Archive for February, 2008

With a degree in Mircobiology and minor in Psychology, I’ve always been interested in the intersection of the two, in particular how our biology dictates and/or strongly affects most, if not all, of our psychology…even when we don’t realize it.

I ran across an article a while back about Neanderthals proposing that  recent archaeological evidence suggests female Neandertals may have hunted alongside the males, and that fact may have contributed to their extinction.  Two thoughts there:  1)  How equitable!  Males and females doing the hard work together.  Isn’t that sweet?  2)  If they are willing to draw the “may have contributed to their extinction” inference for Neanderthals….what if they flipped that logic around on us?

Here is the conclusion:  Women belong at home.

Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t say, “I think women belong in the home.”  It certainly isn’t a personal value statement.  Women can do whatever they like and I support that.  I’m saying nature dictates that for species like ours with long gestation periods and unsafe environments….the species does better if women stay safe…which means they stay at home.

Here is why:  Let’s say there are two tribes…..each with 5 men and 5 women.  In tribe A the women and men hunt.  In tribe B the men only hunt. 

Tribe A:  4 people die hunting, two men and two women.  Now there are only 3 women left to have babies.  How many babies can the tribe have in a year?  Three…and that will be true until the female babies reach puberty.  Every woman that dies is a big deal for the tribe….it reduces the overall reproductive potential.

Tribe B:  4 people die hunting…..all men.  Now there is only one man left, but there are still 5 women left to have babies.  How many babies can the tribe have in a year?  Still 5.  The reproductive potential of the tribe has not changed. 

This thought experiment neatly shows that men’s lives are not nearly as valuable as women’s.  Men can die in flocks.  Everytime a woman dies, the reproductive potential of the tribe/species decreases.  In short, one man can have a hundred (or even a thousand) babies, while the reverse is not true.  From the perspective of the species, it pays to keep the women safe, which means they aren’t out hunting.  They belong at home….where its safe.  No sexism required.  (For those who object I point out again that this is not a personal value judgment…it simply IS.  The math doesn’t lie.  Those species who keep the fertile women safe long enough to have babies will succeed.  Those who don’t will be extinct.)

The point here is that often times we place blame on the environment (on men for example for trying to keep women down) when the fact is we just don’t understand the biology well enough to know that there are often other, better, more constructive explanations that do not require (in this case) men to be perpetuating the “women should stay at home” viewpoint.  Division of labor is an inborn tendency for good reason.

I’m not sure if Neanderthals died out because women hunted, but I do know if women hunted they must’ve been about as big as the males and skilled with weapons…..which debunks the myth of big hairy oaf clubbing the woman and taking her back to the cave.  She would’ve clubbed him back.

Tags: ,

Comments 3 Comments »

Dieting makes you fatter, and less healthy.  Weight nearly as inheritable as height

Comments No Comments »

In a word:  No. Tags:

Comments No Comments »

Women have better memories than men of day to day events.

Comments No Comments »


  • It is better than coming home to a rental. There is a sense of increased comfort when everything is yours and you know that if you don’t like the way the kitchen is…you can tear it out and make it how you like. (Not that I’m likely to do that, but the thought is comfortable.)
  • Women LOVE houses. It is almost orgasmic for them to talk about a home, to talk about “fixing it up”, to add to it, even just to look at a home. When you own a home, you are instantly more attractive. Unlike the argument with penis size….bigger is definitely better when it comes to house size. I think there is some kind of nesting gene in women that make them coo over houses.
  • Also, since I rented a piece of someone’s house previously, as a homeowner I now know I won’t disturb anyone if I want to perform ancient rituals, practice witchcraft, walk around dressed up as a zebra, or anything else that might strike my fancy. The freedom is nice…but as they say: Freedom is not free.


  • It ain’t free. Spending money is a huge stressor. It doesn’t even matter if you can afford it. The act of spending money itself, when you know you work so hard for it, is stressful. I think this is a man thing as women seem much better about spending money when they know they can afford it…since many are even able to spend stress free when they can’t afford it.
  • It is a time vacuum. It is never “fixed”. A home is always under improvement. There is always something else you can do, until you’ve done it all…at which point what you originally did is out of fashion and so you must upgrade again, but unlike this season’s new clothing…home improvements are expensive.
  • It requires a new set of skills. I am not a plumber, electrician, carpenter, engineer, brick-layer, etc. Whoever said there are no more blue-collar jobs…think again. I know we’ll never outsource these jobs to India. Also, I can do some of my own work…which I’ve done. Replacing my toilet I thought: “I save alot of money doing it myself…but is it worth it if I leave on vacation, the seal breaks, and floods the second floor?”.
  • The asset itself is a stressor. Like a stock, its value can fluctuate…and as your biggest asset, it is stressful to think about losing it. What if I lost my job? What if my home were swept away in a flood (floods aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance)? What if my policy is crap or I don’t have the right things covered? What if the entire housing market tanks (which we might see)? What if alien’s attack (is that covered)?
  • It will not make you any happier (not many things do). When you add up the items I’ve outlined above (and the ones I can’t think of right now), I bet I’m LESS happy with a home. You quickly acclimate to the fact that its your own place and you can walk around naked it you want. The freedom and comfort is nice…but again, does it outweigh the added stress? On the flip side, I will also acclimate to the stress eventually, and it will seem like its not even there. At least at that point I’ll have a house out of the deal. I remember when I first got out of graduate school all my student loan debt really got to me…to think about owing that much money when I didn’t even have a job. Now I don’t care. That debt will be with me until I’m retired.
  • A home is a warehouse. It stores inventory and YOU stock it. Just like a business, sitting inventory eats into your bottom line. It will nickel and dime you to death when you originally stock up on home wares: Dishes, vacuum cleaners, sets of linens, sets of trash cans, lamps, tools, towel racks, night stands, etc, etc. People say to me about this observation: “Yeah, but you do it once and then you always have it.” My thought, “So what? You can say the same thing about herpes.”

Maybe next time I’ll write about “eating out versus buying groceries”. It is a myth that it is cheaper to eat at home. I can demonstrate it mathematically.


Comments No Comments »

a few days when I was in Peru. Easy to lose track of time, great italian restaurant, and very pretty at night. Tags:

Comments No Comments »

History Shows That Famous Thinkers Also Get It Wrong. And they admit it.

Comments No Comments »