Fruit flies like a banana...
A new study reveals that male fruit flies enjoy the sensation of ejaculation, and are more likely to turn to alcohol when sexually frustrated. Sound familiar? The research published in Current Biology on Thursday is, apparently, the first to prove the rewarding nature of orgasms among insects and mammals. “Successful mating …
Fruit flies like a banana daiquiri.
[True story. I left a banana out in my flat and never returned until it had rotted, and when I did return the flat was full of tens of thousands of fruit flies. For a night and a day I tried to swat them but they are basically unswattable, so in frustration I poured myself a whisky but then they started dive-bombing my glass so I fled. I returned a few days later and they'd all drowned themselves in my whisky.
So my take on that is fruit flies with easy access to sex still drown themselves in booze when it's available, even the females]
I think there were similar references in a song performed by Billy Ocean.
I can't stop running to you,
Feel love coming through you
Girl, with you beside me,
Hold on heaven guide me
Red light spells danger,
Can't hold out much longer
'Cause red light means warning,
Can't hold out I'm burning
I recall a whole lecture about the neural mechanisms of ejaculation in mammals, including a number of experiments involving canine spinal sectioning. When it got to the questions part, someone near me put their hand up and asked, "So exactly how does one write a grant application asking for the money to spend five years wanking off dogs?"
"Shohat-Ophir said the behaviour can be explained by evolution.".
It bloody well can't. Evolution doesn't explain anything. All you can say is:
"I haven't got a bloody clue how this happened - it might or might not be the optimal solution - but we didn't even know what problem was trying to be solved until this gave us the answer'. And then we analysed it retrospectively." Which is descriptive, not causality.
"NOTHING IS 'EXPLAINED BY EVOLUTION"
It is simply a post hoc description of what has happened so far. Even whilst it is happening another conspiracy of genetics is attempting to do lots of things, Some of them may be better and fail for [insert your preferred reason here]. Others may be worse - and fail for [insert your preferred reason here]. That's fine - it is one of the most important concepts of the 19th century. I think it is massive in the implications. BUT - it is abused, described as a serial process retrospectively and misunderstood. Cue just about every casual science reporter.
And it doesn't really matter; evolution gives you what you get - not an computationally correct, verifiable through diverse methods and algorithms proof.
Neither - as I said in the post I thought it was one of the most important discoveries of the 19th century. But it doesn't explain anything. It describes a process by which things happen. But you can't make the Popperian nullifiable hypothesis that a single specific event will occur by "evolution". All that you can do is observe trends in genetics through probability. A simple example would be the enzyme which has been discovered that degrades PET. By accident, when making it a change improved its functionality. Great - we need it. But there is no reason to suppose whatever that this would have been forced to occur by "evolution".
That is the point that I was (obviously ineffectively) trying to make. Evolution is not deterministic, it is stochastic and as such cannot explain anything, merely describe a route that was taken to get to a particular position.
Don't ... feed ... don't ... feed ... ah sod it, I can't help it
But there is no reason to suppose whatever that this would have been forced to occur by "evolution".
There's every reason. Why do you think they looked where they did [a PET bottle dump] for "PET-eating bacteria"? In other words, they formulated the hypothesis that bacteria might evolve which could digest PET, then they proved the hypothesis, and then they started studying the discovery. It's evolution being predicted and exploited. Consider reading the abstract of A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate).
Don't ... read ... don't ... read ... ah sod it, I can't read it
"By accident, when making it a change improved its functionality." i.e. the enzyme was altered. Not by evolution but by the researchers. It was that change that was not evolutionary. There is no reason to assume that would have occurred through an evolutionary process. If you must insist on me being a troll at least read the correct article first <g>.
To save parents the embarrassment of teaching their children about "it" (S - E - X) in the early '60's there was a booklet available* using fruit flies as the exemplar. Written by some totally po-faced medic - or maybe he was an entomologist. If in early puberty "it" was a confusing topic there is no way this immensely misguided booklet would have helped. Worse than what Stevie said behind the bike shed. H&E magazines did not help either.
*My Mum gave the booklet to me with an expressionless face and merely a "Read this. And don't take it to school". I am not sure why she bothered.
You need to get the flies thorougly pissed FIRST, then I think you will find that there will be lots more sex. A fruit fly nightclub where horny fruit flies can meet other similarly horny fruit flies, serving a delicious range of alcoholic drinks will help to facilitate the action to be observed by the scientists. Then you can experimentally confirm that more fruit flies will desire sex after the alcohol, and lots will be had, instead of concluding that alcohol is an acceptable substitute in itself, just like humans who fail to cop off tend to.
When the master sings, does the missus gasp in awe and wonder as well, is what I wonder as well about, or just takes it in as one point ticked of the menu, and on to the next? (Or is it that the boffins still need to pick the lady's brain at a later point in time to see what she thinks about the rigmarole?)
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