All entries for March 2006

March 27, 2006

The Sex Life of the Ladybirds: Pick it, Choose it

Follow-up to The Sex Life of The Ladybirds: Meeting, Courting, Mating from Reverie

Pick it, Choose it
Adalias are polymorphic. This means that different breeds of ladybirds can inhabit one the same area, living in perfect peace and harmony with each other. One could say they are true diversifiers: they choose partners paying little attention to the colour of the partner. However, the choice is always conscious and based on a number of principles.

Studies have revealed that the ‘ethnic minorities’ among the ladybirds are most popular sex partners. The red-winged female ladybirds are inclined to choose black-winged males as their sex partners. And such preference grows stronger with generations. Scientists interpret such behaviour as caused by laws of natural selection.

How many boys do we need?
If one male individual can impregnate dozens of females, then the question begs: how many males a populace needs? With beetles, like with humans, the sex of the offspring is defined by the X and Y chromosomes; this ensures the 1:1 proportion of males and females produced. If the populace of Adalias is inhabiting a resourceful area with ample amounts of food for everyone, the plentiful of male individuals won’t compete with the females for food and thus won’t threaten the survival of the populace. However when conditions of living aren’t so great, the males present a major hindrance to females’ existence on every stage of life. It is the number and productivity of the females that essentially defines the number of offspring of the next generation. Taking into account the high sexual verve of the males, in times of hardship, the number of males necessary to retain a populace of ladybirds can be reduced to as little as 10% of the total Adalia population. Yet, in practice such proportions can be harmful: due to the deficit in male the incest rate is likely to go up considerably and result in potentially defective ladybird-babies born.

Hence, the optimal proportion of male individuals in a populace is defined by the availability of resources, their sexual zest and the destructiveness of incest. The proportion of males in a populace of ladybirds can serve as an indicator of the overall environmental condition of the area: in France the ratio of male and female ladybirds is 50%:50%, in St. Petersburg (Russia) 30%:70%, in Stockholm – 18%:82%.

Some female ladybirds have acquired an ability to produce mono-sexual offspring: even copulating with normal males they only give birth to female offspring. This is the way the sex ratio is regulated in a populace. This miraculous yet discriminative ability still remains largely unexplained, although it has been discovered that there is a certain bacteria inhabiting the cytoplasm of the Adalia, which is harmless to the females, yet lethal to the males.


March 25, 2006

The Sex Life of The Ladybirds: Meeting, Courting, Mating

Follow-up to The Sex Life of the Ladybirds: Introduction from Reverie

Certain breeds of ladybirds bear clear gender distinctions (e.g. with a Siberian, the individuals with black head are male and the ones with a white head with a black spot are female). However, ladybirds inhabiting European lands are somewhat uniform and bear little sexual characteristic features, thus it can be impossible to tell the sex of an individual ladybird. For a human to satisfy his/her curiosity, one has to execute the ladybird and perform an autopsy, or wait till the mating process begins to witness the male ladybird adopt a certain specific position, climbing on top of the female one, to be able to say “it’s a boy! It’s a boy!”

If one isolates the male from the female for a couple of days and then puts them back together on a Petri dish, the mating process may commence in a couple of seconds. The process of identification of the partner happens momentarily. If the female is an experienced one and not a timid virgin, then the courting won’t take long either. When a mature male and a fresh virgin female ladybird are brought together, one can witness some genuinely soulful scenes of seduction, pursuit, struggle and finally deflower-ment of the virgin ladybird.

Below we shall describe the process in greater details using the example of the most common European breed of ladybirds – the Adalia bipunctata with two spots on their backs.

When a male Adalia meets another representative of the same species he inevitably makes a full-hearted attempt to climb on top of the other one. If he later discovers that he has mounted another male he will retreat immediately. But if he was lucky to have met a female he will make an effort to copulate with her.

During the process of mating the female does not actively engage in food hunting, although if offered food, she wouldn’t refuse either. The male Adalia usually remains still during copulation. However with bigger breeds of ladybirds, for example the septi-spotted (seven spots on the back) ladybirds, the male is capable of showing some exceptional temper and passion, rocking bluntly from side to side from time to time. Such scenes of passion are not recommended for small children to observe.

Adalias are perhaps the only species on earth whose male individuals are capable of ejaculating on average 2–3 times per copulation. Adalias like to take their time when it comes to love making. Like other breeds of ladybirds, Adalias can engage in a love-making session for one to up to 8 or 9 hours. In favourable circumstances Adalias can copulate every day and possibly even for a multitude of times during the same day.

