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Archive for the ‘Female Genetics’ Category

CSU Seedstock Team learning the ropes at the NWSS – Fence Post

The National Western Stock Show Yards are brimming with history and cattlemen with the wisdom won through hard years and experience. The business of selling seedstock doesnt begin or end with the stock on display in the Yards, many of the ranches are selling their reputation built on generations of genetics.

The Colorado State University Seedstock Team hit the show ring Friday in the American Hereford Association shows, earning Champion Pen of Three Spring Yearling Heifers.

The team has traditionally displayed bulls and heifers, the cornerstone of a two-semester course designed to teach students the art of seedstock marketing. Though a year of experience gives only an overview of the process, it can help guide students as they find their niche in the industry.

Sam Cunningham, an associate professor of agriculture is originally from the Sandhills of Nebraska and began coaching the team last fall and is at the National Western Stock Show displaying four a pen of three and an alternate Hereford heifers and guiding six young women through the process. The young women come from varied backgrounds in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington and Ohio.

This week I hope theyre learning things like the art and importance of presentation, both of themselves and the pen basically our stage and the livestock, Cunningham said.

The importance of a strong handshake, eye contact, and an introduction are being taught by each visitor to the pen, some of whom are Ram alumni and have made a point to report to Cunningham on the strengths of her students.

At semesters start, Cunningham and the students pored over the data and then walked through the cattle, all the while learning about selection with a production sale as the end result. The group sorted through Angus and Hereford bulls, Angus and Hereford heifers, and cow calf pairs, all part of the CSU ARDEC herd, finally choosing three bred Hereford heifers due to calve in April.

With the transition of the program on campus this year, we opted for a strong push in quality of presentation and emphasizing the importance of a breeder selecting the very best of the best to display, she said. Youre going to bring the best of the best, whether thats six or 16. Youre going to bring something representative of your best genetics.

While in Denver, the students have been promoting the bull sale, slated for Tuesday, Feb. 22 at the CSU ARDEC facility. Those who have hosted a bull sale know the amount of work and preparation outside of producing the sale cattle, and the students are partnering with others in the animal science program and ARDEC to work through the bull and bred female sale production calendar. Advertising, marketing, data, catalog, sale animal preparation, sale facility set up, and other details are playing a part in rounding out the students experience.

Bulls in this sale are summered on high altitude pasture near Hesparus where theyre grown and PAP tested before returning to ARDEC in the fall and placed on a bull development ration and managed with the intent and hope that they will be lauded for sale.

Also different this year from previous years, this group of students is going to be involved in the CSU Beef Improvement Facility Sale we host in Saratoga in April, she said.

That sale is ranch-developed commercial Angus bulls that have been altitude tested by CSUs Dr. Tim Holt. Working through sale selection and preparation for the two sales, each very different than the other, is a unique experience for the students.

As the spring semester wears on, the focus will shift to seedstock selection and mating decisions. This portion, she said, relies on area producers who speak to the students virtually or in person, sharing their breeding and marketing philosophies, the history of the program, and lessons from a lifetime in the business.

At the end of the day, the experience comes full circle through the students interaction with those in the industry, especially those whose roles may look like something to strive toward. One Ram alumna from Canada took time to speak to the young women, telling them about her experience as a woman in the cattle industry.

I wish I would have recorded her when she said it because you and I have talked about it, we have thought it, and it was that yes, we can cook dinner and make things pretty, but theres lots of other things we can do to generate value, she said.

Finding a place as a woman and within those traditional roles is attainable, she said, but creating a space as a woman in agriculture is also attainable.

I hope theyre seeing the value in the relationships and the networking, and the hustle it takes, she said. Theyre not all going to do this I dont know that one of them will do this later but I hope they get the importance of follow through and they see the risk and the reward and they develop a sense of pride in something. The relationships theyre building between themselves are important, too.

The cattle marketing is but one of the many lessons learned beneath the catwalk in the Yards, an old landmark, steeped in history, teaching a new batch of young people lessons once again.

Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.

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CSU Seedstock Team learning the ropes at the NWSS - Fence Post

Goops Netflix series: Its so much worse than I expected and I cant unsee it – Ars Technica

Enlarge / This is the exact moment in the goop lab's third episode in which Gwyneth Paltrow admits she doesn't know the difference between a vagina and a vulva. She's making a hand gesture to say what she thought the "vagina" was.

Netflix

Disclaimer: This review contains detailed information about the Netflix series the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow. If you plan to watch the show (please, don't) and do not wish to know details in advance, this is not the review for you. Normally, we would refer to such information as "spoilers," but in our editorial opinion, nothing in this series is spoil-able.

In the third episode of Goop's Netflix series, a female guest remarks that we women are seen as "very dangerous when we're knowledgeable." [Ep. 3, 33:35]

"Tell me about it," Gwyneth Paltrow knowingly replies amid "mm-hmms"as if she has a first-hand understanding of this.

In fact, earlier in that same episode, we learn that the 47-year-old actor didn't even know what a vagina is.

"It's our favorite subjectvaginas!" Paltrow proclaims gleefully [Ep.3, 3:05]. Then the same guest, feminist sex educator Betty Dodson, corrects her: "The vagina is the birth canalonly. You want to talk about the vulva, which is the clitoris, and the inner lips, and all that good shit around it."

Paltrow giggles before responding, "The vagina is only the birth canal? Oh! See, I'm getting an anatomy lesson that I didn'tI thought that the vagina was the whole..."

"No, no, no, no," Dodson cuts her off.

To be fair, a lot of women might not be clear on this particular anatomical point. But for Paltrow, who claims to help empower women while touting dubious and dangerous products and treatments for said body partahem, vaginal steaming, cough, jade eggsyou'd hope she had a tight understanding of what a vagina isor isn't in this case.

But sadly, she didn't. And throughout the rest of the series, her ignorance and lack of critical thinking skills are on full display as a parade of questionable "experts" and ridiculous claims about health and science march across the small screen unchallenged.

(To be clear, Dodson was not among the dubious guests I'm referring to here; she is knowledgeable and respectable and was probably the most interesting and informative guest on the show.)

I'll go through each episode in more detail below, but for those who want to spare themselves from the bulk of the absurdity, I'll summarize here:

In so many ways, the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow is exactly what you'd expect based on what we already know about the Goop brand. The series provides a platform for junk science, gibberish, and unproven health claims from snake-oil-salesmen guests. It's a platform on which respected, trained medical experts are not considered the authorities on health and medical topics; where logic and critical thinking are enemies of open-mindedness; where anecdotes about undefined health improvements are considered evidence for specific medical treatment claims; where the subjective experiences of a few select individuals are equivalent to the results of randomized, controlled clinical trials; and where promoting unproven, potentially dangerous health claims is a means to empower women.

Paltrow and Loehnen sit in Goop's headquarters for an interview.

Netflix

Members of the "Goop gang" convene in Jamaica to convince themselves that magic mushrooms are a crucial part of a therapeutic journey.

Netflix

This woman isn't crying because she's on the goop lab. Instead, the tears are apparently coming on because she took a dose of psilocybin as part of a "therapy retreat" in Jamaica.

Netflix

A Gooper lies on the floor while tripping.

Netflix

These are often paired with anecdotes about participants in limited clinical trials. We hear their success stories without context about how the associated study at-large turned out or whether any positive results came with side effects or issues with bias.

Netflix

A Gooper gets a hug while tripping.

Netflix

Just another day in Jamaica, where Goopers gather to take shrooms, cry, and hug.

Netflix

The problem with this boilerplate statement is that most of the goop lab is full of one-sided, anecdotal claims that standard Western medical practice is all wrong. Right or wrong, that is most certainly a type of "medical advice," Gwyneth and co.

Netflix

But, beyond all of that, the show is just, well, boring.

Each episode uses the exact same structure. Each presents one of six health topics, which are (in order): psychedelics;"iceman" Wim Hof's breathing and cold-treatment method; female pleasure; anti-aging; energy healing; and psychics.

In each episode, you see Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop's chief content officer, Elise Loehnen, interview a couple of people involved in the episode's topic. The interviews take place in an airy, stylishly decorated office at Goop's Santa Monica headquarters. Interspersed between snippets of those interviews, you see groups of Goop-employee volunteers subject themselves to some therapy or experience related to the episode's topic. The interview dialogue from Goop headquarters is used to essentially narrate the Goopers' experiences. The Goopers' results are, in turn, intended to back up whatever claims the interviewees make.

It's a tiring structure for six straight episodes, and it's often not done well. The pacing is slow at times; some of the Goopers' experiences are just not engaging and seem like filler; some of their personal stories are introduced at the start of episodes and then inexplicably abandoned at the end; the interviews at Goop headquarters can seem drawn out and dry; and there are random tangents about Gwyneth Paltrow's life and the office environment at Goop headquarters.

Even if you're interested in the topics, getting through the episodes can feel like a slogand they're each only 30-35 minutes long.

It feels like the momentum of each episode is supposed to be driven by anticipation of how the Goopers' experiences match what the interviewees are saying. But we hardly ever get satisfying conclusions on that frontand we wouldn't be convinced even if we did. Instead, the show seems to move each episode along more by leaning on shock content that might best appeal to middle schoolersshowing glimpses of a woman having an orgasm, a Goop staffer getting a face lift using string that pulls her smile toward her ears, and a group of Goopers tripping on mushrooms.

Meanwhile, the goop lab makes no effort to question or critically evaluate any of its claims. There are no fact checks or counterpoints offered. There's no mention of any criticism and little to no warnings of potential harms.

In all, it's a show that you can safely skip. But, if you still want to know more about why the goop lab is so bad, let's run through the six episodes.

The first episode covers psychedelics and their potential to improve mental health. Paltrow and Loehnen sit down with Will Siu (a psychiatrist who supports "psychedelic Integration" in therapies) and Mark Haden (executive director of MAPS Canada, which is an affiliate of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit created in 1985 to advocate for the medical benefits and use of psychedelic drugs, such as MDMA and LSD). Siu received training at MAPS.

Being the person that people perceive me to be is inherentlytraumatic.

For instance, in 2016 the Food and Drug Administration greenlighted the first Phase III trial to assess whether or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)known as "molly" or "ecstasy"can improve the symptoms of PTSD. And treatments with psilocybin, the psychedelic component of "magic" mushrooms, has yielded positive results in small trials on people struggling with depression.

While that research is legitimate and interesting, the Goop episode approached the topic in the dumbest possible way: a group of four Goop employees hop on a plane to Jamaica to trip on mushrooms. Two of the Goopers weren't trying to address mental health. One Gooper said she wanted to feel more creative and like her "authentic self," and Loehnen, who went, said she wanted a "psychospiritual experience." The other two were trying to "process some personal trauma."

While the clinical trials are evaluating specific drug doses to treat well-defined symptoms in tightly controlled, weeks-long programs, the Goopers drank mushroom tea once, in a "more ceremonial setting," surrounded by what they described as "psychedelic elders."

Meanwhile, the interview back at Goop headquarters starts rambling, with discussion around vague mental health issues, the value of "connecting people," harmful societal norms, and how basically everyone is suffering. Paltrow notes at one point that she, too, suffers mental-health problems despite her wealth and status, and she adds that "being the person that people perceive me to be is inherently traumatic." [Ep.1, 29:00] Poor Gwyneth.

At the end of the episode, some of the Goopers talk about how the experience was intensewell, yeah. We don't hear back from the woman who wanted to be more creative, so we can only hope things worked out for her. But one of the Goopers processing trauma (in his case, trauma of having an emotionally distant father) said in a final one-on-one discussion with Paltrow that he felt more of an "openness" after the experience. He thanked Paltrow for letting him go.

Yeah, OK.

NEXT.

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Goops Netflix series: Its so much worse than I expected and I cant unsee it - Ars Technica

Will Not Having Sex Trigger Early Menopause? – Everyday Health

Use it or lose it. Weve all heard that expression, often used in reference to the strength of our muscles or even parts of our brain. But is the saying also accurate for women when it comes to sex and fertility?

A study publishedon January 15, 2020, in the journal Royal Society Open Science found that women who had sex at least once a week were 28 percent less likely to go through menopausecompared with women who engaged in sexual activity less than once a month. Women who had monthly sex were 19 percent less likely to experience menopause than women who had sex less than that.

Related: 9 Natural Ways to Boost Your Sex Life

The authors of the paper suggest sexual activity, or the lack of it, could be sending messages to the body about whether or not continuing to ovulate is a good use of the bodys resources. If a woman isnt sexually active, the body may choose not to invest in ovulation because there would be no point, according to Megan Arnot, a PhD candidate at University College London, and coauthor of the study.

Conversely, if the woman is still engaging in sex regularly, then it may be adaptive for her to continue ovulating for slightly longer, the authors wrote.

Related: How to Have More Satisfying Sex

Investigators looked at 2,936 women in the United States who were part of the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multisite longitudinal, epidemiologic study thats designed to examine womens health during their middle years. At the start of the study, women were all between 42 and 52 years old and hadnt reached menopause yet.

Related: 5 Things Weve Learned From the Most Important Menopause Study

Women were asked how often they engaged in sexual activity of any kind, not just intercourse. Any sexual touching or caressing, oral sex,and masturbation counted as sex.

Sexual activity other than intercourse was included because of the authors hypothesis that the cues from these behaviors could all potentially trigger the same signal in the body that could indicate a possible pregnancy to the body, according to the authors.

The maximum amount of sexual activity from any of those behaviors was used as the sexual frequency number, or sex index. If a woman reported having intercourse once a month but oral sex every week, then weekly was recorded as her sex index. Due to the small number of responses in some categories, all responses were placed into one of three categories:

Climax, or female orgasm was not included as part of the questions or considered in the signaling hypothesis, Arnot responded via email. We arent 100 percent sure on the exact mechanism, but sexual activity can cause fluctuations in estrogen, which would send signals; it might just be that vaginal stimulation signals possible pregnancy, she wrote.

Although the study cant prove that the extra sex postponed menopause onset or that lack of it does the opposite, the authors suggest that the relationship is the result of an adaptive trade-off relative to the likelihood of pregnancy when approaching menopause.

To conclude that a lack of sex would somehow trigger the body to divert resources elsewhere is a bit of stretch, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. You have to keep in mind that theres a big difference between causation and association. They found that women who are sexually active tend to go through menopause later than women who are not sexually active, says Dr. Streicher.

This doesnt mean that if you have more sex you wont go through menopause, according to Streicher. Theres a correlation between women who go through menopause earlier and who are not as sexually active, which is no surprise, she says. That doesnt mean that this earlier menopause is caused by the lack of sex, she adds.

Streicher uses a popular headline from last year as an example. It was in the news that people who exercise have better sex, she says. Yes, but the exercise doesnt make them have better sex; people that are physically fit tend to have better sex. Again, its about causation versus correlation, says Streicher.

Related:BDSM: Rules and Etiquette at Social Events Involving Bondage, Dominance, Discipline, and Submission

Keep in mind that biologically the reason we have sex is to reproduce, she adds. If biologically youre no longer able to reproduce, than biologically youre going to have more difficulty with sexual function.

Technically, menopause occurs after a woman goes 12 consecutive months without a monthly period. The months or years leading up to that milestone is called the menopause transition, or perimenopause, and symptoms can include hot flashes, mood changes, disruptions in sleep, and changes in the monthly cycle.

Genetics is probably the number one factor that determines when you will go through menopause, according to Streicher. It doesnt have anything do with when you start your period; thats a common myth. You dont go through menopause because you run out of eggs, she says. Its because your eggs age; you still have plenty of eggs, she says.

If your mother went through menopause early, in the absence of some medical reason, then you may too, says Streicher. There are still many things we dont understand about why some women go through menopause earlier than others, but it can be health-related. People with autoimmune diseases or thyroid disfunction tend to go through menopause earlier, as well as those with chronic disease in general, she says. Smoking has been linked to earlier menopause, too, she adds.

Research indicates that naturally going through menopause later in life is associated with a longer life expectancy as well as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Having more sex can improve relationships, quality of life, and intimacy, says Streicher. Will it prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, or other chronic diseases? The answer is no. Sex doesnt make you healthier, but if youre healthier, you tend to have more sex, she says.

Streicher points to research published in the The New England Journal of Medicine by Stacy Lindau, MD, and colleagues that looked at sexuality and health in older adults in the United States. They found that age was less important than the persons medical condition. A healthy 70-year-old is far more likely to be sexually active than a sick 40-year-old, says Streicher.

People love saying, If you have more sex youre going to live longer. No, if you live longer, youre more likely to have more sex, she says with a laugh. And having more sex might make you happier, it might give you a better relationship, but it wont make you live longer.

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Will Not Having Sex Trigger Early Menopause? - Everyday Health

All The Arguments You Need: To Prove It’s Fair for Trans, Intersex Athletes to Compete in Their Chosen Gender Category – The Swaddle

Nowhere is the struggle between maintaining the traditional status quo of the gender binary, and moving forward toward greater inclusivity, more pronounced than in competitive sports, due to the differences in male and female physiology. But, there is enough science and data out there to suggest these differences arent nearly as stark as weve been led to believe which means any argument against allowing trans and intersex people and people with differences in sex development (DSD) to compete against ciswomen is queerphobic at best. Here are all the arguments you need to fight for greater gender inclusivity in sport.

