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January 10, 2013

Welcome to your new pandemics

Is everyone you know sick? This is why. Flu Widespread, Leading a Range of Winter’s Ills - NYTimes.com
The country is in the grip of three emerging flu or flulike epidemics: an early start to the annual flu season with an unusually aggressive virus, a surge in a new type of norovirus, and the worst whooping cough outbreak in 60 years. And these are all developing amid the normal winter highs for the many viruses that cause symptoms on the “colds and flu” spectrum. Influenza is widespread, and causing local crises. On Wednesday, Boston’s mayor declared a public health emergency as cases flooded hospital emergency rooms. Google’s national flu trend maps, which track flu-related searches, are almost solid red (for “intense activity”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly FluView maps, which track confirmed cases, are nearly solid brown (for “widespread activity”). “Yesterday, I saw a construction worker, a big strong guy in his Carhartts who looked like he could fall off a roof without noticing it,” said Dr. Beth Zeeman, an emergency room doctor for MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., just outside Boston. “He was in a fetal position with fever and chills, like a wet rag. When I see one of those cases, I just tighten up my mask a little.” . . .

January 09, 2013

There is no such thing as "sex addiction"

You’re Addicted to What? | The Humanist
When people refer to themselves or others as “sex addicts,” what are they actually talking about? More than anything, simple narcissistic character structure: the familiar “I guess I thought I could get away with it,” “Deep down, I don’t really believe the rules apply to me,” or “When I hurt, I want relief, and I don’t care so much about breaking promises or hurting others.” If that sounds like normal people—if that sounds like you—it’s not surprising. Narcissism is a common human condition. So here’s my evaluation of almost everyone who is diagnosed as a sex addict—by themselves, their loved ones, or an addictionologist: it’s someone who is unhappy with the consequences of their sexual choices, but who finds it too emotionally painful to make different choices. You know, the way some of us are with cookies, new sweaters, or watching the Kardashians on TV. Which is to say, it’s not about the sex. It’s about the immature decision-making. The rest of the people who are in pain about their sexual decision-making are generally struggling with one or more of the following: compulsivity, impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. An idiosyncratic response to medication can even be a factor.

January 07, 2013

This is an actual photo of a giant squid in the wild

Scientists last month captured a squid on camera alive for the first time. The footage will be aired on Discovery later this month. For now, this haunting and monstrous image will have to do. Giant Squid Filmed in Pacific Depths : Discovery News

January 04, 2013

Wasps tag virgins for future sex

Zoologger: She's mine! Wasps tag virgins for future sex - life - 04 January 2013 - New Scientist
Falling in love for the first time is often disappointing. Your beloved proves immune to your charms, or even unaware that you exist, and they often rub salt into the wound by running off with some awful person that doesn't care about them the way you do. Male Ooencyrtus kuvanae wasps have no such problem. If they see a female they like, they call dibs on her with a flick of their antennae. Once she has been claimed by a male, the female resists all others, keeping herself just for him. It's easy to see how this system would benefit males, who can assemble a harem of females. What the females get out of the arrangement is still mysterious.