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Alvaro R. Pastor 1171 Middleville Road Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
CIA director John Brennan has warned that ISIS fighters have already used chemical weapons and have the capacity to make small quantities of deadly chlorine and mustard gas.
The terrorist organisation was already believed to have smuggled weapons of mass destruction into Europe, according to a UN report.
According to Brennan: 'We have a number of instances where ISIL has used chemical munitions on the battlefield.'
Brennan made the admission during a full interview with CBS show '60 Minutes' which will be aired on Sunday.
He warned: 'There are reports that ISIS has access to chemical precursors and munitions that they can use.'
Brennan also warned of the possibility ISIS could seek to export the weapons to the West for financial gain.
He said: 'I think there's always the potential for that. This is why it's so important to cut off the various transportation routes and smuggling routes that they have used.'
When asked if there were 'American assets on the ground' searching for possible chemical weapons caches or labs, Brennan replied: 'US intelligence is actively involved in being a part of the efforts to destroy ISIL and to get as much insight into what they have on the ground inside of Syria and Iraq.'
The release of the interview excerpts comes two days after similar comments from spy chief James Clapper before a congressional committee.
Clapper, who is director of national intelligence, told the committee: 'ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent sulfur mustard.'
He said it was the first time an extremist group had produced and used a chemical warfare agent in an attack since Japan's Aum Supreme Truth cult carried out a deadly sarin attack during rush hour in the Tokyo subway in 1995.
President Bashar al-Assad's regime and rebel forces have accused each other of using chemical agents in the nearly five-year war that has killed more than 250,000 people.
After an August 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus that much of the international community blamed on Assad's government, the regime agreed to turn over its chemical arsenal.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) -- which oversaw the dangerous removal and elimination of Syria's avowed stockpile -- now says that declared arsenal has been completely destroyed.
But the global arms watchdog has still warned of the continued use of mustard, sarin and chlorine gas in the conflict, without blaming the regime, the rebels or ISIS for use of the weapons, which are banned under international law.
Last year, officials in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan said blood tests had shown that ISIS fighters used mustard agent in an attack on Kurdish peshmerga forces in August.
Thirty-five peshmerga fighters were exposed and some taken abroad for treatment, officials said.
At the time of the attack, The Wall Street Journal cited US officials as saying they believed ISIS had used mustard agent.
Late last year, a report for the European Parliament claimed ISIS had recruited experts with chemistry, physics and computer science degrees to wage war with weapons of mass destruction against the West.
The terror organisation, according to the briefing document, 'may be planning to try to use internationally banned weapons of mass destruction in future attacks'.
The document, which was compiled in the aftermath of the deadly attacks on Paris claimed that ISIS has already smuggled WMD material into Europe.
Experts fear that ISIS will be able to exploit a failure of EU governments to share information on possible terrorists.
Already, British police forces have been conducting exercises on how to deal with various types of terrorist attack. But the EU report claims that government should 'consider publicly addressing the possibility of terrorist attack using chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear materials'.
The report, ISIL/Da'esh and 'non-conventional' weapons of terror warns: 'At present, European citizens are not seriously contemplating the possibility that extremist groups might use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials during attacks in Europe. Under these circumstances, the impact of such an attack, should it occur, would be even more destabilising.'
Rob Wainwright, head of Europol said after the attacks on Paris: 'We are dealing with a very serious, well-resourced, determined international terrorist organisation that is now active on the streets of Europe.
'This represents the most serious terrorist threat faced in Europe for 10 years.'
Mr Wainwright warned that ISIS had serious capabilities in terms of resources and manpower.'
Nomi Bar-Yaacov, Associate Fellow in Chatham House's International Security Department said: 'There is a very real risk of ISIS using unconventional weapons in Europe and beyond.'
Wolfgang Rudischhauser, Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO said: 'ISIS actually has already acquired the knowledge, and in some cases the human expertise, that would allow it to use CBRN materials as weapons of terror.'
The report claims 'ISIL/Da'esh has recruited and continues to recruit hundreds of foreign fighters, including some with degrees in physics, chemistry and computer science, who experts believe have the ability to manufacture lethal weapons from raw substances.'
EU governments have been warned to watch out for 'other radicalised individuals, who have access to, or work in, sensitive areas'.