One may ask about the point of such prolonged copulation sessions. It seems apparent that extensive copulation, during which the male don’t eat, both individuals don’t move much and are open for attacks are obviously destructive for the breed. Then how come evolution has helped extend their mating sessions for so long? There’s only one answer available at the moment: it is beneficial for the male. While fornicating a female the male individual naturally obstructs other males from engaging in the same business and thus boosts the possibility of passing own his own genes to the offspring. Mammals are known to keep to the tactic of active protection and prevention – they fight off any competitor claiming the same female. Ladybirds are much more of gentlemen – they choose the passive tactic by simply sitting on the females for hours without withdrawing the contact with the female, naturally depriving other males of the bare possibility to copulate with the same female.

The sperm produced with each copulation is enough to fertilize about 550 eggs. On average a female lays 15–20 (maximum of 40) eggs, preserving the rest of semen for about a month. With multiple partners a female is capable of laying up to 1000 eggs per season. If one partner’s sperm can do the job of fertilizing a great number of eggs, then what is the point of repeated copulation with different partners? Again, the benefit for the male is obvious: he gets to materialize his desire to produce as many offspring as possible carrying his genes. The female interest in this business is rather obscure, but can also be explained with the desire to spread one’s genes in a greater multitude of combinations.


March 23, 2006

The Sex Life of the Ladybirds: Introduction

Writing about web page http://www.ntv.ru/gordon/archive/9930/

Translated from Russian. See link above for original text

The widespread informal name for the ladybirds, recurrent in different variations in a number of European languages and even in Sanskrit, refers to these colourful cute creatures as “god’s calves”*. However the name presents one large misconception: despite the unquestionable cuteness and a nearly divine name, these creatures are such sexual deviants that their bare survival as a species is threatened by nothing else but the spread of STDs among the ladybirds.

In reality the sex life of the ladybirds is enviously rich. Michael Margerus** – a researcher who has just completed his 16 years long work on these insects – claims that the ladybirds can make love for 9 hours straight, experiencing several orgasms, each lasting up to 30 minutes. They also go through an average of 30 different sex partners per annum.

But such joy don’t come free. The ladybirds are suffering an STD epidemic caused by a parasite, Cocipoliphus hippodamiae, that lives under the little wings of the naughty creatures. Once they catch the STD they become sterile, which leads them straight to a demographic crisis. The ladybirds aren’t used to abstinence. The epidemic is spreading with enormous speed stretching into new areas. It has become a total disaster in Eastern Europe.

For the idle observers such facts may be of minor interest. For the biologists the problem of sexual reproduction is not just a subject of curiosity, but a lens thru which to understand and reopen the theory of evolution. Every organism is mortal; however their biological life form is potentially immortal. The purpose of life for each organism (avoiding the discussion of the meaning of life for human beings) is essentially to pass on one’s genes to the next generations. In order to perform this task with greater success, it then follows, one needs to produce as many offspring as possible, provide them with the minimum resources for their survival and finally conjoin one’s genes with genes of the most suitable partner (due to the fact that most sophisticated animals are sexual). Each biological species has a unique approach to performing those tasks. The inappropriate, ineffective approaches are abandoned during the course of natural evolution. However the staggering variety of sexual relations between individuals of different species, while successfully retaining the gene-pool of the species, remains largely unexplained for the scientists. The mating habits of the ladybirds have been studied quite profusely. At large, they resemble those of other insects, however some forms of behaviour remain unique to this breed. Below follows the description of mating behaviour reserved for the ladybirds.

*The name derives from an old belief: people used to see the red wings flapping in the air as a divine animal that belongs to God and is returning to God.

**Back translation from Майкл Марджерус. Back translation works rather poorly when it comes to transcribing people's names, so there can be a significant error in that name.


March 22, 2006

Re–evaluating freedom

Until recently I was an aggressive opponent to what the Americans called “freedom”. It wasn’t the ideal that I’ve slated, but more the imposition of the idea on the rest, somehow assuming freedom was a universal currency in human values. It wasn’t until I looked into the very idea of freedom that I realised its applicability to all human beings. In Nick Hornby’s novel A long way down there was an episode where a potential suicider sitting on the roof of a tall building experienced intense fear when someone else appeared on the roof. That fear was the fear of inability to choose to die and act upon the choice. It doesn’t make sense logically: one holds a genuine intention to kill oneself, what could be worse than death? Turns out it’s worse not to be able to do what one wants, even if the wish is to die. Another example follows from the Final Destination I: when it dawned on the survivors that they were doomed to die, the Carter guy decided to kill himself. His reasoning was that he wanted to die by his own choice, having control over his own life as well as death. Thus, between death and losing freedom we seem to think it’s better to die than to lose freedom. I don’t know which one is natural. The first example shows the character displaying genuine worry about not being able to die. The fear is not cultivated, it is unadulterated. But would that classify as one of our social fears and thus not caused by natural threat? If so, then it would be fair to claim that freedom, as much as a lot of other things that the human civilization takes for granted, is pretty much wrong. Another detail in both of the examples is that people choose freedom when faced with the immediate inevitability of death. Would we choose freedom if nothing was threatening us? Do many people choose to be salves, to be led, to be subordinate?

