viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

Wisdom Of The Crowds

"La anécdota inicial cuenta la sorpresa de Francis Galton cuando en la feria del condado una muchedumbre dedujo con precisión el peso de un buey cuando sus estimaciones individuales eran aproximadas (y el promedio estuvo más cerca del verdadero peso del buey que las estimaciones por separado de la mayoría de los miembros de la muchedumbre, y también más cercana que cualquiera de las estimaciones de los expertos en ganado).

El libro habla más de diversas colecciones de individuos decidiendo independientemente que de psicología colectiva tal como es tradicionalmente entendida. Hay paralelos con la teoría estadística de muestreo- una colección de individuos decidiendo independientemente tiende a ser más representativa del universo de posibles resultados, produciendo por eso una mejor predicción." La Sabiduría de los Grupos

Lo más profundo

"Lo más profundo es la piel".

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2009

La cosa

Él, que pasaremos a llamar sujeto, y quien estas líneas escribe (perteneciente al sexo femenino) que como es natural llamaremos el objeto, se encontraron una noche cualquiera y así empezó la cosa. Por un lado porque la noche es ideal para comienzos y por otro porque la cosa siempre flota en el aire y basta que dos miradas se crucen para que el puente sea tendido y los abismos franqueados.
Había un mundo de gente pero ella descubrió esos ojos azules que quizá –con un poco de suerte- se detenían en ella. Ojos radiantes, ojos como alfileres que la clavaron contra la pared y la hicieron objeto –objeto de palabras abusivas, objeto del comentario crítico de los otros que notaron la velocidad con la que aceptó al desconocido. Fue ella un objeto que no objetó para nada, hay que reconocerlo, hasta el punto que pocas horas más tarde estaba en la horizontal permitiendo que la metáfora se hiciera carne en ella. Carne dentro de su carne, lo de siempre.
La cosa empezó a funcionar con el movimiento de vaivén del sujeto que era de lo más proclive. El objeto asumió de inmediato –casi instantáneamente- la inobjetable actitud mal llamada pasiva que resulta ser de lo más activa, recibiente. Deslizamiento de sujeto y objeto en el mismo sentido, confundidos si se nos permite la paradoja.

Luisa Valenzuela

El silencio antes de Bach.

«La música de Bach es algo que hay que aprender»
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart S. XVII

«He dicho que Dios le debe todo a Bach. Sin Bach, Dios sería un personaje de tercera clase. La música de Bach es la única razón para pensar que el Universo no es un desastre total. Con Bach todo es profundo, real, nada es fingido. El compositor nos inspira sentimientos que no nos puede dar la literatura, porque Bach no tiene nada que ver con el lenguaje. Sin Bach yo sería un perfecto ni- hilista.»

Helen Fisher & Love

I'd like to talk today about the two biggest social trends in the coming century, and perhaps in the next 10,000 years. But I want to start with my work on romantic love, because that's my most recent work. What I and my colleagues did was to put 32 people, who were madly in love, into a functional MRI brain scanner. 17 who were madly in love and their love was accepted; and 15 who were madly in love and they had just been dumped. And so I want to tell you about that first, and then go on into where I think love is going.

"What 'tis to love?" Shakespeare said. I think our ancestors -- I think human beings have been wondering about this question since they sat around their campfires or lay and watched the stars a million years ago. I started out by trying to figure out what romantic love was by looking at the last 45 years of research on -- just the psychological research, and as it turns out, there's a very specific group of things that happen when you fall in love. The first thing that happens is what I call -- a person begins to take on what I call, "special meaning." As a truck driver once said to me, he said, "The world had a new center, and that center was Mary Anne."

George Bernard Shaw said it a little differently. He said,

"Love consists of overestimating the differences between one woman and another." 

And indeed, that's what we do. And then you just focus on this person. You can list what you don't like about them, but then you sweep that aside and focus on what you do. As Chaucer said, "Love is blind."

In trying to understand romantic love, I decided I would read poetry from all over the world, and I just want to give you one very short poem from eighth-century China, because it's an almost perfect example of a man who is focused totally on a particular woman. It's a little bit like when you are madly in love with somebody and you walk into a parking lot. Their car is different from every other car in the parking lot. Their wine glass at dinner is different from every other wine glass at the dinner party. And in this case, a man got hooked on a bamboo sleeping mat.

And it goes like this. It's by a guy called Yuan Chen:

"I cannot bear to put away the bamboo sleeping mat.
The night I brought you home, I watched you roll it out."

He became hooked on a sleeping mat, probably because of elevated activity of dopamine in his brain, just like with you and me.

But anyway, not only does this person take on special meaning, you focus your attention on them. You aggrandize them. But you have intense energy. As one Polynesian said, he said, "I felt like jumping in the sky." You're up all night. You're walking till dawn. You feel intense elation when things are going well, mood swings into horrible despair when things are going poorly. Real dependence on this person. As one businessman in New York said to me, he said, "Anything she liked, I liked." Simple. Romantic love is very simple.

You become extremely sexually possessive. You know, if you're just sleeping with somebody casually, you don't really care if they're sleeping with somebody else. But the moment you fall in love, you become extremely sexually possessive of them. I think that that is a Darwinian -- there's a Darwinian purpose to this. The whole point of this is to pull two people together strongly enough to begin to rear babies as a team.

But the main characteristics of romantic love are craving: an intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally. You'd much rather -- it would be nice to go to bed with them, but you want them to call you on the telephone, to invite you out, et cetera. To tell you that they love you. The other main characteristic is motivation. The motor in your brain begins to crank, and you want this person.

