Buggered Mind of Neale Sourna, The

Opines, comments, rants, concerns, imaginings from Neale Sourna, fiction author and more -- www.Neale-Sourna.com, www.PIE-Percept.com, www.ProjectKeanu.com, www.AuthorsDen.com/nealesourna, www.CafeShops.com/NealeSourna, www.Writing-Naked.com, and www.CuntSinger.com

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Electoral College math: Not all votes are equal By SETH BORENSTEIN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to electing the president, not all votes are created equal. And chances are yours will count less than those of a select few.

For example, the vote of Dave Smith in Sheridan, Wyo., counts almost 3 1/2 times as much mathematically as those of his wife's aunts in northeastern Ohio.

Why? Electoral College math.

A statistical analysis of the state-by-state voting-eligible population by The Associated Press shows that Wyoming has 139,000 eligible voters — those 18 and over, U.S. citizens and non-felons — for every presidential elector chosen in the state. In Ohio, it's almost 476,000 per elector, and it's nearly 478,000 in neighboring Pennsylvania.

But there's mathematical weight and then there's the reality of political power in a system where the president is decided not by the national popular vote but by an 18th century political compromise: the Electoral College.

Smith figures his vote in solid Republican Wyoming really doesn't count that much because it's a sure Mitt Romney state. The same could be said for ballots cast in solid Democratic states like New York or Vermont. In Ohio, one of the biggest battleground states, Smith's relatives are bombarded with political ads. In Wyoming, Smith says, "the candidates don't care about my vote because we only see election commercials from out-of-state TV stations."

The nine battleground states where Romney and Barack Obama are spending a lot of time and money — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin — have 44.1 million people eligible to vote. That's only 20.7 percent of the nation's 212.6 million eligible voters. So nearly 4 of 5 eligible voters are pretty much being ignored by the two campaigns.

When you combine voter-to-elector comparisons and battleground state populations, there are clear winners and losers in the upcoming election.

More than half the nation's eligible voters live in states that are losers in both categories. Their states are not closely contested and have above-average ratios of voters to electors. This is true for people in 14 states with 51 percent of the nation's eligible voters: California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana and Kentucky. Their votes count the least.

The biggest winners in the system, those whose votes count the most, live in just four states: Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada. They have low voter-to-elector ratios and are in battleground states. Only 4 percent of the nation's eligible voters — 1 in 25 — live in those states.

It's all dictated by the U.S. Constitution, which set up the Electoral College. The number of electors each state gets depends on the size of its congressional delegation. Even the least populated states — like Wyoming — get a minimum of three, meaning more crowded states get less proportionally.

If the nation's Electoral College votes were apportioned in a strict one-person, one-vote manner, each state would get one elector for every 395,000 eligible voters. Some 156 million voters live in the 20 states that have a larger ratio than that average: That's 73 percent — nearly 3 out of 4.

And for most people, it's even more unrepresentative. About 58 percent of the nation's eligible voting population lives in states with voter-to-elector ratios three times as large as Wyoming's. In other words, Dave Smith's voting power is about equal to three of his wife's aunts and uncles in Ohio, and most people in the nation are on the aunt-and-uncle side of that unbalanced equation.

"It's a terrible system; it's the most undemocratic way of electing a chief executive in the world, " said Paul Finkelman, a law professor at Albany Law School who teaches this year at Duke University. "There's no other electoral system in the world where the person with the most votes doesn't win."

The statistical analysis uses voter eligibility figures for 2010 calculated by political science professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University. McDonald is a leader in the field of voter turnout.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming defends the Electoral College system for protecting small states in elections, which otherwise might be overrun by big city campaigning: "Once you get rid of the Electoral College, the election will be conducted in New York and San Francisco."

Sure it gives small states more power, but at what price? asks Douglas Amy, a political science professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts: "This clearly violates that basic democratic principle of one person, one vote. Indeed, many constitutional scholars point out that this unfair arrangement would almost certainly be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on those grounds if it were not actually in the Constitution."

Article 2 of the Constitution says presidents are voted on by electors (it doesn't mention the word college) with each state having a number equal to its U.S. senators and representatives. While representatives are allocated among the states proportional by population, senators are not. Every state gets two. So Wyoming has 0.2 percent of the nation's voting-eligible population but almost 0.6 percent of the Electoral College. And since the number of electors is limited to 538, some states get less proportionately.

Adding to this, most states have an all-or-nothing approach to the Electoral College. A candidate can win a state by just a handful of votes but get all the electors. That happened in 2000, when George W. Bush, after much dispute, won Florida by 537 votes out of about 6 million and got all 27 electoral votes. He won the presidential election but lost the national popular vote that year.

That election led some states to sign a compact promising to give their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. But that compact would go into effect only if and when states with the 270 majority of electoral votes signed on. So far nine states with 132 electoral votes have signed, all predominantly Democratic states.