March 16, 2006

My crack in destroying capitalism

Writing about web page /yanglu/entry/jobs_and_values/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

I propose that we introduce Constructive Contribution Coefficient (CCC) and reconsider wages according to the CCC of every occupation. Seeing as we are petty little worms unable to shake the earth, the CCC should not have big values, just so people don’t overestimate themselves. Using the analogy of the Gini Coefficient, I propose that the CCC be rated from 0 to 1, where 1 will be the absolute constructive contribution (and stand for the works of geniuses like Einstein, Chekhov, Darwin); and 0 will stand for no contribution made to the society, which will be assigned to the unemployed folks. However, even in suggesting this I can see how flawed the CCC may be. Here’s a list of why:

  • I have to highlight that the CCC is an evaluation of jobs and not people; the CCC runs the risk of being misinterpreted;
  • The cogs in the machine of capitalism engage in counter-productive jobs (like exploiting the nature, destroying forests, producing poisonous and cancer causing chemicals and etc), so there should be negative coefficient for their jobs;
  • There is a considerable mismatch in CCC and the coefficient of difficulty and labour put in, so even the hard-working miners may get a negative CCC, because they are essentially exploiting the Earth. But then again, if their wage will be reconsidered according to the CCC and subsequently reduced to the minimum, it may help eliminate uncontrolled exploitation for good;
  • It is hard to evaluate the work of the artists and abstract scientists (like painters, playwrights, sociologists and etc);
  • The most unsettling thing is: history is being rewritten repeatedly. If we are happy at this very moment, we are likely to thank everything that’s ever happened to us (be it Hitler or Stalin) that has essentially led us to where we are now. But if we are very unhappy bunnies, even Einstein will appear to be an evil chap. Hence the contribution rate of each occupation may change with time and our view of history. So the CCC will then be a relative figure, rather than an absolute one, the way I designed for it to be.

If I can get all of the above problems solved I think my CCC suggestion could serve as a rather practical step in cracking capitalism. After watching Capitalism and other kids’ stuff, The Corporation and reading other articles on the evil of capitalism the only feeling I experienced was helplessness. If we could use the CCC to re-evaluate our jobs then maybe we could really start cracking the machine of capitalism and finally start taking initiative and changing things around.


March 11, 2006

Things I think look alike:

1. George Clooney and Hamaz's leader

2. Sergery Lavrov and Jack Straw

3. Africa and Chicken Thigh


March 09, 2006

a la Hitchcock

Risk

Penguina!!!

Let's rob a bank together!!&#)(!$!!%!# If we both live to 65 and will be residing in the same country (which is highly unlikely) we should pick a weekend, buy a pair of penguin suits, two plastic guns or water pistols and some scary S&M handcuffs. And a lash. Yes. Then we will walk into a bank, wearing penguin suits, shoot some water in the air and say, trying not to sound too squeaky, "Don't move, you petty humans, you are being robbed!" After that I will handcuff the guard to something solid and the cashiers will give us all the cash. We will have a kangaroo pocket installed in our penguin suits, and we'll stuff those pockets full with cash (preferably British pounds or some more expensive currency), then shoot some more water on the security guard's face, rush out and drive away on a Pussy Wagon (the one from Kill Bill) that we will purchase before the robbery. You'll be driving, seeing as I'm highly unlikely to master that skill even by the time I turn 65. I haven’t thought about what should happen next yet. I was thinking of driving to Africa and giving people all that money to fight AIDS and famine, but I thought they’d have dealt with that by the time we are 65. So I’m out of ideas now – any suggestions?

March 07, 2006

One thing to do before you die – rob a bank

Writing about web page http://news.ntv.ru/83298/

I woke up to this piece of news this morning:

A 75 years old woman has robbed a bank in the US. She had a skiing mask on and was armed with an unloaded 9mm gun. She took 5000 USD and fled on her Ford, racing at the speed of 72km/h for 9 hours until she was caught.

I was brushing my teeth and contemplating the idea of robbing a bank just before I die. It'd make my 'to do' list look so much more interesting! If one looks poetically at this incident, one may even find this act to be heroic! I reckon we should all rob a bank before we die – nothing too harmful for the society (the money will be given back), no one's hurt (unloaded guns only) and something different, daring, out of line endeavour done for the always law-abiding us. I don't even think the Bible would consider this to be a sin! I’m sure someone will eventually make a film about this!


March 05, 2006

Something to share

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

It's simply different from what I usually listen to. It's different from itself in that each song is a seperate entity. I like it!

Mama don't smoke,
That much dope,
Don't you worry about me.
Mama don't smoke,
That much dope,
Don't you worry about me.
I only get high about twice a day,
It helps to keep my blues away.

March 2006

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