Category Archives: Intelligence is Sexy

Are You Still Counting Calories to Lose Weight? If You Are, You’re Probably Doing it Wrong.

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What is a calorie?

Now, before you open up a new tab on your browser and start typing into Google: “what is a calorie?”, just off the top of your head, can you explain to me what a calorie is?

Technically, a calorie is a unit that is used to measure energy. A Calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. In the past, to determine how much nutritional calories a particular food had, it was placed in bomb calorimeter— an apparatus with a sealed container surrounded by water— and then ignited and completely burned until almost nothing was left.  The resulting rise in water temperature from the incineration was measured and thus determined how much “energy” the food had. This how we know that one gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories and one gram of fat contains 9.

But doesn’t this make you wonder what the connection is between the amount of heat released when a food is literally burned to how a human body digests it and uses it for energy? Well, it’s a complicated question. The problem with this outdated calorie-measuring system is that it doesn’t take into account the vast amount of science and research we’ve accumulated regarding human metabolism. Incinerating foods to measure energy output was a good start, but in the 21st century, this is an unbelievably archaic and outdated way to accurately measure calories. Incineration, of course, does not equal human digestion. Would eating a fireplace log give you as much energy as burning it in a fireplace? No way.

The main reason why our body cannot derive as much energy from a piece of bark compared to, say, a piece of fruit, is because our bodies are not capable of breaking it down for energy. And if we cannot break it down properly, it passes through our body and never enters our bloodstream. So it’s not so much what you put in your mouth that matters; it’s what makes it to your bloodstream.

Different calories = different outcomes

Let’s say three females of the same race, age, and body composition each consume 2,000 calories daily for 30 days. Subject 1 consumes nothing but table sugar, subject 2 consumes nothing but lean chicken breast, and subject 3 consumes nothing but mayonnaise (2,000 calories is just 19.4 tablespoons, if you’d care to indulge).

Will the body composition outcomes be the same?

Of course not. The hormonal responses to carbohydrates (CHO), protein, and fat are different. There is no shortage of clinical studies that prove that calories from beef do not equal calories from vodka.

Protein, for example, provokes a greater thermic effect of food than either carbohydrate or fat. This means that while your body is digesting protein, a higher percentage of protein calories are “lost” as heat vs. carbohydrates or fat. This has led some scientists to suggest that the 4 calories per gram assumed for protein should be downgraded 20% to 3.2 calories per gram. In addition, protein increases satiety (the feeling of fullness) to a greater extent than fat or protein. So if you’re not feeling hungry, you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy treats and therefore facilitate a lower overall caloric intake.

However, I’m not advocating for an Atkins-style diet. Most people assume that an Atkins diet means eat-all-the-meat-and-fat-I-want while avoiding pasta and bread. This is truly unhealthy. Sure, you might lose a few pounds, but that high protein and fat diet will have other consequences down the road, like high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis.

The key to losing weight is not losing weight, its keeping it off

The hardest part of any diet is compliance. So if you make unsustainable ultimatums in your diet like “1200 calories per day” or “no ice cream,” you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Moderation and portion control is key, not so much what fad diet you decide to choose. Making small changes in your diet is the best way to make long lasting changes.

For more information, check out Good Calories, Bad Calories & The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.

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Does Flattery Work? How About Insincere Flattery?

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You have an amazing fashion sense. Those clothes you’re wearing today — they look great!  Seriously!

Of course, you don’t believe me. But chances are, on an unconscious level you do believe me, and my compliment makes you feel warm and gooey inside, enough to predispose you to do something nice for me. Muwahahaha

Usually, when a friend gives you a compliment, you feel flattered because you take it as a sincere compliment. That’s because friends don’t usually have an ulterior motive to make you like them any more than they should. But what if a salesman at CarMax or the hairstylist at your salon gives you a compliment? Normally, your BS meter should go off, discounting that compliment because you realize that they both have a financial motive to flatter you and keep you as a customer. But this is all happening on a conscious level. What is going on at the unconsciously? How are your behaviors affected by these efforts to flatter you?