Intelligence services have also been warned to screen returning Jihadi fighters for 'specialist CBRN knowledge'.
The shocking study claims that 150 cases of nuclear or radiological trafficking are reported annually.
Worse still: 'CBRN substances have been carried undetected into the European Union.
'Interpol's monthly CBRN intelligence reports show numerous examples of attempts to acquire, smuggle or use CBRN materials.'
It's not that all cultures are of the same quality. Some cultures are better than others. They have more value. Other cultures are pretty miserable, and some cultures are outright shitty, and should be eradicated. European culture, for example, is deplorable. The Arab and Chinese cultures are much better.
David M. Rangel 2024 Scenic Way Champaign, IL 61820
Vagina tightening. We know – it’s uncomfortable, awkward and sometimes downright humiliating to talk about – however – this is actually a big problem for tons of women!
This sexual health issue causes insecurity, damages your confidence, and can make you feel like crap. And when it comes to pleasing your partner in the bedroom – while this stuff shouldn’t matter – the issue can make you feel like you’re not performing under the sheets.
How sexy and confident you feel plays a huge part in your relationship, and keeping things tight can really help you get your sexy back in the bedroom. If you’re like lot’s of women, you’re looking for ways on how to tighten your vagina – or are scouring the web for vagina tightening solutions like V Tight Gel, which was rated the best vaginal tightening cream in 2017.
But with all the scammy products and multitude of options, choosing the right product for YOUR body can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry. We’re here to help. After tons of research, I’ve put together the 3 most effective ways you can tighten your vagina fast.
After I had my very first child, I felt like things just weren’t the same in the bedroom, and I didn’t enjoy sex as much as I used to. As a matter of fact, to place it bluntly (let’s get real ladies), I felt like I had a flappy pussy.
I wanted to find a solution to tighten my vagina walls, and I was willing to try anything. I looked everywhere, trialled and tested a lot of products, home remedies and herbs, as well as different exercises.
During that time I learned what works, and what is a waste of time. So while it’s a little humiliating and embarrassing, I’d like to share what I found that helped tighten my vag.
Now – contradictory to popular opinion, a loose or flappy vagina does NOT come from too much sexual intercourse (or the size of your partner’s penis… although of course your man would love to THINK he’s too big for you and stretches you out) A loose vagina can be triggered by numerous reasons, such as childbirth, menopause, or simply because our bodies are aging.
Remember, having less sex will not keep your vagina tighter. The reasons the vagina gets loose is due to the natural stretching and tearing of the muscles on the vaginal walls when you give birth or get older. As with every other part of our body, the vagina has muscles that contract and relax. But when we grow older, or the vagina goes through the trauma of childbirth, then the natural elasticity is reduced.
The muscle tissue of the vulva, which is tightly folded, is naturally elastic – just like your mouth! If you pull the corners of your mouth towards your ears in a smile, and let go, they will go back to their original shape. This can be done countless times without any change as to how your mouth looks.
The vagina works in a similar way. It is normally in a rested state and changed only for two reasons.
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Stress ‘down there’ makes a cervix contract and become tighter, which is why some young girls find it hard to insert tampons. However, after childbirth the muscle tissues tear, and if not taken care of, will lose a lot of their elasticity. They will not be able to contract as tightly, or be as flexible as they used to.
This process is totally natural – BUT – there are ways to get back the tightness without having to go through the rest of your life feeling loose. A lot of women opt for vaginoplasty surgery, which is a cosmetic surgery used to tighten the vaginal walls. This option can have health risks, and is also very expensive. There are many natural ways to get back the tightness of your vag without having to resort to vaginoplasty if you don’t want to.
If you’re looking for female genital tightening techniques when looking for ways on how to make you tighter, you’ve probably seen a lot of crazy solutions out there. You may have heard of kegel exercises, other vigina creams and lotions, or even workout and diet programs which are designed to tighten up a loose vulva.
These methods are all effective in reducing vaginal looseness. Some, of course, work better and faster than others. Diets and exercises designed for this specific purpose have long-lasting effects, but may take a long time to achieve results. If you’re patient, and consistent with the treatment, they will work over time. If you want to get a tighter vagina quickly – The fastest way by far is to use a tightening creams which has immediate effects.