Because of the 2000 election, conservatives and Republicans tend to feel that changing the Electoral College would hurt them, George Mason's McDonald said, and after their big victories in 2010, the popular vote compact movement stalled. But that analysis may not necessarily be true, he added. McDonald said before recent opinion polls started to break for Obama there seemed to be a possibility that he could win the electoral vote and lose the popular vote because of weak turnout — but still enough to win — in traditionally Democratic states like New York and California.

Former Stanford University computer scientist John Koza, who heads National Popular Vote, which is behind the electoral reform compact, said Democrat John Kerry would have won the Electoral College in 2004 while Republican Bush won the popular vote, if only 60,000 Bush votes in Ohio had changed to Kerry votes.

History shows that candidates have won the presidency but not the popular vote four times, and in each case it was the Democrat who got the most votes but lost the presidency: 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000.

The Associated Press analysis suggests that in this year's election, the current system seems to benefit Romney. The AP re-apportioned electoral votes based on voting-eligible population and not congressional delegations, so that, for example, Wyoming and the District of Columbia would have only one elector instead of three, and California would have 58 instead of 55.

Based on polling, states strongly in the Romney camp have 191 electoral votes in the current system but would have only 178 if the electoral votes were allocated based on voting-eligible population. Based on similar polling, Obama would benefit by about five electoral votes if electors were apportioned by that population. The nine battleground states would gain even more sway, jumping from 110 electoral votes to 118.

That would compound the perceived problem of a shrinking number of battleground states being all that mattered in the election, leaving the overwhelming majority of states standing around as "spectator states," Koza said.

John McGinnis, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University, defends the current Electoral College, arguing that while the mathematics of electoral proportionate calculations is correct, the conclusion that it over-represents small states is not. Larger states still have more sway because they have more electoral votes, he said.

Further, the historical agreement to give each state two senators regardless of their population and to base electoral votes on congressional delegation rather than population "was an essential compromise" when framers were drafting the Constitution, McGinnis said. Without that compromise, there might not have been a Constitution or nation, he said.

But Finkelman said his reading of history is that the compromise wasn't about power between small and large states as much as it was about power of slave-holding states. He said James Madison wanted direct popular election of the president, but because African-American slaves wouldn't count, that would give more power to the North. So the framers came up with a compromise to count each slave as three-fifths of a person for representation in Congress and presidential elections, he said.

Electoral College supporter McGinnis said the emphasis on battleground states is actually good because they are representative of the country. But he acknowledges as an Illinois resident, "I realize when I vote here it's completely irrelevant."
Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

Friday, September 28, 2012

Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Film in Cleveland, Ohio

Contact: Kelly Schlissberg                                  
Falls Communications                                  


Greater Cleveland Film Commission Announces Marvel's
Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Film in Cleveland, Ohio
Sequel to 2011 blockbuster starts filming next year, 2013


CLEVELAND, OH - (Sept. 28, 2012) The Greater Cleveland Film Commission today announced that Marvel Studios will film portions of Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland, Ohio. Set for release by The Walt Disney Studios in 2014, the movie is a sequel to the 2011 hit Captain America: The First Avenger starring Chris Evans. Marvel Studios will film stage work for the production in the studio's home state of California.

Filming for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is scheduled to begin next year. This film project follows on the heels of Marvel Studio's 2012 blockbuster Marvel's The Avengers, which filmed in several locations throughout Ohio in 2011, broke a number of box office records, and was the fastest film ever to gross $1 billion in sales worldwide.

 "Marvel is pleased to return to Ohio, this time with our Captain America: The Winter Soldier production. The location, talent and people of Ohio are sure to benefit our film, and we look forward to beginning production," said Louis D'Esposito, Co-President, Marvel Studios.  

 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER will pick up where Marvel's The Avengers leaves off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world. The film will be directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, Cleveland natives whose credits include the movie Welcome to Collinwood, the Fox TV series Arrested Development, and the NBC TV series Community.

 The Greater Cleveland Film Commission was in talks with Marvel Studios for weeks, sharing information about Ohio's physical assets and helping them learn about the benefits of filming in Ohio -- including the recently expanded Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive.

 In June, the State of Ohio expanded the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive, a critical tool for strengthening Ohio's growing film industry and creating jobs for Ohioans. The tax incentive provides for a refundable credit against the corporation franchise or income tax for motion pictures produced in Ohio.

 "We're thrilled that Marvel Studios is bringing another major motion picture project to Cleveland, and we're committed to showing them the very best our region has to offer,"  said Ivan Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

"We proved with the filming of Marvel's The Avengers that Cleveland has the talent, architecture and amazing locations that will provide filmmakers everything they need to ensure a successful filming experience, and the economic impact of this new project can't be denied.

"Filming will create a number of jobs for Ohioans and will give our region another chance to demonstrate how skilled, professional and dedicated our workforce truly is. We especially appreciate Governor Kasich and the Ohio Film Office for their support and timely approval of these exciting opportunities."

 The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is committed to building a year-round, sustainable statewide film industry through job creation, workforce development, and attracting media production.