The distinction between conscious thoughts and unconscious feelings is crucial. We can hold opposite conscious and unconscious views of the same subject at the same time, as we all know, but what most people aren’t aware of is that our unconscious ideas and feelings have a tremendous reign over our behavior, much more than we give it credit for.

Jaideep Sengupta, along with Elaine Chan, both professors of marketing at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, examined how flattery affects our decision-making. In their study, participants were shown a flyer complimenting them for being stylish and chic and were asked to imagine that it had come from a clothing store. The participants knew perfectly well the compliment wasn’t aimed specifically at them, and their ulterior motive was plain — the leaflet contained a message asking them to shop at their store. There was nothing subtle about the attempt to flatter — its obviousness was “over the top”.

On a conscious level, the participants discounted the value of the compliment because of its impersonal nature and the ulterior motive. However, their results suggest that even after discounting, the initial positive reaction to the flattering message does not get wiped out; instead, it coexists with the discounted evaluation. When participants were given a choice, they were more likely to choose a coupon from a store that had complimented them than from one that hadn’t. So even though they were consciously aware of the fact that they we re being flattered insincerely, they still chose the store that complimented them. This may seem weird, but to me, this makes sense. Human beings are social creatures and we are driven to pursue validation. Even if the validation is blatantly insincere, I still think many, if not most, people would prefer that over no recognition at all. Chan and Sengupta’s findings suggest that flattery has an insidious ability to pierce through the conscious mind and into the unconscious, where it creates persistent feelings that could affect the outcomes of all kinds of activities.

Two things to take away from this post:

Flattery, even insincere flattery, works. Also, stay as far far away from marketers and people with MBA’s. They know too much…

Source: “Insincere Flattery Actually Works: A Dual Attitudes Perspective” Journal of Marketing Research (2010).

http://www.bm.ust.hk/~mark/staff/Jaideep/Jaideep%20JMR-Feb%202010.pdf

Image: Wesley Bedrosian for The Boston Globe

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How Can I Make My Life More Efficient?

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Use The Minimum Effective Dose

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, learn a new language, study for a final, or trying to achieve a goal, knowing the minimum effective dose is the key to doing it efficiently and effectively.

Here are some examples:

To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make water “more boiled.” Higher temperatures will just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.

Anything beyond the MED is wasteful.

If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach. During this forced break from the beach, let’s assume one week, someone else who heeded his natural 15-minute MED will be able to fit in four more tanning sessions. He is four shades darker, whereas you have returned to your pale pre-beach self.

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In the context of body redesign, there are two fundamental MEDs to keep in mind:

To remove stored fat → do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones. To add muscle in small or large quantities → do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscles) and systemic (hormonal) growth mechanisms. Knocking over the dominos that trigger both of these events takes surprisingly little.

For example, for a given muscle group like the shoulders, activating the local growth mechanism require just 80 seconds of tension using 50 pounds once every seven days. That stimulus, just like the 212°F for boiling water, is enough to trigger certain prostaglandins, transcription factors, and all manner of complicated biological reactions.

If, instead of 80 seconds, you mimic a Men’s Fitness magazine routine—say, an arbitrary 5 sets of 10 repetitions—it is the muscular equivalent of sitting in the sun for an hour with a 15-minute MED. Not only is this wasteful, it is a predictable path for preventing and reversing gains. The organs and glands that help repair damaged tissue have more limitations than your enthusiasm. The kidneys, as one example, can clear the blood of a finite maximum waste concentration each day (approximately 450 millimoles per liter). If you do a marathon three-hour workout and make your bloodstream look like an LA traffic jam, you stand the real chance of hitting a biochemical bottleneck.

Again: the good news is that you don’t need to know anything about your kidneys to use this information. The bottom line is: More is not better. Indeed, your greatest challenge might be resisting the temptation to do more.

It’s something worth thinking about.

Source:

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health

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Does Gay Sex = Anal Sex?