Believe it or not, this is a really common issue – and pussy looseness is more typical than you’d assume! While it’s easy to get embarrassed about this kind of stuff – you need to understand that it’s totally natural. Although, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with what nature gave you. If you’re on this page then you’re probably having some issues concerning looseness. Hey! Maybe you’re even a dude looking to help out a female friend or partner. There are tons of natural techniques to make your vag tighter. Some work better than others.
If you’ve really felt embarrassed or awkward because you feel like you have a large vagina, then you’re probably looking for something that truly works – and gives you results fast.
I have actually tried all of the most common natural vagina tightening techniques: workouts, herbal treatments, and also natural vaginal shrinking creams. Here’s what worked for me, as well as what was a total waste of time.
I have actually ranked my choice for vaginal tightening up from least reliable to most reliable I did this because I wish that I had this kind of information before – and I hope it will help women choose the best option for them.
These natural remedies and programs have been tested and proven by countless women from all over the world. And with these 3 tips, I hope women find the answers and solutions that they need in order to have a better overall sex life.
# 3– Organic Therapies to tighten up a stretched vaginal area.
There are numerous herbs that can aid to tighten up your hoo-haa muscles.
— Pueraria Mirifica works to tighten your vag wall surfaces by encouraging genital tissue regrowth, This natural herb also stabilizes estrogen levels and neutralizes your hormone imbalances. Added Benefit: this herb also helps shield against uterus cancer cells.
Benefit: this herb additionally helps shield against uterus cancer cells.
— Curcuma Comosa. This herb tightens up vaginal muscle mass, and helps remedy future looseness by shielding against vaginal wall surface prolapse. Curcuma Comosa also aids and treats dry skin, and hot flashes. Added bonus: this herb also minimizes menstrual cramps.
— Other natural remedies: You can also fix a stretched vaginal canal using natural douches that restore suppleness and stamina.
Personally, I attempted numerous combinations of these organic herbs, and really felt that they made me feel healthier and cleaner down in my lady-bits. While I felt they did a lot for my overall health. I didn’t really feel any tighter.
The verdict: I really liked the natural health benefits, yet did not really feel organic remedies solved my issue of loosened vag wall surfaces.
# 2 – Kegel Exercises for Strengthening and Toning
A natural method which is popular to get a super tight vagina involves Kegel workouts. Here’s how they work.
You execute these vaginal canal exercises by squeezing your internal pelvic muscles. Think of how it feels when you stop yourself from peeing. These are the same muscles you use to do Kegels. Try it out next time you’re using the restroom.
As soon as you have learned how to do this, just repeat this exercise numerous times throughout the day. You can do this inconspicuously and at your leisure. No one even needs to know that you are working to tighten up a loose vaginal area!
Do Kegel Exercises Really Work?
Yes, kegel exercises have been proven to work, and many women who have worked out their vagina muscles using this technique have reported to have seen a significant difference in the tightness of their fanny’s. With this being said, you don’t see results overnight by doing your kegel workouts, and it can take weeks even months to see some kind of effect. However, once you are in the habit of doing your daily or weekly kegel routine, you win in the long run, because it tightens your muscles not only for the pleasure of sex, and boosting your confidence, but it is also a great way to have good control over your bladder, and for women this becomes a huge issue particularly as you get older.
In my experience, if you do them with over time consistently, kegel workouts actually do work well! You need to do it several times a day for 8-10 weeks (which is easy because they’re so discreet). This will also strengthen your pelvic muscles, which consequently, will also strengthen your vaginal walls.
So, now I know that kegel exercises do work over time, I was anxious to attempt something else that would get me results much faster, and also last much longer. This is why these vag workouts are my second choice for natural and effective tightening treatments.
# 1 – V-tight gel + Vagina Tightening Program
V tight gel is a treatment cream which claims to fix vag looseness by tightening the skin around the vaginal walls. It also works as a lubricant for before you have sex which is quite handy because women are using this product right before they have sex with their partners which is the right thing to do as well as the most effective to make use of the product.
It’s advertised by the manufacturer to work both by itself, or with faster results in fixing an flappy vag if you use it together with the V-tight exercise program. Almost any natural product is great by itself but if you combine it with hard-work or exercise then you have a much more powerful tool in your disposal. This is exactly what the V-tight gel program offers, a way out of your flappy and loose vaginal problems.