The science on what womens bodies can do is flimsy at best. But consider what the female body can do better than a male body: Womens bodies have a lower center of gravity and therefore better balance; they tend to be more flexible, and their bodies more efficiently convert calories into energy giving them greater endurance, Liesl Goeker writes for The Swaddle, while arguing for equal pay in sports. This gives women the upper hand in ultra-endurance running and gymnastics just as male bodies have the upper hand when it comes to sports such as the shotput and 100m sprint that require speed and brute strength. But zero trans women who are gymnasts are complaining about the advantage cis women have, or saying they want to compete in the mens category for endurance running or gymnastics because they just want to participate in the sports category congruent to their chosen gender identity.

Besides, sports isnt fair. It never was. Genetics isnt either. Many elite athletes are genetically blessed in a way the average person isnt. Basketball players have the advantage of height, and Michel Phelpss very peculiar anatomy gives him the upper hand in swimming. Privilege isnt fair either athletes of color are at a disadvantage when it comes to exposure, opportunities, and resources to even begin pursuing sports competitively, compared to Caucasian athletes. So, what is this level playing field argument but a myth spun by those allowed to play and win in the field, to maintain the status quo?

Related on The Swaddle:

New Report Outlines Scale of Homophobia, Transphobia in Sport

The science on physiological advantages male athletes have over female athletes is in a nascent stage. Its important to preface this argument by pointing out that very little research and conversation is around, say, the advantages of estrogen (the hormone responsible for many physical characteristics of a typical female) or prolactin (the breastfeeding hormone) on athletic ability. The obsession is entirely with testosterone (T) the hormone responsible for many glorified physical characteristics of a typical male and the absurd question of at what level of testosterone does a female athlete become too good to be a woman.

For every credible study and statement out there that proves greater testosterone is linked to greater athletic ability in men and women, there are equally credible studies that prove testosterone is just one of the many factors that affect sporting ability sometimes even negatively. Take the International Association for Athletics Federations data on elite women athletes. Its initial analysis of two world championships showed that women with higher T levels performed better in only five out of 21 events.

After an independent group of researchers took an issue with the research methodology to reach even this finding, the sports body was forced to issue a correction. In the corrected results, in three of 11 running events, the group with the lowest levels of T did better. Across all events, the association between T and performance was the strongest (and the most surprising) in the 100m sprint: athletes with lower T ran 5.4% faster than those with the highest levels of T. The independent group of researchers who objected to the results earlier concluded its impossible to discern the real relationship, if any, between T and performance. Clearly, though, neitherthis study nor the broader sports science literature supports the IAAFs claim that targeted trans, intersex athleteshave the same advantages over [other] women as men do over women.

Then theres the stuff outside of the binary that science is nowhere close to explaining clearly, like Chands and Semenyas hyperandrogenism (a medical condition where a typical female body produces higher testosterone than usual). Or, as Faryal Mirza, a clinical endocrinologist at the University of Connecticut Medical Center, tells Scientific American, sometimes high T simply means that a person isnt very efficient at using T: the body is producing more precisely to arrive at typical function of someone producing T in the typical range.

Related on The Swaddle:

IAAFs Caster Semenya Decision Arbitrarily Dictates What Is Female

A review of 31 national and international transgender sporting policies, including those of the International Olympic Committee, the Football Association, Rugby Football Union and the Lawn Tennis Association by researchers at the Scool of Sports Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University concluded: After considering the very limited and indirect physiological research that has explored athletic advantage in transgender people, we concluded that the majority of these policies were unfairly discriminating against transgender people, especially transgender females by overinterpreting the unsubstantiated belief that testosterone improves athletic performance.

Thousands of trans athletes have been competing at national and international competitions who you just dont hear about simply because they dont all win or qualify for the Olympics even with all their apparent unfair advantages. This also proves the non-cisgender athletes who do go ahead and win medals owe their success more to their training, skill, perseverance, resilience, and a host of other reasons apart from their gender or sex, and especially from the myth of testosterone.

Yikes. Are we really suggesting there are numerous male athletes who will declare they identify as women, go through exhausting transition processes such as hormone replacement, gather the required medical and psychological proof of their fake gender dysmorphia (prolonged distress caused a mismatch between their biological sex andgenderidentity), go through their entire lives living under the pretense of being female, all while facing prejudice that trans people face on a daily basis only for a few gold medals and some cash?

Notwithstanding the paranoia (looking at you Martina Navratilova), this argument is the literal definition of transphobia. This idea that we should ban all innocent and real trans and intersex women based solely on the fantastic hypothetical of the fraudulent cis man has roots in an irrational fear of the other (in this case, non-cisgender people) based on prejudice or ignorance.

Laws and rules can always be misused, irrespective of gender. But, we cant deny peoples rights simply because a few could, in theory, game the system. Look at it this way: are some people falsely framed for murder? Yes. Does that mean we dont have any rules to punish the crime? Of course not.

This debate doesnt even have to be esoteric; there is actual data to prove male athletes arent queuing up to declare a new gender identity. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee adopted the Stockholm Consensus (SC) allowing the inclusion of trans athletes who had undergone sex reassignment, making it possible for trans athletes to compete in the Olympics from 2004. The IOC modified these guidelines in 2015 to put a cap on testosterone levels for trans women athletes. And yet, despite the fact that more than 50,000 athletes have participated in the Olympics since 2004, no trans athlete has ever been a part of the Olympics until now, real or fake. So, clearly including trans athletes in sports wont make the sky fall.

Related on The Swaddle:

Explaining the Vocabulary of the Gender Spectrum

Creating a third, mixed category for trans, non-binary, cis men and women to compete against each other can be an earnest, motivating place to start making sports more inclusive. Mixed-gender sports teams are a widely debated topic and have been for many years, just not in relation to opportunities for transgender people. But, introducing more mixed-gender sports teams would also facilitate accessibility for transgender people.

The IOC did well, when in June 2017, it added mixed-sex events in athletics, swimming, table tennis, and triathlon to the upcoming Summer Olympics schedule in Tokyo 2020, in addition to the traditional categories. This not only allows trans and intersex athletes to compete as their chosen gender identity based on their athletic ability alone, Tokyo 2020s milestone mixed-sex events are a concrete step towards ungendering sports. (It is important here to note this will all be moot unless the IOC allows trans and intersex athletes to compete in these mixed events at least without having to meet any criteria other than being a human adult whos good enough to qualify.)

Another way to organize sports, as suggested by Alison Heather, a physiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and her colleagues in an essaypublished in the Journal of Medical Ethics, would be to create a system that uses an algorithm to account for physiological factors such as testosterone, height, and endurance, and social factors like gender identity and socioeconomic status. Sure its a Herculean task, but international sports bodies have enough money to at least begin research into the idea if it means a more inclusive world.

Apart from this, sports can also be organized on the basis of other factors such as weight class, professional/amateur status, and size. The idea is that through a mixture of formats, we redesign sports to make them more inclusive.

Its going to take fresh thinking and self-awareness that what we believe to be facts about sex and gender are not unquestionable. But every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind, and in the spirit which requires mutual understanding, with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Those are not my words, thats the Olympic charter.

See more here:
All The Arguments You Need: To Prove It's Fair for Trans, Intersex Athletes to Compete in Their Chosen Gender Category - The Swaddle

How to move a penguin and other lessons from the Biodme reno – Montreal Gazette

Penguins, it so happens, dont like to travel solo at least not the five king penguins of Montreals Biodme.

So when renovations began at the nature museum and the king penguins were moved from their sub-Antarctic island ecosystem to the Calgary Zoo in 2018, they all travelled together in the same crate.

We noticed that a penguin is more stressed alone, so it was decided to build a large crate, using a transportation palette as the base, and to transport them together, explained Jean-Philippe Gagnon, one of the Biodmes three living-collection supervisors. They are responsible for about 40 employees who work with aquatic and terrestrial animals and with plants.

It is also stressful for the penguins not to see the source of sounds around them, he said, and so the crate incorporated grilles so they were able to see out. The crate was placed in the cargo section and a Biodme veterinarian was on the same flight.

As the habitats of the 2,500 individuals from 175 species in the nature museum were emptied in April 2018, many of the animals were moved to temporary abodes in Montreal, elsewhere in Canada or the United States. As renovations near completion, plans are in place for the animals to be returned to the Biodme in 2020.

Biodme director Yves Paris checks out the new entranceway of the Biodme on Dec. 9, 2019. The Biodme is scheduled to reopen in the spring.Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

A planned reopening in September 2019 was delayed to mid-December, then delayed again. Surprises encountered with demolition of parts of the unusual building, constructed as a velodrome for the 1976 Olympic Games, were in part responsible, said Biodme director Yves Paris. So were shortages of skilled workers and delays in deliveries of materials.

The reopening is now anticipated for the spring of 2020. There could be more surprises, but things are going well and I hope it will be spring, he said.

With one million visitors a year, the Biodme is the most-visited facility in Quebec among museums with admission fees. The goal of the $37.2-million renovation is to make its public spaces more welcoming by creating for visitors a more immersive experience, Paris said.

The museum is unique in the world because it features five ecosystems found in the Americas: a tropical rainforest; a Laurentian maple forest; ecosystems of the Gulf of St. Lawrence; the Labrador coast and the sub-Antarctic islands. Among new elements in the revamped Biodme are a bridge that will permit visitors to climb to the top of the tropical forest habitat for a birds eye view and a tunnel of ice leading into the polar ecosystem inhabited by the penguins.

Although the king penguins at a height of three feet they are among the largest penguins were moved to Calgary, other species of Biodme penguins, including the gentoo and Southern rockhopper, remained in Montreal in accommodations built especially for them.

They are smaller and we were able to create a temporary environment for their size and temperament without moving them, Paris said.

To deter overly enthusiastic visitors whose presence would be potentially disruptive to the population, the Biodme has remained circumspect about the location of the local temporary abodes.

To ensure that the move was as free of stress as possible, preparation for the transfer began long before the actual moves.

Two lynx were moved to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo in separate crates but at the same time during renovations at the Biodme. Claude Lafond/Espace pour la vie

Biodme director Yves Paris, left, talks to a worker as he walks through the new entranceway of the Biodme. The Biodme is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2020 following renovations.Pierre Obendrauf/Montreal Gazette

A capybara, a member of the world's largesT rodent species, was transferred to the Magnetic Hill Zoo in New Brunswick as renovations at the Biodme in Montreal got underway, and he will stay there.Sylvie Pilon/Espace pour la Vie

A sloth like this one was moved to Granby Zoo during renovations at the Biodme.Claude Lafond/Espace pour la vie

This is how the entrance to the Biodme will look once renovations are complete./Kanva

A King penguin from Montreal's Biodme at the Calgary Zoo. Some animals were transferred to other facilities in preparation for renovations at the Biodme. The Biodme is slated to reopen next spring. /Calgary Zoo

Biodme director Yves Paris checks out the new entranceway of the Biodme Dec. 9, 2019. The Biodme is scheduled to reopen in the spring.Pierre Obendrauf/Montreal Gazette

An ice tunnel is being added to the polar ecosystem at the Biodme./Kanva

King penguins from Montreal's Biodme at the Calgary Zoo. Some animals were transferred to other facilities in preparation for renovations at the Biodme. The Biodme is slated to reopen next spring./Calgary Zoo

Its important to realize that these are beings we are transporting, said Gagnon, a biologist. There was a long preparation, six months to a year, for many to make sure that the transfer was not stressful for them and to provide for a period of acclimation in the new place.

The Biodme is part of an association of accredited North American zoos that manage their populations with broader vision that goes beyond the needs of a single institution, explained Gagnon. Regular acquisition activities, which favour co-operation and exchanges between North American zoos to maintain genetic diversity, slowed about two years before the Biodme closed.

Those individuals transferred from the Biodme were moved only to accredited facilities, Paris said. These include the Calgary Zoo, one of few facilities with the polar environment necessary to accommodate the king penguin colony, the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Saskatoons Forestry Farm Park and Zoo, Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, N.B.; Granby Zoo and the Ecomuseum Zoo in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Moving the penguins was relatively simple since, apart from the special crate, they required no advance training or preparation, Gagnon said.

But in other cases, intensive preparation by Biodme workers was needed before animals were moved. They worked with the animals behaviour to effect the transfers, Gagnon explained. Before the six sloths were moved, for instance, a resting space was created in their habitat and a transport crate placed in it that they could choose to enter or not. It was a year before they started to enter the crate on their own.

One sloth was moved to the Kansas City Zoo, where he will remain; another, who was transferred to the Granby Zoo but still belongs to the Biodme, might return, Gagnon said. Four remained in Montreal.

The golden lion tamarin monkey also needed a year to get used to the crate in which the small South American primate was ultimately transported from the Biodme. It was left in his rainforest habitat, empty and initially he didnt want to enter it. Only once he was entirely at ease with it did animal technicians begin to train him to enter the crate, using a system of positive reinforcement and rewards.

Two lynx were transported to Saskatoon at the same time but in separate crates.

King penguins are part of a population management and conservation program known as the species survival plan; its intended to maintain captive populations that are both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

The Biodme had four males for one female; for reproduction purposes, couples are preferred, he said. By putting our two populations together, we were able to re-establish an equilibrium, so that both institutions will be stronger, he said.

The beauty of the operation is that by having a larger number of individuals, the penguins had a larger choice of partners, Gagnon said. Once penguins choose a partner, the two tend to stay together for a long time, he said.

A sloth like this one was moved to Granby Zoo during renovations at the Biodme.Claude Lafond / Espace pour la vie

In August of last year a new king penguin chick, the issue of two of the Biodmes king penguins, was successfully hatched in Calgary. The zoo said the egg was laid by Antoinette, who is 27. Because she and her mate, Louis, had never hatched a successful chick, they had no relatives in the zoo population. Having a chick with new genetics is important to the king penguins species survival plan, the Calgary Zoo said.

For reasons related to the welfare of the animal or the genetics of the population, a small number of animals who were moved will not return to the Biodme but will be replaced. Some of the king penguins are more than 20 years old, and more travel would be stressful.

And we want a few new animals, Paris said.

A capybara the worlds largest rodent species, native to South America went to Magnetic Hill from the Biodme and hell stay there. He is happy there, Paris said.

Besides, his Biodme habitat has been modified to accommodate a group of capybaras, and it would have been difficult to get him used to a group, he said. The other capybaras remained in Montreal, in spaces adapted for them.

Every transfer is a challenge and every one is different, but we can count on the experts, who know how to proceed so that everything goes well, said Marie-Jolle Filion, a communications co-ordinator with Espace pour la vie, the natural science museum complex made up of the Biodme, the Botanical Garden, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and the Insectarium. (The Insectarium is also closed for renovation and slated to reopen in 2021.)

Those animals moving back to the Biodme will be returned slowly and given time to get accustomed to their surroundings, she said. Returning the animals to places they know should facilitate their acclimatization, she said.

sschwartz@postmedia.com

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How to move a penguin and other lessons from the Biodme reno - Montreal Gazette

Female Yellowstone bison shipped to tribes – The Spokesman-Review

BILLINGS Thirty-three Yellowstone bison that had been held in quarantine including 14 females with calves were shipped from their pasture near Gardiner to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation on Dec. 23.

It was an early Christmas present for the tribes.

Im really happy, said Robert Magnan, the tribes bison manager. Were not only taking females and babies, some of the females are pregnant. Its a double batch.

The female bison are the first Yellowstone descendants to leave since a 2014 release of 138 bison that had been quarantined on one of Ted Turners Montana ranches for nearly a decade. They are also the first female bison to be released under a new agreement between tribes, state and federal agencies.

Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation group that paid for the bison to be hauled, hailed the transfer as a sign of increased cooperation between the organizations, as well as an example of how a nonprofit can help out.

This pipeline is starting to happen, said Chamois Andersen, Defenders senior representative for bison.

Although only a trickle now, the group is hoping that the movement of animals will prove to officials that the Fort Peck Tribes can be more engaged in the quarantine and testing of bison, Andersen said. Reaching such a goal would chip away at the number of Yellowstone bison sent to slaughter.

In 2019, more than 300 Yellowstone bison were shipped to slaughter after being captured by park workers. The bison are trucked to slaughter facilities in Montana where they are killed and butchered. The meat is shared among cooperating tribes. Yellowstone officials would like to reduce the number of bison killed in this manner but are constrained by the number of animals the park can hold in quarantine.

The park is collaborating with the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, a federal agency, to optimize available space for quarantined bison, according to Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin. APHIS has been using a Corwin Springs pasture to hold bison for brucellosis testing, including Mondays cohort. Warthin wouldnt say whether that pasture would be available to the park to hold bison in quarantine. Fifty-eight bison remain at the facility, according to an APHIS spokesperson.

Female bison face stricter regulations for release because, if infected with the disease brucellosis, their birthing materials are considered the main means of spreading infection. Consequently, immature female bison must test negative for exposure to brucellosis for 2 1/2 years before they can be shipped to join other herds.

We know females are the most scrutinized, Andersen said. And we couldnt do it without APHIS. They are the most concerned about state management and what this program will look like.

Upon arrival at the reservation, the 33 animals trucked on Monday will be quarantined from the tribal commercial herd on the Fort Peck Reservation for another year while being tested again for brucellosis.

