Friday, November 11, 2016

Lizards help us find out which came first: the baby or the egg?

"Have you ever wondered why we give birth to live young rather than lay eggs? Scientists have pondered this for a long time and answers have come from an unlikely source: some of Australia’s lizards and snakes!"

Writes PhD Candidate  of the  University of Sydney in The Conversation

"In research published this month in the American Naturalist, my colleagues and I at the University of Sydney studied reptile pregnancy to identify the factors necessary for a placenta to evolve.

"Although most reptiles lay eggs, live birth has evolved many times in the group of reptiles that includes lizards and snakes.

"Some of Australia’s most iconic species, have discarded egg-laying and instead hang onto their babies for the duration of pregnancy and give birth to fully developed young.

 Full Article
Original published under a CC-By-SA license.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Warratyi shows Australia's outback settled by humans 49000 years ago

Clifford Coulthard, an Adnyamathanha elder, was surveying gorges in the area in South Australian when "nature called". He happened across a rock shelter, which has turned out to be one of the most important prehistoric sites in Australia. The site, known as Warratyi, shows that Aboriginal Australian occupied the country 10,000 years earlier than first thought - about 49,000 years ago.

Wikipedia also has a stub article on Warratyi

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Devilishly Good Stats: 666 days, 20,000 Cigarettes, 200 quitline blogs

Smokefree days: 666 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 19980
Total savings: $17,915.40

Sometime today I will hit the 20,000 cigarette mark (I was doing 30 a day at the end).

This is [a copy of] my 200th Quitline blog post.

Back on Saturday 6th September 2014 I doubted I would last the day, by the Monday I still doubted I would last the day, Tuesday I doubted I the week. I am still here and still smokefree.

Since then it has been one day at a time always one day at a time. I still get cravings and temptations. I'm not proud of any of those but they have served to tell me that I have to stick to NOPE as I can not be a casual smoker ... I'd very quickly get back to 30 a day.

Originally posted on Quit Line blogs. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Can HRT alter sexual preference?

I was reading a discussion where several women who are transgendered noted that since beginning HRT their preferences for sexual partners have changed. Most of them considered themselves bisexual before and after starting HRT, but had noticed a differrence.

I have no idea if this is totally off the mark, but some of the responses to the question make me think of research into how a woman's position in her menstrual cycle affects the type of men she finds attractive (Apparently the studies assume heterosexuality).

When a woman is most fertile she prefers "manly" faces and smells much more than when she is relatively infertile. This strongly suggests that sexual preference can, at least to an extent, be modified by hormones.

When MtF people are given hormones, they presumably mimic the hormone loading at one point or another of a cisfemale's cycle. It seems to make sense that this could cause at least a small change in mate preference.

When Fertile, Women Want Manly Men
What do women want? It depends on the time of the month
Women's Preferences for Male Behavioral Displays Change Across the Menstrual Cycle

And for the guys:
The face of fertility: why do men find women who are near ovulation more attractive?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

500 days smokefree and looking good

Smoke free days: 500 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 15000
Total savings: $13,450.00

Wow. I'm so glad to see those figures still there. Yesterday morning I came close to having one. I finished the coming out at work process by emailing the overseas people I work directly with to let them know I am now Julia. After sending that I stressed out and walked outside and into smoker's corner. Nicodemon was with me, and "Special circumstances, just one today can't hurt" was in my mind.

Luckily no smokers were there, I sat and thought, asking myself why, just when I've finally got my life right, do I suddenly want to return to the destructive tobacco addiction? After a while I got up and returned to the office. At lunchtime I went to The Warehouse and bought some nice summer tops in the end of season clearance sale with the money that would have bought a 30 pack of cigarettes. I'll still have the tops long after the cigarettes would have been butts in the great ashtray of history.

500 days, still smoke free and still looking good.