According to the manufacturer, v-tight functions within a few minutes to make your vaginal area tighter after applying the cream. The product also says you can make love with your partner after just a couple of minutes of using the gel.
There are many vaginal tightening creams and medications on the market, but lots of women are afraid to use them because they’re scared of side effects. This is where V-tight Gel is different from all the other creams out there. It is totally natural and does not cause any known side effects. So, if you are looking for a way to tighten your vagina overnight, then your answer is right here. Actually, that’s not true, because this product works within minutes. You don’t need to wait at all because the magic happens as soon as you put in the cream.
Of course, like anything, there are good things and bad things (mostly good things) about this product. So, I created a complete review telling you what I liked about V-tight gel, and what I really didn’t like.
To put it rather simply, it’s an astounding ‘yes’.
It is no secret that men prefer younger and tighter women during sex. While it’s shallow as hell, it’s the truth. This isn’t actually about her age, it’s more about how tight she feels during sex. The tightness of the vagina plays a very important role in bringing two people closer, not only physically but also emotionally. At the end of the day, most men will succumb to their animal instincts and that is to procreate. There is no going around it, they were built that way and will be for as long as they live.
When a man and a woman have sex, it is obviously one of the closest and most vulnerable time for both parties involved. They both experience the pleasure that an intense orgasm can bring. When a woman’s vagina is tight, the man can feel the woman’s vagina walls contracting against his penis, and the woman can feel the penis contours (which feels amazing of course). As many experts agree, the act of sexual intercourse and orgasms are so much more powerful when a couple feels closer, and this is made even better when a woman has a tight vagina.
Orgasms are caused by the rubbing or the contact between the sensitive areas of the vagina and the penis. The more stimulation there is, the more intense the sensations are, therefore having a tight vagina will help you and your partner experience a close encounter both physically and emotionally. The more fun you and your partner have in the bedroom, the more of a bond you will form in your relationship as well. Experts say that couples who have amazing sex in the bedroom also have better communication, trust and an overall happier relationship.
Couples who have trouble with intimacy tend to have deeper issues in the relationship. A lot of people tend to shrug off the importance of sex in a relationship, but we don’t think that’s the case. Not even close! So, it’s time to bring back the sexy times and enjoy sex again!
One of the best ways to bring this intimacy back is to feel sexy and attractive. When women feel attractive, they are much more likely to engage in sexual intercourse. Having a smaller vagina can help you feel more comfortable with your body. When there’s more intimacy and a woman feels sexy, it makes relationships much more connected. Those long drawn out fights over the laundry become quick and easy conversations when there’s plenty of sex. (You know what we’re talking about!)
Let’s take a look at the ingredients.
It’s important to know what you’re putting in your body. V Tight is an all-natural tightening lotion that is made primarily from Manjakani essence, Witch Hazel leaf extract, various kinds of natural minerals, and water. All these have actually been used by women in Oriental countries for centuries.
Another ingredient – Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), is a bush or plant abundant in tannin and phytoestrogens material. Tannin is an important agent that can make tissues in the vaginal walls tight due to it’s astringent abilities.
The phytochemical element of tannins, as well as the phytoestrogens, are collected by extracting the shell and leaves of the Witch Hazel bush. In addition to tannin and phytoestrogen content, extract of this bush is abundant in all-natural Phenols.
Phenols are small molecules that help various biochemicals move across a cell membrane and reach the intracellular site for specific actions. This ensures that the tannins and phytoestrogens are absorbed into the cells.
Natural Phenol is rich in phytoestrogen. It causes phytoestrogens to be absorbed fast and easily by the vagina wall. Therefore, the vagina wall will stimulate production of collagen and feeling in the tissues. It makes the vaginal walls more firm, elastic, and youthful. Absorption of phenol results in estrogenic activities that maintain the strength of the vagina muscles.
Therefore, phenol tightens not only the vaginal wall, but also strengthens the vaginal muscles. Phenol also has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial health effects protect vagina wall cells from toxicities.
