Vasectomy or Affair?

Nice recovery from my friends at The Economist.

The New York Times latched on to the curious vasectomy trend, though I found NYT’s Leslie Alderman less entertaining and thoughtful on the subject than CNN’s Ms. Park (the Basketball theory – c’mon, that is funny).

Vasectomy’s are not the final word, it seems.  Men are conflicted.  Curious.

Apparently, business at online dating sites is booming.  At OkCupid (aimed at ‘a … casual, youthful crowd), there has been more than a 50% spike in registered, active users since April 2008.  At (20 million paying subscribers), a recent study found that ‘25% of women said stress about the state of the economy made them more inclined to seek a long-term relationship’.  Also, visits to the website jump on days when the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls more than 100 points.


1.  As the economy slows, people have more time to devote to private lives.

2.  Uncertain times increase the desire for companionship.

3.  Living alone is expensive – find a mate and split the cost.

In the spirit of microeconomist Steven Levitt at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Mr. Freakonomics), The Economist article proposes a fourth, less naturally intuitive possibility:  the boom is neither a nesting instinct nor desire to save money, but a desire ‘to do something that makes <people> feel better about themselves’.

So says Noel Biderman, who runs, a subscription-based business model that arranges affairs (as seen on Dr. Phil and Larry King, per the website splash page, and also offers a 100% Affair Guarantee).

Apparently, ‘never before have so many people been looking for a bit on the side’.

A $49 subscription to is less than the average co-pay required for a vasectomy.

Linda finds all this less amusing, though I apparently get a 2 for 1 – have an affair and get a vasectomy, though those were not precisely the words she used.


Vasectomies Up 50% in New York and Cleveland


It appears CNN has scooped my venerable friends at The Economist.

“Why are we suddenly having an explosion in guys asking for vasectomies?”

Is it ok to say that at work?

Vasectomies in Cleveland are up 50% and 48% in New York.  The article posits two theories.  One theory is that people are accelerating medical procedures in advance of losing health benefits, usually associated with job loss or job uncertainty.  The second is that a loss of confidence in future employment prospects results in a reduced birthrate.

While there is ‘no national registry of sterilizations‘, historical evidence suggests that periods of severe economic crisis coincide with lower birthrates.  I think the chart is suggestive of the underlying pattern if not cause and effect, though a Dr. Jones suggests “It is unlikely that some guy read the Dow Jones numbers that day and said, ‘Why don’t we have a vasectomy?'”  Evidence to the contrary, Dr. Jones.

There is also a website that should be considered for a good design award.  From the home page, readers are presented with two simple options:

1.  Click Here for Vasectomy Information
2.  Click Here for Vasectomy Reversal Information

I conject that on this topic it is difficult to be more straightforward than that.

A third theory provides thought provoking insight into the male psyche:  basketball.

Since ‘vasectomies are likely to produce tenderness, discomfort and slight swelling…usually <require> a day or two of recovery, ginger movement and icing of the time their vasectomies around major sports events such as the Masters Golf Tournament and the NCAA basketball tournament to keep themselves entertained during recovery’.

Practical, but still curious.

Cheers to journalist Madison Park and my new friends at CNN.

Economist #3

The Economist kindles the spirit and potentially extricates me from the blogging doldrums. Is it the subprime credit crisis emoting intellectual allure? The US presidential primary process and Obamamania? No – as usual, just sex.

Why are Bikini’s in Brazil So Small?

Are thong bikinis on Rio de Janeiro’s Imapnema beach the result of a dearth of males? Hmm. For every 100 females in Rio, there are 86.4 males. Demand (women) exceeds supply (men) so the price of men goes up (more flesh). Hmm. Seriously, this is micro-economics at its finest!

Alas, the details are more nebulous. The fertility rate in Brazil has dropped from 6.2 births per woman in 1960 to about two today. Combined with longer life expectancy, the population is aging which results in more women (men unfortunately die sooner in Brazil, too). Combined with migration from the countryside (maids) and Rio’s drug-related murder rate (mostly young males) it is possible many of the single, bikini-clad hotties are over the age of 65. Undeterred in the face of conflicting data points, The Economist has suggested the need for further study. Touche.

I Stink, You Stink, We All Stink!

Page 34 was not the end of sexual intrigue. It has long been a curiosity why Linda was so attracted to me, passionately so. Professor Claus Wedekind’s page 73 conjecture is that it is because my stink is different from her stink. Dr. Wedekind’s Swiss (University of Bern) pedigree should sniff out any hint of social or intellectual bias from my Swiss-American lover.

Dr. Wedekind was somehow able to recruit women to whiff men’s 3-day old t-shirts and to then rate the shirt’s scent for attractiveness (a seeming oxymoron). Analyzing the DNA of both the male and female participants he examined the major histocompatability complex (MHC). MHC is known for fending off infections and in mice, excreted via urine, is translated into mating preferences.

Who did the women pick? Men whose MHC was most different from their own. For those of you that believe Darwin had it generally correct (or also for those that believe God had the foresight to make this mouse urine stuff up), this makes sense. Couples with a variety of different MHC genes should produce offspring that have superior immune responses.

For those with a nose for love, has translated this research into an internet dating site – for only US$1,995 and a cheek swab you can swap spit in the new, but seemingly less stimulating, style.

According to the Swiss, the promise of my stink is that Linda should have better orgasms with me (clearly important to her given her prior posts), is less likely to find an alternate stinker, and is more happy partly as a result of my stimulating and attractive odor. Unless, of course, she finds someone who stinks more than me.

