What Makes Someone Monogamous?

Wedding rings (BBC)

Wedding rings (BBC)

We can’t distill monogamy into a single magic formula. But some scientists have recently made strides in determining what factors might make a person monogamous.

One possible factor: genetics.

Researchers at Harvard University recently published a study examining the mating habits of deer mice and oldfield mice. In the wild, deer mice are promiscuous and oldfield mice are monogamous. Scientists first undertook an experiment to see how the two types of mice compare in parenting their young. Different parenting metrics were observed, such as building nests for the offspring.

After noting that the deer mice put in less parental efforts, the researchers wanted to see if the differences were down to genetics (ah, the old nature vs. nurture debate!). Five pairs of deer mice and oldfield mice were interbred, which produced 30 hybrid mice and later 769 (!) third-generation mice.

The parenting behaviors of these second- and third-generation hybrid mice ran the gamut from hardly involved to heavily-involved in their offsprings’ lives. In observing this, scientists were able to identify parts of DNA (termed loci) that determined parenting behaviors. The experiment’s abstract in scientific journal Nature explained the findings:

Using quantitative genetics, we identify 12 genomic regions that affect parental care, 8 of which have sex-specific effects, suggesting that parental care can evolve independently in males and females. Furthermore, some regions affect parental care broadly, whereas others affect specific behaviours, such as nest building.

The abstract also notes that a certain gene expression is primarily responsible for the level of nest-building. No word on how that would translate to humans (the gene for interior decorating?), but it’s exciting to see some strides made in genetic research.

Advertisements

Jeanette Epps Will Be the First Black Astronaut to Board the International Space Station

Jeanette Epps (Wikipedia)

Jeanette Epps (Wikipedia)

Earlier this month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that Astronaut Jeanette Epps will join the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2018. History was made with this announcement: Epps will be the first Black woman to join the ISS.

Epps will be NASA’s 15th Black astronaut, the fifth Black female astronaut. She’ll be part of Expedition 56 and all of Expedition 57.

This will be Epps’ first flight into space, and I’m sure she’ll kill it.

 

Trends: Custom Emoji

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji (Fushion)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji (Fushion)

Everyone loves emoji. That’s just a fact. Recently, emoji have grown and expanded. Where there used to be just one brand of emoji, now there are several types.

Distribution company Focus Features came up with custom emoji to promote their recent film “Loving.” The film details the history of the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case which struck down miscegenation statues across the United States. The emoji were created to show the range of love between people, and so users could relate to the film in a modern way.

Releasing custom emoji has hit disparate industries and public figures. Professional golfer Bubba Watson released his “Bubbamoji” in April 2016. Stand-up comic and actor Kevin Hart has his line of “Kevmoji,” all modeled after the comedian’s very expressive face. The “Kevmoji” hit #1 on iTunes downloads immediately after its release in September 2016.

But nobody’s dominated the custom emoji space better than America’s most polarizing reality TV family: the Kardashian/Jenners. Members of the family have taken to designing custom emoji for their fans to communicate with like-minded souls. Kim Kardashian West (who’s turned out to be quite the technology and new media mogul) debuted her “Kimoji” in December 2015, and was an immediate hit.

Not to be outdone, Rob Kardashian’s fiancee (and mother of his daughter Dream) Blac Chyna has also released her own line of emoji. But, like anything dealing with the Kardashian/Jenner clan, this has not been without drama: One of the “Chymoji” depicts Chyna slapping a brunette woman presumed to be Kardashian West’s stepsister Kylie Jenner. (If you don’t know why this is a foul, brush up on the history of the feud between the two.)

Another person in the Kardashian Extended Universe (KEU, for short) is feminist activist Amber Rose. (Rose is one of Kanye West’s former paramours. West is now, of course, married to Kim Kardashian West.) Rose dropped her “MuvaMoji” in March 2016, where it earned around $4M. That number includes $2M on release day alone.

It’s clear that launching a set of custom emoji is becoming a necessary step in engaging with fans. So who’ll be next to launch a set?

#ThrowbackThursday: Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji Launch, 2015

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s set of custom emoji, dubbed “Kimoji,” launched on December 21, 2015. Nearly a year later, they continue to be a hit, and paved the way for other celebrities to launch their own custom emoji lines.

Kardashian West’s Kimoji references notable things about her which both hardcore and casual fans would recognize: her waist trainer corset, posing in her white swimsuit, and her notorious crying face.

Clinton vs. Trump Supporters on Match.com

Dating (The Love Hawk)

Dating (The Love Hawk)

Earlier this year, Match.com released its annual Singles in America study. The study surveyed 5K+ singles ages 18-70 in 2015 on a variety of subjects pertinent to those who date. The results are fascinating, in no small part because Donald Trump was still a sideshow attraction and not a full-blown potential threat at the time.

Without further ado, here are some findings:

Clinton supporters are:

  • 70% more likely to discuss politics
  • 102% more likely to lie about their number of past sexual partners
  • 2,133% more likely to expect no physical contact

Trump supporters are:

But some benefits are bi-partisan, as the press release touts:

Individuals who are passionate about political issues (regardless of their affiliation) have better sex, with 13% more orgasms; they are also 32% more likely to experience multiple orgasms.

If that’s not a good reason to get politically involved/educated (or fuck across the aisle, at the very least), I don’t know what is.

The Cost of Kim Kardashian West’s Social Media Blackout: By The Numbers

Kim Kardashian and her ring (TMZ)

Kim Kardashian and her ring (TMZ)

In light of getting robbed in Paris last week (losing $11M-worth of jewelry), Kim Kardashian West has decided to take a break from social media for a month to reassess her online presence. Prior to now, Kardashian West has had a far-reaching social media presence on various platforms. She’s reconsidering her use of social media to document her life because the Paris thieves were after the $4M ring gifted to her by husband Kanye West. How did the thieves know about the ring? Kardashian West had shown it off on Snapchat.

But Kardashian West also uses social media as an extension of her business: being a Kardashian. And she’s paid well to do so. But it’s estimated that her month-long social media hiatus could cost her.

Here are the projected numbers behind Kim Kardashian West’s self-imposed social media blackout:

Amount Kardashian West’s special event appearances make: $20-$30K

Amount Kardashian West’s personal posts are worth to her brand: $200-$300K

Amount Kardashian West makes on social media in a given month: $1M

Kardashian West’s estimated yearly salary: $50M

Kardashian West’s estimated net worth: $150M

 

 

Apple’s iOS 10 Emoji Will Bust Gender Stereotypes

iOS 10 Emoji (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

iOS 10 Emoji (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Apple’s iOS update will also bring a slew of emoji changes to the Messages app. But these emoji will now be more diverse and gender-inclusive.

Women will now be represented with professions that had previously only be available for men, such as surfing, police officers and doctors. The reverse will hold true for the men, who will now have the option to use emoji depicting haircuts and massages.

There will also be new family emoji, showing single mothers and fathers with their children. A rainbow flag has also made it into the mix, signifying Apple’s support for marriage equality (insert hallelujah-hands emoji here).

This spring, Google first brought new emoji designs to the Unicode Consortium, the committee that oversees the selection, development and implementation of new emoji. Apple is also a member of the Consortium, and moved forward in developing its own emoji.

This isn’t the first time emoji have been updated for diversity. Last year’s release of iOS 9.1 included the debut of multiple skin tones. This upcoming batch of new inclusive emoji will have 100+ iterations, taking skin tone into account.

iOS 10 will debut later this fall.