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There are many stereotypes concerning the sex lives of gay men, but just how accurate are they? One of the most prevalent stereotypes is that anal sex is the primary (if not only) sexual activity that gay men practice. Do the terms top, bottom and versatile –as ubiquitous as they are in gay culture – accurately portray the sexual preferences of all gay men? And with the advent of apps like Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff and Manhunt in recent years, the amount of anonymous bareback sex must be at an all-time high, right?

According to the most recent research, the answer is a resounding No.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported on the sexual behaviors of a national U.S. sample of 24,787 gay and bisexual men recruited online. In the survey, participants were asked to describe the details of their most recent sexual event with a male partner.

Here are the results: 

The single most commonly reported behavior was kissing on the mouth (74.5%), followed closely by oral sex (72.7%) and mutual masturbation (68.4%). Contrary to popular belief, only about one-third of men in the sample reported engaging in anal sex (37.2%). Of those individuals who engaged in anal sex, about half reported that they used a condom.

And while we’re on the subject of anal sex, what percentage of straight men do you think have engaged in anal sex at least once? 5 percent? 10 percent? 25 percent? According to the CDC’s (U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention) National Health Statistic Report, 44 percent of straight men and 36 percent of straight women have engaged in anal sex at least once in their lifetime. I never knew anal sex was so common among the straight crowd. Is this the new fad for birth control or something?

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In terms of where the sexual behavior occurs, only a very small minority of participants reported that their sexual activity took place in what would be considered a public setting (3.1%) and the vast majority had sex in their own home or in their partner’s home (77.7%). In addition, 37% reported that sex occurred with a boyfriend or dating partner, and 17% indicated a friend. Thus, for most of the men in this study, their most recent partner was well known to them and was not anonymous. But if you look at it another way, that also means 46% (close to half of all men in the study) engaged in sexual activity with someone they didn’t know personally in their last sexual encounter. That seems like a lot, but it would be interesting to see how this compares to their heterosexual counterpart. (Although I haven’t found any studies, I’m sure hook-ups occur quite frequently between straight people too).

In summary:

The results of this research counteract many of the common stereotypes about the sex lives of gay men. While it is certainly true that some gay men have anonymous anal sex in public places without a condom, this is certainly not what all or even most gay men do. Gay sex does not always equate with anal sex, and only 37 percent of respondents reported having participated in anal sex during their last encounter.

Finally, one caveat in this study, I should mention, is that the survey was conducted by Indiana University with the collaboration of Manhunt Cares, the research arm of the social networking site Manhunt (which caters to men seeking other men, most often for sex). Most, if not all of the participants in the study were recruited through users of Manhunt so they not a representative sample of the larger gay and bisexual population. 

Sources:

Rosenberger, J. G., et. al. Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine. (2011)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf

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Politics of Homosexuality: Can Men Stop Being Gay? What About Women?

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These days, nothing seems to polarize a crowd faster than the issue of sexual orientation (other than gun control). Religious fundamentalists believe homosexuality is a matter of choice made consciously by people. The opposite side argues that gays are “born this way,” and thus any effort to change their orientation is ineffective, not to mention cruel and demoralizing.

Gays Are Not Born this Way (Sort of)

From a strictly technical and somewhat pedantic standpoint, gay people aren’t really “born that way” in the sense of having same-sex attractions from the moment of birth. Sexual orientation cements around puberty, and according to Gerulf Rieger, a sexual orientation researcher at Cornell University, “it is quite possible that there are several influences on forming a homosexual orientation.” Genes do appear to contribute, but so do other factors, including a fetus’ level of exposure to certain sex hormones in the womb, and possibly early life experiences.

Some of the newest evidence that has come out of researching the human genome suggests that the gay gene simply does not exist. Scientists who worked on the Human Genome Project hypothesize that homosexuality is not written in our DNA sequence itself, which explains why they have failed so far to find any “gay genes,” despite intensive investigations. Instead, they believe it is written in how our genes are expressed: that is, in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated. “It’s not genetics. It’s not DNA. It’s not pieces of DNA. It’s epigenetics,” says Sergey Gavrilets, a researcher at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Epi-marks regulate the expression of genes according to the strength of external cues, such as hormone levels. In other words, genes are basically the instruction book, while epi-marks direct how those instructions get carried out. They can determine, for example, when, where, and how much of a gene gets expressed.