The 5- to 8-year-old bison shipped on Monday, which included five bulls, also includes the 14 calves born in the Corwin Springs pasture used by APHIS. The adults have been quarantined since December 2017 or June 2018. Although the Fort Peck Tribes built its facility to meet quarantine requirements, the state of Montana has denied requests to use the corral for anything other than the last assurance test.

Nevertheless, the tribes have steadily built a cultural herd that numbers 400 head as well as a separate commercial herd.

Were at our carrying capacity right now, Magnan said of the cultural herd.

In July, after the calving season, the tribes plan to ship a portion of its herd to the InterTribal Buffalo Council for disbursement. This past June, the tribes shipped five bison to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming as it builds its buffalo herd.

Yellowstone bison are highly prized by tribes as well as bison ranchers and managers of other conservation herds for their pure genetics, meaning they have never been interbred with cattle.

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Female Yellowstone bison shipped to tribes - The Spokesman-Review

The Importance of Small Non-Coding RNAs in Human Reproduction: A Revie | TACG – Dove Medical Press

Behnam Kamalidehghan,1,* Mohsen Habibi,2,* Sara S Afjeh,1 Maryam Shoai,3 Saeideh Alidoost,4 Rouzbeh Almasi Ghale,4 Nahal Eshghifar,5 Farkhondeh Pouresmaeili1,6

1Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 2Central Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 3Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK; 4Department of Biology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran; 5Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Tehran Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran and Mens Health and Reproductive Health Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 6Mens Health and Reproductive Health Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Farkhondeh PouresmaeiliMens Health and Reproductive Health Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IranTel/Fax +98 21-23872572Email pouresfar@gmail.com

Background: MicroRNAs (miRNA) play a key role in the regulation of gene expression through the translational suppression and control of post-transcriptional modifications.Aim: Previous studies demonstrated that miRNAs conduct the pathways involved in human reproduction including maintenance of primordial germ cells (PGCs), spermatogenesis, oocyte maturation, folliculogenesis and corpus luteum function. The association of miRNA expression with infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure (POF), and repeated implantation failure (RIF) was previously revealed. Furthermore, there are evidences of the importance of miRNAs in embryonic development and implantation. Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and miRNAs play an important role in the post-transcriptional regulatory processes of germ cells. Indeed, the investigation of small RNAs including miRNAs and piRNAs increase our understanding of the mechanisms involved in fertility. In this review, the current knowledge of microRNAs in embryogenesis and fertility is discussed.Conclusion: Further research is necessary to provide new insights into the application of small RNAs in the diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to infertility.

Keywords: miRNA, female fertility, male fertility, piwi-interacting RNAs, piRNAs

This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License.By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

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Checking out beef cattle operations in the UK – Canadian Cattlemen

Mike goes to ScotlandAttending the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland, was an opportunity to observe cattle and beef programs unique to the United Kingdom. Cattle tend to be taller, well-muscled with less marbling than Canadian cattle. But thats to be expected as they compete against cattle in the EU. Many heifers calve as three-year-olds, giving them more size before they calve. But a few cattle producers I spoke with were looking at calving their heifers at 2.5 years.The hospitality of the Scottish Simmental Society and all breeds I visited with was second to none. I noted that agriculture is very important to consumers in the U.K. They know what its like for food to be scarce, especially since the countrys experience during the last World War. There were no midways or carnivals at the Royal Highland Show but more urban crowds than what we would see here. They all wanted to know where their food came from and were actively engaged in learning more.

One of the exhibitors we visited with at the show was Neil McGowan of Incheoch Farm. Neil, along with his wife Debbie, son Angus and daughter Tally run Incheoch Farm near Alyth up in the Perthshire hills. I had initially met McGowan in the fall of 2018 when he and Debbie were touring cattle operations in Saskatchewan and Alberta looking for Canadian genetics that would work for their herd back in Scotland. McGowans travels also included Canadian Western Agribition and Farmfair International to see the latest genetics and arrange farm visits with Canadian seedstock producers.

Their farm runs 220 cows and 1,100 sheep. The cattle herd is made up of Simmental and Luing breeds. Luing is a native Scottish breed made up of Shorthorn and Simmental. They sell approximately 20 bulls and 100 rams in their Working Genes on-farm auction sale. The cattle at McGowans farm were impressive as they were well-muscled and the kind of cattle that would work well in Canada. McGowan has a passion for breeding better livestock as referenced by his paper Selection for Efficiency: Breeding Better Beef and Sheep. This paper was a report written as part of his Nuffield Farming Scholarship back in 2016. Part of McGowans research included looking at livestock operations in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and parts of the U.K.

Some of McGowans key conclusions included having consistent breeding goals based on profitability, with feed efficiency also playing a part in the profitability equation. In the U.K. as in Canada fertility, longevity and cow size all play a role in improving efficiency.

McGowan family (l. to r.): Finlay, Neil, Debbie, Angus, Judy and Donna Asher.photo: Mike Millar

After a great day taking in a little Scottish mist and walking pastures sorting through a lot of very good cattle, I had the privilege of meeting McGowans parents Finlay and Judy McGowan. You could not ask for a more hospitable couple. Finlay told me about a Canadian bull, AWL Polar 8R, he purchased from Archie Londry in Manitoba. Finlay told me AWL Polar was one of the best bulls they had in their herd.

Archie Londry was breeding cattlemens cattle in the 80s when the rest of Canada was breeding for frame and the show ring, Finlay said. Last time he was in the U.K., Londry was asked his opinion on a cow who won a show a cow of at least a ton with a calf at foot. He said: Well, I guess her calf isnt going to fetch enough in the sale barn to see her through the winter.

I think in our search for progress we sometimes forget the basic principles, Finlay told me. A cow has to rear a decent calf every year one that will leave enough to see the cow through the next winter plus a bit of profit. Increasingly shes going to have to do that without much help, Finlay added.

Wise words from a wise man! Thank you, Finlay.

All in all, a great year to visit with beef producers across our great country and back in the country my grandfather came from. We raise the greatest beef in the world but theres always an opportunity to learn from beef producers the world over.

McKinley Hereford Ranch of Medicine Hat, Alta., won the Top Pen of 10 Hereford Steers at the 23rd Annual British Breed Rancher Calf Sale at Balog Auction Market, Lethbridge, Alta., on October 22. The Top Pen of 10 Crossbred Steers was awarded to Clark and Judy Tucker of Williams Lake, B.C. Norm and Diana Woods of Lac La Hache, B.C., won the Top Pen of 10 Black Angus Steers, and Bill and Travis Duncan of Warner, Alta., took the honours for the Top Pen of 10 Red Angus Steers.

The judging panel awarded the Top Liner Load to three outfits: Denver and Rod Bevans of Cardston, Alta.; Ken and Tyler Haraga of Skiff, Alta.; Brent and Kevin Smith of Champion, Alta.

The Gelbvieh National Junior Show was held in conjunction with the national Gelbvieh show at Farmfair International. It included events such as marketing, judging, photography and grooming done in a format that kids could participate in whether they were able to attend the show or not. Winning junior aggregate was Amber Spray and senior aggregate was Avary Hickman. Congratulations ladies! Thank you to the Canadian Gelbvieh Association, the Man./Sask. Gelbvieh Association, and the Alta./B.C. Gelbvieh Associations for their sponsorship of the event. Congratulations to the following champion exhibitors at the CGA National Gelbvieh show at Farmfair:

Avary Hickman being presented with her buckle by Jessica Pearson.photo: Supplied

The 2018 winners of the Hereford Champion of the World, sponsored by Champion of the World Genetics and Marketing, were recently announced at Farmfair International in Edmonton. The 7th annual competition featured 1,000 champion bulls and females from 77 countries and represented 16 breeds of beef cattle.

The 2018 Hereford Miss World winner was RVP 106A CAMEO GIRL 45C, and is owned by Glenlees Polled Herefords of Arcola, Sask. She qualified by winning the 2018 Canadian Western Agribition. This marks the sixth time a Canadian female has won the competition.

The 2018 Hereford Champion Bull was MLL 10Y ROCKY 225D from MJT Cattle Company, Edgerton, Alta. He also qualified for the world competition by winning the 2018 Canadian Western Agribition.

Cole and Jill Harvie of Olds, Alta., will be participating in next years competition as official judges along with Alejandro Costa from Uruguay, Tom Baker from Australia and Robin Irvine from Northern Ireland.

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Checking out beef cattle operations in the UK - Canadian Cattlemen

Ventilation Abnormalities Are Unlikely Random Among Patients With Asthma – Pulmonology Advisor

In contrast to previous in silico modeling studies, ventilation abnormalities do not appear randomly distributed among patients with asthma, and may persist in the same lung regions during a prolonged period. These findings were published in CHEST.

In a case study, researchers prospectively followed-up nonidentical female adult twins with lifelong asthma for 2 study visits between January 2010 and March 2017. Pulmonary magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography imaging, and pulmonary function tests were used to prospectively evaluate the patients during this 7-year period.

Twins had parents who were heavy tobacco smokers in the home, and both parents had a history of airway disease. Different asthma specialists independently prescribed the twins 400 g daily budesonide combined with formoterol (patient 1: once-daily 200/6 g 2 puffs; patient 2: twice-daily 200/6 g 1 puff). Both patients reported weak to moderate controller medication adherence.

At baseline, each twin demonstrated spatially identical focal ventilation defects, and both twins showed left-sided upper lobe ventilation abnormalities at follow-up. Patients had a similar subsegmental airway wall area percentage at follow-up (71% in patient 1 and 75% in patient 2), which the researchers found substantially abnormal, based on the published literature.

Fewer airways were found in patient 2 vs patient 1 (166 vs 202, respectively), as demonstrated in airway number by airway tree generation distal to left-sided upper lobe apicoposterior bronchopulmonary segment and right-sided upper lobe apical bronchopulmonary segment.

Limitations of the study included using only 2 time points for evaluation and the lack of adjustment for shared genetics or in utero events.

If ventilation defects occur randomly in patients with asthma, the researchers wrote, the probability of this occurring in both patients in the same location, twice over 7 years, is approximately one in 130,000 people.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors disclosures.

Reference

Eddy RL, Matheson AM, Svenningsen S, et al. Nonidentical twins with asthma: spatially matched CT airway and MRI ventilation abnormalities. CHEST. 2019;156(6):e111-e116.

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Ventilation Abnormalities Are Unlikely Random Among Patients With Asthma - Pulmonology Advisor

‘I want to be real’: Ricki Lake debuts shaved head after years of struggling with ‘debilitating’ hair loss – Yahoo Style

Ricki Lake has opened up about about her private struggle with hair loss in a candid post to social media.

The 51-year-old actress and producer rang in the New Year feeling liberated and free after debuting a shaved head. In a lengthy post onFacebook, Lake detailed her nearly 30-year history of hair loss, in hopes that her story will help those who suffer in silence feel less alone.

I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life, Lake wrote. It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapists over the years knew my truth.

Lake, who landed her first role in the 1988 film Hairspray by director John Waters, says her journey from Hairspray to hairless was likely caused by years of yo-yo-dieting, taking birth control, pregnancy, genetics and stress. The former Ricki Lake Show host relied on hair extensions and wigs to mask her hair loss.

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable, she said. Ive been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, [have taken] all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening.

ALSO SEE: Model Iskra Lawrence shows off her curves in nude pregnancy shoot

Lake is not alone in her struggle with female hair loss. According to theCanadian Dermatology Association, 40 per cent of women will experience thinning hair and hair loss by the age of 50. In the United States,approximately30 million women experience noticeable hair loss including female pattern baldness and different forms of alopecia.

Ricki Lake. Image via Facebook/MsRickiLake. Photo by Amanda Demme.

Whilemost female hair loss occurs over the age of 40, women of any age can notice an increase of shedding and thinning hair. Genetics, tight or frequent hair styling, extreme stress, hormonal changes, chemotherapy and some medications all contribute to female hair loss.

An extreme diet that resulted in a rapid weight loss of 20 pounds in six weeks lead to a noticeable increase in hair loss, prompting Lake to take control of the situation and set herself free. She decided to forego hair extensions and hair colour, and shave her head.

Story continues

ALSO SEE: 'Sometimes we want to give up': Justin Bieber gets candid about mental health struggles

It is a New Year and a new decade and a new me...I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good! she wrote, giving thanks to her friends and partner Jeff Scult for their support.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

While she notes that she will continue to play with hair for fun, any changes to her look in the future will be done by choice, and not out of shame.

I am liberated. I am free. I am releasing and letting go. I am brave. I am beautiful. I am love, Lake told followers. For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA!Follow us onTwitterandInstagram.

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'I want to be real': Ricki Lake debuts shaved head after years of struggling with 'debilitating' hair loss - Yahoo Style

Unsolved Cases: M’sian Twin Brothers Escape Death Penalty Because Their DNA Were Too Similar – WORLD OF BUZZ

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Malaysia has had its fair share of interesting crime cases and today, were going crack open the most mysterious case in Malaysia, which involves a pair of twins. Many of us may have overlooked this case but it remains bizarre because people still cant wrap their heads around how these brothers dodged a death penalty just by having similar DNA.

So, without further ado, heres a breakdown on the unsolved mystery of R. Sathis and R. Sabarishs case, which left everyone baffled, including the authorities.

The Bizarre Case of the Twin Siblings, R. Satish & R. Sabarish

You may be wondering, how did the authorities decide to close a serious case ten years ago, which often results in the mandatory death penalty, without convicting a criminal?

Before the court proceedings took place, the brothers were first arrested (along with their other brother, R. Deva Raj) and charged with two counts of trafficking in 166,336gm of cannabis and 1,762gm of raw opium. The confusion over the two brothers began when the arresting officer, Chief Inspector N. Sekaran couldnt tell the twins apart and he couldnt recognise the first twin.

Natheless, Kpl Mohamad Sidek Paiman an officer from the arresting team identified the one wearing spectacles as the first twin but the doubt still remained. This is mainly because during the time of arrest, the brothers werent wearing spectacles and Sidek only said that he could only tell them apart by the shirts they wore on that day.

Fast forward, five years after the infamous arrest, the twins were acquitted of all charges due to the lack of evidence. As a result of that, the twins escaped a death penalty. Even DNA results couldnt solve the case because the brothers share very similar DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Thus, the police couldnt figure out which brother was the actual culprit behind the crime. To top it all off, the twins didnt tell on each other!

Judge Zaharah, who was on duty that particular day said,

My job, as required by the law, is to determine whether the prosecution has succeeded in establishing a prima facie against the two accused. In this case, both are identical twins. Arresting officer Chief Insp N. Sekaran, when identifying the first twin, was sceptical but when asked by counsel, said that he needed some time and yet was still not so sure when identifying the first twin.

Unwilling to send the wrong person to jail, Judge Zaharah finally acquitted the brothers of their crime on 7th February 2009, five years later. After they were freed of all charges, the twins cried and hugged each other in relief, but till today the case remains unsolved.

Similar cases all over around world

The inability to identify between two identical siblings isnt uncommon because there are many similar cases all around the world. Here are some similar cases:

In Michigan, 1999, two brothers were arrested for allegedly hitting an 18-year-old female on the head and raping her. Both brothers, Tyrone & Jerome Cooper have criminal records but they denied raping the girl. The police thought that the criminal would eventually come around and surrender himself to ensure his innocent brother will not be blamed for the crime, but it was merely wishful thinking.

They even put the brothers in one cell to see if they would accidentally slip the truth out, but it was to no avail because they only engaged in small talk. Until today, the girl hasnt been given justice because the authorities couldnt figure out which one of the brothers is the rapist.

Orlando Nembhard was charged with the murder of 19-year-old Sir Xavier Brooks. He was shot and killed right outside a nightclub in Arizona on 12th February 2011. The case was finally closed after the defendants lawyer argued that the identity of the killer could have been mistaken.

The lawyers argument opened a possibility that Brandon (Orlandos twin brother) could have been the killer, and just like that, the lawyer created a rift in the case. Even though Brandon doesnt have a criminal record unlike Orlando who has a long-standing criminal record -, the case remained unsolved because they couldnt genetically separate the brothers.

In 2012, France woke up to the shocking news of six women being raped in Marseille and evidence led to two people a set of twins named Elwin & Yohan. When one of the victims was asked to identify the perpetrator, but she couldnt single out between the twins.

Therefore, the twins were taken into custody, but whats interesting is that both of them denied the felony and didnt rat out each other. However, theres a twist to this case because the authorities could actually figure out the criminal thanks to the rapid growth of technology, but the process would cost a fortune.

Do twins actually have similar DNAs?

Yes, they do have similar DNAs but recent research has proven that theyre not genetically identical. They have the same DNA because they are formed with the same sperm and egg.

A study American Journal of Human Genetics proved that theres a slight difference in the genetic patterns of twins. The researchers tested 19 pairs of twins, and they found out that there are DNA segments which might exist in one twin and not the other. Therefore, this research proves that twins do have similar DNA but not identical.

Well, isnt that interesting?

That said, Satish and Sabarishs case is probably Malaysias most interesting case because of its nail-biting plot twist. Not only that but many people have called these brothers intelligent criminals for using their similar DNA to their advantage and dodging a death penalty. I think we all can agree on that.

On that note, what other Malaysian criminal cases would you like us to cover? Drop your opinions in the comments section below.

