Eating your kids may improve your sex life? Sounds fishy.
Maybe try counseling first before you try this, married folks.
- The study looks at cannibalism in fish.
- If it doesn't look like the brood is going to be 'productive,' it might get eaten.
- Don't try this at home. Seriously, don't. Human beings deserve love and respect.
If you are a male fish who doesn't understand why your reproductive impulse has dimmed and you haven't yet read Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, what, with the mysteries of human communication to conquer and all, then science wants to let you know: you might want to consider eating your kids.
The typical hypothesis regarding animals eating their young usually stems from the observation that parents will sometimes lack so much access to food that eating their offspring becomes a realistic option, but Y. Matsumoto of Nagasaki University and his colleagues recently published a study in Current Biology that notes that the barred-chin blenny fish find cannibalism an "endocrinological necessity to restart courtship behavior for subsequent mating." In other words: if they wanted to take a shortcut to reactivating their reproductive cycle, this was the path they took. They eat the eggs in the name of future courting and guarding.
A Discus (Symphysodon spp.) guarding its eggs.
But, why? Why does the male blenny not simply wait out the birth of the offspring before returning to reproduction? If we're to use a study looking a little bit more broadly at cannibalism in fish as a point of reference, there's more than one answer here — sometimes the answer depends on when a batch of eggs are laid; sometimes it depends on the availability of mates; sometimes it's because the eggs that are being raised aren't their own; sometimes it depends on whether or not an egg predator is nearby — but one answer appears to be something of a zero sum game: if it doesn't look like the brood is going to be a 'productive' brood — if it's a small batch of eggs and the process of raising these kids will leave them at something of a competitive disadvantage (i.e., they're putting too much energy into raising small, weak fish) — then the eggs are eaten and the parents begin again, as eating the kids "acts to rapidly modulate androgen levels and therefore courtship."
"Selection plainly favors females that lay large clutches," Gil G. Rosenthal writes in a summary of the study. "Selection also should favor females that can anticipate the probability of clutch destruction."
So if you're a male worried about your testosterone dropping over time, maybe you should pay a visit to The Island Of Dr. Moreau and have a go at trying to turn yourself into a fish. If you accomplish that goal, then you know you have a path in front of you to help ensure that certain things stay competitive.
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.