Sex in China
China takes in 30% of the worldwide pornography revenue, and prostitution income makes up 8% of its massive GDP.
For anyone interested in sex and economics, China is fascinating. It takes in 30% of the worldwide pornography revenue,* and prostitution income makes up 8% of its massive GDP**. I’ve just spent two (wonderful) months in China, and while sex and economics had nothing to do with my trip, I was left with one surprising observation: I wondered if the Chinese really ought to have more sex.
In the night clubs in China it seems that for every ten men there is roughly one, extremely popular, woman. Social norms prevent otherwise willing women from going to bars, leaving the gender ratio there extremely skewed toward men. This reminded me of Steven Landsburg’s controversial economic theory More Sex is Safe Sex.*** According to Landsburg, if in a sex scene you have only one willing woman per every 10 men, and, if one person in that market contracts an STI, well guess what… everyone else is going to get it too because they are all having sex with the same women. Increase the number of women having sex, though, and, according to the theory, the risk of contracting an STI decreases because each woman is having sex with fewer men. Follow through on this logic and it seems that in more promiscuous societies, sex should be a less risky business: more sex is safe sex.
So is there some policy advice for China here? Can changing the social norms that prevent women from going to bars reduce STI rates? I think not. There is one fatal flaw in the more-sex-is-safe-sex theory: despite its name, the theory doesn’t assume more sex at all. In fact, it only assumes more participants on the scene holding the total number of ‘transactions’ constant. Only a fool would believe that increasing the number of willing partners wouldn’t increase the total amount of sex.
More sex is not necessarily safe sex, it is just more sex.
There is one active market that made me think that China does not, in fact, need more sex. In North America, we all know where convenience stores display the gum and chocolate bars; in the most tempting spot by the check-out. In China forget about being tempted by a pack of Juicy Fruit, that space is used to display a wide variety of condoms, lotions and powders all explicitly labeled with illustrated instructions.
Like I said, fascinating.
**The Industrial Vagina: The political economy of the global sex trade by Sheila Jeffreys (2009)
***More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics by Steven E. Landsburg (2007)
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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