Also read: 40 Years Ago Today: The Tragic Murder of A Msian Ex-Beauty Queen That Was Never Solved

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JB Angus To Hold Annual Production Sale Jan. 29 – The Roundup

The JB Angus annual production sale will be at Stockmen's Livestock, Dickinson, at 1 p.m. MST Wednesday, Jan. 29. Bobby and Erika Kubas will be selling 30 select yearlings and two-year-old bulls.

JB Angus is a family owned and operated ranch located near Belfield. It is operated by Bobby and Erika Kubas along with their four children, Conner, Jaden, Matthew, and Kasey.

The Kubas family has been farming and ranching in the area for five generations. In 2013, Bobby and Erika Kubas took over Tuhy Angus and established JB Angus. Their primary focus is raising seed stock for commercial cattlemen. The registered cows receive no special treatment and must maintain their place in the herd, making them structurally sound and acclimated to hard winters. Good maternal genetics are essential, and a lot of selection pressure is placed on the bulls. Cattle must have structural correctness, a calm disposition, and "real world genetics," such as promoting a live calf at birth, producing a calf that gains well on grass and milk, and one that will become a top replacement female. Profitability is a huge factor in a successful operation and our genetic selection, as well as 40 years of genetic selection from Tuhy Angus will provide producers the genetics they need to maximize their investment.

"The foundation of our herd is our well-rounded mother cows. These females have been selected over many years for a moderate frame, calving ease, calm disposition, and a quality udder. We make our cows work for us; they must calve on their own and raise a calf on the North Dakota prairie without any creep feed. If they cannot raise a nice calf, they are down the road. One of the most prominent traits we emphasize in our cow herd is docility. Calm cattle are easier and safer to handle, especially when children or outside help is on the farm. We strive to handle our cattle in a way that will provide a docile disposition not only in our herd but in all of our customer's herds," explained Bobby.

JB Angus females are backed by some of the best sires in the breed. Many of their pedigrees include sires such as Sitz Upward 307R, SAV Traveler 004, Kesslers Frontman R001, Connealy Final Product, GDAR Game Day 449, HA Image Maker 0415, and Mytty IN Focus.

"In our business, we try to focus especially hard on customer service; 100% satisfied customers after every breeding season is our main goal. If a problem arises before, during, or after our sale, we will do whatever we can to make sure that the customer has had a positive experience with JB Angus," said Bobby.

JB Angus looks forward to establishing long-lasting relationships with their customers, one that will last long after the stock trailer gate closes. For more information, visit their website at http://www.jbangus.com or call 701-590-9814.

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JB Angus To Hold Annual Production Sale Jan. 29 - The Roundup

The truth about hempgrowers have to weigh options – High Plains Journal

To grow hemp, or not to grow hemp? That is the question. The Texas Hemp Growers Association sponsored a seminar at the recent Amarillo Farm Show where experts gave producers enough information to try to help them determine the answer to this question.

Dion Oaks, co-owner of Wright-Oaks LLC near Del Norte, Colorado, started growing hemp on his operation six years ago. He shared how his farm handles and crop and challenges and benefits they have seen from it. (Journal photo by Lacey Newlin.)

Dion Oaks, co-owner of Wright-Oaks LLC near Del Norte, Colorado, started growing hemp on his operation six years ago. They began with a few hundred plants, growing them indoors. The next year they went to 30 acres, then 300 acres, then 600 acres and this year they planted 2,500 acres. Oaks says they grow industrial hemp for cannabidiol or CBD, grain and fiber. Other than hemp, they grow potatoes, wheat, alfalfa and barley.

We swath everything and take off the top of the industrial hemp, if were going for strictly grain, he said.

Oaks says his operation is getting more into no-till with their hemp. He says the main reason he decided to go into growing hemp was for water savings, but hemp also provides soil health benefits for the other crops they produce. For instance, with the potato and corn crops, nematodes are often a challenge, but hemp alleviates a lot of this pest problem.

Oaks says in the last four to five months the CBD market has dropped dramatically for multiple reasons. He says it has declined 70 to 80% since April.

However, the hemp industry is ever changing and new developments will improve the success of the crop. Hemp crop insurance will be available next season, but the Farm Service Agency wants to learn more about it so administrators can create programs to help farmers. It is also important to remember crop insurance will not cover a crop with high Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Additionally, Oaks says the American Bankers Association recently sent out a notice to all Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. banks telling them to start treating hemp as a regular agricultural crop.

What is this cannabis stuff everyone is talking about?

There are two different types of hemp. CBD hemp, which is in the pharmaceutical products sold on just about every corner these days, and then there is industrial hemp, used for paper, textiles, fuel and biodegradable plastics.

CBD oil is made from the flower and the trichomes, Oaks said. Hemp can be very brittle and difficult to harvest while keeping the combs intact.

Corbett Hefner, vice-president of research and development for Formations Ag, spoke about harvesting hemp and the importance of drying the crop properly. (Journal photo by Lacey Newlin.)

Corbett Hefner, vice president of research and development for Formations Ag, says keeping the trichomes unharmed is one of the drivers for the designs of the equipment his company develops. He says in some cases producers can lose between 50 and 90% of their crop at harvest due to equipment that destroys the trichomes.

If you intend to grow for CBD, buying the proper equipment is key to success with this crop. There are multiple ways to harvest, including combines, whole plant harvesters and balers.

For industrial hemp, the grain is the seed that is produced inside the flower material after it has been pollinated.

With industrial hemp, you are looking at the grain, fiber and flower and it could possibly be a dual or tri-crop, Oaks explained.

The fiber and hurd, or the inner woody cored of hemp, is a secondary part of the industry and the market needs more time to develop. Once hurd is mixed with lime and water it becomes fire resistant and great for insulation. It can also be used in bedding, plastics, biochar and loss circulation material.

The woody material of hemp is very versatile as far as temperature, durability and ability to maintain strength under harsh environmental conditions, said Calvin Trostle, professor and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University. Thats one reason why its valuable for so many products.

With hemp recently becoming legal in Texas, Calvin Trostle, professor and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University, is beginning to learn how hemp grows in Texas and how he can best advice Texas farmers about this crop. (Journal photo by Lacey Newlin.)

Trostle said he has heard a lot of people comparing the hemp craze to the emu market in the 1990s, however he says there is a key difference between them.

My assertion is that hemp, CBD or other cannabinoids, grain and fiber each have inherent value in a way that emu meat and oil never achieved.

One myth Trostle says is a common misconception is hemps water usage. He said he keeps hearing that hemp uses one half the amount of water that cotton uses, but in reality he believes it will require more moisture. Another comparison he had been given from a hemp producer is that hemp could be grown on about 40% less water than corn.

If youre growing for CBD or you have such a high investment in that crop, I do not foresee any dryland production in the Texas High Plains, Trostle said. In fact, I think the combination of rainfall during the cropping season and acclimated soil moisture need to be at least 15 inches if you are going to go without irrigation. The bottom line is you cannot start a crop into profitability, so prospective producers must take water requirements into account.

However, he believes hemp fiber production on dry land in West Texas might be a viable opportunity. Trostle also views hemp as a reasonable rotation crop. Most of the established producers he has talked to in the Texas High Plains see one to two years of possibility of CBD production, but their interest long-term is fiber.

The right seed at the right price is crucial

Where to buy seed is one of the biggest dilemmas in the hemp industry. Oaks says there are a lot of lawsuits right now relating to seed quality and seed type. The pricing is all over the place and can make a big difference when the plant is harvested and sold. Growers must decide what kind of hemp they want to grow and properly vet the seed source to protect their investment.

Genetics for a grain or fiber crop are totally different from a CBD crop, Oaks said. There are seed genetics that overlap between the two types of hemp, but for the most parts, if youre looking at CBD percent, fiber quality or seed yield per acres, there are a lot genetics to pay attention to and decide which avenue you want to take.

Similarly to watermelon, hemp has both male and female plants.

A strong majority of people assume you need a zero tolerance policy to any male plants in the field for CBD production, although they say for fiber it does not matter, said Trostle. The standard thinking is if you have males in the field, it makes pollen available so seeds develop and it will reduce CBD levels and that crop will produce less high quality material for CBD extraction.

Trostle says there is feminized seed available for purchase that will produce almost all female seeds.

Feminized seed can be $1 per seed, and imagine planting 1,500 of those per acre. Ever had any cotton or corn seed cost about $1,500 per acre? Of course not. That might be one of the first things to consider about hemp.

However, Oaks says his operation grows male and female plants together in the same field for CBD.

Were looking for anywhere from six to eight CBD percentageso were not going for super high grade, he said. That also cuts down the risk because high CBD genetics are on a really tight curve with the 0.3% THC that youre allowed legally. Having a higher CBD percent means a higher THC percentage.

Trostle says if the THC percentage is above that level, the crop will be treated like marijuana and will have to be disposed of.

The first thing to do with harvesting is start planning right now, Hefner said. You cannot believe the number of people who will call right before harvest and say Ive got 1,000 acres. What do I do with it?

Facilities that will take harvested hemp are limited in the states it is legal in, so always have a destination for the crop prior to planting. Trostle says let the buyers available to you determine the type and quality of hemp you decide to grow.

Its not a crop you can grow and just take to the elevator once harvested, Oaks added. You really have to decide what youre growing for and find a buyer. Be careful with buyers, question their intentions and always read the fine print.

Hefner says harvested hemp is quite bulky because it is light, so producers have to have a lot of space to store it. He says in some climates producers are able to field dry hemp, but there are risks such as excessive moisture after cutting, which could lead to a mold problem. Some growers air dry in facilities by hanging plants from cables. However, Hefner warns it takes roughly 44,000 cubic feet to hang dry an acre. He says hemp can be dried on the ground with air flown underneath it, but it takes about 18,000 cubic feet.

You have almost exactly two hours to get some kind of air under the crop before it will start to get hot, Hefner cautioned.

Trostle wants perspective growers to be realistic about yields.

Anything that we grow, we do not shoot for maximum yield, he said. There are very rare instances where that might be possible, but maximum yield is not maximum economic profitability. Input costs are just too high to produce maximum yield.

According to Trostle, one Colorado farmer says his costs are about $13,000 an acre. The United States Department of Agriculture reported an average farmer spends about $19,000 an acre. However, costs should come down with economies of scale.

Dont risk more than you can plow under, Oaks explained.

The take away is hemp can be a successful crop if farmers plan ahead, are cautious of who they do business with, go into it with reasonable expectations and do not bet the farm on incredible yields.

This is a chance for you to be an entrepreneur, create demand for a product and really help your bottom line, Hefner said. You can be as creative as you want and the opportunities here are endless. The advocates will tell you there is 25,000 uses for it and theres ways to make money in this thing whether its small scale or large scale.

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The truth about hempgrowers have to weigh options - High Plains Journal

79 of Our Favorite Facts of 2019 – The New York Times

Credit...Christoph NiemannJanuary

1. In 2014, James D. Watson, who shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for describing the double-helix structure of DNA, became the first living Nobelist to sell his medal.James Watson Had a Chance to Salvage His Reputation on Race. He Made Things Worse.

2. Child abandonment was once routine; in ancient Rome, 20 percent to 40 percent of babies were left to die of exposure.Raising Kids Isnt Easy. Parenting Advice Often Makes It Harder.

3. Among the most notorious Malaysian royals was King Mahmood Iskandar of Johor, who was accused in the 1980s of fatally beating a golf caddy who had laughed at his putt. (He was immune from prosecution.)Malaysias King, an Unusual Monarch, Abruptly Leaves His Job

4. Everyone who works at Ben & Jerrys headquarters in Burlington, Vt., is entitled to three free pints of ice cream for each day of work.There Is a Free Lunch, After All. Its at the Office.

10. The National Hockey League player Andy Hebenton, who never missed a game during eight seasons with the New York Rangers, lost seven teeth on the ice in a two-week period in January 1961.Andy Hebenton, N.H.L. Ironman with 630 Consecutive Games, Dies at 89

11. The artist who now goes by the name Pope.L has belly-crawled the length of Manhattan, ingested entire issues of The Wall Street Journal, and created odoriferous installations from baloney and Pop-Tarts.MoMA, the New Edition: From Monumental to Experimental

12. Elizabethan preachers condemned coal as literally the Devils excrement.A Sensible Climate Change Solution, Borrowed From Sweden

13. The genome of the axolotl, sometimes called the Mexican walking fish, which can regenerate almost any body part, is 10 times as large as the human genome.Seeking Superpowers in the Axolotl Genome

14. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or Eniac, was the first programmable digital computer in the United States. It weighed more than 30 tons and included 17,468 vacuum tubes.The Secret History of Women in Coding

15. The McRib sandwich was introduced in 1981 as a way to give McDonalds another unique menu item after the smash success of Chicken McNuggets resulted in a chicken shortage for the chain.My Lifelong Obsession With the McRib

16. The fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld had 300 iPods.The Last Designer

17. Tyrannosaurus rex strutted around on legs that were about 12 feet long, and weighed more than 10,000 pounds.Tiny Tyrannosaur Hints at How T. Rex Became King

18. Common animal-derived ingredients found in beauty products include squalene (shark liver oil), carmine (crushed-up beetles), allantoin (cow urine), ambergris (whale vomit) and placenta (sheep organs).Why You Should Care About Vegan Beauty

19. Harry Houdini left precise instructions with his wife and friends as to just how he would reach out, if it were possible, after his death.Inside the Secret Sting Operations to Expose Celebrity Psychics

20. King Kong Bundy, a professional wrestler who in his prime stood about 6 feet 4 inches tall and was said to weigh 450 pounds, was called a walking condominium by his fellow wrestler Gorilla Monsoon.King Kong Bundy, Gargantuan Professional Wrestler, Dies at 63

21. From 1977 to 2002, the number of Americans eating three or more snacks per day increased to 42 percent, from 11 percent.At Start-Ups, the Free Lunch Is Yours for the Making

22. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, undertook a campaign as an 11-year-old lobbying Procter & Gamble to withdraw an advertisement, for dishwashing liquid, that she thought was sexist.Meghan Markle Moved the Dial for British Royal Family in Womens Day Talk

23. For every one million people in India, there are only 11 eye doctors, according to the International Council of Ophthalmology.India Fights Diabetic Blindness With Help From A.I.

24. Before its atomic red, extremely sweet bouquet came to dominate school cafeterias and birthday parties nationwide, Hawaiian Punch was sold as a cocktail mixer for adults and came in two flavors.How Big Tobacco Hooked Children on Sugary Drinks

25. The 20 warmest years on record have all come in the past 22 years.Pictures From Youth Climate Strikes Around the World

26. Since the Civil War, only four minor-party candidates for president have mustered at least 10 percent of the vote: Ross Perot, George Wallace, Robert La Follette and Theodore Roosevelt.For Clues to Howard Schultzs Leadership, Look Beyond Starbucks

27. In 1969, the sculptor Siah Armajani wrote a Fortran program to plot the dimensions of a tower large enough to cast a shadow over the entire state of North Dakota. (If constructed, the tower would have been 18 miles tall.)Fraught and Fabulous: Art That Shows a Passion for Democracy

28. In November 2016, after the election of President Trump, immigration officials in New Zealand received 17,000 registrations from Americans. New Zealand typically receives 3,000 expressions of interest from United States citizens each month.After New Zealand Attacks, More People Registered to Move There

34. NASA engineers, in the 1980s, once guessed that Sally Ride would need 100 tampons for a week in space.Toxic Men Get All the Attention. But Not in These Plays.

35. Penn Station is today the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere, through which more than 600,000 commuters pass each day.When the Old Penn Station Was Demolished, New York Lost Its Faith

36. In 2018, injections of Botox the No. 1 aesthetic procedure since 1999, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery were up 16.3 percent from the year before.Are You Ready for Drive-Thru Botox?

37. Nearly 10 horses a week, on average, died at American racetracks in 2018, a rate that is anywhere from two and a half to five times greater than in the rest of the racing world.At the Kentucky Derby, Prayers for a Safe Race

38. When Napoleon III of France declared war on Prussia in 1870, he dressed his soldiers to look like the army that his much more famous uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, had led decades before.To Stand Out, the Army Picks a New Uniform With a World War II Look

54. Slightly more than two-thirds of cancer patients treated in the United States are cured.Cancer Treatment at the End of Life

55. Franz Kafka had instructed his close friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn his manuscripts, letters and papers after his death. Instead, Mr. Brod published many of the writers most monumental, if incomplete, works.A Yearslong Battle Over Kafkas Legacy Ends in Jerusalem

56. Until the 20th century, there was little fanfare around the Mona Lisa. Her theft in 1911, and a trip to the Met in New York and the National Gallery in Washington in 1962-3 made her a global media sensation.Want to See the Mona Lisa? Get in Line

57. The longest of the dashes roughly the length of the letter M the em dash is still largely undefined.The Em Dash Divides

58. Before 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified, 15 states, mainly in the West, already had full female suffrage, while others granted women partial voting rights.The Complex History of the Womens Suffrage Movement

59. In 1971, the average 19-year-old man weighed 159.7 pounds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the average woman 131. Today, the average man weighs 14 pounds more, and the average woman 20 pounds more.Naked Came the Strangers

60. In the past, books were more often borrowed than bought, even among middle-class Victorians, who would pay to join for-profit circulating libraries so that they could rent books and get rid of them after reading.Recalling a Time When Books Could Give You Indigestion

61. As recently as the 1950s, doctors considered exercise dangerous for people over age 40; for heart disease, which was then killing a record number of Americans, they prescribed bed rest.How Many Steps Should You Take a Day?

