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August 19, 2009

What's Fritz up to? Reading about Soviet Space Dogs

Russian_space_dog_box.jpgVia Fritz on Facebook: Soviet space dogs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dogs were the preferred animal for the experiments because scientists felt dogs were better suited to endure long periods of inactivity. As part of their training, they were confined in small boxes for 15-20 days at a time. Stray dogs, rather than animals accustomed to living in a house, were chosen because the scientists felt they would be able to tolerate the rigours and extreme stresses of space flight better than other dogs. Female dogs were used because of their temperament and because the suit for the dogs in order to collect urine and feces was equipped with a special device, designed to work only with females. Their training included standing still for long periods of time, wearing space suits, being placed in simulators that acted like a rocket during launch, riding in centrifuges that simulated the high acceleration of a rocket launch and being kept in progressively smaller cages to prepare them for the confines of the space module. Dogs that flew in orbit were fed a nutritious jelly-like protein. This was highly fibrous, and assisted the dogs to excrete during long periods of time while in their small space module. More than 60% of dogs to enter space were reportedly suffering from constipation and gall bladder stones on arrival back to base.

August 17, 2009

Gender difference is a function of wealthy, modern nations

Overcoming Bias : Klyde the Barbarian This is intriguing. The idea is that in primitive societies, ages ago, we couldn't afford to have many gender differences.
Sex differences in personality traits are larger in prosperous, healthy, and egalitarian cultures in which women have more opportunities equal with those of men. … Women reported higher levels of neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness than did men across most nations. … Overall, higher levels of human development — including long and healthy life, equal access to knowledge and education, and economic wealth — were the main nation-level predictors of larger sex differences in personality. Changes in men’s personality traits appeared to be the primary cause of sex difference variation across cultures. It is proposed that heightened levels of sexual dimorphism result from personality traits of men and women being less constrained and more able to naturally diverge in developed nations. In less fortunate social and economic conditions, innate personality differences between men and women may be attenuated. Thus one of the main way rich societies spend their wealth is to make their genders more distinct, especially via more extremely male men. Men in rich cultures today are probably more distinctively male than at any time in history. This fits with what I said about the recent rise of unwed moms: Women free to pick a dad without expecting him to stay as a long term helper probably pick sexier men. This should create more inequality in male access to women for sex and kids, and give men more free time to compete to be the few super-sexy super-dads.

August 16, 2009

The New York Times declares potbellies to be hip, calls them "Kramdens"

Noticed - It’s Hip to Be Round - NYTimes.com
THIS summer the unvarying male uniform in the precincts of Brooklyn cool has been a pair of shorts cut at knickers length, a V-neck Hanes T-shirt, a pair of generic slip-on sneakers and a straw fedora. Add a leather cuff bracelet if the coolster is gay. In truth this get-up was pretty much the unvarying male uniform last summer also, but this year an unexpected element has been added to the look, and that is a burgeoning potbelly one might term the Ralph Kramden. Too pronounced to be blamed on the slouchy cut of a T-shirt, too modest in size to be termed a proper beer gut, developed too young to come under the heading of a paunch, the Ralph Kramden is everywhere to be seen lately, or at least it is in the vicinity of the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the McCarren Park Greenmarket and pretty much any place one is apt to encounter fans of Grizzly Bear. What the trucker cap and wallet chain were to hipsters of a moment ago, the Kramden is to what my colleague Mike Albo refers to as the “coolios” of now. Leading with a belly is a male privilege of long standing, of course, a symbol of prosperity in most cultures and of freedom from anxieties about body image that have plagued women since Eve.

Smoking Fail

Smoking Fail -- FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments

August 15, 2009

Unusual Subway Systems of the Soviet Union

moscow.jpg The Unusual Metro Systems of the Soviet Union : TreeHugger
Moscow Tokyo may beat it for ridership and New York for scale, but no metro can claim to be as ornate as that of the Russian capital. In a country where underground building was a point of political, industrial and military pride, it's little wonder that the capital boasts the grandest network, with stations that set the standard of the Soviet style: meant as "palaces for the people," each has its own theme, ranging from socialist realist to nationalist, from war-themed to ultramodern.

August 13, 2009

Woman on Fire

Woman Sets Self On Fire, Walks Around Miami Mall "This...