If Sexual Re-Orientation Was Possible, How Would It Be Done? (Hint: you can’t pray it away, obviously)

To date, there have been no verified cases of formerly gay people completely ridding themselves of same-sex attraction. However, some new research suggests that it does appear possible for some people who are predisposed to same-sex attraction to expand their sexual repertoire – develop attractions for opposite-sex partners and even opt for the opposite sex exclusively.

Heather Hoffmann, a professor of psychology who chairs the neuroscience program at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, affirms that “highly motivated people can change their behavior, and they can clearly change their label.” Hoffmann’s research has demonstrated that sexual arousal is subject to Pavlovian conditioning, the method of repeatedly pairing one stimulus with another until, eventually, the first triggers an expectation of the second. Her work shows that both men and women can be conditioned to become sexually aroused by exposure to a cue, such as an odor or an object.

It Never Fails, Go Watch Fu*king Quails 

Sexual experiences affect our arousal patterns by altering what activities or features of sexual partners arouse us. But can we ever be conditioned to become aroused by members of our non-preferred sex? In one experiment, male quails were hormonally altered so as to allow other “sexually naive” (virgin) male quails to have sex with them. After this learning experience, the latter group of quails maintained a sexual preference for males, suggesting that they were being sexually oriented through learning. However, their natural predilection for females was not lost: Another experiment showed it was much easier to reorient those male quails toward females through “reverse learning” than it was to try and reorient males who had already had sex with females toward other males.

Another example that captures this phenomenon quite well is the Sambia tribe of Papa New Guinea. If you’ve ever taken a class on human sexuality or anything similar, you’ve probably learned or read about the interesting ritual that Sambian males participate in. The tribe engages in a unique ritual meant to transform boys who are considered feminine into fierce, strong, male warriors. They believe that in order for a boy to become a man, he must first be brought up on mother’s milk and nurtured by her until the age of 7 or 8. At this point, in order for the boy to reach puberty, he needs to continue drinking milk, but from this point forward, from a man. The boy is taken away from their mother and lives communally with other boys until the age of 17 or 18. In this exclusive community, pre-pubescent boys fellate post-pubescent boys until they climax and drink their ejaculate. Once they reach puberty several years later, they switch roles where they are fellated by younger boys. One would think that engaging in this type of homosexual behavior for so many years before and after puberty would make all Sambian men gay, but that obviously does not happen (otherwise the tribe would become extinct). Once the older boys leave the community, they find a girl, get married and live completely heterosexual lives thereafter! This demonstrates two important things. First, it shows that sexual orientations are indeed malleable and can be manipulated to a certain extent. But at the same time, when given the opportunity, both humans and quails revert back to their “default” orientation.

Women: Fluid Sexuality Or Merely Bisexual?

As in many areas of sexuality, research on women’s sexual arousal patterns has lagged far behind men’s, but the limited research on the subject does suggest that, compared with men, women’s sexual arousal patterns may be less tightly connected to their sexual orientation.

To examine sexual arousal differences in men and women, researchers at Northwestern University measured the psychological and physiological sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual men and women as they watched erotic films. They were shown three types of erotic films: gay porn (featuring only men), lesbian porn (featuring only women) and straight porn (featuring male and female couples). As with previous research, the researchers found that men responded consistent with their sexual orientations, i.e., gay men found gay porn to be the most sexually arousing. In contrast, both homosexual and heterosexual women showed a bisexual pattern of psychological as well as genital arousal. In other words, heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching female erotica as by watching male erotica, even though they prefer having sex with men rather than women. This explains why most women with same-sex predispositions report better success adjusting to heterosexual lifestyles than gay men do, but switching to a “straight” identity doesn’t mean that their former attractions are wiped completely. Hoffmann reiterates, “sexual fluidity is more of a broadening of your attraction pattern rather than erasing your original pattern. I think men may have this capacity, too, but I think it may be more prominent in women.” 