62. The floor in a public restroom has around two million bacteria per square inch. A toilet seat, on the other hand, has an average of about 50 per square inch.Should You Take Your Shoes Off at Home?

63. More than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is being stored in the ocean.How Has Climate Change Affected Hurricane Dorian?

64. One in four cowboys during what is known as the Pioneer Era, which began following the Civil War in 1865 and ended around 1895, were black, according to historians.Restoring Black Cowboys to the Range

65. The advantage for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors fades steadily after their first jobs, and by age 40 the earnings for majors like social science or history have caught up.In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure

71. The Office is Netflixs most-watched show. It clocked 45.8 billion viewing minutes last year, according to Nielsen.The Office Ladies Return to Dunder Mifflin

72. The data marketing company Epsilon Data Management claims on its website to have insights on virtually every U.S. consumer.Ad Giant Wins Over Disney With Big Data Pitch

73. The word Sioux refers to a coalition of seven allied and related nations, including the Lakotas, but the word itself is a French corruption of Nadouessioux, an Ojibwe word meaning snake or enemy.Lakota America Puts the Tribe of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse Front and Center

74. In a survey published in October by a respected French polling firm, in The Journal du Dimanche, 61 percent of respondents said that Islam was incompatible with the values of French society, an increase of 8 percent over February.How ISIS Changed France

75. Kissing, according to one study, transfers up to one billion bacteria from one mouth to another, along with 0.2 micrograms of food bits.Your Body Is a Wonderland

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79 of Our Favorite Facts of 2019 - The New York Times

The family in 2050: artificial wombs, robot carers and the rise of single fathers by choice – The Guardian

In 2004, when the year 2020 sounded futuristic, the Guardian predicted it would by now be very hard to talk about a typical family. Domestic units would be formed in myriad ways and children living with both their biological parents in the same household would be in the minority.

This hasnt quite panned out. In the UK today, 84% of babies are born to parents who are married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting, although the statistics dont reveal all the real-life complexities (many of the parents will be starting second families, for instance). In 2019, 61% of families with dependent children have married or civil-partnered parents (the children may not be biologically related to both). In the US, fewer than half of children are living with two biological parents who are in their first marriage.

We correctly predicted that, in heterosexual couples, an increasing number of women would be the breadwinner, but dont imagine these are all high-earning women easily carrying the financial burden; most are low-earners, and the figures include single mothers. And we said that financial pressures on young adults would lead to people staying at home for longer. There has been a 46.3% increase in the number of young adults living with their parents in the two decades to 2019.

But we overstated the attention we would be giving to the issue of how to care for an ageing population. By 2020, we predicted, we will be in the middle of the debate on the care deficit. The crisis is still there, and growing, but it is one of those issues that has been overshadowed, and exacerbated, by Brexit (there are 104,000 EU citizens working as carers in the UK). And we understated the extent to which we would invite technology into our family lives. Webcams might by 2020 be playing the role the telephone did in the 20th century, a vital communication link for families who might live hundreds of miles apart, we predicted in 2004. This wasnt wrong, but the quaint idea of webcams this was three years before Apple launched its iPhone, and everyone started uploading photographs of their children to a new site called Facebook doesnt quite describe the proliferation of tech in everyday life.

Its certainly true that the family has changed immensely over the past few decades, and those trends are continuing. The number of people living alone is increasing, as is the number of women choosing not to have children, and we are having fewer children than before, too. A key change in family structure since the 1980s has been the rise of childbearing within cohabitation, says Ann Berrington, professor of demography and social statistics at the University of Southampton. The proportion of births that take place in England and Wales outside marriage has doubled from around a quarter in 1988 to just under half today. Cohabiting families with and without children are the fastest-growing type of family in England and Wales. Evidence from qualitative research that we have undertaken suggests that while marriage is being rejected by a minority as an outdated, patriarchal institution, most people still view it in a positive light and as an ultimate goal. The number of same-sex couples has also risen, she says: An increase of 53%, from 152,000 in 2015 to 232,000 in 2018. It seems likely that this diversity in family life will continue to increase in the coming decade, along with complex families for example, stepfamilies resulting from repartnering.

There have been developments in reproductive technology alongside changing social attitudes. Certainly, since the turn of this century, the two have come together to create family types that just wouldnt have been possible before, says Susan Golombok, the director of the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University, and author of the forthcoming book We Are Family. But, she adds: Its hard to tell whether they are going to explode into something or not. One thing that we are studying is a small but growing number of people who are meeting each other over the internet in order to have children together, without a romantic relationship. We dont know how that works out for them or for the children yet, but its certainly happening.

Over the past couple of decades, weve seen quite a rise in the number of single mothers by choice the single women who decide to go it alone and have children, through donor insemination but were now beginning to see single fathers by choice. Its a very small group, but they do exist. Some of them are gay men, so that, in a way, is more obvious, but there are also single heterosexual men having children through surrogacy and egg donation. Thats something that may grow.

There is also a rise in the number of transgender parents. Until very recently, transgender parents had children and then transitioned afterwards, but because of developments in assisted reproduction and people being able to preserve eggs and sperm, more transgender people are having children after their transition. She says this is likely to increase in the coming decades.

Advances in technology will create ever-bigger ethical debates. So-called designer babies are already a reality, with parents able to select embryos to screen out inherited diseases and conditions. But by 2050, prospective parents could pay to select not only for good health but for traits such as intelligence, attractiveness or athleticism the babies of rich parents could be genetically superior to those born to lower-income families.

Artificial eggs and sperm are on the horizon, says Golombok, which will not just be helpful for infertile heterosexual couples but will allow same-sex couples to both be the biological parents of their children, because that will mean men can produce eggs and sperm, and so can women. For single people who want to have children, it would even be possible for them to produce eggs and sperm.

Genetic testing will become more popular, and it will be harder for parents to keep secret from their children that they were conceived using donated eggs or sperm (although disclosure is widely considered to be a good thing). Ancestry websites will be used to discover genetic half-siblings. But genetics are not all-important to the concept of family. Family is no longer necessarily about biological relatedness that is something that has changed a lot, says Golombok.

We are already seeing uterus transplants, but by 2050, we may be relying on artificial wombs to grow our babies. They are being developed at the moment initially to help with very premature babies to replicate, as far as possible, the human uterus. But eventually its possible that artificial wombs will be used instead of pregnancy. That could free up women for whom pregnancy and its related physical and psychological toll, as well as the financial hit they take when taking time out from their careers is something to be endured, rather than enjoyed. I think first it will probably be used for women who dont have their own wombs the women who might, at the moment, turn to surrogacy, says Golombok. But actually, anybody could do this, so it could be quite liberating in some ways for women. Some women wouldnt like the idea at all. Also, I can see ways in which it could be used in a rather worrying way, almost like baby farms.

A growing number of women are freezing their eggs, and the age at which women have their first child is also rising. In 2050, will it be more normal for women in their 50s, or even 60s and beyond, to become mothers? It is technically possible, says Golombok. Whether many women would actually want to do that seems unlikely to me. But, generally, there will certainly be more women having babies in their 40s, unless there is a huge change in mindset. Experts have already called for children to be educated about natural fertility decline, which could mean future generations decide to have children earlier. But society isnt set up to support that, Golombok points out from the price of education to the lack of state support, and the cost of housing. The age at which women are having children is going up and up, and I cant really see an end to that.

Will we have men travelling abroad for work? What will happen to their skills as dads?

Brexit with prolonged trade negotiations and predicted economic decline will affect families in the coming decades. Economic insecurity is associated with an increased preference for cohabitation as opposed to marriage, says Berrington. Furthermore, economic hardship is related to increased risks of family breakdown.

Berrington points out that families have become more transnational, especially since women have made up an increasingly large proportion of migrants. In previous decades, migrants to the UK from South Asia often migrated for the purpose of family formation or reunification. Today, migration to the UK is more often for purposes of education and work. So the future link between international migration and family formation is unclear. This is particularly so as policies around migration are tightened up.

If the economy suffers post-Brexit, as numerous economists warn, increasing numbers of British people may seek work abroad and this could disproportionately mean men. Fathers have become more engaged with their children in recent years, with the number of stay-at-home dads rising (although in 93% of heterosexual couples, the bulk of the housework, including caring responsibilities, still falls to women). Will we have men travelling to the Commonwealth, Europe and the like to work? And if they do, what will happen to their skills as dads? asks Charlie Lewis, a professor of psychology at Lancaster University who researches fatherhood.

Thirty years ago when I started working on fathers, all the trends were for women to enter the professions, he says, but theres no good evidence that there will be this [female] takeover of the workplace. Work is still a largely hostile environment for family life. And its going to be much more volatile in future years. Policies such as a four-day week would allow the family to balance better.

Women will continue to make strides in the workforce, but this will put pressure on childcare, which still disproportionally falls to mothers. In the UK, we dont have the extensive childcare to match what happens in Germany and northern Europe, says Lewis. We dont think carefully about protecting the next generation.

Stay-at-home dads are still a minority, but Lewis says he remains surprised by the still-small number of fathers who are the resident parent after family breakdown, even if they have been the main carer prior to that. Will that change by 2050? Not if the past few decades are anything to go by. It hasnt changed much since the early 70s. We think that 40 or 50 years ago was a time when the children always went to the mother, but a government report in 1974 documented that 10% of children lived with their dads, and its not much more than 10% now.

Inherited advantage will entrench the privilege of some families at the expense of everyone else. The inequality that we currently see between families will only continue to grow, says Jessica Calarco, associate professor of sociology at Indiana University. We know that affluent white families hoard opportunities and often demand new opportunities to give them access to even more resources. That cycle perpetuates itself over time and inequalities grow. It starts with early education, but quickly escalates, as children from well-off families are funnelled into the right universities and jobs. Without some policy interventions, we will see affluent white families continuing to have power over schools and workspaces, says Calarco, even as the demographics of society change in terms of white people becoming a smaller share of the population.

We are an ageing population. By 2035, there will be 44% more people over the age of 65 than there were in 2017. Age UK estimates around 650,000 extra care jobs will be needed. In October, the government announced a 34m investment programme to try to teach robot carers to be more empathetic to their humans, making it more likely that by 2050, robots will as has long been predicted be one answer to the growing social care crisis. Will they also provide childcare? This has long been more controversial than elder care, but nurseries in Japan have already trialled the use of robots to help out.

The birth of social media has provided a new view of what perfect parenting is supposed to look like. We are encouraged to compare ourselves with others, and we are also, says Thomas Curran, a social psychologist at the London School of Economics, becoming more perfectionist. Parenting has changed in recent years. Parents are more expectant, and are becoming more critical. That is because they are passing down pressures that they feel from society. Things have become tough, the job market has become more precarious, educational achievement has become very important for I hate to put it in these terms their childrens future market price. Theres a lot of pressure on parents now to ensure they raise successful children.

This will become more acute, he believes, at least in the shorter term. By 2050, it could have reversed. This current generation of young people, as they become parents themselves, my sense is that they will do things differently. They are pushing back against societal pressures. In terms of social media, they may not share endless photographs of their children, or do the kind of performative parenting that now often plays out online. I think they will be much better at educating and building awareness in their own children about [how manufactured] social media is.

The family in 2050 will be subject to external pressures nobody I speak to wants to confidently predict; the only certain thing is how diverse families will be in the coming decades. The moral panic about the rapid decline of the nuclear (heterosexual) family hasnt proved justified. What were finding is that family structure is actually less important for children than the quality of relationships within families, says Golombok. And also the social acceptance of their family in the wider world. Families are changing and its not necessarily a bad thing for children or parents.

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The family in 2050: artificial wombs, robot carers and the rise of single fathers by choice - The Guardian

HLS Therapeutics Announces Health Canada Approval for Vascepa to Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Events – Yahoo Finance

TORONTO , Dec. 31, 2019 /CNW/ - HLS Therapeutics Inc. ("HLS" or the "Company") (HLS.TO), a specialty pharmaceutical company focusing on central nervous system and cardiovascular markets, is pleased to announce that Health Canada has approved the use of Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, coronary revascularization or hospitalization for unstable angina) in statin-treated patients with elevated triglycerides, who are at high risk of cardiovascular events due to established cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, and at least one other cardiovascular risk factor. HLS in-licensed the exclusive rights to Vascepa for the Canadian market from Amarin Corporation (AMRN) in 2017.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and Vascepa provides a new treatment option for healthcare practitioners to enhance cardiovascular protection for the many Canadians at risk of a cardiac event," said Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif , Cardiologist and Director, Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre.

In the global REDUCE-IT cardiovascular outcomes study, approximately 28 percent of patients in the control arm treated with statins and other contemporary therapy but not treated with Vascepa experienced a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE), defined as the first occurrence of either myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, coronary revascularization, unstable angina requiring hospitalization or cardiovascular death.2As evidenced by this MACE occurrence, there is a group of patients who, despite controlling their cholesterol on statin therapy, continue to have a high need for additional preventative cardiovascular care. For those adult patients in this group who have elevated serum triglycerides (TG) levels (1.5mmol/L and < 5.6mmol/L) and established cardiovascular disease or diabetes and at least one additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Vascepa showed a 25% risk reduction in the first occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events and is the first drug approved to help reduce this persistent cardiovascular risk in that specified population.

"As approved by Health Canada, Vascepa is intended to address a serious, life-threatening condition for which no drug is currently marketed in Canada , and for which there is substantial evidence of clinical effectiveness of the treatment. These factors led to Health Canada's priority review of the product and now serve as the foundation for Vascepa to be a transformative product for HLS," said Greg Gubitz , CEO of HLS. "Looking ahead, we are now in the final phase of preparation for the commercial launch of Vascepa in Canada , which we expect will take place in the mid-February 2020 timeframe."

Vascepa is the subject of numerous Canadian issued patents and pending patents with expiration dates which could extend to 2039. The eligible patents will be added to Health Canada's Patent Register following receipt of NOC and in accordance with Health Canada's process.

The approval of Vascepa is supported by data from REDUCE-IT2, an 8,179-patient cardiovascular outcomes study that was completed in 2018. REDUCE-IT was the first multinational cardiovascular outcomes study that evaluated the effect of pure and stable EPA therapy as an add-on to statins in patients with high cardiovascular risk who, despite stable statin therapy, had elevated serum triglyceride levels (1.5mmol/L and <5.6mmol/L). A large portion of the male and female patients enrolled in this outcomes study were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. REDUCE-IT studied Vascepa at four grams/day as compared to placebo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Vascepa(icosapent ethyl) capsules to reduce cardiovascular risk in December 2019 . More information on the REDUCE-IT study results can be found at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1812792

HLS paid Amarin $5.0 million to in-license the exclusive Canadian rights to Vascepa in 2017 and a further $2.5 million on the successful REDUCE-IT trial results in 2018. As a result of this approval by Health Canada, HLS will pay a further $2.5 million milestone payment. All amounts are in U.S. dollars.

Story continues

ABOUT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE Worldwide, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the #1 cause of mortality of men and women.

Multipleprimary and secondary preventiontrials have shown a significant reduction of 25% to 35% in the risk ofcardiovascular eventswithstatintherapy, leaving significant persistent residual risk despite the achievement of target LDL-C levels.3

Beyond the cardiovascular risk associated with LDL-C, genetic, epidemiologic, clinical and real-world data suggest that patients with elevated triglycerides (TG) (fats in the blood), and TG-rich lipoproteins, are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.4, 5, 6, 7

ABOUT VASCEPA (ICOSAPENT ETHYL) CAPSULES Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) capsules are a single-molecule prescription product consisting of the omega-3 acid commonly known as EPA in ethyl-ester form (known as icosapent ethyl or IPE). Vascepa is derived from fish through a stringent and complex FDA-regulated manufacturing process designed to effectively eliminate impurities and isolate and protect the single molecule active ingredient icosapent ethyl from degradation. Amarin has been issued multiple patents internationally based on the unique clinical profile of Vascepa, including the drug's ability to lower triglyceride levels in relevant patient populations without raising LDL-cholesterol levels.