 Frank G. Jackson, Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, stated, "We are thrilled to host Marvel and the filming of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2013. We have worked diligently with the Greater Cleveland Film Commission to make our city an attractive location for films of all sizes.

"Marvel's return to Cleveland shows we can provide a film-friendly atmosphere that will ultimately lead to a permanent presence of the film industry in Northeast Ohio."

 About 1,143 full-time equivalent Ohio jobs and $35.5 million in household income are estimated to have been credited to the 27 projects that took advantage of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit since its 2009 inception, and the tax incentive returns $1.20 into the Ohio economy for every $1 invested by the incentive, according to a Cleveland State University study released earlier this year.

 "We are thrilled that Cuyahoga County is being seen as a destination for filmmakers," said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. "The resources that we have to offer, including our skilled workforce, makes our region a natural fit for the film industry. Projects like this means jobs and economic development for Cuyahoga County."

 To learn more about the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, click here.

- ### -

About Marvel Entertainment: Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.  For more information visit www.marvel.com.

About the Greater Cleveland Film Commission: The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is a private, non-profit economic and workforce development organization committed to bringing film and other media production to Northeast Ohio to strengthen the workforce, support the media production industry and attract media production to the region.

To learn more about the Greater Cleveland Film Commission and for the latest updates on film and media production in Northeast Ohio, visit  www.clevelandfilm.com.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Historical Forty-seven Ronin from Wikipedia

Forty-seven Ronin From Wikipedia

The revenge of the Forty-seven Ronin (四十七士 Shi-jū-shichi-shi?), also known as the Forty-seven Samurai, the Akō vendetta, or the Genroku Akō incident (元禄赤穂事件 Genroku akō jiken?) took place in Japan at the start of the 18th century. One noted Japanese scholar described the tale as the country's "national legend."[1] It recounts the most famous case involving the samurai code of honor, bushidō.

Graves of the 47 ronin at Sengaku-ji.

The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) Asano Naganori was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was Kōzuke no suke. The ronin avenged their master's honor after patiently waiting and planning for two years to kill Kira. In turn, the ronin were themselves forced to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder.

With much embellishment, this true story was popularized in Japanese culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that all good people should preserve in their daily lives. The popularity of the almost mythical tale was only enhanced by rapid modernization during the Meiji era of Japanese history, when it is suggested many people in Japan longed for a return to their cultural roots.

Fictionalized accounts of these events are known as Chūshingura. The story was popularized in numerous plays including bunraku and kabuki. Because of the censorship laws of the shogunate in the Genroku era, which forbade portrayal of current events, the names were changed. While the version given by the playwrights may have come to be accepted as historical fact by some, the Chūshingura was written some 50 years after the event, and numerous historical records about the actual events that pre-date the Chūshingura survive.

The popularity of the story is still high today. With ten different television productions in the years 1997–2007 alone, the Chūshingura ranks among the most familiar of all stories in Japan.
The bakufu's censorship laws had relaxed somewhat 75 years later, when Japanologist Isaac Titsingh first recorded the story of the 47 ronin as one of the significant events of the Genroku era.[2]

More Forty-seven Ronin From Wikipedia
47 Ronin in Cinema and TV

The Hollywood film 47 Ronin is currently under production by Universal Pictures and will star Keanu Reeves as an outcast who joins the samurai in their quest to avenge their slain master along with some of the biggest Japanese actors such as Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Kô Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, and Jin Akanishi. The film was scheduled to be released on November 21, 2012 but the release date has been pushed back to February 8, 2013, and again to 25 December 2013.[37].

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple supplier halts China factory after violence By JOE McDONALD | Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The company that makes Apple's iPhones suspended production at a factory in China on Monday after a brawl by as many as 2,000 employees at a dormitory injured 40 people.

The fight, the cause of which was under investigation, erupted Sunday night at a privately managed dormitory near a Foxconn Technology Group factory in the northern city of Taiyuan, the company and Chinese police said. A police statement reported by the official Xinhua News Agency said 5,000 officers were dispatched to the scene.

The Taiwanese-owned company declined to say whether the factory was involved in iPhone production. It said the facility, which employs 79,000 people, would suspend work Monday and reopen Tuesday.

[Related: Apple could be worth $1 trillion within a year]

Foxconn makes iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc. and also assembles products for Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. It is one of China's biggest employers, with some 1.2 million workers in factories in Taiyuan, the southern city of Shenzhen, in Chengdu in the west and in Zhengzhou in central China.

The fight in Taiyuan started at 11 p.m. on Sunday, "drawing a large crowd of spectators and triggering chaos," a police spokesman was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Order was restored after about four hours and several people were arrested, said the company, a unit of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. It said 40 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.

The violence did not appear to be work-related, the company and police said. Comments posted on Chinese Internet bulletin boards said it might have erupted after a security guard hit an employee.

Photos posted on microblog service Sina Weibo showed broken windows, a burned vehicle and police with riot helmets, shields and clubs.

