27 August 2010


PLEASURE. At Rogue Neuron, Andrea Kuszewski's science blog, Part III in her series "The Science of Pleasure" is entitled The Neurological Orgasm. Kuszewski, a behavioral therapist, discusses the physiology and psychology of sexual pleasure, lending credence to the maxim that the brain is the body's most important sexual organ.

I recently had the pleasure of discovering another science blog, The Science Babe, this one written by phsyicist Debbie Berebichez. Never, never let it be said that looks and brains don't mix. Both of these women are highly articulate and informed in their fields.

All of which ties in with a book I've just started to read, How Pleasure Works -- The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, by psychologist Paul Bloom. Quoting from the book jacket -- "The thought of sex with a virgin is intensely arousing for many men. The average American spends more than four hours a day watching television. Abstract art can sell for millions of dollars. People slow their cars to look at gory accidents, and go to movies that make them cry ... Refuting the longstanding explanation of pleasure as a simple sensory response, Bloom shows us that pleasure is grounded in our beliefs about the deeper nature or essence of a given thing ... (He) draws upon child development, philosophy, neuroscience and behavioral economics in order to address pleasures noble and seamy, highbrow and lowbrow." And quoting from the author's preface -- "In the first chapter, I introduce the theory of essentialism and argue that it can help explain the mysterious pleasures of everyday life. The next six chapters explore different domains ... food and sex ... our attachments to certain everyday objects ... art and other performances ... the pleasures of the imagination ... [finally] some broader implications, and some speculations about the appeal of science and religion."
I'll add my own impressions after I've read the book in its entirety -- something I shall also do with the book Sex At Dawn -- The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.

STATE OF THE ART. Today's NYTimes online featured two interesting tech articles. One, "Google shakes it up again," describes how the web-searching and web-based email innovator has introduced a new, free service to those who already have a Gmail account -- free phone calls to anyone in the US or Canada, from your computer. Check out the article for details, and for the possible consequences to over-priced cell phone companies.

The second article announces the latest version of Kindle, the popular e-book reader. I've read in separate critiques that Kindle is superior to its chief competitors, Nook and the iPad, in terms of readability, function and selection of books offered. Apparently the newest iteration of Kindle is even smaller, lighter and less expensive. I confess to prefering books to electronic readers -- reflected light off a page is easier on my eyes than projected light from a screen. Plus I just like the weight and feel of a hardcover book. But should my needs evolve to include an e-book reader, at this point Kindle would be my first choice.

Lastly, getting back to pleasure for a moment, take a peek at this charming video of a Labrador dog swimming with its regular playmate -- a dolphin. Cheers.

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