Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
In any given social circle, you’ll find certain men who are, for lack of a better term, complete pussy-hounds. These studs sling their seed all over town with a variety of women, as if following a primal urge to make as many babies as possible. And it may be that these studs have so many ejaculations that it decreases their sperm production. Their testosterone and libido levels drop, and before you know it, the little guy with thick glasses and moles starts getting all the action. According to a just-released study, this is exactly what happens in the world of feral sheep.
On the St. Kilda group of islands off the coast of Scotland, a flock of 1,400 Soay sheep runs wild and free of human exploitation. The sheep’s testicles are extremely large for their body weight, which produces a swinger’s orgy of frenzied sheep lust. During a two-day period of rutting, females might have sex with up to seven males, and males might mate up to 13 times a day. The biggest rams with largest testes get most of the chicks, as you might expect, but all the action leaves them exhausted, and drained of sperm. Initially, they might get their rocks off more often and father more lambs, but by the end of the orgy they don’t sire any more offspring than smaller, wimpier rams. In other words, the little ram gets less action, but he shoots more bullets and therefore leaves a nice legacy.
Scottish ecologist Ian Stevenson of the University of Stirling is excited about the results of his team’s study. “This is the first time that sperm depletion has been shown to undermine overt competition,” Stevenson told the Nature news service. “It’s not as bad to be a small male as you might think.”
Matthew Gage, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Liverpool, agrees that the level of sperm in a male is more important than previously thought. “We’re finding more and more that sperm production has a cost,” Gage says. He suspects that these effects of sperm depletion may be common in other mammals, “but we need to look at it in more detail; this work is a good first step.”
As high school coaches so often tell their team members, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."More Jack Boulware.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.