And last but not least, it is an obsession. When I put these people in the machine, before I put them in the MRI machine, I would ask them all kinds of questions. But my most important question was always the same. It was: "What percentage of the day and night do you think about this person?" And indeed, they would say, "All day. All night. I can never stop thinking about him or her."

And then, the very last question I would ask them -- I would always have to work myself up to this question, because I am not a psychologist. I don't work with people in any kind of traumatic situation. And my final question was always the same. I would say, "Would you die for him or her?" And, indeed, these people would say "Yes!," as if I had asked them to pass the salt. I was just staggered by it.

So we scanned their brains, looking at a photograph of their sweetheart and looking at a neutral photograph, with a distraction task in between. So we could find -- look at the same brain when it was in that heightened state and when it was in a resting state. And we found activity in a lot of brain regions. In fact, one of the most important was a brain region that becomes active when you feel the rush of cocaine. And indeed, that's exactly what happens.

I began to realize that romantic love is not an emotion. In fact, I had always thought it was a series of emotions, from very high to very low. But actually, it's a drive. It comes from the motor of the mind, the wanting part of the mind, the craving part of the mind. The kind of mind -- part of the mind -- when you're reaching for that piece of chocolate, when you want to win that promotion at work. The motor of the brain. It's a drive.

And in fact, I think it's more powerful than the sex drive. You know, if you ask somebody to go to bed with you, and they say, "No thank you," you certainly don't kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But certainly, around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love. They die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptures, paintings, myths, legends. In over 175 societies, people have left their evidence of this powerful brain system. I have come to think it's one of the most powerful brain systems on earth for both great joy and great sorrow.

And I've also come to think that it's one of three, basically different brain systems that evolved from mating and reproduction. One is the sex drive: the craving for sexual gratification. W.H. Auden called it an "intolerable neural itch," and indeed, that's what it is. It keeps bothering you a little bit, like being hungry. The second of these three brain systems is romantic love: that elation, obsession of early love. And the third brain system is attachment: that sense of calm and security you can feel for a long-term partner.

And I think that the sex drive evolved to get you out there, looking for a whole range of partners. You know, you can feel it when you're just driving along in your car. It can be focused on nobody. I think romantic love evolved to enable you to focus your mating energy on just one individual at a time, thereby conserving mating time and energy. And I think that attachment, the third brain system, evolved to enable you to tolerate this human being , at least long enough to raise a child together as a team.

So with that preamble, I want to go into discussing the two most profound social trends. One of the last 10,000 years and the other -- certainly of the last 25 years -- that are going to have an impact on these three different brain systems: lust, romantic love and deep attachment to a partner.

The first is women working, moving into the workforce. I've looked at 150 -- 130 societies through the demographic yearbooks of the United Nations. And everywhere in the world, 129 out of 130 of them, women are not only moving into the job market -- sometimes very, very slowly, but they are moving into the job market -- and they are very slowly closing that gap between men and women in terms of economic power, health and education. It's very slow.

For every trend in -- on this planet, there's a counter-trend. We all know of them, but nevertheless -- the old Arab saying. The Arabs say, "The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on." And, indeed, that caravan is moving on. Women are moving back into the job market. And I say back into the job market, because this is not new. For millions of years, on the grasslands of Africa, women commuted to work to gather their vegetables. They came home with 60 to 80 percent of the evening meal. The double income family was the standard. And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men. In short, we're really moving forward to the past.

Then, women's worst invention was the plow. With the beginning of plow agriculture, men's roles became extremely powerful. Women lost their ancient jobs as collectors, but then with the industrial revolution and the post-industrial revolution they're moving back into the job market. In short, they are acquiring the status that they had a million years ago, 10,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago. We are seeing now one of the most remarkable traditions in the history of the human animal. And it's going to have an impact.

I generally give a whole lecture on the impact of women on the business community. I'll only just say a couple of things, and then go on to sex and love. There's a lot of gender differences; anybody who thinks men and women are alike simply never had a boy and a girl child. I don't know why it is that they want to think that men and women are alike. There's much we have in common, but there's a whole lot that we are not -- do not have in common.

We are -- in the words of Ted Hughes, "I think that we were built to be -- we're like two feet. We need each other to get ahead." But we did not evolve to have the same brain. And we're finding more and more and more gender differences in the brain. I'll only just use a couple and then move on to sex and love. One of them is women's verbal ability. Women can talk.

Women's ability to find the right word rapidly, basic articulation goes up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak. But even at menstruation, they're better than the average man. Women can talk. They've been doing it for a million years; words were women's tools. They held that baby in front of their face, cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words. And, indeed, they're becoming a very powerful force.

Even in places like India and Japan, where women are not moving rapidly into the regular job market, they're moving into journalism. And I think that the television is like the global campfire. We sit around it and it shapes our minds. Almost always, when I'm on TV, the producers who call me, who negotiate what we're going to say, is a woman. In fact, Solzhenitsyn once said, "To have a great writer is to have another government."

Today 54 percent of people who are writers in America are women. It's one of many, many characteristics that women have that they will bring into the job market. They've got incredible people skills, negotiating skills. They're highly imaginative. We now know the brain circuitry of imagination, of long-term planning. They tend to be web thinkers. Because the female parts of the brain are better connected, they tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers, what I call web thinkers.

Men tend to, and these are averages, tend to get rid of what they regard as extraneous, focus on what they do, and move in a more step-by-step thinking pattern. They're both perfectly good ways of thinking. We need both of them to get ahead. In fact, there's many more male geniuses in the world. When the -- and there's also many more male idiots in the world.  When the male brain works well, it works extremely well. And I -- what I really think that we're doing is, we're moving towards a collaborative society, a society in which the talents of both men and women are becoming understood and valued and employed.