Phone calls to police headquarters and the Taiyuan city hall were not answered. People reached by phone at restaurants and other businesses in the area said they had no details about the clash.

The company has faced scrutiny over complaints in the past about wages and working hours. It raised minimum pay and promised in March to limit hours after an auditor hired by Apple found Foxconn employees regularly were required to work more than 60 hours a week.
AP researcher Flora Ji contributed.
Foxconn Technology Group: www.foxconn.com

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat [Filmed Feb 2006, Talks | TED.com Partner Series]

Helen Fisher: The brain in love [Filmed Feb 2008, Talks | TED.com Partner Series]

Mary Roach: 10 things you didn't know about orgasm [Filmed Feb 2009, Talks | TED.com Partner Series]

Diane Kelly: What we didn’t know about penis anatomy [Filmed Apr 2012, Talks | TED.com Partner Series]

8 Things You Didn't Know About Your Penis Sensitivity, pleasure, size, and other surprising facts.

8 Things You Didn't Know About Your Penis Sensitivity, pleasure, size, and other surprising facts.

WebMD Feature

Here are some things you might have wondered about your penis, but were afraid to ask.


No. 1: Use It or Lose It

You need to have erections regularly to keep your penis in shape. "It has to be essentially exercised," says Tobias Kohler, MD, MPH, assistant professor of urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, in Springfield, Ill.

To maintain a healthy tone, the smooth muscle of the penis must be periodically enriched with oxygen by the rush of blood that engorges the penis and makes it erect, Kohler tells WebMD.

If a guy is physically able to get erect, but never has erections during the day -- maybe he finds himself in very un-erotic circumstances for a long time -- he needn't worry. The brain has an automatic penis maintenance function built in.

Impulses from the brain cause erections during the dreaming phase of sleep, called the REM phase. It doesn't matter if you're having a hot sex dream or a zombie apocalypse nightmare -- your penis gets hard during that period of the sleep cycle.

But some men are physically unable to get erections, such as those who've suffered trauma to the nerves involved, or who have nerve or blood vessel damage caused by diabetes.

"If they don't do anything to maintain normal erections, they will get shortening of the penis," Kohler says. Without regular erections, penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, making the penis 1-2 centimeters shorter.

A device like a vacuum pump, which forces the penis to swell with blood, can help men with physical erection problems maintain a healthy penis, Kohler says.


No. 2: Your Penis May Be a 'Grower' or a 'Show-er'

Among men, there is no consistent relationship between the size of the flaccid penis and its full erect length.

In one study of 80 men, researchers found that increases from flaccid to erect lengths ranged widely, from less than a quarter-inch to 3.5 inches longer.

Whatever the clinical significance of these data may be, the locker-room significance is considerable. You can't assume that a dude with a big, limp penis gets much bigger with an erection. And the guy whose penis looks tiny might get a surprisingly big erection.

An analysis of more than a thousand measurements taken by sex researcher Alfred Kinsey shows that shorter flaccid penises tend to gain about twice as much length as longer flaccid penises.

A penis that doesn't gain much length with an erection has become known as a "show-er," and a penis that gains a lot is said to be a "grower." These are not medical terms, and there aren't scientifically established thresholds for what's a show-er or a grower.

Kinsey's data suggest that most penises aren't extreme show-ers or growers. About 12% of penises gained one-third or less of their total length with an erection, and about 7% doubled in length when erect.


No. 3: The Pleasure Zone

Many men consider the underside of the glans (head) of the penis and the underside of the shaft to be most sensitive to sexual pleasure.

Researchers asked 81 healthy men to rate the erotic sensitivity of different areas of their bodies, including not only the penis, but also zones such as the scrotum, anus, nipples, and neck.

The underside of the glans and underside of the shaft had the highest sensitivity rating for a significant majority of men, followed by the upper side of the glans, left and right sides of the glans, sides of the penis, upper side of the shaft, and foreskin (for the minority of men who were uncircumcised). The study findings were reported in the British Journal of Urology International in 2009.


No. 4: Sensitivity Declines With Age

Studies show that the penis steadily loses sensitivity as men age, though it's hard to say by how much, exactly. That's because different researchers have used different ways to stimulate the penis and measure sensitivity.

In general, the sensitivity of the penis is gauged by the least amount of stimulation a man is able to feel. That is called the "sensory threshold."

Despite differences between studies, the data show a clear trend when taken altogether. From age 25 on, sensitivity starts to decline. The sharpest decline in sensitivity is seen between age 65 and 75.

What's less clear is whether men really notice a loss of sensitivity as they age.

Kohler tells WebMD that if they are aware of it, his patients seldom mention it.

"It is a super-rare complaint," he says. "On the other hand, difficulty with erections and difficulty achieving ejaculation are much more common."


