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January 13th, 2006

ennuyeux

People can be very confusing at times. In my archaeology class the syllabus indicates that students were supposed to read the first chapter of our textbook over the course of the past week, and prior to today's lecture I had gone through everything in chapter one as well as the majority of chapter two. During class today our professor introduced several new concepts and frequently added "which you should have read about in your textbook" at the end of his sentences.

Yuka, a girl who was in my linguistic anthropology class last semester and who sits next to me in archaeology, asked if all the information we discussed today was in the first chapter and I could only tell her that, if it was, I certainly didn't remember any of it. I checked once I made it home later in the afternoon and found that the material covered in class was actually a combination of things from chapters two, three, and four. Our first exam is on the 27th; I wonder if I should have the first half of the book read by then, just in case.

I was planning to study at the university library tonight but they close at 5:45 on Friday, so I'm in the student union building instead. It's much too noisy at our house to concentrate on reading, and while grabbing a bite to eat before heading out the door rurisue took the time to tell me about how frustrated she gets with the general upkeep of our house. However, using absolutes like "nobody", "ever", and "always" to describe what does or doesn't get done in the way of cleaning makes me feel defensive despite the fact that I have absolutely no reason to be guilty over my own actions.

As a communications major I would think she'd be more aware of the language she uses, but perhaps my standards are too high? It's strange to hear about how everyone always leaves their stuff out despite the fact that the only things not in my room are my food and a pair of shoes I keep by the front door; meanwhile her boyfriend can come over and leave books, papers, dirty dishes, and food laying out all over the living room and kitchen and she has no problem picking up after him. I would describe the situation as laughable if it wasn't so annoying at the same time.

limax redii

Because I don't see why I should be the only person who knows this:

Slugs and their shelled cousins, snails, are hermaphrodites, and copulation usually involves the slimy intertwining of two individuals and the simultaneous insertion of penises. In some slugs the penises themselves do the intertwining and sperm exchange occurs outside their bodies. Courtship in the common European garden slug, aptly named Limax maximus, involves two animals following each other in a clockwise manner on a vertical surface. On making contact they produce a mucus anchor rope from which they suspend themselves. As the entwined animals dangle in space they each evert and entwine their gigantic penises which far below their owners exchange sperm at their tips. In the slug Limax redii the penis is 85cm long - seven times the length of its owner's body. We have no idea whether the slug's giant penis and the unusual pattern of copulation have evolved in response to sperm competition or any other kind of sexual conflict. But we do know that for some species they can be a cause of the worst kind of sexual conflict. Their entwined penises frequently become knotted during copulation and the only way individuals can release themselves is to bite off their own penis at its base! It is not clear whether both individuals have to do this to ensure freedom. If not, there is presumably protracted negotiation about who will sacrifice his masculinity. Thereafter, those individuals that have lost their penis in this way operate only as females.




- Tim Birkhead, Promiscuity pp 98-99