But in fact, women moving into the job market is having a huge impact on sex and romance and family life. Foremost, women are starting to express their sexuality. I'm always astonished when people come to me and say, "Why is it that men are so adulterous?" And I say, "Why do you think more men are adulterous than women?" "Oh, well -- men are more adulterous!" And I say, "Who do you think these men are sleeping with?" And basic math!

Anyway. In the Western world, little girls start, women start sooner at sex, have more partners, express less remorse for the partners that they do, marry later, have fewer children, leave bad marriages in order to get good ones. We are seeing the rise of female sexual expression. And, indeed, once again we're moving forward to the kind of sexual expression that we probably saw on the grasslands of Africa a million years ago, because this is the kind of sexual expression that we see in hunting and gathering societies today.

We're also returning to an ancient form of marriage equality. They're now saying that the 21st century is going to be the century of what they call the "symmetrical marriage," or the "pure marriage," or the "companionate marriage." This is a marriage between equals, moving forward to a pattern that is highly compatible with the ancient human spirit.

We're also seeing a rise of romantic love. 91 percent of American women and 86 percent of American men would not marry somebody who had every single quality they were looking for in a partner, if they were not in love with that person. People around the world, in a study of 37 societies, want to be in love with the person that they marry. Indeed, arranged marriages are on their way off this braid of human life.

I even think that marriages might even become more stable because of the second great world trend. The first one being women moving into the job market, the second one being the aging world population. They're now saying that in America, that middle age should be regarded as up to age 85. Because in that highest age category of 76 to 85, only, as much as 40 percent of people have nothing really wrong with them. So we're seeing there's a real extension of middle age.

And I looked, - for one of my books, I looked at divorce data in 58 societies. And as it turns out, the older you get, the less likely you are to divorce. So the divorce rate right now is stable in America, and it's actually beginning to decline. It may decline some more. I would even say that with Viagra, estrogen replacement, hip replacements and the incredibly interesting women -- women have never been as interesting as they are now. Not at any time on this planet have women been so educated, so interesting, so capable. And so I honestly think that if there really was ever a time in human evolution when we have the opportunity to make good marriages, that time is now.

However, there's always kinds of complications in this. In these three brain systems: lust, romantic love and attachment -- don't always go together. They can go together, by the way. That's why casual sex isn't so casual. With orgasm you get a spike of dopamine. Dopamine's associated with romantic love, and you can just fall in love with somebody who you're just having casual sex with. With orgasm, then you get a real rush of oxytocin and vasopressin, those are associated with attachment. This is why you can feel such a sense of cosmic union with somebody after you've made love to them.

But these three brain systems: lust, romantic love and attachment, aren't always connected to each other. You can feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners. In short, we're capable of loving more than one person at a time. In fact, you can lie in bed at night and swing from deep feelings of attachment for one person to deep feelings of romantic love for somebody else. It's as if there's a committee meeting going on in your head as you are trying to decide what to do. So I don't think, honestly, we're an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce. I think the happiness we find, we make. And I think, however, we can make good relationships with each other.

So I want to conclude with two things. I want to conclude with a worry. I have a worry -- and with a wonderful story. The worry is about antidepressants. Over 100 million prescriptions of antidepressants are written every year in the United States. And these drugs are going generic. They are seeping around the world. I know one girl who's been on these antidepressants, serotonin-enhancing,  SSRI, serotonin-enhancing antidepressants , since she was 13. She's 23. She's been on them ever since she was 13.

I've got nothing against people who take them short term, when they're going through something perfectly horrible. They want to commit suicide or kill somebody else. I would recommend it. But more and more people in the United States are taking them long term. And indeed, what these drugs do is raise levels of serotonin. And by raising levels of serotonin, you suppress the dopamine circuit. Everybody knows that. Dopamine is associated with romantic love. Not only do they suppress the dopamine circuit, but they kill the sex drive. And when you kill the sex drive, you kill orgasm. And when you kill orgasm, you kill that flood of drugs associated with attachment. The things are connected in the brain. And when you tamper with one brain system, you're going to tamper with another. I'm just simply saying that a world without love is a deadly place.

I want to end with a story. And then, just a comment. I've been studying romantic love and sex and attachment for 30 years. I'm an identical twin; I am interested in why we're all alike. Why you and I are alike, why the Iraqis and the Japanese and the Australian Aborigines and the people of the Amazon River are all alike.

And about a year ago, an Internet dating service,, came to me and asked me if I would design a new dating site for them. I said, "I don't know anything about personality. You know? I don't know. Do you think you've got the right person?" They said, "Yes." It got me thinking about why it is that you fall in love with one person rather than another.

That's my current project; it will be my next book. There's all kinds of reasons that you fall in love with one person rather than another. Timing is important. Proximity is important. Mystery is important. You fall in love with somebody who's somewhat mysterious, in part because mystery elevates dopamine in the brain, probably pushes you over that threshold to fall in love. You fall in love with somebody who fits within what I call your "love map," an unconscious list of traits that you build in childhood as you grow up. And I also think that you become, gravitate to certain people, actually, with somewhat complementary brain systems. And that's what I'm now contributing to this.

 I've been carrying on here about the biology of love. I wanted to show you a little bit about the culture of it, too -- the magic of it. It's a story that was told to me by somebody who had heard it just from one of the -- probably a true story. It was a graduate student at,  I'm at Rutgers and my two colleagues, Art Aaron is at SUNY Stonybrook. That's where we put our people in the MRI machine.