Last night more stand-up, this time at Doolan's an open mic.  Normally you're only performing to other comedians there. A friend of mine from work was there with her husband and I tried out some new material. Another comedian had some friends of hers there to and they started laughing at bits of my material where I wasn't expecting much reaction in that room. There were also some walk-ins unrelated to other comedians and Tessa tells me the ones sitting near her were laughing. Nice to know I can hit the mark.

Afterwards, buzzing on adrenalin but no desire for a smoke. Long may it last - both the comedy and the not smoking.

An earlier version of this blog appeared on quit-line.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Devil Wears Kate Madison

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity" -- Charles Dickens, A tale of two cities

Smokefree days: 497 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 14910
Total savings: $13,369.30

At work I've been out  since September - October last year as far as the 5 of us in this country are concerned. Since mid last week I've been out to the whole building and since returning from holiday on Monday I've been in the office as Julia. By Wednesday it was obviously not going to work unless the people overseas I deal directly with are advised. Fine, I'll send them an email. Discussed  this with management and I'll send a personal email out Monday coming.

Sunday I have an "Open slot" at a pro comedy gig, my first time up on a pro night. I should be practising my act, instead I'm drafting that email. OK, I genuinely have a second chance at a first impression, but ... timing.

Finally, the major part of the transition is that I'm presenting in my place of employment as female, including the shared areas of the building and not just our small office. This includes the toilet facilities and this has been the most difficult for me as I've been totally stressed out about it. Yes, I know it's silly that I can stand up on stage wearing a mini-skirt in front of 150 people and talk about the funny bits of transitioning yet be terrified of using the ladies room in a secure office building but there it is. Partially it's because I know I've been dragging my stilettos on it in places like the Classic where I've felt more comfortable standing at the urinal in a mini-skirt than entering the woman space. Not to mention wanting to avoid queues, but that's taking the bad with the good.

To be fair each day has been easier and the other people in the office have been supportive. I have to walk past the men's to get to the ladies and a few times especially early in the week I serious considered chickening out. That and a kind of faux nostalgia for avoiding pools of past misses on the floor. Had we not had everyone in the building alerted I might well have done so.

With all the stress, the Nicotine Demon "Nicodemon" shaved her beard off, put on some lippy and stared back at me from the mirror saying things along the lines of "you need a few puffs to get through this" and "You needed a whole new wardrobe, I understand but you've got it now, come back. I forgive you", "just one packet to get through this week"

A few times I went for a walk outside to clear my head and Nicodemon was with me, but I told her to get away from me.  I've come too far and have too much ahead of me to go back to smoking. The stresses are already weakening and I feel I have got through another challenge.

Day 500 is coming up,.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

What I spent my not-smoking savings on

Smokefree days: 486 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 14580
Total savings: $13,073.40

That's just 2 weeks until the 500 day mark.

I'm officially on annual leave this week, but I went into work this morning as I wanted to speak to the manager. I needed to let him know how my transition is advancing and that when I return to the office on Monday my appearance won't be the non-threatening compromise I worked out for myself in August and I will be asking others to use my new name.

I know where that $13,000 has gone. Since August I've completely replaced my wardrobe. All the good condition menswear has been donated to the city mission and most of the rest recycled as rags. I have filled the void in my wardrobes and dressing tables with a medley from Autograph,  K-Mart, Millers, The Warehouse etc.

I have a good wardrobe, built from scratch in a short time and if I was still smoking I doubt it would have been as easy to assemble. I've been able to give myself permission to experiment in a way I wouldn't if I'd been spending 10,000 a year on smoking.

Ironically I had to go back to the office a second time today as 3 parcels each containing a pair of dress boots had arrived from China for me. The price differential is such I'm prepared to risk buying mail-order footwear.

It's only slightly ironic to say that quitting smoking  has made a woman of me. It certainly has helped free me to pursue this change both financially and by teaching me I have the strength to change myself for the better.

Oh, and the name's now Julia, so that's what I've renamed this blog as. Pleased to meet you