No. 5: Vibrators Work on the Penis, Too

Vibrators aren't only for women. They work on the penis, too. In fact, vibration is so effective on the penis that often men with spinal cord injuries can ejaculate with the aid of a special medical vibrator. For this kind of treatment, the vibrator is usually held against the underside of the head of the penis.

"Medical-grade vibrators aren't necessarily more powerful," Kohler says. The vibrators are tuned to stimulate parts of the nervous system involved in ejaculation. "They work at frequencies or amplitudes that are more specific to the [nerve] pathways."

Most men wouldn't need a medical vibrator to trigger an orgasm. Kohler says when patients see him about delayed ejaculation -- difficulty reaching orgasm -- he suggests they try a store-bought vibrating personal massager.

Although vibrators often help men with ejaculation problems, you don't have to have any kind of medical condition to use one. You could do it just for fun.

No. 6: There's More to the Penis Than Meets the Eye

"Most guys would be proud to know that their penis is twice as long as they think it is," Kohler says.

That's because half the length of the penis is inside your body. Just like you don't see all of a big oak tree above ground, you don't see the root of your penis tucked up inside your pelvis and attached to your pubic bone.

As seen in an MRI picture, an erect penis is shaped like a boomerang.


No. 7: Your Penis Is a Habitat

The skin of your penis is home to a diverse community of bacteria.

Lance Price, PhD, and Cindy Liu, PhD, researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, in Flagstaff, Ariz., used genetic tests to identify the bacteria found on men's penises. Their study showed there were a total of 42 unique kinds of bacteria inhabiting the skin of the penis.

"We see that the human body is essentially an ecosystem," Price tells WebMD.

But uncircumcised and circumcised penises don't have the same variety and abundance of bacteria, the study showed. The researchers first analyzed samples from the penises of 12 men who were planning to get circumcised. Samples were taken and analyzed again after the men were circumcised.

After circumcision, there were fewer kinds of bacteria on the men's penises. Many of the kinds of bacteria found to be less common or absent after circumcision were anaerobic -- meaning that they don't need oxygen to grow.

The inner fold of the foreskin is a mucous membrane, like the inside of a person's eyelids. Price tells WebMD that certain anaerobic bacteria thrive in that environment, but not on dry skin.

"I liken it to clear-cutting a forest," Price says. "You're going to get a lot more sunlight and you're going to drastically change the environment."

The study was done in Uganda, and all of the men studied were Ugandan.

Liu tells WebMD that she would expect to see some variation in the kinds of bacteria found on men in other parts of the world. "I think there is certainly variety even among the Ugandan men themselves," she says.

But the researchers are less interested in surveying the penile bacteria of the world than in understanding changes brought about by circumcision.

Their research could help explain why circumcision has been linked to a lower risk of getting HIV. One theory is the anaerobic bacteria may prompt the immune system to respond in a way that makes cells more vulnerable to HIV infection.


No. 8: Most Men Aren't Circumcised

Worldwide, approximately 30% of males aged 15 and older are circumcised, according to a 2007 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.

Rates vary greatly depending upon religion and nationality, the report states. Almost all Jewish and Muslim males in the world have circumcised penises, and together they account for almost 70% of all circumcised males globally.

Some research shows that there may be health benefits from circumcision. For instance, circumcised men may be less likely to pass sexually transmitted diseases to their female partners or to develop penile cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in 1999 that medical data was “not sufficient to recommend routine male circumcision,” but that “it is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to medical factors” when deciding whether or not to circumcise newborn boys. The AAP reaffirmed that statement in 2005.

The percentage of newborns circumcised in U.S. hospitals climbed from about 55% in 1993 to about 63% in 1999. The percentage tumbled after the AAP outlined its policy on circumcision, to 54.5% in 2009.

The AAP policy on circumcision is still being debated. In recent years, several studies have shown that circumcised men are less likely to be infected with HIV. The WHO and UNAIDS now recommend male circumcision as an HIV prevention measure. "There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%," the WHO states.

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15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Penis By: Mike Zimmerman

15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Penis By: Mike Zimmerman

For all the attention they direct below the belt, most men actually know very little about their penises. Here's the knowledge you need to keep yours healthy, strong, and ready for action—for life.

Read more: http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/penis_facts/#ixzz27FRhYefA
Read more: http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/penis_facts/Penis_Fact_15.php#ixzz27FTI7Vad

Penis Fact #1

Smoking can shorten your penis by as much as a centimeter. Erections are all about good bloodflow, and lighting up calcifies blood vessels, stifling erectile circulation. So even if you don't care all that much about your lungs or dying young, spare the li'l guy.

Penis Fact #2

Doctors can now grow skin for burn victims using the foreskins of circumcised infants. One foreskin can produce 23,000 square meters, which would be enough to tarp every Major League infield with human flesh.

Penis Fact #3

An enlarged prostate gland can cause both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. If you have an unexplained case of either, your doctor's looking forward to checking your prostate. Even if you're not.

Penis Fact #4

The average male orgasm lasts 6 seconds. Women get 23 seconds. Which means if women were really interested in equality, they'd make sure we have four orgasms for every one of theirs.