And this graduate student was madly in love with another graduate student, and she was not in love with him. And they were all at a conference in Beijing. And he knew from our work that if you go and do something very novel with somebody, you can drive up the dopamine in the brain. And perhaps trigger this brain system for romantic love. So he decided he'd put science to work, and he invited this girl to go off on a rickshaw ride with him.

And sure enough -- I've never been in one, but apparently they go all around the buses and the trucks and it's crazy and it's noisy and it's exciting. And he figured that this would drive up the dopamine, and she would fall in love with him. So off they go and she's squealing and squeezing him and laughing and having a wonderful time. An hour later they get down off of the rickshaw, and she throws her hands up and she says, "Wasn't that wonderful?" And, "Wasn't that rickshaw driver handsome!"

There's magic to love! But I will end by saying that millions of years ago, we evolved three basic drives: the sex drive, romantic love and attachment to a long-term partner. These circuits are deeply embedded in the human brain. They're going to survive as long as our species survives on what Shakespeare called "this mortal coil." Than you.

 Helen Fisher
Fisher en redes 

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009



"Despertares" fue una película estadounidense de 1990 dirigida por Penny Marshall.
Basada en la autobiografía de Oliver Sacks Awakenings, relata la historia real de un médico (Oliver Sacks representado por Malcolm Sayer en la película) que, en 1969, descubre los efectos beneficiosos de la entonces nueva droga L-Dopa. Malcolm la empieza a aplicar a pacientes catatónicos que sobrevivieron a la epidemia de encefalitis letárgica de 1917-1928. (wikipedia)

Der Panther

Su mirada se ha cansado de tanto observar
esos barrotes ante sí, en desfile incesante,
que nada más podría entrar ya en ella.
Le parece que sólo hay miles de barrotes
y que detrás de ellos ningún mundo existe.

Mientras avanza dibujando una y otra vez
con sus pisadas círculos estrechos,
el movimiento de sus patas hábiles y suaves
va mostrando una rotunda danza,
en torno a un centro en el que sigue alerta
una imponente voluntad.

Sólo a veces, permite en silencio, la apertura
de los cortinajes que ocultaban sus pupilas;
y cruza una imagen hacia adentro,
se desliza a través de los tensos músculos
cae en su corazón, se desvanece y muere.

Rainer Maria Rilke 

Despertares (Ver película).


Él y Ella. Los encontramos sentados en los dos extre­mos de un sofá de tres plazas. Ella observa con un poco de temor. Por fin se anima a hablar:
Él: Parece que estás de mal humor, ¿qué te pasa?
Ella: No me pasa nada. Y te ruego que no hagas suposiciones sobre mí.
Breve pausa:
Él: ¿Es por algo que dije?
Ella: No.
Él: ¿Es por algo que no dije?
Ella: No.
Él: ¿Es por algo que hice?
Ella: No.
Él: ¿Es por algo que no hice?
Ella: No.
Una pausa más larga. Toma aire y remarcando con cla­ridad las palabras:
Él: ¿Es por algo que yo dije casualmente en relación a algo que hice y que no debí haber hecho ni dicho, o, por lo menos debería haberlo hecho y dicho de otra manera y tomando en cuenta tus sentimientos?
Ella: Algo así. Pero basta, no insistas.

Pablo Urbanyi

Ipuina kontatu

 Ipuina kontatu dokumentala by

Ipuina Kontatu: The Basque Way Promo-trailer (English) - For more funny movies, click here


La confusión es el dios
la locura es el dios
la paz permanente de la vida
es la paz permanente de la muerte.

La agonía puede matar
o puede sustentar la vida
pero la paz es siempre horrible
la paz es la peor cosa
pareciendo ser.

No olvides las aceras,
las putas,
la traición,
el gusano en la manzana,
los bares, las cárceles
los suicidios de los amantes.

Aquí en Estados Unidos
hemos asesinado a un presidente y a su hermano,
otro presidente ha tenido que dejar el cargo.

La gente que cree en la política
es como la gente que cree en dios:
sorben aire con pajitas

No hay Dios
no hay política
no hay paz
no hay amor
no hay control
no hay planes.

Mantente alejado de dios
permanece angustiado

Charles Bukowski

Está vacío

"El infierno está vacío y todos los demonios se hallan aquí."

- Fernando, La Tempestad ,William Shakespeare.

The Coffer Illusion

"First time viewers of this display invariably do not see the 16 circles segmented from the background. Rather, they see a series of rectangles that they frequently describe as “door panels”. The illusion pits segmentation cues against what appears to be a very strong prior to interpret the image as a series of 3-D structures “coffers” with closed boundaries. (A coffer is a decorative sunken panel.) It appears that the prior involves both closure and shape-from shading assumptions. The Coffer Illusion is a variation on Gianni Sarcone’s “Op Art illusion”."

Welcome to

Me cambiaron la grapadora

"Y entonces me cambiaron la grapadora, pero yo me guardé mi grapadora porque la otra no grapa tan bien, y me guardé las grapas para mi grapadora porque eso que me hicieron no está bien y si me quitan la grapadora otra vez entonces pegaré fuego la oficina y..."


- Milton Waddams (Trabajo Basura, Mike Judge)

Algo todavía ocurrirá,

"Algo todavía ocurrirá, pero dónde y qué.

