Linneah sat at a desk at the Center for Sexual Medicine at Sheppard Pratt in the suburbs of Baltimore and filled out a questionnaire. She read briskly, making swift checks beside her selected answers, and when she was finished, she handed the pages across the desk to Martina Miller, who gave her a round of pills.
The pills were either a placebo or a new drug called Lybrido, created to stoke sexual desire in women. Checking her computer, Miller pointed out gently that Linneah hadn’t been doing her duty as a study participant. Over the past eight weeks, she took the tablets before she planned to have sex, and for every time she put a pill on her tongue, she was supposed to make an entry in her online diary about her level of lust.
“I know, I know,” Linneah said. She is a 44-year-old part-time elementary-school teacher, and that day she wore red pants and a canary yellow scarf. (She asked that only a nickname be used to protect her privacy.) “It’s a mess. I keep forgetting.”
Miller, a study coordinator, began a short interview, typing Linneah’s replies into a database that the medication’s Dutch inventor, Adriaan Tuiten, will present to the Food and Drug Administration this summer or fall as part of his campaign to win the agency’s approval and begin marketing what might become the first female-desire drug in America. “Thinking about your desire now,” Miller said, “would you say it is absent, very low, low, reasonable or present?”
“Low.”This was no different from Linneah’s reply at the trial’s outset two months before.
“When your partner initiated sexual activity over the past eight weeks, did you show avoidance behavior?”
“Like earlier to bed?”
“Yes.” Linneah’s voice lurched louder; she laughed; it was a relief to talk bluntly.
“Do you have pleasant feelings when you’re touched?”
Later, after her appointment, she told me that in fact she has orgasms pretty much every time she and her husband have sex — that wasn’t the problem. “There’s something that’s stopping me from wanting it,” she said. “I don’t know what it is. I can’t tell you what it is.”
She met her husband at a bar nearly two decades ago: she joked with him over a foosball table, watched him clown on the dance floor. “I had a professor at college who talked about ‘the attraction template.’ My husband’s right inside my attraction template,” she said. She remembered his dark hair, his boyish looks, the way she’d felt they fit together, because they were both on the short side. “And he’s a stand-up guy. He has an excellent sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. He can make fun but not in a way that hurts anyone.”
Read all of this at the New York Times.
Free-lance journalist Tom Mueller spoke Wednesday afternoon to an audience of 85 people at a University of California Davis event hosted by the UC Davis Olive Center. His 2007 article in New Yorker magazine, Slippery Business, was an exposé of a dark side of the international olive oil industry. His investigation of adulteration and unethical practices helped to advance the cause of advocates of olive oil standards reform in the US. Mueller, an American who lives in Italy, was in California to do research on the olive oil industry for his upcoming book; described as a cultural, industrial and culinary history of olive oil, the book is due out next November.
Mueller’s audience included California olive oil producers and industry supporters as well as members of the UC Davis community. UC Davis Professor Ed Frankel, one of the world’s leading authorities on lipid oxidation, who has recently announced his retirement, joined the gathering. There was also a panel discussion with industry notables Mike Bradley (President, Veronica Foods), Bill Briwa (Chef-Instructor, Culinary Institute of America), Dan Flynn (Executive Director, The UCD Olive Center), Bruce Golino (President, Santa Cruz Olive Nursery), Gregg Kelley (President, California Olive Ranch), Ed Stolman (Founding Partner, The Olive Press) and Liz Tagami (President, Tagami International).
When he was researching his New Yorker article, Mr. Mueller was struck by three key themes in the world of olive oil. The first is the continuing relationship of olive oil and crime. The history of olive oil fraud is as old as the story of olive oil itself. Regarding labeling law, he said, “The label needs to tell you something reliable about what is in the bottle—as it does with wine, where the people who enforce the laws carry guns.” He pointed out that there was stricter attention to enforcement of olive oil laws in Ancient Rome than there is today; ancient amphorae bore not just the name of the producer, but the names and seals of the multiple inspectors. Mueller reported that the FDA has said it is unable to enforce olive oil quality standards because olive oil is not making people sick.
Read it all HERE.
Jesse James Severed Pinky Pictures
Warning: graphic content!]
If you’re one of Jesse James’s 109,462 Instagram followers, you’re used to seeing pictures of the self-described “pope of welding” working in his West Coast Choppers shop, shooting guns and riding motorcycles….But the TV personality (and Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband) surprised followers Tuesday with a seriously grotesque photo of his severed pinky finger….”OOOpps, Bad day at the office. Headed 2 Surgery in a few #PayUpSucker,” he captioned this photo that already has 10,000 “likes.”:
Nature’s Fury: 30 Chilling Photos of Natural Hazards
Supercell Thunderstorm in Montana – Photograph by Sean Heavey
From violent volcanoes to horrifying hurricanes, Mother Nature’s fury is a sight to behold. With so much human conflict and suffering, we often underestimate the awesome and destructive power of nature. While the science behind these events is utterly fascinating, the consequences can be dire and we must respect the power of the planet we live in. Here are 30 chilling reminders of nature’s fury:
Revealed preferences for longevity
Smoking takes 10 years off your life - but is this a sufficient reason to give up smoking? Why is a long life a better life?
The United Nations Human Development Index uses life expectancy as a measure of life quality because:
a long life is valuable in itself and… various indirect benefits (such as adequate nutrition and good health) are closely associated with higher life expectancy
That longevity is a proxy for the things that make life enjoyable is a reasonable argument, especially in the context that the UNDP is making it. The elimination of polio, for example, not only increased life expectancy, but also improved life quality, by preventing people from experiencing years of disability. But to the extent that smoking shortens life by taking low quality years off at the end, is that such a bad thing?
And the statement that “a long life is valuable in itself” takes us back to the original question: why?
Moral philosopher John Broome’s book Weighing Lives takes on some hard questions about longevity. Increasing one person’s life has costs, either because it takes up resources that could have been used to improve another person’s life, or because it decreases that person’s life quality. Trade-offs have to be made. Broome provides a way of thinking about those choices that an economist can understand:
Read more HERE.
Abandoned Star Wars film sets