Penis Fact #5

The oldest known species with a penis is a hard-shelled sea creature called Colymbosathon ecplecticos. That's Greek for "amazing swimmer with large penis." Which officially supplants Buck Naked as the best porn name, ever.

Penis Fact #6

Circumcised foreskin can be reconstructed. Movable skin on the shaft of the penis is pulled toward the tip and set in place with tape. Later, doctors apply plastic rings, caps, and weights. Years can pass until complete coverage is attained....Okay, we'll shut up now.

Penis Fact #7

Only one man in 400 is flexible enough to give himself oral pleasure. It's estimated, however, that all 400 have given it their best shot at some point.

Penis Fact #8

There are two types of penises. One kind expands and lengthens when becoming erect (a grower). The other appears big most of the time, but doesn't get much bigger after achieving erection (a shower).

Penis Fact #9

An international Men's Health survey reports that 79 percent of men have growers, 21 percent have showers.

Penis Fact #10

German researchers say the average intercourse lasts 2 minutes, 50 seconds, yet women perceive it as lasting 5 minutes, 30 seconds. Are we that good or that bad?

Penis Fact #11

Turns out size does matter: The longer your penis, the better "semen displacement" you'll achieve when having sex with a woman flush with competing sperm. That's according to researchers at the State University of New York, who used artificial phalluses (ahem) to test the "scooping" mechanism of the penis's coronal ridge. Next up: curing cancer.

Penis Fact #12

The penis that's been enjoyed by the most women could be that of King Fatefehi of Tonga, who supposedly deflowered 37,800 women between the years 1770 and 1784—that's about seven virgins a day. Go ahead, say it: It's good to be king.

Penis Fact #13

Better-looking men may have stronger sperm. Spanish researchers showed women photos of guys who had good, average, and lousy sperm—and told them to pick the handsomest men. The women chose the best sperm producers most often.

Penis Fact #14

No brain is necessary for ejaculation. That order comes from the spinal cord. Finding a living vessel for said ejaculation, however, takes hours of careful thought and, often, considerable amounts of alcohol.

Penis Fact #15

The most common cause of penile rupture: vigorous masturbation. Some risks are just worth taking.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Her Private Parts

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Her Private Parts

Like snowflakes, every woman is unique. Know these truths before venturing south. (And sign up for my Girl Next Door newsletter for more sex, dating, and relationship advice!)

A clitoris is secretly huge

What you see is a little nub called the glans clitoris, which is packed with about 8,000 nerve endings. But there’s more! Two branches, called the crura, extend inside and backward into the body—meaning the clitoris is stimulated during sex from the inside out!

So what do you do?

Touch her everywhere, and stop zeroing in on her love button. With all those nerve endings, it can sometimes be too sensitive.

She’s not symmetrical

Just like your left testicle hangs lower than your right, many women have a slightly larger left inner labia.

Rarely are her “lips” the same length, color or texture, much like the petals of an orchid. Why do you think the vulva is compared to a flower so often?

So what do you do?

Touch them! Stroke them lightly, especially along the ridges. But be gentle. They can handle pressing, but aren’t keen on being pulled or pinched.

Deeper isn’t better

Burying yourself inside her sounds like a mind-blowing move, but most of the vagina’s nerve endings are toward the entrance. She’ll feel you back there, but it’s more pressure than pleasure.

So what do you do?

Ask her what she likes. She might prefer a mix of deep and light penetration. Or a grinding instead of thrusting. Or… listen and learn from her moans. (Click here for more advice on how you can decode her sex sounds to know exactly what she wants.)

Don’t stress about G.

The G spot isn’t an actual pinpointed spot; the term is used more generally to describe an area on the front wall of the vagina. And it’s not sensitive for every woman. So if you find it–hallelujah! If you don’t, no worries. Plenty of things feel good down there, no need to spend all your time searching for the Tooth Fairy.

So what do you do?

You can feel the spongy area of the front wall by inserting a finger and doing a “come hither’ motion. It might feel awkward for her since you’ll be pressing on her urethra, so only continue if she gives you approval.

She’s on an angle

The vagina typically rests at a 130-degree angle, tilted toward the back of her body, away from the clitoris.

That’s why the missionary position is so popular: It affords the most comfortable angle.

So what do you do?

Consider her angle when proposing other positions. One that feels good to you could be uncomfortable for her. Again, ask.

The other hole

(No, not that one.) Between her clitoris and her vaginal opening is her urethral opening. That’s right, women don’t pee out of their vaginas. It’s a whole separate business.

So what do you do?

Avoid it! Even though you probably can’t even see it, don’t bother looking for it. It’s kind of uncomfortable when you guys linger there. Keep this in mind during oral sex, too. You might need to go around or “hop over” the urethra with your tongue or fingers.

Source: Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva by Vanessa Schick, Ph.D., and Men’s Health relationships advisor Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Learn something? Have more pressing questions about lady parts? Ask them in the comments or email me at GND@menshealth.com.