Alguien saldrá a tu encuentro, pero cuándo

(y quién)"


Charles Darwin

"Cuando se dijo por primera vez que el sol permanecía fijo y que el mundo giraba, el sentido común de la humanidad declaró la doctrina falsa; pero el viejo dicho Vox populi, vox Dei, como todo filósofo sabe, no puede ser confiado a la ciencia."

* El origen de las especies, capitulo VI

"Debido a esta lucha, las variaciones, por ligeras que sean y cualquiera que sea la causa de que procedan, si son en algún grado provechosas a los individuos de una especie en sus relaciones infinitamente complejas con otros seres orgánicos y con sus condiciones físicas de vida, tenderán a la conservación de estos individuos y serán, en general, heredadas por la descendencia. La descendencia también tendrá así mayor probabilidad de sobrevivir; pues de los muchos individuos de una especie cualquiera que nacen periódicamente, sólo un pequeño número puede sobrevivir. Este principio, por el cual toda ligera variación, si es útil, se conserva, lo he denominado yo con el término de selección natural, a fin de señalar su relación con la facultad de selección del hombre; pero la expresión frecuentemente usada por míster Herbert Spencer de la supervivencia de los más adecuados es más exacta y es algunas veces igualmente conveniente."
El origen de las especies, capítulo III

“El registro geológico, considerado en conjunto, es extremadamente imperfecto; pero si limitamos nuestra atención a cualquier formación por sí misma, se hace mucho más difícil entender por qué no hallamos allí variedades estrechamente graduadas entre las especies relacionadas. . . . Hay otra dificultad, una relacionada, que es mucho más seria. Aludo a la manera en que especies que pertenecen a varias de las principales divisiones del reino animal aparecen súbitamente en las rocas fosilíferas más profundas que se conocen. . . . A la pregunta de por qué no hallamos abundantes depósitos fosilíferos pertenecientes a estos períodos más primitivos que supuestamente antecedieron al sistema cámbrico, no puedo dar respuesta satisfactoria.”
The Origin of Species por Charles Darwin, en The Harvard Classics (Nueva York, 1909), redactado por Charles W. Eliot, tomo 11, págs. 346, 359, 360.

"La distinción de las formas específicas y el no estar ligadas entre sí por innumerables [eslabones] de transición, es una dificultad muy evidente."
El origen de las especies, capítulo X

"[...]la selección natural, como veremos más adelante, es una fuerza siempre dispuesta a la acción y tan inconmensurablemente superior a los débiles esfuerzos del hombre como las obras de la Naturaleza lo son a las del Arte."
El origen de las especies, capítulo III

"No puedo persuadirme de que un Dios benevolente y omnipotente hubiera creado intencionadamente los icneumónidos con la intención expresa de que se alimentasen de los cuerpos vivos de orugas, o de un que un gato jugase con ratones..."
Nota: En carta a Asa Gray (1860)

"Sé perfectamente que apenas se discute en este libro un solo punto acerca del cual no puedan aducirse hechos que con frecuencia llevan, al parecer, a conclusiones diametralmente opuestas a aquellas a que yo he llegado."
Nota: Introducción a The Origin of the Species

"Si se pudiera demostrar que existió un órgano complejo que no pudo haber sido formado por modificaciones pequeñas, numerosas y sucesivas, mi teoría se destruiría por completo."
(El origen de las especies, capítulo VI, apartado “Modos de transición”.)

"Poco a poco dejé de creer que el cristianismo fuera una revelación divina. El que se propagaran como la pólvora muchas religiones falsas en gran parte de la Tierra tuvo alguna influencia en mí."

"Tampoco podemos pasar por alto la probabilidad de que la inculcación constante de una creencia en Dios en la mente de los niños produzca un efecto tan fuerte, y quizás heredado, en sus cerebros no totalmente desarrollados, que les resulte tan difícil librarse de su creencia en Dios, como a un mono de su miedo y aversión instintivos a una serpiente"

"Conforme el ser humano avanza en civilización, y las pequeñas tribus empiezan a unirse en comunidades mayores, ...cada individuo tendría que extender sus instintos sociales y simpatías a todos los miembros de la misma nación, aunque le resulten personalmente desconocidos. Una vez alcanzado este punto, solo una barrera artificial puede impedir que sus simpatías se extiendan a los humanos de todas las naciones y razas... La simpatía más allá de los confines humanos, es decir, los sentimientos humanitarios hacia los animales inferiores, parece ser una de las últimas adquisiciones morales... Los romanos antiguos apenas la conocían, como se muestra en sus horrorosas exhibiciones de gladiadores. La mera idea de sentimientos humanitarios, en la medida que pude observarlo, resultaba nueva a la mayor parte de los gauchos de las pampas. Esta virtud, una de las más nobles de las que está dotado el humano, parece surgir incidentalmente de nuestra simpatía, cuando ésta se hace más tierna y se difunde más ampliamente, hasta llegar a alcanzar a todos los seres capaces de sentir."
El origen del hombre, capitulo III

"La ignorancia genera confianza más frecuentemente que el conocimiento, son aquellos que saben poco, y no esos que saben más, quienes tan positivamente afirman que este o aquel problema nunca será resuelto por la ciencia".

