Article-spam! Not quite as roll-off-the-tonguey as cleolinda's "linkspam," but I didn't want to poach her word.
Bizarre Condom News
Is this spray can the condom, or the mace?
BERLIN (Reuters) - German sex educators plan to launch a spray-on condom tailor-made for all sizes.
Jan Vinzenz Krause from the Institute for Condom Consultancy, a Singen-based practice that offers advice on condom use, told Reuters Thursday the product aimed to help people enjoy better and safer sex lives.
"We're trying to develop the perfect condom for men that's suited to every size of penis," he said. "We're very serious."
Krause's team (spraykondom.de) is developing a type of spray can into which the man inserts his penis first. At the push of a button it is then coated in a rubber condom.
"It works by spraying on latex from nozzles on all sides," he said. "We call it the '360 degree procedure' -- once round and from top to bottom. It's a bit like a car wash."
Krause said the plan is to make the product ready for use in about five seconds. He said it would function more effectively as a contraceptive because it would fit better and not slip.
However, before the new condom can be sold in shops, the firm must ensure that the latex is evenly spread when sprayed, as well as optimize the vulcanization process.
Krause hopes the high tech condom, which will be available in different strengths and colors, will on the market by 2008.
He said the spray can would likely cost some 20 euros ($26) as a one-off purchase. The latex cartridges -- sufficient for up to 20 applications -- would cost roughly 10 euros, he said.
Krause said he had hit upon the idea when considering the difficulties some people faced using condoms, and drew inspiration from spray-on plasters now used in medicine.
Sad Dead Mascot Kitty
Dewey the cat dies in librarian's arms
SPENCER, Iowa - The final chapter is closed on Dewey Readmore Books. The 19-year-old cat, who became a mascot for the city's library after being found in a book drop, died Wednesday in the arms of librarian Vicki Myron.
The temperature was minus 10 when Myron and another librarian found Dewey under a pile of books in the library's book drop when they came to work one morning in January 1988.
"We didn't know if someone abandoned him or if a Good Samaritan found him on the street and shoved him in the book drop to get him out of the cold," she said. "His paws were frozen. We warmed him up and fed him and he just purred and cuddled. From day one, we felt he'd be the right personality for the public."
Since then, Dewey became famous, with television crews coming from as far away as Japan to do stories about him, Myron said.
The cat's name was chosen in a contest shortly after he was found. He was named after the Dewey Decimal System, which is used in most libraries to catalog books.
Dewey, who Myron said came running for cheeseburgers, boiled ham and chicken garlic TV dinners, had been experiencing health problems recently and was diagnosed with a stomach tumor shortly before Nov. 18, which was officially marked as his 19th birthday.
After his health rallied, he started "acting funny trying to hide" and Myron decided to take him to the vet and have him euthanized.
Library employee Kim Peterson said the staff is talking about having Dewey cremated and burying his ashes at the library.
Am I the only (bad, evil) person thinking that maybe his fondness for cheeseburgers might have contributed to his demise?
Bizarre headline, less bizarre article...about monkeys! Well, okay. Apes.
Luck be an older chimp lady in the mating game
Some men know older women make beautiful lovers, and apparently, scientists say, male chimps feel the same way.
"In contrast to humans, chimpanzee males prefer older, not younger, females," concludes a study out today in the journal Current Biology.
In chimp society, The Golden Girls, not Baywatch, would be hot stuff.
Human males, of course, generally dig younger woman, as the Internet-clicking hordes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan fans conclusively demonstrate.
Evolutionary biologists such as the University of Texas' David Buss have widely documented this preference among men worldwide for younger women as mates. Youthful looks, goes the scientific argument, signal that younger women are more fertile than ones approaching menopause. A hard-wired evolutionary attraction explains Playboy bunnies, trophy wives and the curious popularity of Paris Hilton.
Not so in our close primate cousins.
"Although it's easy to imagine that male chimps would like to mate with whatever female is available, it turns out they really have strong preferences" for the older females, says anthropologist Martin Muller of Boston University, lead author of the Current Biology study. "We've seen them just ignoring younger females who are all over them."
In the study, Muller and colleagues analyzed eight years of mating observations of the Kanyawara. chimpanzee troop in Uganda's Kibale National Park. Chimpanzees pursue a promiscuous lifestyle, and "male courtship signals" are not very suave ones ("branch shaking" is the most polite.)
In the study, the research team split the chimp troop's females into three categories: pubescent, mothers under age 30, and mothers over age 30. And then they compared the data.
Male chimps at Kibale, it turns out, more often made courtship signals, clustered near ovulating females, fought over mates and saw alpha males initiate mating, with the oldest females. In fact, the male chimps were just about as likely to choose a less-fertile pubescent female as mothers in the under-30 crowd. "Male chimpanzees do not merely disdain young females, but actively prefer older mothers to younger mothers," says the study.
"They provide a stark contrast to patterns of male mate choice in our own species," the study authors add. No kidding.
But what accounts for the difference, given that genetically, chimps are our closest living relatives? Muller suggests that since chimps don't ever enter menopause, older females may seem just as attractive to chimp males and are likely better, more experienced mothers.
"These findings should not be surprising," says primate expert Carel van Schaik. of Switzerland's University of Zurich, by email. "In all other species, we expect males to prefer mating with females with the highest fertility. In most species, those are not the youngest females; indeed, fertility rates tend to be highest for middle-aged ones."
Muller notes that human beings and chimps diverged from a common ancestor about six million years ago, based on the genetic evidence. Along with fire, tools and speech, men likely since then picked up a taste for younger women.