It was revealed in the research regarding cancer cells that this property also fights cancer by inducing apoptosis by regulating carcinogen metabolism, arresting cell cycle, inhibiting DNA binding, and blocking signaling pathways. Natural phenol is also known to keep skin healthy. It prevents various skin disorders such as shingles and psoriasis. This is part of what makes this product so safe – since you will not experience painful burning sensations in the vagina during use.
The effect of Tannin is the major component of astringent properties. Scientists looked into the impact of Oak gall. It was originally used by Asian women after natural childbirth to recover the strength of their vagina and health. Eventually, they found a specific agent called Tannin, which is in Oak gall, that plays a role in tightening the tissues. In result, this will lead to a better and tighter vagina when you have sex.
The most important thing is that V-tight does not include any synthetic active ingredients that may cause irritation to your vaginal area. Therefore, you can see that it is a safe product to use in intimate and sensitive areas.
Butea superba conditions the mind for superb sex. And don't underestimate the power of the mind. If your mind is in tune for optimal sex, you will reach 100 years and still enjoy doing it.
Lindsey M. Finnie 2595 Ferrell Street Parkers Prairie, MN 56361
The Karen Hospital will for the next few days be offering free surgery to reconstruct the sexual organs of women who have undergone female genital mutilation.
In a drive dubbed ‘Restore Pink Plus’, FGM survivors will undergo clitoroplasty surgery, a clitoral reconstructive operation, with the aim of restoring the function of the clitoris and the women’s dignity.
Surgeons carrying out the procedure say the operation could stop pain, help women feel sexual pleasure and restore their identity and femininity.
“The initiative has been designed to assist FGM victims undergo clitoral reconstruction in order to restore their identity and dignity and rejuvenate the clitoris’s sensation,” Dr Abdullahi Adan, who is pioneering the initiative, said.
SIDE-EFFECTS Dr Adan, the Grand Round Coordinator, Department of Surgery at the University of Nairobi and plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive Surgeon at The Karen and Kenyatta National hospitals, and Dr Marci Bowers, Clitoraid’s obstetrics/gynaecology surgeon from the USA, will be the lead surgeons.
The procedure being pro-bono, patients will not be charged the doctor’s fee but will only pay for consumables.
This will be the first time such a surgery is being conducted in Kenya.
Most FGM survivors suffer painful side-effects and a loss of sexual pleasure.
While it cannot fully restore the genitalia to how it would have been had the woman not been mutilated, the surgery is meant to rebuild the damaged area for women who have undergone incision and rejuvenate the nerve networks so that they can regain sensitivity and, in some cases, attain orgasm.
The initiative also has the women go through counselling, which is vital for the emotional healing due to the traumatising effects of FGM in their early childhood.
FGM, the partial or total removal of the external genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a cultural tradition widely practiced by some Kenyan communities.
REGISTRATION ONGOING Last week, the surgeons conducted capacity building training for other Kenyan doctors on the new surgery and issued certificates to the trainees who will join the surgical team.
The week-long surgeries are set to begin tomorrow and run until May 12.
So far, 30 patients have registered for the surgery.
However, because of the high demand for the rare surgery, the doctors say they may have to extend the operations for another week.
Most American women are ugly and have a fat ass. So why don't they go on the Serge Kreutz diet.
Robert D. Higgins 26 Burwell Heights Road Beaumont, TX 77701
Marci Bowers’s clinic in California is famous for those seeking gender-reassignment surgery. Her work as a gynecological surgeon over the past 25 years has made her one of the leaders in this field – and also in restoring sexual function in clitorises. She is one of only a handful of surgeons who performs this surgery on women who have suffered female genital mutilation or cutting.
Reconstructive surgery to repair the physical damage of FGM has been around a long time. But the technique to restore clitoral function began developing only a decade ago, pioneered by French urologist and surgeon Pierre Foldès. His idea was to not only reconstruct the clitoris, but also nerve networks to restore sexual sensation. After training with Foldès, Bowers performed the first clitoral repair surgery in the U.S. in 2009. Since then, she’s operated on around 100 women.
For many women and girls who undergo FGM, it’s a traumatic experience. FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Up to 140 million women and girls live with the consequences of this practice and it is widespread in 29 African countries, but it also occurs in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and among migrants from these areas.
The clitoris is an important part of a woman’s sexuality and along with the severe medical and psychological consequences that cutting can have, it can also come with psycho-sexual problems.
