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Posts Tagged ‘fertility

Barry White was already booked in North Korea…

 

Vladimir Putin has often insisted that fertility is key both to Russia’s internal security and to Russia becoming more influential on the global stage.  More specifically, he’s been enjoining his countrymen (and women) to have three children per family.

Now (The Moscow Times reports), in support of this thrust, Putin has enlisted that most potent of aphrodisiacs, sweet soul music… in the persons of the Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Nathan Morris– AKA, Boyz II Men.

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As we slip into something more comfortable, we might spare a thought for Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky; he died on this date in 1881.  The author of eleven novels (including  Crime and PunishmentThe Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov), three novellas, seventeen short novels, and three essays, Dostoyevsky is considered one of the greatest “psychologists” in world literature– and the cartographer of the Russian soul.

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Written by LW

February 9, 2013 at 1:01 am

Firing blanks…

 

Since the early 70s, academics and NGOs concerned with population growth have understood that the single most effective “lever” a society can pull to achieve population “control” (short of authoritarian birth bans, a la China) is the enhancement of women’s roles in the economy and society– the better educated, the more engaged a country’s women, the lower its fertility rate– and almost always, the more robust its economy, the more stable its polis, the healthier its environment, etc., etc. [c.f., e.g., here].

While experience continues to support this understanding, research is also suggesting that there may be another, complementary force at work; Pacific Standard reports that “French Semen Is Not What It Used To Be.”:

French men are losing sperm, and not in the fun way, according to a new study in Human Reproduction. Researchers examined semen samples given by 27,000 French men at fertility clinics, and found that the average sperm concentration fell more than 32 percent between 1989 and 2005.

Those findings echo a growing heap of research going back to the 1970s suggesting that the semen quality of men in industrialized countries is steadily declining. The most commonly-cited explanation is chemicals in the environment. Bear in mind, though, the supposed sperm-concentration drop is not a settled matter – many of the studies over the years were poorly designed, had overly-small sample sizes or were otherwise flawed. But if the ranks of men’s sperm are being thinned, for whatever reason, it could have serious implications for couples’ chances of conceiving.

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As we ponder potency, we might send biological birthday greetings to Erasmus Darwin; he was born on this date in 1731.  Erasmus was an accomplished doctor (he declined an offer to be personal physician to Charles III), but is better remembered as a key thinker in the “Midlands Enlightenment”– a founder of the Lunar Society of Birmingham and author of (among other works) Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life, which contained one of the first formal theories of evolution… one that foreshadowed the theories of Erasmus’ reader– and grandson– Charles.

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Written by LW

December 12, 2012 at 1:01 am

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