ABOUT HLS THERAPEUTICS INC.Formed in 2015, HLS is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition and commercialization of late stage development, commercial stage promoted and established branded pharmaceutical products in the North American markets. HLS's focus is on products targeting the central nervous system and cardiovascular therapeutic areas. HLS's management team is composed of seasoned pharmaceutical executives with a strong track record of success in these therapeutic areas and at managing products in each of these lifecycle stages. For more information visit: http://www.hlstherapeutics.com

FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATIONThis release includes forward-looking statements regarding HLS and its business. Such statements are based on the current expectations and views of future events of HLS's management. In some cases the forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as "may", "will", "expect", "plan", "anticipate", "intend", "potential", "estimate", "believe" or the negative of these terms, or other similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements, including, among others, statements with respect to HLS's pursuit of additional product and pipeline opportunities in certain therapeutic markets, statements regarding growth opportunities and expectations regarding financial performance. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting HLS, including risks relating to the specialty pharmaceutical industry, risks related to the regulatory approval process, economic factors and many other factors beyond the control of HLS. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause HLS's actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statement or information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or information. A discussion of the material risks and assumptions associated with this release can be found in the Company's Annual Information Form dated April 1, 2019 , which has been filed on SEDAR and can be accessed at http://www.sedar.com. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or information. Except as required by applicable securities laws, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and HLS undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

REFERENCES1 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death2 Bhatt DL, Steg PG, Miller M, Brinton EA, Jacobson TA, Ketchum SB, Doyle RT, Juliano RA, Jiao L, Granowitz C, Tardif JC, Ballantyne CM. Cardiovascular Risk Reduction with Icosapent Ethyl for Hypertriglyceridemia. N Engl J Med2019;380:11-22.3Ganda OP, Bhatt DL, Mason RP, et al. Unmet need for adjunctive dyslipidemia therapy in hypertriglyceridemia management. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;72(3):330-343.4Budoff M. Triglycerides and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in the causal pathway of cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 2016;118:138-145.5Toth PP, Granowitz C, Hull M, et al. High triglycerides are associated with increased cardiovascular events, medical costs, and resource use: A real-world administrative claims analysis of statin-treated patients with high residual cardiovascular risk. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018;7(15):e008740.6Nordestgaard BG. Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease - New insights from epidemiology, genetics, and biology. Circ Res. 2016;118:547-563.7Nordestgaard BG, Varbo A. Triglycerides and cardiovascular disease. Lancet. 2014;384:626635.

SOURCE HLS Therapeutics Inc.

View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2019/31/c3447.html

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HLS Therapeutics Announces Health Canada Approval for Vascepa to Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Events - Yahoo Finance

#4: What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight. | Top 10 2019 – Big Think

Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is an historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher, an award-winning writer, and an (im)patient advocate. Dregers latest major work is Galileos Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.

ALICE DREGER: We don't actually know the extent to which gender is socially constructed because you can't do an experiment where you remove culture and see what happens. So we don't know to what extent what we see as gendered patterns are the result of sex, biological sex, males and females. We know that gender differs according to culture, but we also know that there are patterns that appear to be fairly universal in terms of gender norms. And the ones that are more universal are more likely to probably have a sex bases to it, an evolved-to-sex basis, that is to say biological basis for males and females. So, for example, which gender serves a very important meal may be different by different cultures. So in some cultures a man will serve a very important meal versus a woman. So for example, think about it in the United States that historically speaking the father carves the turkey on Thanksgiving, but in general women prepare food historically speaking. So what we know is that these kinds of things can differ by culture, but that there are some "universals". And one of the universals we find, for example, is in childhood play that we find that children who are girls tend to do more social play, they tend to do more social role-play. Children who are boys tend to do more competitive play, they tend to do more play that mimics aggression or that mimics sport and mimics sometimes building, and so there are these kinds of patterns. But that doesn't mean everybody fits them.

And it's really interesting actually too if you look cross-culturally scientists find evidence that this may have it's not just gender, that there's a sexuality component to it too. So boys who are going to grow up and be gay, and we know who they are because of retrospectively they grow up to be gay, they're what's called androphilic, that is to say they're attracted to males. And the majority of females are also attracted to males, so most females are androphilic and a small percentage of boys will grow up to be androphilic. We know that historically speaking, cross-culturally they tend to be more feminine in terms of their interests, they're more interested in social role-play, for example, they're more interested in helping their mothers, they're more interested in associating with girls as young children and more interested in dressing as girls, for example. That doesn't mean that they are girls, but it does suggest to us that sexuality and gender have interplayed components in them, that gender isn't just about social role but it has something to do with sexuality and that there's a reason females end up with these kind of patterns and males end up with these kinds of patterns and when you have a male who's attracted to males he ends up with a little bit more of the female pattern and in some circumstances if you have a girl and she's attracted to girls she'll end up with a little bit more of the male pattern in childhood.

So gender and sexual orientation seem to have sort of some connection to each other, but it's not a perfect connection in terms of absolute correlation and so we can't say that we can easily predict what would be somebody's gender role or sexual orientation simply by looking at some of the components.

Evolution would naturally favor heterosexuality because that's how you get babies. And so if we're thinking about genes trying to produce genes it would make no sense to have genes that would lead to people who don't reproduce, because those genes would not be reproduced. That said, we know cross-culturally gay people exist. So we know that that's a natural variation in the population. And so then scientists ask the really interesting question, why is that there? Why does that not disappear over time? Because at least in theory that should lead to lower reproductive fitness, which means it should lead to fewer babies, and so it should fade out evolutionarily speaking. One possibility is that it's a side effect, that human variation is good for the species and so evolution is responding to the situation not by reducing necessarily everything that doesn't work, but saying "Let's keep throwing up variation, and some of it will work in some environments and some of it will work in other environments." Being a varied species makes a species more resilient.

So it may be the case that being gay if you're born that way is just a variation on a theme and it will show up every now and then just because variations show up. But some scientists find some evidence that there may actually be advantages to a family of having a certain percentage of the children be gay. And this is work done, for example, by Paul Vasey at the University of Lethbridge. And he's been looking at the population in Samoa as well as other places, but Samoa as a cultural system that actually recognizes that a certain percentage of the boys are going to grow up to be androphilic, they're going to be interested in men sexually. And they actually have a whole cultural system for it. They have a third gender category called the fa'afafine and when a boy it becomes evident is that kind of boy the child is raised as a girl and becomes a woman culturally speaking but that doesn't change her body at all but partners with men. So in our culture that would be called transgenderism, but in this culture it's a third gender category that absorbs what in our culture might just turn out to be gay men. And what Paul has found is that when he looks at the families that have fa'afafine within them the fa'afafine are not using up a lot of resources, because they're not themselves having childrenthese are big-family culturesbut they do take their own earnings and they direct it at their nieces and nephews. And that means you have more adults producing more resources for a smaller number of children. So biologically there may be an advantage for families to have a certain number of gay children, because those people will not reproduce but they will take care of the nieces and nephews. And so overall the population, the genetics of a family will be continued on because that family has a genetic advantage.

And when you think about it we have this sort of stereotype of the gay uncle who takes care of the nieces and nephews in terms of providing for them and providing extra resources, and they're not spending it on their own kids, they're spending it on their sister's and brother's children, that might be a possible evolutionary explanation for why it is that we see homosexuality persist in the human system. It's also the case, we know from work done by Ray Blanchard in Canada, that a certain number of men who will grow up to be gay get that way not through genetics per se, but they get that way in the womb. So it's inborn but not genetic. And what happens is apparently well we know statistically from huge studies now if a mother has lots of pregnancies of males every successive male will be a little bit more likely to be gay. So the farther down you go in that sibling chain the more likely it is that the later-born males will be gay. This has been studied in many populations in the world, large numbers, and it's rigorous. We know that this is true. So why would that be? Well, it looks like it's a kind of side effect: the mother's immune system appears to be reacting to male hormones and maybe dampening them down a little bit, and this results in something called the fraternal birth order effect, which is that later born males are more likely to be gay. It's a surprising finding because it suggests to us that some men are absolutely born gay but not because of genetics, they're born gay because of the birth order in terms of some sort of effect having on a woman's system, which is reacting to her children's system, and it only occurs in males, it doesn't occur in females. And that's part of the reason why the theory is it's an immune response because it doesn't occur with females it only occurs with males born out of the same womb. So that's something I've colloquially called womb-gay, but it's called the fraternal birth order effect. And I think the evidence is very strong that a certain percentage of gay people are born that way. We do not have good evidence that straight people are born that way. We don't bother to look for that evidence. Straight people have been less interesting to scientists than gay people in terms of where they come from. And that's because there's a heterosexist assumption that straight people "require no explanation" and gay people "require explanation."

I mean in terms of evolution gay people do require an explanation. Logically speaking we should say "Well that's not a very 'successful strategy,'" as it's called in science, it doesn't lead to a higher reproductive fitness meaning it doesn't lead to more babies. So logically you would want to explain gay people. But it's also a political issue that basically straight people have required no explanation and gay people have required explanation. And some of the explanations historically have been rather unpleasant, like blaming mothers who are frigid or overly clingy in the case of being gay"over clingy mothers make gay boys." What we know from cross-cultural studies is that gay boys are more interested in being with their mothers than straight boys, and so it's not that the mothers are more clingy it's that the boys are more tolerant of time with their mothers.So we've studied much more about gay people that we have studied about straight people, and straight people remain largely a mystery as to how they operate. What makes them straight? We don't really know. We also don't know why gay people are attracted to each other anymore than we know why straight people are attracted to each other. We have hints about smells and about genetic interactions and about facial symmetry, but we really know very little about why straight people are straight and why gay people are gay.

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#4: What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight. | Top 10 2019 - Big Think

Female Yellowstone Bison Transferred To Other Herds In New Program – Utah Public Radio

Thirty million bison once roamed the American West. Now, only 21-thousand remain that are managed as wildlife. But this week, for the first time, female bison are being transferred out of Yellowstone National Park in a new program to build other herds. The animals will be retested for disease before release.

Chamois Andersen with Defenders of Wildlife said the bison in Yellowstone are highly prized as direct descendants of the original herds.

"Yellowstone bison are of high genetics in terms of the wildest herd, Andersen said. And any entity right now on the plains that has a wild herd of bison wants Yellowstone bison."

On Tuesday, 14 cow-calf pairs were taken from Yellowstone to be retested for brucellosis -- a disease that affects cattle -- at a state-of-the-art veterinary facility built by the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

The females then will be released to herds in places that could benefit, such as the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and Blackfeet Indian Reservations in Montana, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and Wind Cave and Badlands national parks in South Dakota.

Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s, and some of that was an effort by settlers to deprive Native American tribes of their main food source and drive them off their lands. Andersen says these magnificent creatures -- our national mammal -- are an important part of Western heritage.

"We will nowhere see the 30 million wild bison on the plains like Lewis and Clark did back in the early 1800s, Andersen said. But if we can build these herds, we're doing everything we can to bring it back."

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Female Yellowstone Bison Transferred To Other Herds In New Program - Utah Public Radio

It Was A Tough Year For Heterosexuality – BuzzFeed News

Kate Bubacz, Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News

Before most people had had the chance to sit down and actually watch Noah Baumbachs new movie Marriage Story on Netflix, a pivotal fight scene late in the film made the rounds on Twitter. Charlie (Adam Driver), a charismatic but demanding theater director, is having it out with his soon-to-be ex-wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson). She wants to start over in her hometown of Los Angeles after a decadelong stint in New York as an actor in Charlies company, helping him make his dreams come true; the problem is that Charlie doesnt want their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson) to live full-time with her across the country. After trying to deal with their separation amicably for most of the film, tensions boil over and both spouses end up screaming at each other.

Part of the reason that the clip went viral before evolving into an all-purpose meme was that people felt the need to weigh in on whether Driver and Johanssons acting is actually any good. (My take: Theyre good! Him especially.) But the other, more significant reason this scene has whipped the internet into a frenzy is because Marriage Storys release came at the close of another year another decade in which mainstream American culture has attempted to wrestle with the dilemma of (white, middle class) heterosexuality and the question of whether it might be an ultimately doomed project.

All the jokes about Marriage Story painting a portrait of heterosexual implosion struck me as perfect examples of what Indiana Seresin, writing for the New Inquiry in October, called heteropessimism, which she defines as performative disaffiliations with heterosexuality, usually expressed in the form of regret, embarrassment, or hopelessness about straight experience. Heteropessimism generally has a heavy focus on men as the root of the problem, and its performances are rarely accompanied by the actual abandonment of heterosexuality. While some people do act choosing celibacy or the now largely outmoded option of political lesbianism most of them just lament the prison of straightness without attempting to either break free from or transform it.

The #MeToo movement, which kicked off in late 2017, forced a nationwide reckoning with gendered power imbalances and abuse in the workplace. But there has yet to be another comparably serious reckoning, nearly 50 years after Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, with gendered power imbalances in straight couples personal lives.

This year, a trove of both fiction and nonfiction books, like Taffy Brodesser-Akners novel Fleishman Is in Trouble, about a marriage on the brink, and Lisa Taddeos Three Women, a report on the sad state of straight romance, explored the rocky terrain of heterosexuality at the end of the 2010s. Hollywood has also tried to reckon with straight men in crisis, in everything from The Irishman to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, but in ways that still position women as secondary characters, inevitable losers, or both. Weve watched straight people try to find love under extreme and unsavory conditions see: Love Island just as weve watched them try to figure out how, or even if, to salvage love gone sour, like on Showtimes docuseries Couples Therapy or via the tragically hilarious r/relationships thread on Reddit. Weve rooted for millennial hetero love in work created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Sally Rooney, even when that love seemed hopeless or impossible. We've swooned over the March sisters, brought alive again thanks to Greta Gerwig's new adaptation of Little Women, who must contend with the bleak economic realities of straight marriage even as they try to find love too (in men or perhaps just in books). Weve seen people give up on the doomed promise of straight romance altogether to embrace communal cult life instead; is there any more perfect paean to heteropessimism than Ari Asters Midsommar?

Giving up on the promise of heterosexuality does make a sort of sense (if joining a murder cult doesnt quite). Feminism isnt the bugbear it once was, and many men have been encouraged to embrace its tenets in both public and private life. But study after study has shown that, across socioeconomic classes, womens increased participation in the job market has not been matched by nearly as significant an increase in mens labor at home not to mention all the other ways that casual sexism, even from the most enlightened of men, can manifest itself in straight relationships.

There has yet to be another serious reckoning, nearly 50 years after Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, with gendered power imbalances in straight couples personal lives.

Online dating has offered us a trove of new data that confirms the hetero matchmaking world is as bleak as ever: Mens desirability peaks at age 50, while womens peaks at 18; advanced degrees can hurt womens dating chances; mens preferences are often just thinly veiled covers for straightforward racism. When attempting to find a partner, the odds remain stacked against women who arent conventionally hot, white, and smart but not too smart. And after making it through the dating world, women are still more likely than men to be unhappily married. Then, at the very end of their lives, men older than 85 report less life satisfaction if their spouse dies, while women whose husbands die actually get happier once the men are gone. Even making it to 85 unscathed feels like a feat for women when the world is still plagued by shocking levels of intimate partner violence. In the face of all these bleak statistics, who could really blame straight women for being less than thrilled with their own straightness?

Still, not even vehement heteropessimism seems to be encouraging straight people to actively question their own straightness. Like Seresin, and like most other lesbians, Ive been on the receiving end of what feels like a million drunk straight women bemoaning their lot in life, insisting things would be sooooo much easier if they were queer. That men are trash is not something I am personally invested in disputing, Seresin writes. Yet in announcing her wish to be gay, the speaker carelessly glosses over the fact that she has chosen to stay attached to heterosexuality.

The modern, progressively minded tendency to trash straightness at every turn and Im including gay people here too, though straight people doing it are way more annoying and, Id argue, much more harmful has meant that queerness among certain circles is placed on a pedestal that it doesnt always necessarily deserve. Even though I dont envy straight women for having to find a decent man in our misogynistic hellhole of a society, its not always easier to be a lesbian. For one thing, we have to deal with, you know, systemic homophobia. And for another, women can be shitty and abusive and, as bell hooks reminds us, just as capable of sexism as men are. Seresin points out, too, that a certain strain of heteropessimism assigns 100 percent of the blame for heterosexualitys malfunction to men, and has thus become one of the myriad ways in which young women especially white women have learned to disclaim our own cruelty and power.

So, while heteropessimism is a perfectly understandable impulse, its not necessarily getting us anywhere. Seresin again, To be permanently, preemptively disappointed in heterosexuality is to refuse the possibility of changing straight culture for the better. But what might a true transformation of straight culture really look like?

Florence Pugh in Midsommar (2019)

One of the ways straight (white) women, in particular, have performatively distanced themselves from their own heterosexuality is through what Emmeline Clein, writing for BuzzFeed News, called disassociation feminism. Perhaps in response to stereotypes about female hysteria Seresin mentions the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme Clein and other women shes observed instead now seem to be interiorizing our existential aches and angst, smirking knowingly at them, and numbing ourselves to maintain our nonchalance.

Its been nearly five years since Alana Massey wrote her viral opus Against Chill in which she defines straight dating culture as the Blas Olympics. Its a culture that pressures you especially if youre a woman to forgo the language of courtship and desire, lest we appear invested somehow in other human beings. Heteropessimism isnt disassociation, exactly Seresin calls it a disaffiliation but its born of a similar impulse: an attempt to escape the inescapable.

Long before I developed any sort of feminist consciousness, I learned that, in order to be the kind of girl a boy wanted, Id have to develop some level of ironic detachment from the objects of my desires. I was a proud little misandrist in the making, wearing my Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them! shirt as often as I could in middle school. There was no greater satisfaction, at that time in my life, than beating boys at soccer during recess. I believed wholeheartedly in the girl power of the early aughts, even though, as much as I loved making fun of them or running them ragged on the soccer pitch, I desperately wanted a boy any boy! to think I was cute and cool. It was all incredibly confusing.

When I got older, my earliest hookups with guys were one part thrilling (male attention!) and three parts uncomfortable, gross, and humiliating. I got the impression that this was all par for the course. From high school through college, both my peers and pop culture at large signified to me that penises are nasty and blowjobs are a chore. Actually liking it would just make you a crazy slut, after all. Okay, so nobody really wants to do all this, but we just have to do it anyway, I thought as I blundered my awkwardly heterosexual way into my early twenties.