"Yo admito ahora, después de haber leído en ensayo de Nāgeli sobre las plantas y las consideraciones de varios autores respecto a los animales y en particular a las hechas recientemente por el Prof. Brocca, que en las primeras ediciones de mi Origen de las Especies he atribuido demasiado a la acción de la selección natural y de la supervivencias del mas apto... Entonces no había considerado suficientemente la existencia de muchas estructuras que parecer no ser, por mucho que podamos juzgar, ni benéficas ni dañosas y creo que esto sea una de las mas grandes equivocaciones encontradas hasta ahora en mi trabajo... Tales estrucutras no pueden ser explicadas por ninguna forma de selección o por los efectos hereditarios del uso o desuso de las partes... En la mayoría de los casos sólo pódemos decir que la cauisa de cada pequeña variación o de toda monostruosidad se encuentra mas en la naturaleza o en la constitución del organismo que en la naturaleza de las condiciones circundantes."

Charles Robert Darwin

Creation the

10 cosas que no sabías del orgasmo

"Alright. I'm going to show you a couple of images from a very diverting paper in The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that it is the most diverting paper ever published in The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. The title is "Observations of In-Utero Masturbation."  Okay. Now on the left you can see the hand. Thats the big arrow. And the penis on the right. The hand hovering. And over here we have, in the words of radiologist Israel Meisner, "The hand grasping the penis in a fashion resembling masturbation movements." Bear in mind this was an ultrasound. So it would have been moving images.
Orgasm is a reflex of the autonomic nervous system. Now this is the part of the nervous system that deals with the things that we don't consciously control. Like digestion, heart rate, sexual arousal. And the orgasm reflex can be triggered by a surprisingly broad range of input. Genital stimulation. Duh. But also Kinsey interviewed a woman who could be brought to orgasm by having someone stroke her eyebrow. People with spinal cord injuries, like parapeligias, quadraplegias, will often develop a very very sensitive area right above the level of their injury. Wherever that is. There is such a thing as a knee orgasm, in the literature.
I think the most curious one that I came across was a case report of a woman who had an orgasm every time she brushed her teeth. This was something in the complex sensory-motor action of brushing her teeth was triggering orgasm. And she went to a neurologist who was fascinated. He checked to see if it was something in the toothpaste. But no, it happened with any brand. They stimulated her gums with a toothpick, to see if that was doing it. No. It was the whole, you know, motion. And the amazing thing to me is that now you would think this woman would like have excellent oral hygiene.Sadly she -- this is what it said in the journal paper -- "She believed that she was possessed by demons and switched to mouthwash for her oral care." It's so sad.
I interviewed, when I was working on the book, I interviewed a woman who can think herself to orgasm. She was part of a study at Rutgers University. You gotta love that. Rutgers. So I interviewed her in Oakland, in a sushi restaurant. And I said, "So, could you do it right here?" And she said, "Yeah, but I'd rather finish my meal if you don't mind."  But afterwards she was kind enough to demonstrate on a bench outside. It was remarkable. It took about one minute. And I said to her, "Are you just doing this all the time?"  She said, "No. Honestly when I get home I'm usually too tired."  She said that the last time she had done it was on the Disneyland tram.
The headquarters for orgasm, along the spinal nerve, is something called the sacral nerve root. Which is back here. And if you trigger, if you stimulate with an electrode, the precise spot, you will trigger an orgasm. And it is a fact that you can trigger spinal reflexes in dead people. A certain kind of dead person, a beating-heart cadaver. Now this is somebody who is braindead, legally dead, definitely checked out, but is being kept alive on a respirator, so that their organs will be oxygenated for transplantation. Now in one of these braindead people, if you trigger the right spot you will see something every now and then. There is a reflex called the Lazarus reflex. And this is -- I'll demonstrate as best I can, not being dead. It's like this. You trigger the spot. The dead guy, or gal, goes ... like that. Very unsettling for people working in pathology labs.
Now if you can trigger the Lazarus reflex in a dead person, why not the orgasm reflex? I asked this question to a brain death expert, Stephanie Mann, who was foolish enough to return my emails. I said, "So, could you concievably trigger an orgasm in a dead person?" She said, "Yes, if the sacral nerve is being oxygenated. You conceivably could." Obviously it wouldn't be as much fun for the person. But it would be an orgasm --  nonetheless. I actually suggested to -- there is a researcher at the university of Alabama who does orgasm research. I said to her, "You should do an experiment. You know? You can get cadavers if you work at a university." I said, "You should actually do this." She said, "You get the human subjects reviewboard approval for this one."
According to 1930s marriage manual author, Theodore Van de Velde, a slight seminal odor can be detected on the breath of a woman within about an hour after sexual intercourse. Theodore Van de Velde was something of a semen connoisseur.  This is a guy writing a book, "Ideal Marriage," you know. Very heavy hetero guy. But he wrote in this book, "Ideal Marriage," he said that he could differentiate between the semen of a young man, which he said had a fresh, exhilarating smell, and the semen of mature men, whose semen smelled quote, "Remarkably like that of the flowers of the Spanish chestnut. Sometimes quite freshly floral, and then again sometimes extremely pungent."
Okay. 1999, in the state of Israel, a man began hiccuping. And this was one of those cases that went on and on. He tried everything his friends suggested. Nothing seemed to help. Days went by. At a certain point, the man, still hiccuping, had sex with his wife. And lo and behold, the hiccups went away. He told his doctor, who published a case report in a Canadian medical journal under the title, "Sexual Intercourse as a Potential Treatment for Intractable Hiccups." I love this article because at a certain point they suggested that unattached hiccupers could try masturbation.  I love that because there is like a whole demographic. Unattached hiccupers.  Married. Single. Unattached hiccuper.
