Let me say it again: man, am I tired.
Last night I was fortunate to attend a networking dinner with the federal Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh. Here’s a blurry photo of him, taken on my Treo. (He’s the brown dude on the left.)
I didn’t get a chance to say much more than hello to him, but he seemed like a nice fellow. As a PhD working in the medical field, it was a joy to be in the company of a Health Minister who is not an MD. In fact, it was nice generally to be in the company of South Asians who weren’t all doctors for a change!
Speaking of working in the medical field, today I received yet another invitation to appear on television to discuss avian flu. This time it was from the Discovery Channel. I jumped at the chance to say yes, since I have nothing but respect for Discovery’s programming and scientific ethic. However, I will be in Paris on their taping date, so it is not to be. Alas.
I did, however, receive some other good PR news today. It turns out that an interview I did last year was published in the November 2004 issue of Books In Canada. Sweet! Can’t wait to see a copy.
And speaking of my other career, you will note from my News & Appearances page that my book signing at the Ottawa Public Library has been moved from March 10 to March 24. So mark your calendars, kids!
“Women are just as violent to their spouses as men, and women are almost three times more likely to initiate violence in a relationship, according to a new Canadian study that deals a blow to the image of the male as the traditional domestic aggressor.” –Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science
Just so you know.
While we’re in an iconoclastic mode, here’s a story about a necrophiliac gay duck. Mallards are known for their sexual aggression and, like some other waterfowl, aslo for their propsensity for forced copulation. Homosexual animal stories are popping up everywhere these days as evidence of the naturalness of homosexuality. And I concur: homosexual behaviour, for the most part, appears to be innate, not learned, and is therefore “natural” for those who practice it.
But I’m going to get controversial on your asses and bring up a topic that is almost never discussed outside of biology classes: the “naturalness” of rape. You see, everything that every living creature does —everything— is ultimately geared toward either propagating or sustaining its genes. Sexual infidelities are ultimately driven by an unconscious (or often conscious) need to procreate; and even animals who abandon or kill their own young typically do so to give greater survival advantage to the offspring that remain. In the animal kingdom, forced copulation –what we would call sexual violence– is an effective means to achieve gene propagation for those animals (typically males) who are otherwise unable to convince another (typically female) to be a willing receptacle of their seed; those damned ducks sure get awaywith it often enough. It may offend us morally, but those damned little genes don’t care about our sensibilities.
Of course there’re going to be some illiterate trolls out there who will misread this post and conclude that I’m a supporter of rape. To them I say: learn to read.
What this might mean for human society is that no amount of public education, male sensitivity programmes or tougher laws is going to eliminate rape. According to mainstream biological theory, the gene pool requires that there will always be a handful of individuals driven to this compulsion, in order that genetic drift and transfer continue to be unstructured and as random as possible; nature adores miscegenation and diversity.
Mind you, our genes have yet to figure out that we invented birth control some time ago.
One of my favourite writers and political analysts, Eric Margolis presents an interesting topic in his column this week: the China-Taiwan powderkeg. A news mainstay in the 1970s and 80s, we haven’t heard much of this conflict since the region’s economic renaissance in recent decades. The assumption has always been that enormous wealth, enjoyed by both the Taiwanese and the Chinese, would smoothe over differences and that the promise of lucrative commerce would trump dangerous territoriality. According to Brother Margolis, though, a military stand-off is nonetheless inching nearer; he ends with these dire words:
“There’s even an outside chance China might decide to gamble on a quick war to grab Taiwan while severely over-stretched U.S. military forces are bogged down in Iraq.”
The Asian tinderbox has been simmering for some time. In his wonderful book, War At The Top Of The World, Margolis warns of other strained relationships between India and Pakistan, India and Iran, and of course India and China. The latter is confounded by the presence of Russia, which maintains military friendliness with both powers, and by renewed Indian interests in Nepal, which is too close for comfort to disputed borders with China.
It has been said that the biggest difference between the politics of the East and the politics of West is that the West makes plans only as far as the next election, while the East makes plans lasting generations. Russian and Chinese foreign policies have not changed in 1000 years; the Russians still seek a warm water port and buffers against future invasion and enslavement, and the Chinese still seek to reclaim and hold their traditional (medieval) borders, hence their occupation of Tibet and their 1962 defeat of India which resulted in expanded frontiers. If these patterns hold, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan seems likely, as perhaps is renewed militarism against both India and Nepal. Behold the dawning of the true New World Order!
As you all know, I just love reality TV. But even I was skeptical about Mark Burnett’s new show, The Contender, about the supposed search for a boxing champion. The show is a bit talky and relies too heavily on the boxers’ individual sob story and on host Sylvester Stallone’s frightening botox countenance and indecipherable drawl. However, I was unprepared for the drama at the end of the first episode: an actual 5 round boxing match. I actually found myself cheering for my favourite boxer (good thing I live alone). Usually when I watch boxing I’m also eating steak or chilli –something manly and testosterone filled; this time I was eating salad. What does this mean? Well, maybe The Contender isn’t as pure as a raw unedited, unfiltered boxing match, but it may be more dramatic, like one of Stallone’s Rocky movies (any one except the last one).
Bottom line: due entirely to the final 15 minutes of the premier episode, The Contender is so far the finest reality show I’ve ever seen.
Hey look, my friend Dr. Mary Ann Gorcsi is now in a band!
OK, this is hilarious. First, read this description of author wunderkind (and asshole) James Frey. Then, read Neal Pollack’s response here.