Conclusion:

It is currently still unknown whether some combination of Pavlovian conditioning, learning processes and hormone therapies could enable truly motivated individuals with a same-sex predisposition to adapt to heterosexual lifestyles, whether for religious, cultural or personal reasons. Will there be a day in the near future where some clinical therapy will be developed for sexual re-orientation?

Perhaps.

Sure, we may one day be able to condition ourselves to become aroused to the opposite sex, but is this something we really want? Why is it so hard to accept peoples’ differences? Why should my moral character be immediately diminished based on who I love?  

If only more people would realize that our energy is better spent trying to reduce the misunderstanding, discrimination, and hostility that exists towards homosexuals instead of focusing on trying to change an aspect of our humanity that may very well be immutable, I think the world would be a slightly better place to live in. 

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Sources:

Hoffman, H. “The Role of Classical Conditioning in Sexual Arousal.” The Psychophysiology of Sex. (2007)

Schachtman , T.R., & Reilly, S. “Hot and bothered: Classical conditioning of sexual incentives in humans.” Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory: Human and Non-Human Applications. (2011)

http://www.canyons.edu/faculty/labriem/psych230/sexdifferencesinspecificitysexualarousal.pdf

Rice, W.R., et. al. “Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development” The Quarterly Review of Biology. (2012)

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Is Having Sex Early In The Relationship Harmful in the Long Run?

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Keep reading below.

A new study published in The Journal of Sex Research concludes that the sooner a couple starts having sex, the lower the quality of their relationship. And not surprisingly, media outlets are quick to pick up these findings and publish headlines along the lines of “First-Date Sex May Harm Couples. or “How Leaping into Bed Harms Relationships

This study, conducted by researchers at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University (your BS meter should be on high alert at this point)* asked participants in an online survey about when they started having sex with their partner and completed several measures of relationship functioning (e.g., satisfaction, communication). Participants were then lumped into one of four groups based upon timing of first sex: Predating Sex (hooking-up before becoming a couple; 9.9%), Early Sex (sex on the first date or two; 35.5%), Delayed Sex (sex after a few weeks; 47.9%), and No Sex (couples who were still abstaining; 6.6%). Results revealed that people who waited longer to have sex scored the highest on all measures of relationship quality. Based upon these findings, the authors concluded that dating couples who have sex therefore have “poorer” outcomes than couples who abstain and that timing of sex represents an important “turning point” in the relationship.

But is this really the case? 

What every single media failed to report was that the average levels of satisfaction, communication, and commitment were high for both men and women no matter when they started having sex. For instance, looking at relationship satisfaction, which was rated on a scale ranging from 0 to 12 in this study, the midpoint for this scale was 6, which means that anything above that represents satisfaction and anything below that represents dissatisfaction. For women, those who had sex in the first month had a satisfaction score of 7.9, while those who waited six or more months had a score of 8.5. For men, the numbers were 8.2 and 8.5, respectively. Thus, average levels of satisfaction were high for all groups. 

So where is the “harm” and all of the “unhappy” couples? There aren’t any, at least in this study. Indeed, the people in the survey who delayed sex in their relationship were happier, but that does not mean people who had sex sooner were unhappy. This study simply does not provide any evidence that abstaining from sex is a better recipe for success than having sex whenever you and your partner feel most comfortable.

Will jumping into bed sooner truly hurt your chances at a lifetime of happiness? No. Just do it when you’re both comfortable.

*If you didn’t already know, Brigham Young University is a Mormon-controlled university. Mormons aren’t allowed to have sex before marriage so it’s no surprise that studies like this support their irrational doctrine through more legitimate and scientifically accepted methods. Unfortunately for them, I could sense their bias from a mile away.

Sources:

Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., & Busby, D. M. Differing relationship outcomes when sex happens before, on, or after first dates. The Journal of Sex Research (2012)

Sassler, S., Addo, F. R., & Lichter, D. T. “The tempo of sexual activity and later relationship quality,” Journal of Marriage and Family (2012)

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Are You More Interested In Someone Who Is Already Taken?