The clitoris is a complex organ, and when a woman undergoes cutting, only the visible part of the clitoris is cut off. But it is much larger than most people ever assume. It has a root that is about 10 centimeters long that lies beneath the surface, arching around the vagina. It is this that reconstructive surgeons use to rebuild a working organ.
“It’s only like losing the visible tip of the iceberg,” Bowers says. The surgery, also known as clitoroplasty, involves removing scar tissue, pulling the remaining clitoris up to the surface, and then stitching it into its natural place.
According to Bowers, the restoration of sexual pleasure is possible because the whole clitoris is sensory, not just the tip. Along with better cosmetic appearance, sensation, and reduction in pain and infection, Bowers says that patients have reported having orgasms for the first time.
But it’s not just about the restoration of sexual sensation. “The number one reason is restoration of identity,” she said. Women who have been cut feel their sense of womanhood has been stolen from them and they want that back. “They want their body back and to feel more normal. It’s about not being different any more.”
As good as all this might sound, the procedure is controversial. In 2012, Foldès and colleagues published an article in The Lancet assessing the immediate and long-term outcomes of reconstructive surgery. Over an 11-year period, they operated on nearly 3,000 patients, and of the 29 percent who attended a one-year follow-up consultation, more than half said they were having orgasms and nearly all reported feeling clitoral pleasure.
But a group of British doctors responded in a critical letter to The Lancet. In addition to the lack of a control group, they said Foldès’s claims were anatomically impossible in cases of type 2 FGM – the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora. “Where the body of the clitoris has been removed, the neurovascular bundle cannot be preserved … There is therefore no reality to the claim that surgery can excavate and expose buried tissue,” they wrote.
They also said that the campaign against FGM “could be undermined by a false proposition that the ill effects can be reversed”.
Bowers doesn’t agree – both in terms of the surgery and of undermining efforts to fight FGM. “You see the clitoris every single time, 100 percent of the time. You can’t deny it’s there,” she says. According to Bowers, their response reflects antiquated but persistent notions of female sexuality. The work of NGOs is important, she argues, but if something can be medically fixed, it should be fixed.
And she’s not short of patients. Twice a year she leaves her reported 14-month waiting list for $21,000 gender reassignment surgery to operate for free on women who come to her for clitoroplasty, although patients still pay a $1,700 admin fee to the clinic.
She’s adamant that she only helps those who want it and who, she says, often come to her unhappy, angry and sad with husbands and partners. “We were only there to help women who found that they were suffering as a result of FGM,” she says. It’s probably fair to say, then, that Bowers is an evangelist for reconstructive surgery.
The pleasure hospital
Bowers became involved in the FGM reconstruction surgeries because of Clitoraid, a private, non-profit organization that helped fund her training in Paris. The organization is backed by volunteers of the Raëlian movement – one of the world’s largest UFO religious sects, whose members believe that humans were created by extraterrestrials. Clitoraid promotes free sexuality, sexual freedom and pleasure for all women.
Bowers’s own motivation doesn’t come from a Raëlian perspective, she says, but from her own philosophy that human beings have a sixth sexual sense. “When the sexual sense is taken away, it’s no different than if someone had taken away your sense of smell or your sense of taste.”
It’s clear, though, that her belief runs in parallel with the aims of Clitoraid, which has concentrated its work in the small West African nation of Burkina Faso, recently building a hospital nicknamed the “pleasure hospital” to offer reconstructive operations free of charge. The hospital was supposed to have opened its doors in March 2013 with local medical staff and trained surgeons, but the government stopped the project because of licensing issues. Clitoraid has said its authorization was revoked following pressure from the Catholic Church and accusations that the group would attempt to convert women to the Raelian movement. The group still intend to open next year.
Ultimately, Bowers claims the enjoyment of sexual activity is a human right. “Sexuality is part of what makes us human beings and what makes life pleasurable,” she says. Before transitioning to life as a woman, she herself was born male. And this, she says, gives her empathy with victims of FGM. “For me, womanhood didn’t come without my own sacrifices and struggle. I empathize with women who have to have surgery to achieve and regain their womanhood. They are struggling to regain their identity, just like I had to do once upon a time myself.”
