Some people categorize this blog as pointless piffle about a polyprogenic pinhead. Others agree. And yet, every blue moon or so, I manage to put aside the high jinks and provide you with some extremely valuable News You Can Use. This installment involves mostly the physicality of maleness.
Item One: The book I just finished, Why Gender Matters, is rife with insights about the physical differences of developing brains in boys and girls. Early on, for example, Dr. Sax asserts that hearing develops much sooner and to a much greater degree in girls than in boys. Therefore, in his view, many of the boys that are diagnosed with ADHD only seem bored in class because they can't hear what's going on.
This might explain why TwoBert hits me in the grapes seconds after I specifically ask him not to; it also sheds light on the following chart, which breaks down the most common ways in which I use Robert's name to address him:
Item Two: The Economist recently related a study suggesting that becoming a father enhances the parts of a man's brain that govern "social behavior" and "pair-bonding." Since these parts are probably very tiny, I suppose a few more dendritic spines can be recognized as growth. In my view, though, this brain alteration is a zero-sum game. I do feel more emotionally bonded to my wife and friends since the kids arrived, but my short-term memory, which was never so hot, now makes Dory seem like Horton. It has also reduced me to supporting my theses almost exclusively with references to children's media.
Here's the link, but be warned that 1) those stingy Brits give nothing away for free, and 2) the study is based on work with male marmosets.
And finally: In a piece on sexual cannibalism (which is now archived, unfortunately), The New York Times suggests that when a male praying mantis chooses the mate that will eventually eat him during procreation, he makes a conscious choice to further natural selection. He likes to pick a mate who will digest him efficiently and pass this nutrition onto his children. I had a fun moment picturing how this dynamic might translate to the late-night bar scene, as a couple of guys might size up a woman and speculate on the strength and purity of her stomach enzymes.