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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vaginas by Kaylen Jackson

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vaginas by Kaylen Jackson

Sex is something lots of guys they think they know everything about. They assume they know everything there is to know not only about how to please a woman, but also about her anatomy and how it plays a role in sex.  You may think you know a lot about the body of a woman, but you probably didn’t know these ten things about a woman’s vagina!


An Orgasm Is An Excellent Pain Reliever

Next time your girl gives you the excuse that she doesn’t want to have sex with you because she has a headache, you can tell her she’s full of it. An orgasm is an excellent pain reliever, and can work as well as over the counter medicines or even some pharmaceutical grade pain relievers. You just have to actually make sure you give her a great orgasm!


The Vagina Cleans Itself

A woman’s genitals are designed to clean itself – meaning, douching is completely unnecessary and can actually do more harm than good. After menstruation, it cleans itself out and continues to do so throughout a woman’s monthly cycle. It also will clean itself out after sex! This helps prevent yeast or bacterial infections. However, if more bacteria or yeast are introduced than the body can handle, an overgrowth can occur. This usually can be easily treated with over the counter creams or doctor prescribed antibiotics.


It’s Not All About The G-Spot

The g-spot gets all the credit for giving women amazing orgasms, but there is another spot – called the A-Spot – that can be just as effective at giving a woman an earth shattering climax. The A-Spot is located deeper within the canal than the g-spot (right in front of the cervix) and it can be stimulated using the same “come hither” motion with your fingers that you would use if you were stimulating the g-spot. Just remember that since you’re going very deep inside a woman, you need plenty of good lubrication and you need her to be aroused first so it’s not painful or uncomfortable.


You Are What You Eat

A healthy vagina has an odor, but it is usually not very pungent. A yeast or bacterial infection can make it smell more pungent, but a funky smelling peach doesn’t always mean an infection. Many of the things a woman eats will affect the way her genitals taste and smell. For example, eating lots of pineapple and sweet fruits will make it taste and smell sweeter (which can be great for oral sex), but vegetables such as cabbage or asparagus can give it a more off putting scent.


The Vagina Can Actually Fall Out!

Vaginal prolapse is when the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes or vagina (or a combination of all of these) moves downward from its natural place in the body. This condition is common following surgeries such as hysterectomies, but can also happen without any prior event. In severe cases, this medical condition will cause the inner tissues to protrude through the vaginal opening.


Female Ejaculation Does Exist

Women – in addition to men – can ejaculate varying amounts of fluid during orgasm. Many women are able to produce very large amounds of fluid! Some skeptics report that the “ejaculate” that comes from a woman isn’t actually ejaculate at all, but urine. However, science has found that the components of female ejaculate are separate from the components of urine are very different and while the fluid does come from the paraurethral ducts, it does not come from the bladder.


The Vagina Can Double In Length When A Woman Is Aroused

How long a vagina is varies from woman to woman. Some women have very small, short canals while others have very long ones. The average size in an unaroused woman is 3-4 inches long, but during arousal, this number can increase and may even double! So guys, make sure your lady is aroused before penetration, because you’ll go a lot deeper and she’ll be a lot more comfortable during sex.


Having Sex Can Keep The Vagina Young And Healthy

Like the rest of your muscles, the vagina needs to be used and exercised or it will become weak and brittle. During prolonged periods of abstinence, especially when a woman goes through menopause or reaches old age, the delicate tissues inside will thin and can begin to break down. Regular sex, however, will help keep a woman’s genitals in peak form.


Vaginal Secretions Contain A Component Found In Shark Livers

Upon microscopic examination of the ingredients found in female vaginal secretions, scientists have noted that these secretions contain a component actually found in shark livers. This is called squalene, and can also be found in vegetable oils. It can be used in cosmetics, because it is an excellent moisturizer that doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy! Squalene is most likely what makes natural secretions good for the health of the genitals, because it keeps the tissue moist and supple.


The Vaginal Muscles Are Extremely Powerful

All women have the ability to use their vaginal muscles – also called the PC muscles – during sex. These are also the same muscles a girl uses to stop the flow of urine, and they can be strengthened through exercises like Kegels. You might not think that these muscles would be very powerful, but they are! The world record holder for the strongest vagina is a Russian woman who was able to lift 31 pounds with her vaginal muscles only!

Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Vagina By: Sexis

Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Vagina

Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Vagina 

Vaginas. If you’ve ever spoken to another human being, watched television, read a book, or turned on the radio, you know are magical entities, enshrouded in mystery and curlicued hairs. They are a panacea, they are the bearers of curses, and they’re the perfect antidote to a bear attack (early Russian culture stipulated that a marauding bear could be easily be fended off by the display of a single vagina). Fortunately, most of us aren’t in danger from bear attacks these days, so that’s one myth we won’t be putting to the test anytime soon.

