Tastes Like Chicken

Friday, March 14, 2003
_Thank goodness Elizabeth Smart has been rescued from religious weirdos and returned to the Mormons.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
_Deception fuels domestic bliss
I asked what else women weren't telling us about that whole birthing and and babies deal. Maybe that was the wrong question:
A new mathematical analysis suggests that evolution favours babies who don't much resemble their fathers, and males who believe their partner when she says a child looks just like him.

Anonymous-looking newborns make for uncertain fathers. But they also allow men to father children through undetected adultery, Paola Bressan of the University of Padova.

Human babies certainly seem to be masters of disguise. Neutral observers asked to match infants to their fathers do only slightly better than chance. In fact, some of newborns' features seem designed to enhance anonymity, says evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel, of the University of Reading. He points to the blue eyes and blond hair of many newborn Europeans, which result from genes being switched off at birth.

So everybody's happy? Not quite: if all babies are anonymous and fathers are uncertain, males would invest less in kids whether they sired them or not. A mother's strategy to counteract this, says Bressan, could be to remark on the baby's likeness to his "father." The assertion - common across many cultures - that babies are the spitting image of their dad, is a way to get men to care for their offspring despite their uncertainty. McLain has also found that mothers remark more on their baby's resemblance to their partner if he or his relatives are there to hear her than if he is absent.

Her mathematical model shows it can benefit a "father" to believe these assertions and increase his care for the child, as long as the chance that he is being deceived is slim enough.
Kinda puts a new spin on that all-babies-look-like-Winston-Churchill thing, eh?

Monday, March 10, 2003
_Vegans: eat me.

Joke, people, that's a joke. Mostly.

The link goes to an article showing that vegans are the shortest-lived group among those that restrict their meat eating.