In the 1900s, early 1900s gynecologists, a lot of gynecologists believed that when a woman has an orgasm the contractions serve to suck the semen up through the cervix and sort of deliver it really quickly to the egg. Thereby upping the odds of conception. It was called the "upsuck" theory.  If you go all the way back to Hippocrates, physicians believed that orgasm in women was not just helpful for conception, but necessary. Doctors back then were routinely telling men the importance of pleasuring their wives. Marriage manual author and semen sniffer Theodore Van de Velde --  has a line in his book. I loved this guy. I got a lot of mileage out of Theodore Van de Velde. He had this line in his book, that supposedly comes from the Habsburg Monarchy. Where there was an empress Maria Theresa, who was having trouble conceiving. And apparently the royal court physician said to her, "I am of the opinion that the vulva of your most sacred majesty be titillated for some time prior to intercourse." It's apparently, I don't know, on the record somewhere.
Masters and Johnson: now we're moving forward to the 1950s. Masters and Johnson were upsuck skeptics. Which is also really fun to say. They didn't buy it. And they decided, being Masters and Johnson, that they would get to the bottom of it. They brought women into the lab. I think it was five women. And outfitted them with cervical caps containing artificial semen. And in the artificial semen was a radio-opaque substance, such that it would show up on an X-ray. This is the 1950s. Anyway these women sat in front of an X-ray device. And they masturbated. And Masters and Johnson looked to see if the semen was being sucked up. Did not find any evidence of upsuck. You may be wondering, "How do you make artificial semen?" I have an answer for you. I have two answers. You can use flour and water, or cornstarch and water. I actually found three separate recipes in the literature. My favorite being the one that says -- you know, they have the ingredients listed, and then in a recipe it will say, for example, "Yield: two dozen cupcakes." This one said, "Yield: one ejaculate."
There's another way that orgasm might boost fertility. This one involves men. Sperm that sit around in the body for a week or more start to develop abnormalities that make them less effective at head banging their way into the egg. British sexologist Roy Levin has speculated that this is perhaps why men evolved to be such enthusiastic and frequent masturbators. He said, "If I keep tossing myself off I get fresh sperm being made." Which I thought was an interesting idea, theory. So now you have an evolutionary excuse.
Alrighty. There is considerable evidence for upsuck in the animal kingdom. Pigs, for instance. In Denmark, the Danish National Committee for Pig Production found out that if you sexually stimulate a sow while you artificially inseminate her, you will see a six-percent increase in the farrowing rate, which is the number of piglets produced. So they came up with this plan. This five-point stimulation plan for the sows. And they had the farmers -- there is posters they put in the barn, and they have a DVD. And I got a copy of this DVD. This is my unveiling. Because I am going to show you a clip.
So uh, okay. Now here we go in to the -- la la la, off to work. It all looks very innocent. He's going to be doing things with his hands that the boar would use his snout, lacking hands. Okay. This is it. The boar has a very odd courtship repertoire. This is to mimic the weight of the boar.  You should know, the clitoris of the pig, inside the vagina. So this may be sort of titillating for her. Here we go. And the happy result.  I love this video. There is a point in this video, towards the beginning where they zoom in for a close up of his hand with his wedding ring, as if to say, "It's okay, it's just his job. He really does like women."
Okay. Now I said -- when I was in Denmark, my host was named Anne Marie. And I said, "So why don't you just stimulate the clitoris of the pig? Why don't you have the farmers do that? That's not one of your five steps." She said -- I have to read you what she said, because I love it. She said, "It was a big hurdle just to get farmers to touch underneath the vulva. So we thought let's not mention the clitoris right now." Shy but ambitious pig farmers, however, can purchase a -- this is true -- a sow vibrator, that hangs on the sperm feeder tube to vibrate. Because, as I mentioned, the clitoris is inside the vagina. So possibly, you know, a little more arousing than it looks. And I also said to her, "Now these sows. I mean, you may have noticed there, The sow doesn't look to be in the throes of ecstasy." And she said, "You can't make that conclusion." Because animals don't register pain or pleasure on their faces, in the same way that we do. They tend to -- pigs, for example, are more like dogs. They use the upper half of the face. The ears are very expressive. So you're not really sure what's going on with the pig.
Primates, on the other hand, we use our mouths more. This is the ejaculation face of the stump-tailed macaque. And, interestingly, this has been observed in female macaques. But only when mounting another female.
Masters and Johnson, in the 1950s, they decided, okay, we're going to figure out the entire human sexual response cycle. From arousal, all the way through orgasm, in men and women. Everything that happens in the human body. Okay, with women, a lot of this is happening inside. This did not stop Masters and Johnson. They developed an artificial coition machine. This is basically a penis camera on a motor. There is a phallus, clear acrylic phallus, with a camera and a light source, attached to a motor that is kind of going like this. And the woman would have sex with it. That is what they would do. Pretty amazing. Sadly, this device has been dismantled. This just kills me. Not because I wanted to use it. I wanted to see it.
One fine day Alfred Kinsey decided to calculate the average distance traveled by ejaculated semen. This was not idle curiosity. Doctor Kinsey had heard -- and there was a theory kind of going around at the time, this being the 1940s, that the force with which semen is thrown against the cervix was a factor in fertility. Kinsey thought it was bunk. So he got to work. He got together in his lab 300 men, a measuring tape, and a movie camera. And in fact he found that in three quarters of the men the stuff just kind of slopped out. It wasn't spurted or thrown or ejected under great force. However, the record holder landed just shy of the eight foot mark. Which is impressive. Yes. Exactly. Sadly, he's anonymous. His name is not mentioned.
In his write up, in his write up of this experiment in his book, Kinsey wrote, "Two sheets were laid down to protect the oriental carpets." Which is my second favorite line in the entire ouevre of Alfred Kinsey. My favorite being, "Cheese crumbs spread before a pair of copulating rats will distract the female, but not the male."