However, in the years since The Great Vagina vs. Bear Wars of ancient Russian lore, the vagina has continued to present itself as a vexing marvel of natural engineering. So, let’s play “Did you know?” with your friend and ours—the humble vagina.

1. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Its own lubrication ensures that it stays clean and healthy, with little outside assistance. The addition of a douche can actually imbalance the natural ph of the system so much that irritation and odor can may result. And while we’re at it, you don’t need to use soap inside your labia at all—washing the outer labia with a gentle soap and letting running water and a gentle cloth take care of the inside bits will keep them sweet and peachy, without the irritation and skin damage that soaps can cause.

2. The female orgasm is a powerful painkiller (because of the release of endorphins), so headaches are in fact a bad excuse not to have sex. Having an orgasm relieves menstrual cramps because the vigorous muscle action moves blood and other fluids away from congested organs. Extra points: According to the Hite Report, candles are the artificial device used most frequently by women when masturbating.

3. The G-spot is named for Dr. Ernest Gräfenberg, who “found” it and alerted us all to its potential boon to our sexuality. G-spot stimulation can be intense or gentle, hard or soft, orgasmic, ejaculatory, or none of the above. Most women report (at the very least) pleasant sensations from having their G-spot worked over; for some women, G-spot play can kick off amazing orgasms (especially when in conjunction with clitoral or anal stimulation), and for others it can leave them all aquiver in ejaculatory glory. Everyone responds differently, so taking some time to explore this valuable physical landmark is definitely something to put on your to-do list.

4. The clitoris and the penis start out as the same bundle of tissue. Ditto for the testicles and ovaries. Clitorises have hoods; penises have foreskins, just to hammer the point home. In fact, it’s not until sometime after the sixth week of gestation that the “sex cells” begin to differentiate based on what our chromosomes look like. And it’s even later that the body actually forms the penis or clitoris. So, even if we don’t want to admit that we have as much in common with our male brethren, we can’t deny that our bits started out in the same way.

5. Yeast infections aren’t really infections. They’re simply the overgrowth of the yeast in the vagina and vulva. These are usually caused by a system that’s out of whack, when it comes to the usual vaginal flora—things like poor diet, antibiotics, and wearing fabrics like nylon that trap moisture can all cause the yeast to proliferate in your system. The best preventatives for this are limiting sugar and bread in the diet, adding acidophilus and yogurt to your regular food intake, and wearing cotton underwear as often as possible (or even going without!).

6. Did you know about the A-Spot? This handy little spot, which has only recently been written about, was initially described in the 1990s. The “A” stands for Anterior Fornix Erogenous Zone (it’s also called the AFE zone—very sci-fi, no? Don’t worry—there’s no Stargate lurking here). It’s a tender bit of tissue at the end of the vagina, just in front of the cervix: If you’re aiming for the G-spot, then follow along the upper wall of the vagina almost to the cervix—and you’ll be hitting it right on the head; pun totally intended. Word on the street from the Sexerati is that hitting this spot can produce lubrication and orgasmic contractions. The recommended technique is to stimulate it, along with the G-spot, in long strokes on a regular basis to build up the response in the area. We aren’t so sure about it, but any excuse to spend more time during foreplay with the hope of even stronger orgasms is just fine with us.

7. A healthy vagina shouldn’t smell offensive—which means that when the odor is up, it’s a great way to tackle health issues before they become major. A stronger-than-usual smell can be an indicator of dehydration, impending yeast infections, or even that you’re taking too much in the way of vitamin supplements. Any ongoing odors that don’t respond to regular health improvements should prompt an appointment with your personal Cooch-doctor, to make sure everything is in healthy working order. Extra points: The food you eat can affect your personal aroma. (Asparagus doesn’t just make your pee smell funny.)

Originally published on Sexis

20+ Things You Didn’t Know About Penises – But Should!

20+ Things You Didn’t Know About Penises – But Should!

(22 Photos)
Stacey Stapleton on Dec 4, 2010

20+ Things You Didn�t Know About Penises � But Should!

The Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog: Taking Risks

The Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog: Taking Risks: Friday, September 21, 2012
Taking Risks By Lisabet Sarai

What would it take to get some respect for erotic fiction? To transform erotica from its current scorned status as pornography with a fancy vocabulary into a legitimate branch of literature? Earlier this month, Remittance Girl addressed this issue, suggesting that “critical engagement” might help. In critiquing and reviewing erotica, we need to consider the non-sexual aspects of the erotic fiction we read, focusing on premise, plot, pacing, characterization, thematic depth and language instead of, or at least in addition to, whether the story gets us hot and bothered.

I wholeheartedly agree with her thesis, which she expanded into a fantastic treatise on appropriate objectives and approaches for critiques and reviews. I'd like to offer another, complementary suggestion. To convince readers (and critics) to take our genre seriously, we need to take risks.

What do I mean by that? Am I talking about moving beyond portrayals of vanilla sex to incorporate edgier and more controversial sexual practices? That's one kind of risk, certainly.....MORE....