Hawaiian field crickets learn the value of a wingman, a man loses his penis twice, and an Australian sex survey unsurprisingly finds that men are selfish lovers.

mwcolumn.jpg MAGGIE WITTLIN  Column Archive

The Strong, Silent Type
Hawaiian field crickets are just now learning to use one of the greatest known tools for picking up chicks: the wingman. But these wingmen aren’t friends looking to help out, but rather males with wings shaped appropriately for making mating calls. Many male crickets have a mutation that renders them unable to make mating calls. So, these crickets huddle to within a centimeter of calling crickets and scoop up females who fly toward their buddy’s noise. Hawaiian field crickets were once defined by their mating calls, but recently a parasite, the small fly Ormia ochracea, has been using extremely sensitive hearing to find calling male crickets, so they can deposit their larvae on the crickets’ backs. The larvae then dig into their host and eat the cricket from the inside out within about a week. As a result, the recent cricket mutation, which changes the shape of the insec’‘s wing so it cannot make noise, has taken hold in the population. Normal-winged males have parastie-infestation rates of more than 30 percent, but of the 121 males with the non-calling mutation observed by researchers, only one became infested.

Illusion of Math Shows Duration of Chemistry
The worth of The New York Times‘s least valuable op-ed columnist just appreciated. John Tierney has made a priceless contribution to the great field of science. He and Geek Logik author Garth Sundem have created a foolproof formula for the probability that a celebrity couple will stay together for a given number of years. The columnist and the author analyzed past celebrity marriages, comparing failures to long-term successes, to see which factors give couples a greater likelihood of making it. They came up with the Sundem/Tierney Unified Celebrity Theory, published in the non-peer reviewed journal, where Tierney’s column appears. The equation takes into account the couples’ ages—older is better; closeness in age is better. It also factors in the number of Google hits they get—fewer is better, and fewer for the woman than the man is better. Other pieces to the formula include how long they knew each other before getting married, number of previous marriages, and the sex-symbol factor—the number of her first five Google hits that show her in suggestive attire. The columnist and his coauthor give Tom and Katie an 8 percent chance of lasting five years, if they get married. Britney and Kevin have only a 1 percent chance of making it to their fifth.

Gu Gu Goes Gaga
Once bitten twice shy? Not if you’re 35-year-old Zhang Xinyan. Zhang was twice bitten by a six-year-old panda named Gu Gu, and he wasn’t shy at all—about biting the bear right back. Last Wednesday, Zhang drank four jugs of beer at a restaurant near the Beijing Zoo before wandering over to the animal’s enclosure. He had a sudden urge to touch the panda, so he jumped in with Gu Gu, who was sleeping at the time. The panda awoke, startled, and bit Zhang on the leg. Zhang, who had already demonstrated he was not in his most rational mind, kicked the panda, who then bit his other leg. Zhang retaliated by biting Gu Gu on the back. He later remarked that the bear’s “skin was quite thick.” Zookeepers managed to get Gu Gu under control, and they report that the panda is healthy.

Wife Stiffs First Penis Transplant
While doctors were cocky about their success during the first ever penis transplant, their pride soon petered out: Physiologically-speaking, the transplant was a triumph, but due to psychological problems, the penis recipient had to part with his new member. The organ had achieved a rich blood flow and was functioning normally, but according to the performing surgeon, Dr. Hu, “Because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis regretfully had to be cut off.”

Slav Drivers
When it comes to driving, it may be safer to be a-rushin’ than it is to be a Russian. According to a new poll by KRC Research and Goodyear, about 25 percent of Russians have had sex while driving. [Ed. Note: The linked story contains an image that is barely safe for work.] Russians also drive while talking on their cellphones more frequently than people in any of the other 14 European countries polled. About 30 percent of Russian people admit they’ve driven drunk. The report rated Russians the worst drivers in Europe: In addition to the above offenses, they also fail to use seat belts, break speed-limits, and drive through red lights much more often than the other Europeans.

Under the Influence and Influential
Here’s an idea for bolstering your limp paycheck: Drink it up. A recent study out of San Jose State University shows that men who drink socially earn 10 percent more than those who abstain. Ladies who guzzle earn 14 percent more than their teetotaling counterparts. The authors add that men who drink in bars rake in an additional 7 percent on average. While the study contradicts earlier research, the authors have reasoned out their results: Social drinkers tend to be social people and can often network over drinks. The paper argues that the results also contradict current policies that aim to reduce drinking on college campuses and public areas. Hey, if kids go to college to get ahead in life, they might as well do a little pre-gaming for the real world.

What You Don’t Know About Women
According to an Australian survey of 19,000 people, the results of which are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sex Research, nearly one-third of women went orgasm-less during their last sexual encounter, and greedy men are likely to blame. Heterosexuals frequently have intercourse at the expense of engaging in the full diversity of stimulation, a tactic more likely to please the guys, the researchers said. About 95 percent of all people interviewed had progressed to intercourse during their most recent sexual encounter, whereas 75 percent had involved “manual stimulation” in their fun, 25 percent had received oral sex, and a mere 1 percent had participated in anal sex. While less than half of the women who’d had plain ol’ intercourse had an orgasm, 90 percent of those who added two sexual varieties got a bang for their buckin’. In contrast to the heteros, less than a quarter of women having lesbian sex failed to orgasm during their last sexual encounter. But even they couldn’t hold a candle to the orgasm-happy men: Nearly 95% of the boys reached climax during their last roll in the hay.

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Originally published September 25, 2006


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