Economist #2

It has been a dry two months since my first Economist post in October. Except for an article on a world kick-ball federation, there have been few articles sufficiently intriguing to merit inclusion at, a decidedly upscale source of well-presented, intelligent information.

Has The Economist lost their touch?

No. They were merely saving up for December 10th, 2005.

Our Neighbors to the North

EconomistAll the Canadians I know are happy to be Canadian and enjoy pointing out various reasons why Canada is superior to the United States. It does not matter that most of the country is a frozen wasteland and that 80% of them live within 100 miles of The Great Satan.

Pay your taxes, read your books, wait in line for medical treatment, and sell your natural resources and industrial output to the Devil.

Living in China, I don’t know how much time the United States’ media allocated to the recent collapse of the Canadian government (government slush fund and fraud associated with annoying the French, in case you missed it). The majority of Americans probably see no harm in needling the French – quid pro quo.

The latest Frenchie dispute is decidedly more serious than governmental collapse, fraud or the secession of Quebec. It also has the added intrigue of involving a heinous crime by The Great Satan’s every day low price champion, Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart has been accused of selling ‘contraband yellow margarine.’

Prior to December 10th, 2005, I did not realize that margarine was white. The ‘appetizing’ yellow color comes from chemicals. Frenchie Quebec requires white margarine so that it cannot be confused with the ‘creamy consistency’ of butter. This law is supported by a parliamentary resolution instructing Canada’s global trade negotiators to be yellow. According to The Economist, plainclothes inspectors from the agriculture ministry ‘swooped’ on Wal-Mart and discovered yellow margarine. Wal-Mart claims the illegal shipment was intended for a different province and is not a yellow conspiracy.

Who do you believe?

However, it is not Wal-Mart but the Canadian province of Alberta that is escalating the row with French Quebec. It seems that Alberta produces the oil seeds that are used to manufacture margarine and has charged the yellow law amounts to an unfair restraint of trade. Alberta’s vegetable oils trade association has now threatened retaliation against Quebec’s dairy association – white margarine in Quebec will result in no butter in Alberta.

Indeed, these are serious questions for a serious country.

I’ve Got Small Balls

Do you remember AC/DC’s cultural triumph ‘Big Balls’?

I’m upper, upper class high society
God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
And I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
All the social papers say I’ve got the biggest balls of all

I’ve got big balls
I’ve got big balls

The Economist is more succinct in noting that ‘men are often accused by women of having their brains in their balls.’ Of more delight is that Scott Pitnick at Syracuse University suggests that there is a real tradeoff between brains and balls.

Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Mr. Pitnick and team argue that bigger testes mean smaller brains. Size does matter.

The women are correct, but who do they select?

There was a two-part hypothesis. First, that the more promiscuous the females in a species, the bigger the average male’s testes (as a fraction of body weight). Second, since brain tissue and testis tissue are physiologically very expensive to maintain, given a fixed energy budget, bigger balls = smaller brains.

The Economist notes that for primates, historical research suggests the first part of the hypothesis is true – if your mate is the sexually adventurous sort you need bigger balls. The reason? You need to produce more sperm to increase the odds knocking out the competition.

Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson were not part of the study. Mr. Pitnick focussed on 334 species of bats – a ‘well studied’ group.

The results of the detailed study? The well-endowed Rafinesque big-eared bat is dumb as a post.

The Rafinesque big-eared bat’s balls are 8.4% of total body mass compared to .11% of body mass for the Harvard-bound African yellow-winged bat. The basic hypothesis was proven across species. The female Rafinesque are getting it on, big ears and all.

Human male balls (as a % of body mass) fall between dinky Gorilla balls (whose Alpha male kills off competitors) and a Chimpanzee’s big balls (you go girl).


My simplified analysis: if you are well endowed, you are dating a whore.

As usual, The Economist was much more articulate:

If the girls are putting it about,
it is better to be virile and dim
than impotent and smart.

Economist #1

economistFor those of you that know me, the fact that my first reference to the Economist magazine comes 60+ days following my first post is surprising. My MBA is from the University of Chicago. I am from the ‘Chicago School.’ Demand curves shift left. Supply curves shift right. The answer to any question is always at the intersection. At the intersection, the world is good. If not, your analysis is flawed or the government mucked it up.

As reported in the Economist, a journal article solves one of life’s greatest mystery’s: when snapped, why does a strand of dry pasta [spaghetti] rarely break in half but fragment into three or more pieces?

The question – ‘why does it not break in half’ was first issued by a Nobel prize winner and quantum theory physicist. He apparently died with no more than a ‘kitchen full of pulverized pasta.’

The answer to the question is flexural waves – ironically suggested by Parisians and not Italians or Chicago MBA’s.

‘Each time part of a bent strand [of pasta] breaks, a series of [flexural waves] ripples down the length of the pasta. The mistake [the nobel prize winner] made was to assume that the strain released when a bent strand breaks allows the two half-strands to relax and becme straight again.’

How stupid.

According to the wine drinking French, ‘the passing waves cause parts of the daughter strands to curve even further and trigger other breakages, which in turn’ trigger further waves, breakages and fragments. They even provide the math to prove it.

To see the flexural waves in action, go to – Barilla no. 1 dry pasta (of length 24.1cm) rippling flexural waves at 1000 frames per second sans sauce.

NOTE: To view pasta destruction requires Apple’s Quicktime

French tax dollars at work for the betterment of global society. Just like the Airbus subsidies?