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Highly likely. 

A new study provides evidence for what many have long suspected: women are much keener on pursuing a man who’s already taken than a singleton.

Researchers from Oklahoma State University conducted this mate-poaching study by asking 184 heterosexual students at the university to participate in a study on sexual attraction and told the volunteers that a computer program would match them with an ideal partner. Half the participants were single and half were attached, with equal number of men and women in each group.

Unknown to the participants, everyone was offered a fictitious partner who had been tailored to match their interests exactly. The photograph of “Mr. Right” was the same for all women participants, as was that of the ideal women presented to the men. Half the participants were told their ideal mate was single, and the other half that he or she was already in a romantic relationship. Everything was the same across all participants, except whether their ideal mate was already attached or not.

The most striking result was in the responses of single women. Offered a single man, 59 per cent were interested in pursuing a relationship. But when he was attached, 90 per cent said they were up for the chase. Men were keenest on pursuing new mates, but weren’t bothered whether their target was already attached or not. Attached women showed least interest and were slightly more drawn to single men.

A Stamp of Approval

Burkley and Parker, the researchers of the study, speculate that single women may be more drawn to attached men because they’ve already been “pre-screened” by other women and found to be satisfactory as a mate, whereas single men are more of an unknown quantity. But what else motivates women to pursue “taken” partners? Apart from the explanation of “pre-screening”, another possibility, they say, is that in US society, women are socialized to be competitive, so they derive self-esteem by mate poaching from rival women.

Implications for Gay Couples

While this was conducted with heterosexual couplings, it’s not hard to extrapolate these findings to male-male or female-female couples as well since the concept of “pre-screening ” is not hetero-exclusive. And going by the conclusion the researchers offer, gay men should be even more likely to pursue these semi-unattainable mates because they are socialized, more so than women, to be competitive.  

Source: “Who’s chasing whom? The impact of gender and relationship status on mate poaching” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2009.

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Is Facebook Making You Feel More Lonely?

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Depends on what you bring to it.

A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon followed 1,200 Facebook users and came to these conclusions. People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication, i.e., using the “like” button, experienced no change in loneliness. Non-personalized use of Facebook— like scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, also known as “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. Wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear is not emotionally satisfying.

So the next time your friend posts an Instagram photo of what they’re eating, tell them how delicious it looks. Whenever you realize that its one of your FB friends’ birthday, send them a nice personal message. When someone posts pictures from their vacation, tell them how nice it looks. That’s what we all want to hear. It’s a sad, lonely world out there; is it not worth 5 seconds of your life to make someone else feel good?

In a another study, researchers looked at the connection between the loneliness of subjects and the relative frequency of their interactions via Facebook, chat rooms, online games, dating sites, and face-to-face contact. The results were very clear. The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are.  The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.

But that doesn’t mean using Facebook will inevitably make you feel lonelier. Remember that Facebook is merely a tool, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on how you utilize it. So if you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact, that’s great!  If you’re using social media, for example, to organize a basketball game among your friends, that’s healthy. If you’re turn to social media instead of playing basketball, then we have a problem. 

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

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What’s The Quickest Way to Feel More Attractive?

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Have a drink. Or just think you’re having a drink.

The study examined the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. Study 1, carried out in a bar, showed that the more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were. 

In Study 2, 94 non-student participants in a bogus taste-test study were given either an alcoholic beverage (target blood alcohol level= 0.10 g/100 ml) or a non-alcoholic beverage, with half of each group believing they had consumed alcohol and half believing they had not (balanced placebo design). After consuming beverages, they delivered a speech and rated how attractive, bright, original, and funny they thought they were. The speeches were videotaped and rated by 22 independent judges. Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance.

Moral of the story: “Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beer Holder”  Alcohol makes you act and feel more attractive but you’re not perceived that way by others. But if you’re already a cool person to begin with and just have a low self-esteem or shyness problem, then alcohol will boost your esteem and oust that shyness temporarily. Amazing. 

