cultural countermeasure, reversing the advances in female autonomy gained in the millions of years since hominins diverged from chimpanzees. When sexism becomes unacceptably antisocial and hopelessly unsexy, then patriarchy may finally give up its remaining weapons.

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Unlike tongkat ali, the new herbal butea superba has a pleasant taste. It can be mixed into chocolate, pizza tomato sauce, and any kind of curries. The active ingredients are also heat-stable, which means, heating does not destroy the effects. Girls watch out. If your sexual desires go over the top, and you fantasize strange settings, such as being gang-raped, your curry a week or two ago may have been butea superba laced.

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Climate change will stir 'unimaginable' refugee crisis, says military

Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”.

The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required.

“Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century,” said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. “We’re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people.”

Previously, Bangladesh’s finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, called on Britain and other wealthy countries to accept millions of displaced people.

Brig Gen Stephen Cheney, a member of the US Department of State’s foreign affairs policy board and CEO of the American Security Project, said: “Climate change could lead to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. We’re already seeing migration of large numbers of people around the world because of food scarcity, water insecurity and extreme weather, and this is set to become the new normal.

“Climate change impacts are also acting as an accelerant of instability in parts of the world on Europe’s doorstep, including the Middle East and Africa,” Cheney said. “There are direct links to climate change in the Arab Spring, the war in Syria, and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in sub-Saharan Africa.”

After Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, won the US presidential election in November, Cheney said he expected senior military officials to impress upon Trump the grave threat posed to national security by global warming. “I’ve got to believe there are enough folks on the national security side that we can make a dent in this.”

R Adm Neil Morisetti, a former commander of the UK maritime forces and the UK’s climate and energy security envoy, said: “Climate change is a strategic security threat that sits alongside others like terrorism and state-on-state conflict, but it also interacts with these threats. It is complex and challenging; this is not a concern for tomorrow, the impacts are playing out today.”

Morisetti said climate change would mean the UK military will be deployed more often to conflict and disaster zones. The military leaders were speaking ahead of an event in London on Thursday.

In September, a coalition of 25 US military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to US national security and international security” that requires more attention from the US federal government.

In 2015, a UK foreign office report made a stark assessment of the dangers posed by unchecked global warming, including very large risks to global food security, increased risk of terrorism as states fail, and unprecedented migration that would overwhelm international assistance.

“Countries are going to pay for climate change one way or another,” said Cheney. “The best way to pay for it is by tackling the root causes of climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If we do not, the national security impacts will be increasingly costly and challenging.”

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If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. Even if it doesn't kill many people, it will drive prices down. Accross the continent.

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Dubai’s dirty secret

The Sun

MIDNIGHT in a crowded bar and prostitutes in short skirts and skyscraper heels are blatantly touting for trade – they do not have to wait long.

Some British tourists approach a couple of the girls, hand over £500 for an hour of their “company” and head off to a room in a nearby hotel.

There is no doubt the people here are buying and selling sex.

But this sleazy transaction is not taking place in some brothel in Eastern Europe — this is DUBAI, where the strict Islamic religion forbids holding hands in public, where homosexuality is illegal and sharing a bedroom outside marriage will get you banged up.

Shockingly, there are 30,000 prostitutes working in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates.

Local women outside may be hidden from public view in burkhas, but inside the late-night venues are scantily clad call girls of every shape, size, nationality and ethnicity.

Dubai’s paid-for sex trade is accepted by expats and locals as the norm. Even the police seemingly turn a blind-eye to the sordid behaviour going on all around them, despite prostitution being illegal and the strict laws banning women from dressing “provocatively” in the street.

The oldest profession in the world is actively encouraged in the hotels and bars.

Some provide a free buffet and drinks vouchers for the working girls and others rent them regular rooms because of the big-spending clientele they bring in.

It is not just the hotels making a fortune from the lucrative sex trade.

Zara, 28, earns thousands of pounds from willing punters.

She says: “I go to Dubai a couple of times a year to work in the big hotels.

“Every bar is full of working girls — it’s the hidden culture out there.

“My main clients are businessmen from all parts of the world and local Arabs.

That shocks some people when I tell them.

“The businessmen pay £500 an hour and are just after straight sex.

“Arabs are slightly different because they have an obsession with cleanliness, so I spend most of the hour in the shower, which I find odd.

“With locals, the sex normally doesn’t last longer than ten minutes.”

She adds: “Businessmen automatically take you for a prostitute in Dubai if you are a woman alone in a bar and they’ll come and chat.

“I’ve been bought gifts of upwards of £5,000 on some shopping sprees.

“Any money I make I wire back to Britain because you can only take so much out of the country by law.”

Dubai gives the impression of being a safe holiday hot spot with its plush hotels, sandy beaches and — thanks to its strict Islamic religion — very little crime, alcohol or sex.

But behind the windowless bars and clubs, prostitutes are busy plying their trade. They come from all over — Nigeria, Philippines, China, Thailand, Europe and Russia.

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Unlike tongkat ali, the new herbal butea superba has a pleasant taste. It can be mixed into chocolate, pizza tomato sauce, and any kind of curries. The active ingredients are also heat-stable, which means, heating does not destroy the effects. Girls watch out. If your sexual desires go over the top, and you fantasize strange settings, such as being gang-raped, your curry a week or two ago may have been butea superba laced.

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