At the time, my friends and I were vaguely aware of the pop feminist discourse surrounding sex positivity, but we didnt know about its sex-negative backlash; rather, we unwittingly tended to pluck out the worst tenets of both. We knew that straightforward slut-shaming was bad, but still looked askance at girls who got too messy in their boy lust; we volunteered for the university office that dealt with intimate partner violence, but didnt know what to do when one of our friends boyfriends got so angry at her that he put his head through a sliding glass door.

At the beginning of my first year I told a dorm room full of my new friends that I thought I was bisexual, and after the dead silence that greeted this news, I decided not to bring it up again for another three years. Instead, with the kind but ultimately misguided permission of my sweet college boyfriend, I started exploring my interest in girls at first, sort of secretly and shamefully. Then, after years of run-of-the-mill bad sex with boys who were becoming men, as well as a few too many instances of coercion and assault, I finally figured out that sex didnt have to be so miserable all the time. I liked girls! Not only did I like them, I liked having sex with them!

Steeped as I was in a world insisting on heterosexuality as the norm even when it made me, my now-divorced parents, and most of my friends profoundly unhappy I hadnt previously realized (or dared to believe) that lesbianism was an option for me. Sometimes I wonder if I hadnt joined a rugby team my sophomore year and befriended, then later dated, the proudly out queer people I met through the sport, I might have just continued to be shunted along on the conveyor belt of heterosexuality toward my capitalism-approved future as a husbands wife and the mother of his children.

Heteropessimism isnt disassociation, exactly, but its born of a similar impulse: an attempt to escape the inescapable.

In Adrienne Richs famous essay from 1980, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, Rich takes issue with the forces like capitalism and pop culture that have long convinced women that their sexual orientation toward men is inevitable, even if heterosexuality is an unsatisfying or oppressive component of their lives. Rich notes that there is no statistical documentation of the numbers of lesbians who have remained in heterosexual marriages for most of their lives a group of nameless and unrepresented women I think of often, whose ranks I easily might have joined. She references a letter the playwright Lorraine Hansberry wrote to the early lesbian publication the Ladder, which ran from the 50s through the early 70s: How could we ever begin to guess the numbers of women who are not prepared to risk a life alien to what they have been taught all their lives to believe was their natural destiny and their only expectation for economic security?

The born this way model of human sexuality would suggest that were all hardwired to prefer one or more genders; gayness, straightness, or bisexuality would then simply be our biological destiny. But just this year scientists have yet again debunked the existence of a gay gene, finding in a major study that multiple genes could influence the emergence of a persons same-sex orientation though only 25% of sexual behavior can be explained by genetics, with the rest influenced by environmental and cultural factors.

In other words, our sexual behavior is mostly shaped by the world we live in. And yet the mainstream assumption has barely changed since Rich was writing nearly 40 years ago: Everyone is presumed straight until proven otherwise (though for women, all the proof in the world is sometimes still not enough).

From left: Adam Driver, Azhy Robertson, Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story.

Heteropessimism has always had a role to play in the queer world too, but in the age of social media, that role has become much more clearly defined: Its a way for strangers to question the boundaries of each others queer identities.

Declaring ourselves aesthetically, ethically, romantically, and just all-around superior to straight people is an everyday aspect of life on the queer internet. So are regular occurrences of bisexuals accusing lesbians of biphobia, and lesbians accusing them of lesbophobia in turn. These fights ultimately both come down to the question of whether or not bi people are at least adjacent to the straight world and, if so, whether they benefit to some extent from straight-passing privilege.

The actor Evan Rachel Wood, one of the most prominent voices on Bi Twitter, recently tweeted that her relationships with men are still queer, echoing sentiments expressed earlier this year by Miley Cyrus (before her separation) about how she queered her straight marriage with Liam Hemsworth. You shouldnt judge a book by its cover, Wood wrote in her tweet thread. A man and a woman can still encounter prejudice in a seemingly hetero relationship. The tweets received a lot of love and support from other bi women who find that their queerness is invalidated when theyre in relationships with men; she also received some criticism from lesbians, who tweeted responses like, if a bi woman and a bi man are walking down the street holding hands you think theyll get decked by a mind reading homophobe?

A lot of whats deemed anti-bi or bisexual erasure on the internet is really just a version of heteropessimism: Jokes suggesting that women who willingly date men when they have the option not to are, if not bad or wrong, then just kind of embarrassing. The critic Andrea Long Chu is probably still getting angry @-replies to this tweet from last year: str8 married bi girls are like those kids who studied abroad in college and five years later are still somehow weaving it into every conversation. like we get it christa you lived in madrid.

Though bisexuality is still heavily stigmatized, I do reflect back on the years when I quietly identified as bi and enjoyed the very real social and economic privileges that came along with publicly dating my college boyfriend while sleeping with girls on the side. I thought I was a boring normie, rather than the cool radical I secretly longed to be, so I sympathize with bi people in straight-seeming relationships who feel like theyre not considered queer enough. That was my reality for a long time. But still, it turns out that the pressures from a minority subgroup to be sufficiently queer (whatever that really means) didnt hold nearly so much sway over my choices as the enormous and practically incalculable pressures of compulsory heterosexuality.

Those pressures are so powerful, Rich writes, that many women fail to recognize how deeply weve internalized women-hatred until it takes some permanently unmistakable and shattering form in our own lives. For me, that moment was when I fell in love with one of the queer people I was sleeping with in college, who happened to be one of my best friends, and finally worked up the nerve on the night before graduation to end my straight relationship for good.

I dont think the solution to heteropessimism is for everybody to suddenly decide to be gay (though Id be into it). Political lesbianism, after all, didnt quite work out the first time around, and our desires dont necessarily make us any more morally righteous than those who desire differently than we do.

But even though becoming a lesbian didnt automatically make me a better person, it did make me a hell of a lot happier. Its scary to think that this wasnt always going to be my destiny, and its really hard to imagine my life would be any better if Id remained a disillusioned member of the straight world. I have to assume that, if everybody keeps complaining about heterosexualitys dark sides while the institution itself remains a compulsory organizing structure for so much of American life, an extraordinary number of women (and men) might not know what theyre missing.

It should go without saying but is worth repeating anyway that queer relationships arent necessarily happier or healthier than straight ones. And one of the risks of heteropessimism is that it can actually obscure the ways in which gay relationships can also be plagued by toxicity and abuse. In her extraordinary new memoir In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado documents the year she spent in an abusive relationship with another woman. I enter into the archive, she writes in the books prologue, that domestic abuse between partners who share a gender identity is both possible and not uncommon, and that it can look something like this. In experimental, fragmented sections corresponding with different literary conceits, Machado places her own narrative within the all-too-limited tradition of lesbians and bisexual women grappling with their own experiences of abuse and assault.

Though all victims of intimate partner violence need to contend with a society (and a police state) that so often belittles, disbelieves, and even punishes them, queer women survivors are uniquely disenfranchised, because their female partners are often assumed to be incapable of really harming anyone.

In a recent essay about transmasculinity and feminism for the New Inquiry, Noah Zazanis writes about how, before transitioning, learning how hed been harmed by patriarchy helped him to stop blaming himself for the violence done to him. But it also meant that my conceptualization of my own reality, and my right to label these experiences as violence, was inextricably tied to seeing myself as a woman or at least, within this binary framework of who harms and who is harmed, as not a man.

The dominant narrative of domestic violence holding that men abuse women something that is, indeed, devastatingly common in heterosexual pairings also elides a less widely publicized story that LGBTQ people are just as likely, if not more likely, to experience abuse from their partners. And individual survivors, both in the midst of these relationships or long afterward, are often robbed of the opportunity and power to claim the facts of their experiences. I wrote this book because I was looking for something that didnt exist, Machado told BuzzFeed News in November.

Heteropessimism, and our fixation on mens fallibility, doesnt only help straight women evade responsibility for their bad behavior; it can help lesbians do it too. I thought about that unpleasant little trick while watching the first few episodes of The L Word: Generation Q, this years reboot of the beloved Showtime series that ended its first run in 2009. Resident bad bitch Bette (Jennifer Beals), whos running for mayor of Los Angeles, faces a major campaign setback when the husband of a woman shed been sleeping with who was also working for her at the time publicly accuses her of the affair. (Its a creepily prescient plotline following the recent resignation of member of Congress Katie Hill.)

After the rally, Bettes commiserating with her two best friends, Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Shane (Katherine Moennig), who basically tell her she has nothing to worry about. Bette suspects that the scorned husband is just upset that his wife slept with a woman, which threatens his manhood. But neither Bettes friends nor her campaign staffers think to admonish her for seducing, and sleeping with, one of her employees a clear abuse of power, regardless of gender.

Another similarly cringey moment in the show arrived with the debut of its first special celebrity guest, soccer star Megan Rapinoe. I agree with lesbian critic Trish Bendix, who also got weird vibes from the segment in which Rapinoe goes on Alices talk show. Alice is flirtatious with Megan, and I find that really gross in a journalistic setting, no matter the gender or sexuality of a reporter or guest, she wrote. Though I suppose were supposed to find it charming that Alice nudges Rapinoe to admit that Alice is her celebrity crush, I instead just found it awkward and inappropriate. But again, because were so used to condemning men in positions of power for their behavior with women, and so unwilling to recognize the ways that women, and especially white women, can abuse their positions, heteropessimism (and its inverse homo-optimism?) encourages us to let some of this stuff slide.

The goal here isnt to pit queerness and straightness against each other, however. Rather, Im curious about ways in which we can try to encourage romantic partners of all persuasions to be compassionate, mindful of their own power and privilege, and interested in transforming their own dating universes (whether queer or straight) for the better.

Jennifer Beals in The L Word: Generation Q.

So how are we actually supposed to deal with the myriad pitfalls of heterosexuality without writing it off altogether? Diana Tourje, a journalist at Vice, has been doing a lot of compelling and controversial work on this subject. Shes written beautifully about being caught in a culture of male shame and discretion as a trans woman whose partners prefer not to publicly acknowledge that she exists. Shes also done extensive reporting on straight men who find themselves attracted to trans women and has even made the case that transamorous men are a part of the trans community itself. She takes on the horrifying statistic that more than half of all trans women have experienced intimate partner violence, and the fact that many of them, especially trans women of color, will die from it.

Tourje believes that cis men, instead of just being the perpetrators of these problems, are actually essential to solving them. She wites, The longer cis men who love trans women believe their sexuality needs no definition or is best kept private, their bad behavior will continue to be passed down from one generation to the next, as trans women shoulder a burden that cis men could help carry.

Heteropessimism, and our fixation on mens fallibility, doesnt only help straight women evade responsibility for their bad behavior; it can help lesbians do it too.

Tourjes writings about transamorous men have met a lot of online pushback from other trans and gender-nonconforming writers, thinkers, and activists. BuzzFeed News contributor Alex Verman, in the Outline, argued that attempting to normalize and desensationalize the straight men who date trans women contributes to the idea that there is anything normal about a type of love that results in three murders per day. They reference Adrienne Richs work on compulsory heterosexuality to point out that womanhood is often imagined as something that follows from men, rather than existing apart from or alongside them. Heterosexuality creates gendered rules and expectations, rather than the other way around. To Verman, Maybe the issue isnt that men feel too much shame; perhaps, they dont feel enough.

This debate echoes more general feminist conversations about when, if ever, its appropriate to prioritize helping men achieve more healthy visions of masculinity, both to improve their own outlooks on life and to help them stop being so terrible to women. How much of the feminist project should actually be centered on men?

Journalist Liz Plank, for her part, thinks the project of male improvement is a worthy cause, as evidenced by her new book, For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity. So does journalist-turned-psychologist Darcy Lockman, who was inspired by frustrations in her own marriage to write All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership, an investigation into why, in households where both parents work full-time and agree that tasks should be equally shared, mothers household management, mental labor, and childcare contributions still outweigh fathers.

Lockman reports that the third biggest reason for the dissolution of straight marriages is unfair division of labor at home. Rather than succumb to a heteropessimistic impulse to assume that boys will be boys, Lockman dives deep into the makings of men and women who grow up to take on heterosexual partnerships, debunks myths of maternal instinct and biologically essentialist gender roles, and explores all the ways in which men evade their responsibilities to their wives and families, from passive resistance to strategic incompetence.

Lockmans book is chock-full of fascinating findings about women lowering their expectations so they can stand to be married to people who arent pulling their full weight. One of the ideas I found most compelling is that, in France, where theres less explicitly feminist rhetoric, women report a lot less anger at and frustration with their husbands in large part due to distributive care of the French state. French womens husbands arent doing anything significantly different than their American counterparts, but in France, free universal daycare and other social programs take on a significant amount of the burden of raising children; American mothers dont receive enough help from their husbands or the state.

Lockman also notes that, over the past few decades, American women have always been likely to report high feelings of communality, like expressivity, warmth, and concern for the welfare of others. Men, meanwhile, are barely any more invested in communality than they have been in decades past those numbers are still, as always, quite low.

If men are so resistant to communality, what if we were to bring the communality to them? France and other countries with progressive social programs have certainly not solved the problems born from sexism or misogyny, but encouraging a culture in which we are all responsible for each others well-being rather than merely responsible for our own nuclear families could have real, radical results. Audre Lorde has written about how the sharing of work can also be the sharing of joy, which makes us less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.

In her essay on heteropessimism, Seresin writes that the concept is often framed as an anti-capitalist one: a refusal of the good life of marital consumption and property ownership that capitalism once mandated. Yet this good life, which was always withheld from marginalized populations, is now untenable for almost everyone. Heteropessimism hasnt actually succeeded in pushing back against capitalist forces at all; its only helped encourage a change of subject. If the couple was the primary consumer unit of the past, Seresin argues, today this has collapsed, or more accurately been replaced by a new dyad, the individual consumer and her phone.

Its tempting to consider that straightness is so doomed that our only option, for queer and straight people alike, is to disavow heteronormativity altogether eschewing marriage, family, all of it and simply focus on ourselves; its us against the world. But what if we instead used our heteropessimism to encourage each other to reach beyond the bounds of the self and beyond the bounds of our romantic partnerships and nuclear families to imagine a better world for us all?

The problem with heterosexualitys stranglehold on the organization of American life isnt only the way it produces and reproduces gender roles that limit both men and women. It also keeps us trapped in the assumption (and the political reality) that finding a mate is our best chance at survival. I choose to believe to hope that together, we can find a better way.

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It Was A Tough Year For Heterosexuality - BuzzFeed News

Revisited: Bidding farewell to the famous Skidoo Charolais pedigree herd – Agriland

In September of this year,the Skidoo female pedigree Charolais cattle went under the hammer.

Prior to the sale, we caught up with farm manager, Donal Callery and his three-man team, to chat about the history of the Skidoo herd and what lies ahead for the Dublin-based farm.

The Skidoo farm needs no introduction as itwill be known in almost all farming circles both at national and international level.

The Skidoo herd originates all the way back to 1966, when the farm owner at the time Omer Van Landeghem introduced some of the first Charolais cattle onto the island of Ireland.

This did not just happen overnight, and after eight years of striving, Van Landeghem succeeded in his quest to bring Charolais cattle to north Co. Dublin.

In 1966, the Charolais heifers and bulls from France were quarantined on Spike Island in Cork Harbour, before arriving at their new home.

He continued to build up the herd here in Ireland, with famous sires such as:Shamrock Ambassador;Uranus; Emperor; Commander; and Flambeau. Other bulls such as Skidoo Champion and Skidoo Pacha are still popular among farmers today.

In 1995,Van Landeghem passed away and the farm and the herd were sold to local farmer and business professional, Pat McDonagh.

However, the Charolais breed and history was maintained on the farm, and in 2010, the reins of the farm were taken by Cavan man, Donal Callery.Donal Callery with some of the Charolais cows prior to the sale

Today, both the 100-cow Charolais pedigree herd and the 160-cow commercial herd are managed by Donal and his three-man team: assistant manager, Gerard Friel; stockman, Stephen Patton; and maintenance man, Anthony McDonagh. A tillage enterprise is also present on the farm.

The main focus and the main traits that Skidoo chased and always had was number one easy calving, and number two milky cows, Donal explained, when describing the backbone of the herd.

Im here 10 years and what we focused on was cow functionality a cow that could rear a calf herself. She has to have milk; she has to be fertile; and she has to have a calf every 365 days, along with sound feet and legs.

The pedigree herd is split calving 50% spring and 50% autumn, while 60% of the commercial herd calves in the springtime, with the remaining 40% calving in the autumn.

Up until this year, approximately 45 pedigree bulls were sold each year for breeding direct off-farm along with breeding heifers after replacements had been chosen keeping to the tune of a closed herd with optimum herd health status.

Herd health is paramount in relation to bio-security, and we have a strict vaccination programme in place. Also, the farm is surrounded by tillage fields and a closed herd has been maintained for many years, Donal added.

The vaccination programme protects against: leptospirosis; bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD); infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR); blackleg;rotavirus; and coronavirus.

Heifers from the commercial herd are finished on the farm aged 24 months, while bulls are sold at 12 months-of-age weighing 500kg for the under-16 month bull finishing market. The breeds used in the commercial herd include: Simmental; Limousin; and Charolais.

However, the decision, a move which Donal admits wasnt an easy one, was made last year a switch from beef to dairy production.Image source: Tricia Kennedy

For the time being, the commercial herd (60% AI and 40% stock bulls) will be kept on the farm.