Source: “‘Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’: People who think they are drunk also think they are attractive” from British Journal of Psychology
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Politics of Homosexuality: Sexual Prohibitionism

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What Does the Bible says about Homosexual Behavior?

The Bible is very clear when it comes to the issue of homosexuality: it explicitly condemns homosexual acts. This is the word of god. We must take the bible seriously and literally. Or should we?

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”  (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 KJV)

One man shall not lie with another man. It is also clear that the penalty for committing such an act is punishable by death. But lets put that into perspective. Another quote from Leviticus says,“the man that commits adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10 KJV) Anyone who commits adultery, according to the Bible, is also punishable by death.

The Absurdity of Taking the Bible Literally

If biblical literalism is the argument, then why are fundamentalist republicans not campaigning to execute all homosexuals? Why is there no campaign to execute all the adulterers? (A conservative estimate of those who engage in extramarital sex is 20 percent through nationally conducted surveys) God is clear that he wants all homosexuals and adulterers dead. If people argue that the Bible needs to be taken literally, then it is simply not enough for one to discriminate against them and deny them their civil rights; you must equally advocate for their execution. If not, the argument for biblical literalism is incoherent.

How Do Catholics Try To Justify Their Discrimination Against Homosexuals?

Now, Catholics are a little smarter. In justifying their bigotry towards gays and lesbians they also cite the scriptures to teach the unacceptability of homosexual behavior but they maintain that their rejection of homosexuals is not an arbitrary prohibition. It, like other moral imperatives, is rooted in natural law—the design that god has built into human nature.

To clarify, the Roman Catholic Church holds the view of natural law set forth by Thomas Aquinas, particularly in his Summa Theologica. Their take on natural law reasons that people have a basic, ethical intuition that certain behaviors are wrong because they are unnatural. Human beings were designed by god to procreate and therefore, be heterosexual. To some level, the church believes that homosexuals do not exist. They believe that we are all born heterosexual but some of us choose to engage in behavior that is unnatural; a revolt against nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.” (CCC:2357) Thus, sex acts that prevent it from reaching its natural end, i.e., conception, is perverting this natural law.

Obviously, a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot procreate. Therefore, the entire purpose of sex and sexuality is being perverted away from its natural end. Similarly, a heterosexual couple who engages in sex with contraception is equally perverting this natural law because they are deliberately trying to stop conception. This is also the reason why the church is equally adamant on their stance against condom use or birth control pills.  Their argument is not to single out homosexuality as evil per se, but that it merely falls under the larger prohibition against perverting their definition of natural law. You can now understand why they are also against masturbation and abortion as well. (sex with no chance of procreation is a no-no)

Makes perfect sense, right?

Exceptions, Exceptions And More Exceptions

But what about heterosexual infertile couples? Should people who cannot bear children, through no fault of their own, be equally prohibited from engaging in sex acts, knowing full well that their ability to conceive is zero? Going by their position on natural law, the church should prohibit marrying such people, and equally condemn any sex between these two couples. Do they receive the same condemnation as homosexuals or condoms? Nope.

During a woman’s period, it is equally impossible for the woman to conceive. Same when the woman is pregnant. Does the church prohibit sex during these times? No. How about women who are post-menopausal? They are biologically no longer able to bear children. Does the church condemn these woman for having sex after she is unable to conceive? Of course not.

Their argument concerning natural law is riddled with exceptions. To say that homosexual acts are unnatural because they have no chance at procreation, is violated in many other occasions with straight couples.

So then why are gay people not worthy of an exception? Simple. It is an act of stigmatization. It is an act of discrimination. It is an act of bigotry. And this bigotry comes from the church that has engaged in the most grotesque cover-up of sexual abuse than any other institution in the world.

But miracles can happen, right? Look at Virgin Mary. She never had sex but she still became pregnant. If miracles can happen, maybe a gay couple can become pregnant and have a baby as well! Who are you to put a limit on the power of GOD?

sources:
“Understanding infidelity: correlates in a national random sample” Journal of Family Psychology, 2001.
“Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey” Journal of Sex Research, 1997.
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