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Nate Lockwood has posted 44 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.

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About Wednesday 11 May 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Robert, sorry about the tech talk.

1. The ratio of weight of testicles to body weight is correlated 'promiscuity' for most animals, that is, a very low ratio correlates with monogamy and a high ratio with promiscuity such as a bull or a ram. The ratio for humans fall in the low end, nearly or somewhat monogamous.

2. Sexual dimorphism is the difference in appearance of males and females of animals. Some birds mate for life (or at least the breeding season), that is, they are monogamous. They are the same size and color and it's difficult or impossible to tell the males from the females without an examination. Evolutionary pressures are pretty much the same for both sexes. We can tell males from females for most animals as they males tend to be larger than the females and may be colored differently, common in birds, or have other characteristics such as antlers, manes, etc. These are used to intimidate rival males and to attract females. Sexual dimorphism is correlated with promiscuity. The average height and weight of men is greater than the average woman, men, on the average are more muscular and have beards. This indicates that we are not monogamous - on the average but are on the low end of the promiscuity scale.

3. The 'head' of the human penis is shaped in such a way as it can 'scrape' out semen in a woman's vagina. This is not necessary with monogamy so it implies promiscuity.

When I first heard about the study that Paul Dyson referenced I thought the promiscuity kind of high. The more recent study I thought a bit low but it was regional and not world wide and those studies are hard to do. If I can find the reference I'll post it here.

In the last year a new article said that a species of bird in the British Isles in two or three hundred years of birdwatching had never been seen to 'cheat' but males and females could be easily distinguished. Then some watchers got their hands on night vision goggles. In the dark the males would scoot off and mate with females whose mates were doing the same thing!

About Wednesday 11 May 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"Indeed, studies suggest that as many as one in six of us may have a father out there who is different to the one we thought we had. One piece of research in the 70s accidentally discovered that up to 30% of a group of around 250 women had a child who could not have been the offspring of its putative father."

Unfortunately the data used by this study, or probably a later study, was from a company that would confirm paternity or nonpaternity using DNA. People who used the company's services were already suspicious so the data are biased and merely show that those who had reason to believe in the nonpaternity were correct 30% of the time.

A more recent study published in 2016 (IIRC) has produced a better estimate about an order of magnitude smaller which is more in line with the biological hints (ratio of testicular mass to body mass, sexual dimorphism, shape of the head of the penis, etc.) that suggest that humans are 'mostly monogamous'.

About Friday 8 April 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I suspect that 'lantern' referred to section of windows in the aft cabin from the online OED although there's no nautical reference and while I was able to find good images, HMS Victory for one, they all used landlubber terminology:

"A square, curved, or polygonal structure on the top of a dome or a room, with the sides glazed or open so as to admit light.
‘the building is well lit by the ring of windows in the octagonal lantern’"

About Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

RSGII: Is the 'sister destroyer' by any chance the USS Frank Knox DD-742? I was on site for a couple of days while they attempted to get her off. Celestial navigation could be difficult in the South China Sea. Coincidently it was said that a new cocktail appeared in Pearl Harbor - the Knox on the Rocks.

About Tuesday 15 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Why would Tom and Sam have not learned French in school? Sam studied until he had a speaking knowledge of Latin and at least some Spanish and could probably read ancient Greek which I assume he knew before attending University. It's multiplication and division (and probably some other arithmetic) he had to learn later as those are tools of merchants and not particularly suitable or necessary for gentlemen).

About Tuesday 8 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Urea in urine has a low ph and breaks down with ammonia as one of the products so was used for cleaning. It was used to remove hair from hides and the Romans used it to whiten teeth. I read something some time ago that suggested that indigenous women of Greenland or Iceland (can't remember which) used it to wash their hair.
My physician advised me to use a lotion for my skin, gave me a brand name and told me that the important thing was the urea in the lotion as it 'dissolves' dead skin. It does help but I don't think I'll try to save money by collecting my urine and using instead.

About Thursday 17 December 1663

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Some time ago, but less than a decade I think, I read about a study that compared the length of marriages (before divorce) vs. ages of the couple in societies that supported both arranged marriages and (presumably) love marriages. If the couple were under about 26 arranged marriages were longer lasting but above that age love marriages lasted longer. I think that around 25 - 26 years of age men tend to have become more mature, less impulsive, etc.

About Thursday 22 October 1663

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Were there stereotypes then of women being poor in arithmetic?

AFAIK arithmetic was considered a skill needed by tradesman, useless and beneath for most other men then and for at least another century or so. Education? Not so much for women of the leisure class.

I don't know what was considered arithmetic at the time but I expect numerate people were expected to be able add and subtract, but multiplication, division, etc. were advanced skills.

About Wednesday 1 April 1663

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

A "live oak" is one that is not seasonally deciduous; it has green leaves all year long. Where there are several species of oaks 'live oak' may be contrasted with "black oak" which are seasonally deciduous and, at least in Southern California, really do look black in the winter. In California live oaks are said to have year around access to water whereas black oaks may not and consequently drop their leaves in the colder, dry, early winter. Quercus agrifolia leaves are small and stiff, which are adaptations to our hot dry summers and fall. Live oaks can grow at any time of year so have the potential of growing larger than their cousins.