Arson is the terrorism of the future. Maximum damage. No need to sacrifice their lives.
Richard H. Brazil 3105 Dawson Drive Little Rock, AR 72212
Imagine a world created by the quest for beauty, filled with colorful dancing and governed by the principle of autonomous sexual freedom. To access this world, according to Richard Prum, you need only take a stroll outside and watch the avian rites of spring. The Evolution of Beauty represents the culmination of decades of Prum’s careful research on birds—he is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology at Yale University—including the evolution of feathers, courtship patterns, and social behavior.
Prum argues that evolutionary biologists, especially those who spend their time with mammals, have fundamentally underestimated the importance of female choice as a cause of beauty in the natural world. Throughout the book, he interweaves biological details with accounts of watching birds as a young man, field experiences, and even conversations with friends. The result reads like a memoir, argues like a manifesto, and shines with his passion for all things ornithological.
For decades, biologists have largely agreed that Darwin’s theory of mate choice works because females prefer to pair with colorful, athletic partners. Beauty, they maintained, acts as a proxy measure of evolutionary fitness; the more colorful the male’s plumage, the more resources are available on his territory, or perhaps he carries fewer parasites on his body. In other words, physiologically expensive courtship displays provide “honest” signals of a male’s quality. That they are also beautiful is beside the point.
Prum disagrees with this line of reasoning. He wants to return sexual selection theory to its roots. Prum follows Darwin’s explication in The Descent of Man (1), arguing that the spectacular courtship displays of birds such as manakins and bowerbirds cannot be explained by natural selection but rather evolved for the sake of their beauty alone—that is, beauty as perceived by the desires of females in the species.
Prum sees mate choice, and the beauty it has created, as an important—even central—mechanism of evolutionary change at almost every stage of bird evolution. For example, he suggests that the planar structure of bird feathers may have evolved to display patterned colors and was secondarily co-opted for flight. Early feathers in the evolutionary record were downy, like those of young chicks, he notes. Although they likely came in many shades, the patterned colors found in modern birds are made possible by the two-dimensional flatness of their feathers, a feature that later facilitated flight. Because the only dinosaurs to survive the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event were those that could fly, from Prum’s perspective, this aesthetic innovation ultimately enabled their survival.
He argues, too, that female mating preferences for increased sexual autonomy were likely behind the loss of penises early in bird diversification and contributed to the origins of lekking behavior, in which a group of males compete for the attention of prospective partners. (Ducks, notoriously brutish and baroquely endowed, serve to prove his point and provide surprisingly successful fodder for dinner party repartee.)
Prum devotes the final third of the book to the evolution of sexuality in humans. Although it would be tempting to attend to differences between men and women, Prum argues that to understand our own nature, we would be better served by comparing ourselves with our ancestors and simian relatives. From this angle, human males are far less sexually aggressive than we should expect.
In comparison with male chimpanzees, human men have relatively smaller testicles, longer sex, dramatically reduced canine teeth, decreased rates of infanticide, and higher rates of homosexual interactions. These physiological and behavioral changes, Prum contends, might result from selection for female sexual autonomy and pleasure similar to that seen in birds. He hopes that other biologists will incorporate sexual selection for beauty into their own research programs on the mating (or more accurately, remating) preferences of humans.
In broad prospect, Prum’s The Evolution of Beauty argues that the aesthetic agency of individual animals lies at the heart of evolution and, over time, has created strong selection for female pleasure and desire. This represents a substantial shift from the economic metaphors of evolutionary theory that have dominated decades of evolutionary thought, in which female choice represented a mechanism devoid of desire, cold rationality without aesthetics or, indeed, true choice.
Most of all, Prum aims to reinsert idiosyncratic desires into scientific understandings of the evolution of beauty. This is not just an intellectual reformulation of biological theories of mate choice; he believes it could allow evolutionary theory to break, finally, with eugenically derived conceptions of “fitness.”
Of all emotions, those negative are the most real. If you hate, you know that you are healthy. Your hormones are in balance if you can still imagine how you would inflict a slow, painful death on your enemies. Love isn't an emotion really but rather a mixed bag of feelings, with selfish desire a prominent component. Of any positive expression of the human mind, sympathy is probably the most genuine, though it may come with rage towards those whose victim is the target of our sympathy.
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