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.