Mary Roach

Diez cosas que no sabías sobre los orgasmos:
  1. Masturbación In Utero
  2. No necesitas genitales
  3. Podrás tenerlos cuando estés muerto
  4. Los orgasmos pueden causar mal aliento (Mito)
  5. Curan el hipo (posible)
  6. Un orgasmo puede aumentar la fertilidad (controvertido)
  7. Los criadores de cerdos les provocan orgasmos
  8. Las hembras de los animales se divierten más de lo que piensas
  9. Estudiar el orgasmo humano en el Labortorio no es fácil…
  10. … Pero es entretenido. (fuente)

martes, 27 de octubre de 2009

Apuntes para ser leídos por los lobos

El lobo, aparte de su orgullosa altivez, es inteligente, un ser sensible y hermoso con mala fama... Trata de sobrevivir. Y observa al humano: le parece abominable, lleno de maldad, cruel; tanto así que suele utilizar proverbios tales como: "Está oscuro como boca de hombre", para señalar algún peligro nocturno, o "el lobo es el hombre del lobo", cuando este animal llega a ciertos excesos de fiereza semejante a la humana.

René Avilés Fabila

Lección aprendida

Siglos después de su destrucción total, la Tierra es nuevamente creada en una apacible galaxia situada a millones de años luz de su antiguo sistema solar… esta vez sin seres humanos, gracias a Dios.

Rafael García Z.

Era una vez

Era una vez una Cucaracha llamada Gregorio Samsa que soñaba que era una Cucaracha llamada Franz Kafka que soñaba que era un escritor que escribía acerca de un empleado llamado Gregorio Samsa que soñaba que era una Cucaracha. 

Augusto Monterroso

Simolo Universal De Buenas intenciones

Ludwig van Beethoven

"Debería haber un gran almacén de arte en el mundo al que el artista pudiera llevar sus obras y desde el cual el mundo pudiera tomar lo que necesitara".

"El único símbolo de superioridad que conozco es la bondad."

"Hay momentos en que me parece que el lenguaje no sirve todavía absolutamente para nada."

"La arquitectura es una música de piedras y la música, una arquitectura de sonidos."

"No confíes tu secreto ni al más íntimo amigo; no podrías pedirle discreción si tú mismo no la has tenido."

"Para ti, pobre Beethoven, no hay felicidad en el mundo, tienes que crearla en ti mismo. Solamente en las regiones del ideal puedes hallar amigos."
Nota: En una carta a Gleichestein.
Fuente: Grandes biografías: Ludwig van Beethoven, Ed. Rueda J.M., p.88

"¿Qué soy cuando me comparo con el universo?"

"Usted es príncipe por azar, por nacimiento; en cuanto a mí, yo soy por mí mismo. Hay miles de príncipes y los habrá, pero Beethoven sólo hay uno".
Contestación a la orden del príncipe Lichnowsky de que se sentara al piano.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Libros que nos muerdan y nos arañen


"En general – escribió Kafka en 1904 a su amigo Oskar Pollak -, creo que sólo debemos leer libros que nos muerdan y nos arañen. Si el libro que estamos leyendo no nos obliga a despertarnos como un mazazo en el cráneo, ¿para qué molestarnos en leerlo? ¿Para que nos haga felices, como dices tú? Cielo santo, ¡seríamos igualmente felices si no tuviéramos ningún libro! Los libros que nos hacen felices podríamos escribirlos nosotros mismos si no nos quedara otro remedio. Lo que necesitamos son libros que nos golpeen como una desgracia dolorosa, como la muerte de alguien a quien queríamos más que a nosotros mismos, libros que nos hagan sentirnos desterrados a las junglas más remotas, lejos de toda presencia humana, algo semejante al suicidio. Un libro debe ser el hacha que quiebre el mar helado dentro de nosotros. Eso es lo que creo

Figuras reversibles, Escalera de Schroder

"Si la miramos desde otro ángulo (por ejemplo girando la cabeza hacia el hombro derecho) se intercambian el fondo y el primer plano y la parte convexa de los escalones pasa a ser cóncava y viceversa." (Ilusionario)

Esta vez


  1. Decidido a escapar de mi condición de personaje secundario, esperé a que se durmiera para reescribir algunas palabras.
  2. Envalentonado por mi nueva condición de protagonista, decidí continuar y, cuando me di cuenta, la historia era otra por completo.
  3. De pronto me di cuenta que entre el eco de las líneas vacías, escuchaba mi propia voz y supe que me había vuelto también el narrador.
  4. Confundido y tembloroso, interrumpí un momento el relato para cerciorarme de que, allá afuera, aún dormía.
  5. Había ido demasiado lejos, pero sólo avanzar parecía posible ahora que era un flagrante usurpador a punto de ser sorprendido y reescrito.
  6. No lo pensé más, lo borré todo y comencé de cero, esta vez mi rol sería sólo el del autor que duerme mientras un personaje se rebela.

 Ikal Bamoa

Un hombre sueña

Un hombre sueña que ama a una mujer. La mujer huye. El hombre envía en su persecución los perros de su deseo. La mujer cruza un puente sobre un río, atraviesa un muro, se eleva sobre una montaña. Los perros atraviesan el río a nado, saltan el muro y al pie de la montaña se detienen jadeando. El hombre sabe, en su sueño, que jamás en su sueño podrá alcanzarla. Cuando despierta, la mujer está a su lado y el hombre descubre, decepcionado, que ya es suya. 

Ana María Shua.