Saturday, August 30, 2008

Polygamy is the key to a long life

Want to live a little longer? Get a second wife. New research suggests that men from polygamous cultures outlive those from monogamous ones.

After accounting for socioeconomic differences, men aged over 60 from 140 countries that practice polygamy to varying degrees lived on average 12% longer than men from 49 mostly monogamous nations, says Virpi Lummaa, an ecologist at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Lummaa presented her findings last week at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology’s annual meeting in Ithaca, New York.

Rather than a call to polygamy, the research might solve a long-standing puzzle in human biology: Why do men live so long?

This question only makes sense after asking the same for women, who - unlike nearly all other animals - live long past the menopause.

One answer seems to be a phenomenon called the grandmother effect. For every 10 years a woman survives past the menopause, she gains two additional grandchildren, Lummaa says. It seems that doting on and spoiling grandchildren aids their survival, as well as furthering some of their grandmother’s genes.

Men, by contrast, can reproduce well into their 60s and even 70s and 80s, and most researchers assumed this explained their longevity. But Lummaa and colleague Andy Russell wondered whether other factors explained the long lifespan of men, such as a grandfather effect.

To test this possibility, the team analysed church-gathered records for 25,000 Finns from the 18th and 19th centuries. People tended to move little, no one practiced contraception and the Lutheran Church enforced monogamy.
widowed men could remarry, and if they had children with their new wife, they fathered more kids, on average, than men who married once...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Yes Men

I've loved the yes men ever since I saw the movie about them. Anyway, just in case you're fans (and most of you will be after reading their website or watching the movie (it's hilarious, rent it!), I thought I'd share the email I got from them:

Dear Friends,

Twice in the past, we've asked you for money to help us take aim at the
world's nastiest criminals. Both times, you responded generously - and
the results you can see at (search on "Exxon" and

Now, we've teamed up with a dozen talented pals to aim our sights on
the biggest crime of the twenty-first century: the destruction of a
whole country for obviously fabricated reasons by the thugs in charge
of our country.

Your donation ( will make it possible for
us to print and distribute up to hundred thousand copies of, um,
something. We can't tell you what it is, but we can say it'll happen
well before the Presidential election, that it's fantastic and funny
and smart, and that it aims to change the discussion from just managing
the Iraq War, to ending it, with all that that would mean for the US as
well. Because this war has been a disaster not just for Iraq.

If you give us money (any amount is helpful), we'll make sure you get a
copy. And if you live in the New York area and would like to be part of
this action, please write

(Speaking of New York: Chris Smith, one of the directors of "The Yes
Men," has made an incredible new film, "The Pool," that will open at
Film Forum in New York on September 3: For subsequent screenings in
other cities, see

(Oh, and speaking of movies, we're nearly done with ours! In three
months or so we will have a brand new film based on five of our
actions, with plenty of plot and some investigative journalism to boot.
Stay tuned!)

The Yes Men and friends
They are spending 50 million dollars on policing at the Democratic National convention to disrupt this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I am banning Anand.
I'd like to recommend a book I just finished: The other side of Israel. It is written by a (former) Zionist Jew. She goes to live in an Arab town in Israel and very quickly realizes she is living in an apartheid state. We don't hear much about Palestinian residents of Israel because things are worse for Palestinian citizens of the West Bank and Gaza, but they are pretty fucked as well. It would be a good book to give to any colleague of yours who is not fully aware and outraged at the racism and apartheid.

Dream Deferred Essay Contest: 2008 Mideast Winners

There are great essays here from young people from: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mauritania, and Tunisia, Bahrain, and Morocco (honorary mention)

The big questions about Iraq

by Patrick Cockburn

Will Iraq disintegrate if the United States withdraws its combat troops?

The US and Iraq are close to agreeing a security accord under which the US would pull its combat troops out of Iraqi cities, towns and villages on June 30, 2009 and out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. This will only happen if a joint Iraqi-American ministerial committee agrees that security in Iraq has improved to the point where the half million strong Iraqi security forces can take over. Other aspects of the draft agreement show that the government of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is increasingly confident of its own military and political strength. The accord now close to being agreed is very different from the one the US proposed as recently as March which would simply have continued the US occupation, much as it has been under the UN mandate which runs out at the end of the year. The main point about the agreement, if it is implemented as expected, is that the US will cease to be the predominant military power in Iraq from next summer for the first time since the US-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'd like to highly recommend this movie I saw last night. It's like black people from poor areas live in another country than me. I walk around all the time knowing the authorities will help me if something like this happens in New York. I don't know what it would feel like knowing the government wouldn't help me, would let me die without a thought.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hi, all. I won't really be blogging much anymore. I have decided it is more important for me to spend the time with my son. I might pop up here and there if I can think of something interesting to say or an interesting article to post, and of course will be in the comments section. Keep fighting the good fight and remember, blogging doesn't change the world. Oh, and go green! Or there will be no world left to fight for.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We live in an extremely sick country

We ignore our own citizens in natural disasters, we don't ban chemicals (used on crops and in childrens' toys) that the EU bans, we don't provide health care for our citizens, we deport children without their parents (90,000 in 7 months), we don't pick up garbage in cans on the streets (in my neighborhood, they don't seem to, anyway), we barely educate our kids (my sister's high school history textbook was 20 years old) unless they live in a rich area, teachers may carry guns, 67 people were shot in schools last year, we throw juveniles in general prison populations, allowing them to get raped repeatedly, etc., etc. And I only mentioned a few reasons that I told my husband why we can't raise our son here. And then there's this story that happened only a few miles away from us.