When it comes to selecting bulls and sires, criteria was very much based around maternal traits, with the aim of building an elite-cow herd.

We wanted bulls that would be easy calving, high in fertility, and that were going to retain milk in the females, Donal explained.

We were breeding an animal that was early maturing thats what the market requires; those big carcasses are finished. All our cows are medium sized, with high traits for milk, fertility, carcass and conformation.

The herd is involved in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and Donal is a fan of the programme.

All the females here are genomicallytested and thats fantastic, he added.

In 2018, 300 cows were calved down, so having an easy-calving system was paramount to the system.

Pedigree heifers calve aged two and a half, while 50% of the commercial heifers (spring calvers) are calved at 24 months and the remaining 50% are calved at 30 months (autumn calvers).

The breeding season for the autumn-calving cows starts on December 1, and finishes on February 1 a strict eight-week breeding period.

The breeding period for the spring-calving herd commences on May 1 and continues until July 12. Additionally, all going to plan, weanlings are turned out to grass in early February.

The farm is described as extremely dry and Donal outlined that in a normal year cattle could be out grazing for 10 months of the year.

Therefore, grass is the main constituent in the diet, with calves only receiving meal six weeks pre-weaning and during the indoor period (2kg/head/day).

Were not selling any bulls at the moment because of the size of the sale, so we intend to have another sale for male animals in February next year, Donal said.Image source: Tricia Kennedy

The pedigree herd uses 100% AI.

Our foundation cows are cows that are going back to the likes of: Bowerhouses Topper; Oldstone Egbert; Jupiter; Domino; Major all the top female bloodlines; we have them.

The sires that are working very well at the moment are: Tombapic; Jumper, Nelson; Pirate; Doonally New CF52 (terminal traits); Bivouac; and Bourgogne theres a whole array of them that we used, the Cavan man explained.

Wheels are already in motion for the next chapter on the Skidoo farm. In spring 2021, approximately 300 black and white cows will enter into a new rotary parlour.

The overall target for the new dairy farm is 400 cows. While Donal is looking forward to this endeavor, he has not taken the decision lightly.

For this farm, beef farming at this stage is not justifiable as we pay staff because its 100% hired labour.

Im from a dairy farming background; we have a dairy farm at home and I managed a dairy farm when I qualified as a farm manager.

Saying that, I went into beef, and enjoyed beef; beef farming has been very good to me. I really enjoyed it but I always had the liking for dairy.

To be honest, to disperse the pedigree Charolais herd here, youre talking about genetics going back to 1966 the first Charolais genetics that was introduced to Ireland; there was a lot of work put into breeding.

We have built up a herd thats not alone known nationally, but internationally as well. It was a big decision that the pedigree Charolais herd has to go.

It was a thing that was not taken lightly, and it was a big decision to go away from beef farming; but for the moment, we are still retaining the commercial herd to see how things pan out, Donal explained.

Infrastructure on the farm is excellent and only minor adjustments have to be made to facilitate the new breed of cows, with the exception of the rotary parlour.

Winter accommodation is adequate, and cubicles will be installed in the near future.

Since taking over the managerial reins in 2010, Donal and his team have implemented a paddock and water system, and installed a road network throughout the holding.

Grass management, grass measuring and AI are all familiar practices on the farm, so there will be nothing new for the team to grasp on that front.

We were already doing a lot of things that the dairy man does with the beef herd grass measuring, heat detection and AI; Stephen and Gerardlook after the AI department, so were up to speed there.

In relation to grassland management, we know how to utilise grass and we know how to breed good cows, Donal added.Image source: Tricia Kennedy

Concluding, Donal said: Im very keen on the dairying. Once we made up our minds, we were very happy to go down that road.

It will be a sad, sad day to see the herd dispersed, but I have no doubt that the Skidoo name will live on because people will buy the genetics here and will have them for years to come.

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Revisited: Bidding farewell to the famous Skidoo Charolais pedigree herd - Agriland

Top 12 outstanding Estonians in the world 2019 – Estonian World

This Is ‘Lola,’ a 5,700-Year-Old Woman Whose Entire Life Is Revealed in Her ‘Chewing Gum’ – Livescience.com

Thousands of years ago, a young Neolithic woman in what is now Denmark chewed on a piece of birch pitch. DNA analysis of this prehistoric "chewing gum" has now revealed, in remarkable detail, what she looked like.

The team nicknamed the young Neolithic woman "Lola" after Lolland, the island in Denmark on which the 5,700-year-old chewing gum was discovered. The Stone Age archaeological site, Syltholm, on the island of Lolland, pristinely preserved the gum in mud for the thousands of years after Lola discarded it.

It was so well-preserved that a group of scientists at the University of Copenhagen were able to extract a complete ancient human genome all of the young girl's genetic material from it. They were also able to extract DNA from ancient pathogens and oral microbes that she carried in her mouth.

Related: In Images: An Ancient European Hunter Gatherer

This is the first time that an entire human genome was extracted from something other than human bones, according to a statement from the University of Copenhagen. The team's analysis revealed that the chewer of the prehistoric gum was female, and likely had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes. They found that Lola's genes matched more closely to hunter-gatherers from the European mainland than those who lived in central Scandinavia at the time.

The ancient chewing gum also held traces of plant and animal DNA, such as DNA from hazelnuts and duck, which might have been part of Lola's diet, according to the statement. Finally, scientists found genes associated with "lactase non-persistence," meaning Lola likely didn't digest dairy very well.

Other previous archeological finds from the site had suggested "that the people who occupied the site were heavily exploiting wild resources well into the Neolithic, which is the period when farming and domesticated animals were first introduced into southern Scandinavia," lead author Theis Jensen, a postdoctoral fellow from the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in the statement.

Finally, the researchers found DNA from oral microbes in the chewing gum, including DNA that could belong to the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, otherwise known as "mono" or the "kissing disease."

The birch pitch is a blackish-brown substance that's created by heating up birch bark. This substance has been used since the Paleolithic era as glue for hafting stone tools, according to the statement.

But previously, pieces of birch pitch have been found with tooth marks, so archeologists think that as the pitch cools and solidified, it was chewed to make it moldable again before using it to glue.

Other theories suggest that people chewed the slightly antiseptic birch pitch to relieve toothaches or other illnesses. Birch pitch might also have been used for toothbrushing, to suppress hunger or even just for fun as chewing gum, according to the statement.

Ancient "chewing gums" are a relatively new source of DNA to analyze, and can help reveal the microbiome of our ancestors. It may also help explain how bacteria and viruses have changed over time.

"It can help us understand how pathogens have evolved and spread over time, and what makes them particularly virulent in a given environment," senior author Hannes Schroeder, an associate professor from the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. "At the same time, it may help predict how a pathogen will behave in the future, and how it might be contained or eradicated."

The findings were published on Dec. 17 in the journal Nature Communications.

Originally published on Live Science.

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This Is 'Lola,' a 5,700-Year-Old Woman Whose Entire Life Is Revealed in Her 'Chewing Gum' - Livescience.com

The next era of genetic improvement – Farm Weekly

FROM genotyping and repronomics to datasets for hard-to-measure traits both on and off-farm, the next era of genetic improvement in Australian red meat involves cutting-edge technology and science barely even imagined in the not-too-distant past.

Success, however, will be in closely linking genetic progress in beef and sheep to consumer outcomes, along with the ability to effect culture change both on-farm and further along the supply chain to drive adoption and return value to livestock producers.

This is the belief of those at the wheel of the National Livestock Genetics Consortium, a skills-based taskforce set up three years ago to provide a formal industry consultation platform for the investment in livestock genetics led by researchers and key industry stakeholders.

DNA WORK: Genotyping - providing reliable DNA tools for improving the accuracy of selection for traits that are hard to measure - is a big theme in the research.

The NLGC is on track to increasing the value of genetics to the red meat industry by $400 million by 2022, through doubling the rate of annual genetic gain in the commercial livestock industry value chain.

To date, it has invested in 55 projects with cultural change to drive adoption and consumer outcomes the high priorities.

NLGC executive officer Michael Crowley said the investment portfolio was mapped across a number of different areas which all focussed on improving the accuracy of selection decisions producers make.

The majority of the portfolio currently focuses on both maintaining and building the essential reference populations needed to provide DNA tools to industry and enhance selection accuracy, he said.

"Examples are the hard-to-measure traits like fertility, new traits like net feed intake and carcase quantity and quality traits like intra-muscular fat and shear force," he said.

Cultural change - that is improvement in the acceptability, trust and use of genetic tools and technologies - will be crucial to realising the full potential of genetics work, the NLGC believes.

Adoption of genetic tools is currently lower than desired, said Meat & Livestock Australia's program manager for adoption David Packer.

The plan for genetics adoption hones in on demonstrating value and growing demand, pathways to learning, simplifying the language and tools and embedding adoption into R&D.

Projects currently underway which address culture change include proof of profit in northern beef, a review of valuing phenotypes and developing technologies to make recording measurements easier for stud producers.

Projects to simplify the process and language of selecting a sire, particularly for commercial producers are also happening. MLA released a genetics marketing campaign in June targeted at commercial producers.

Seamless transfer of information and provision of easy-to-use data sharing products and services will also be critical to future genetic gains.

"The goal here is an accessible data platform, which allows data collected across various R&D projects to be searchable, linkable and re-usable for the future," Mr Packer said.

Linking genetics to consumer outcomes is an ongoing priority.

"The focus is on developing traits that influence improved eating quality outcomes for consumers into a breeding value. This has successfully ensured we can provide tools (through genetic evaluations) for producers to rely on when selecting for both carcase quantity and quality within their flock or herd, and accordingly improved consumer outcomes without negatively impacting productivity," said Hamish Chandler, MLA's livestock genetics program manager.

There are currently 12 cattle and six sheep projects underway which collect both on-farm and off-farm measurements to reinforce the linking of genetics to consumer outcomes.

These include the Beef Information Nucleus (BIN) herds, a retail beef yield project providing predictions before slaughter and upcoming work linking genomics to Meat Standards Australia grading.

In sheep, research is developing technologies to underpin objective measurement and value based marketing.

Cut-based MSA lamb, for example, will underpin supply and price signals.

"Another example is the MLA Resource Flock which is designed to better capture eating quality measurements and consumer sensory data," Mr Chandler said.

"This will lead to more accurate breeding values for eating quality, allowing producers to better select animals which perform for both the producer, in terms of productivity, and the consumer, in terms of eating quality."

Looking ahead, R&D that will continue to focus on linking genetics to consumer outcomes includes sustainability and welfare traits and improved phenotype collection technologies.

The big areas in the research that will deliver the ambitious $400m goal include genotyping, repronomics and BIN projects.

Genotyping is developing and providing reliable DNA tools for improving the accuracy of selection for traits that are hard to measure.

There were now more than 50 000 Merino animals with a genotype used in the genetic evaluation and more than 21,000 of these had been added in the last nine months, Mr Chandler said.

Maternal and terminal breeds have seen similar rates of adoption of genomics.

"Genomics allows a breeder to select animals at a younger age with a higher level of precision, therefore driving genetic gain. It also allows more accurate selection of hard-to-measure traits or traits that are measured later in life, such as eating quality and adult traits respectively," he said.

"In terminal breeds, there is evidence that producers have been able to dramatically improve the rate of progress for eating quality traits through the uptake of genomic technologies."

The flock profile test has allowed commercial ram buyers to use genomics commercially to genetically benchmark their flocks, ultimately leading to more informed decisions around purchasing rams with Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) coupled with the sire selection tool RamSelect.

"While reproduction trait improvements cannot yet be attributed to genotyping, we have seen significant improvement within some breed groups and individual flocks towards eating quality traits without detriment to productivity traits," Mr Chandler said.

Repronomics is the intensive recording of early-in-life female reproduction phenotypes using real-time ultrasound across tropical breeds with the aim of providing crucial data for boosting the accuracy of selection for reproduction, particularly in young bulls.

The BIN projects, run with breed societies, are about the development of the datasets necessary for reliable breeding values for traits that are not well measured within industry.

Seamless transfer of information and provision of easy-to-use data sharing products will be critical.

The story Next era of genetic gain first appeared on Farm Online.

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The next era of genetic improvement - Farm Weekly

Here are the nominees for best biopharma CEO of 2019. Vote here! – STAT

People often ask me how I select the nominees for best biopharma CEO of the year an honorific that Ive been giving out since 2008. The winnowing process starts with public companies private company CEOs are not considered. (Sorry, startup CEOs, you need to grow up first.) Delivering significant value to shareholders is very important. Beyond that, the process gets more subjective. Theres no algorithm, spreadsheet, or fancy analysis that spits out definitive answers. I solicit potential nominees via social media and ask some trusted sources for advice, but the final list relies a lot on my gut and experience. A big jump in stock price is nice, but how was the outperformance delivered and why? Is there a compelling story behind the achievement?

This years best biopharma CEO finalists four in total come from a list of just over two dozen names. Congratulations to them all. There were two or three worthy candidates who were close but didnt quite make the cut. Apologies, but perhaps next year.

Perhaps next year we can also see a better gender balance; the industry, despite talking the talk lately on diversity, has precious few women CEOs. Emma Walmsley of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the only female CEO among the 25 largest drug makers. Next year, Reshma Kewalramani will join Walmsley when she takes over the top job at Vertex (VRTX) Pharmaceuticals.

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As in previous years, youll have the opportunity to vote for your favorite CEO at the end of this post. Our champion will be announced on Friday. Oh, and stay tuned for my list of the worst CEO nominees, coming Tuesday

Doubt Global Blood CEO Ted Love at your peril. Thats a good lesson coming out of 2019.

Love said he was going to develop a drug that treats sickle cell disease in an entirely new way. Done. Love said he was going to raise much-needed awareness of sickle cell disease and bring patients into the decision-making process on clinical trial design and endpoints that mattered. Done. Love said he was going to convince the FDA that the traditional review methodology for approving a sickle cell drug was not the only way. Done.

The only thing Love didnt promise was that the FDA would approve Global Bloods sickle cell drug three months faster than expected. But thats what happened. The newly approved drug is called Oxbryta. Love delivers and then surprises.

I doubted Love at various times over the past year and he proved me wrong. Im not making that mistake again.

This is Marganores second best biopharma CEO nomination. In 2017, I chose him as a finalist for steering Alnylam to its first Phase 3 clinical trial win with a drug that works via RNA interference, a technology that uses snippets of genetic code to shut down disease-causing genes. That drug, Onpatrro, was approved and launched commercially in 2018.

Why does Maraganore deserves another slot on this hallowed list? Because a second Alnylam RNAi drug called Givlaari was approved in November, three months faster than expected. And with that approval, RNAi can no longer be dismissed as a scientific novelty, albeit one that won the Nobel Prize. RNAi is real. It works, and the direct effects can be seen in patients with rare inherited diseases who are benefiting from treatment. Maraganore deserves a lot of credit for making that happen.

Indirectly, Maraganores leadership in establishing RNAi has spawned renewed interest in RNAi-based drug development deals across the industry. There was a time when Big Pharma embraced RNAi, then abandoned the technology. Maraganore and Alnylam stuck with it. Now, smaller RNAi companies like Dicerna and Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR) are scoring lucrative partnerships with Roche (RHHBY), Alexion Pharma, Novo Nordisk (NVO), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The biggest RNAi deal took place at the end of November, when Novartis (NVS) announced plans to acquire The Medicines Co. for nearly $10 billion. Inclisiran, the RNAi drug at the center of the deal, was developed originally at Alnylam.

2019 was the year that Seattle Genetics became more than a one-product story. A string of clinical successes established a legit cancer pipeline that sets the drug maker up for new approvals and accelerated growth. Seattle Genetics stock price more than doubled this year, and with a $20 billion market valuation, the company is now banging on the door to the large-cap biotech club.

The long knock on Seattle Genetics has been its reliance on Adcetris, an antibody-drug conjugate approved to treat two different types of lymphoma that is not quite a commercial blockbuster. The emerging pipeline this year changed the fundamental story.

First, Seattle Genetics and partner Astellas unveiled strong clinical data and submitted a marketing application to the FDA for enfortumab vedotin, a second antibody-drug conjugate targeting bladder cancer. On top of that, the company scored a major victory with the successful outcome from a late-stage clinical trial involving its HER2-targeted breast cancer drug called tucatinib.

In July, van de Stolpe negotiated a deep research partnership with Gilead Sciences (GILD) that brought in $5.1 billion in cash and equity while still allowing Galapagos to maintain its independence.

The deal had upside for both sides. Gilead needed a pipeline recharge and had cash to spend, so it secured a preferential relationship with a highly regarded bench of European scientists and drug developers, plus ownership or option rights on more than two dozen drugs.

Galapagos received acquisition-type money without being acquired and a relationship with one of the most successful and experienced commercial companies in the industry.

Gilead and Galapagos were already collaborating on the development of filgotinib, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases of the immune system, but the July partnership turned the relationship into something akin to what Roche had with Genentech before the two companies formerly merged. Galapagos stock price has more than doubled this year.

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Here are the nominees for best biopharma CEO of 2019. Vote here! - STAT

GLAAD Tried To Force JK Rowling To Apologize For ‘Transphobic’ Comments. She Refused. – The Daily Wire

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