Great Stuff In, Useless Stuff Out

Aww, so PC and so kewt!
Aww, so PC and so kewt!
Humans are interesting creatures. We want to know how stuff works. The littlest kid, when confronted with a radio and a screw driver, will spend hours trying to figure out how those voices got in there. They will also, unfortunately, destroy the radio. I know, as a child, I caught the business end of a switch for trying to figure out how all those people fit inside the TV. Fortunately for my family, the TV repairman was able to undo my handiwork. God knows if they could have survived without their weekly dose of Lawrence Welk. This was especially true since my mom had dated his son for a bit and this fact greatly increased our family’s standing in the accordion lover’s community.

Nevertheless, it is our innate curiosity that led us to become the beings we are today. That being said, there are some things that were never meant to be known. And, naturally, Chinese scientists have discovered another one. Steven Hoffer reports that they have discovered how to make mice gay.

Because, ummm, well because the world needs a bunch of mice that drive little Miata’s with rainbow bumper stickers.

If your pet mouse doesn’t find the lady mice attractive, he could be lacking in serotonin.

New research from scientists in China argues that the so-called happiness hormone plays a role in the sexual orientation of mice, the BBC reports.

The study, published in the current edition of Nature, finds that male mice bred with brains unreceptive to serotonin lost their preference for female mice. The same was true for mice bred without the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 gene, which is necessary to produce serotonin.

“This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a neurotransmitter in the brain has been demonstrated to be important in mammalian sexual preference,” the report said.

Researchers found that when a male mouse was introduced to either of the serotonin-deprived groups, mice from those groups were more likely to pursue and give the male mouse the “mating call.”

Just a shot of serotonin to the brain, however, and the preference for female mice was restored.

As for the implications for humans, that remains inconclusive.

“We have been using psychoactive drugs which either increase or decrease serotonin function for quite some time now, and while effects on sexual arousal, impulsivity and aggression have often been reported, no effects on sexual preference/orientation have,” Keith Kendrick, a neuroscientist at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, told the BBC. “At this time, therefore, any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous.”

Well, that’s some good news I guess. We wouldn’t want some demented whack jobs wandering through Boys Town randomly injecting the residents with high doses of serotonin.

In other words, this information is completely useless.

What a difference that is from a mere century or so ago. Then, Swiss watch makers working for the Chinese Emperor created a series of time pieces that are still the envy of collectors the world over. Paul Casciato reports that the Chinese hoi-paloi liked to watch a little porn while they checked the time.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Open-minded collectors seeking an unusual conversation piece may want to snap up one of a rare assortment of erotic watches coming under the hammer in Switzerland this weekend.

An important private collection of 33 watches from the 18th and 19th centuries featuring racy tableaux will be offered for sale Sunday at Antiquorum, a Geneva-based auction house specialising in fine timepieces.

Among the sale’s highlights is an uncommon early 19th Century 18-carat watch by Genevan craftsman Henry Capt expected to fetch $70,000 to $90,000 and featuring two automata — one on the front of the watch depicting an idyll of doves and musicians and another hidden one showing a couple in an amorous embrace.

Buyers with about $20,000 to $30,000 to spare meanwhile could be tempted by a very rare heart-shaped gilt metal watch by London watchmaker James Cox around 1780. It has two concealed paintings on enamel that include a lady secretly spying two partially clothed lovers caught in an adventurous position.

The watches, mainly crafted in Switzerland, are part of a wider collection of more than 700 erotic artefacts painstakingly assembled over 25 years, including walking sticks, statues and ivory objects designed for autoerotic stimulation, Antiquorum Director Etienne Lemenager told Reuters.

The collection’s septuagenarian Swiss owner, who wants to remain anonymous, plans to sell the remaining objects in a separate auction in France later this year as nobody in his family is interested in carrying on his work, Lemenager said.

“He enjoyed collecting and now he is enjoying selling because he was involved with us doing the catalogue and was happy to provide comments on some of the pocket watches,” Lemenager said, adding that preparing the sale was a lot of fun.

The manufacture of watches with explicit motifs — often concealed from immediate view — began in the 17th century for the Chinese market, with the most luxurious timepieces created for the Emperor and his retinue.

In the 18th century watchmakers introduced rhythmic interest by incorporating tiny automata to the erotic scenes and watches containing libertine scenes were made for the Far East, followed by India and more recently by the Middle-East.

Only a very few, highly skilled horologists crafted these items, most of which feature finely painted miniatures on enamel and varicoloured gold ornaments.

I looked up some images (NSFW) of these fine items and realized I’d soon be unemployed if I posted any of them here. But it does make one wonder how the Chinese went, in such a short time, from very useful and fun hobbies to creating gay mice.

Oh, and just FYI, a horologist is a watchmaker. Get your mind out of the gutter.

By the way, those ads you see about how America gets sold to China? Ignore them. Even China outsourced China Town to India.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, THIS MORNING around 9:20!

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