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zarq (4)
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A tragedy of epic proportions.

What tools did the Vikings use to construct their ships? During the early years of the Song dynasty, while Sridhar Acharya's concept of "zero" was making it's way westward and a pair of anonymous Anglo-Saxon poets was committing the tale of Beowulf to animal skin, a Viking craftsman lost his tool chest. It is speculated that the chest fell overboard off a ship or through the ice into what was then a swamp on the modern island of Gotland, Sweden. The chest was unearthed in 1936 when a chain attached to the chest got caught on a farmer's plow. In it were the tools a Viking blacksmith/ship builder would need to ply his trade. Named the Mästermyr chest its discovery was a boon to archaeologists, historians, re-enactors, woodworkers and blacksmiths. The original tools (catalogue of the items) were restored and put on display. Numerous copies and tributes of the chest or selected tools have been made over the years including a complete replica of both the chest and contents made using period techniques as a 'net project of a blacksmiths and woodworkers. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Feb 9, 2014 - 37 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Terror from the Deep

CreatureCast - Rhizocephala - a charmingly animated look at the lifecycle of rhizocephalan barnacles, one of the more horrifying (non-charming) parasitic crustaceans (likewise). NOT a practitioner of parasitic castration but still disturbing: The bobbit worm. Happy swimming!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2013 - 21 comments

Mouse cloned from drop of blood

Scientists in Japan have cloned a mouse from a single drop of blood. (via)
posted by kliuless on Jun 30, 2013 - 33 comments

Abortion in America

The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
posted by Artw on Jan 24, 2013 - 26 comments

Undue Burden

Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2013 - 66 comments

Make love, not war.

Humon's illustrated (and explained) animal mating habits. [somewhat NSFW]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 15, 2012 - 15 comments

The End of Sex?

Science is Rewriting the Rules of Reproduction Aarathi Prasad's new book investigates taking sex out of the reproduction equation. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 19, 2012 - 28 comments

Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?

"Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?" Kearney MS & Levine PB (2012) Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(2): 141–63. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Jul 23, 2012 - 122 comments

Is Procreation Immoral?

Elizabeth Kolbert explores the case against kids. Drawing from the work of philosophy professors David Benatar, Christine Overall and economist Bryan Caplan, Kolbert examines the justifications for reproducing.
posted by Kitty Stardust on Apr 2, 2012 - 125 comments

On Becoming Infertile - by an Anonymous Feminist Philosopher

Let's Talk About Reproductive Norm Enforcement, Baby. An anonymous philoso-blogger recounts, in an honest, intelligent, compelling, and occasionally poignant way, the process of undergoing medically necessary surgery that would cause infertility. If you care about the reproductive expectations with which women are saddled by contemporary society, you should read this. You should also read this if you care about bioethics, medical decorum, feminism, women in academia, the ethical behavior of philosophers, or, you know, justice. If you care about those last four things, you should have been reading Feminist Philosophers already.
posted by MultiplyDrafted on Jan 24, 2012 - 114 comments

Abortion Access Worldwide: A Reference

Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
posted by zarq on Oct 27, 2011 - 35 comments

How many offspring can/should one man have?

Sperm Donors: Limited or Limitless? And who should decide? Is it an ethical question, a biological question, a social/political question, an economics question, or something all about money?
posted by emhutchinson on Sep 14, 2011 - 36 comments

"Personhood" laws and reproductive rights

45 years ago yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that birth control (for married women) was legal and that the US Constitution guaranteed privacy to women seeking reproductive services. That privacy ruling was instrumental in subsequent cases [pdf]regarding the legality of birth control and pregnancy termination. And while many states are pushing through new termination restrictions; some states are now pushing through "Personhood" laws that grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses. These laws ban abortion without exception, ban certain forms of birth control, ban in-vitro fertilization, and forbid the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The legislations are being marketed by a "Conceived by Rape" bus tour. [more inside]
posted by dejah420 on Jun 9, 2011 - 121 comments

A womb with a view

Abortion has always been a hotspot in the culture wars. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week, so did Oklahoma. Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban. Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important than the carrier of said fetus. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar. It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
posted by dejah420 on Mar 18, 2011 - 213 comments

Awkward Pregnancy Photos

Awkward Pregnancy Photos
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 12, 2010 - 84 comments

Virgin birth? Snakes? This could get biblical.

Scientists have discovered a female boa constrictor reproducing asexually. [more inside]
posted by quin on Nov 5, 2010 - 38 comments

Confronting Life

Aaron Gouveia and his wife were already having the worst day of their lives. Then came the abortion protesters.
posted by PeterMcDermott on Oct 25, 2010 - 137 comments

"This is how science (unlike religion) works: in the end it's the data that counts."

New evidence of religion's reproductive, cooperative, and personal benefits militates against the belief that religion is a "virus of the mind." [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Sep 19, 2010 - 315 comments

The women who choose not to be mothers.

More women in the developed world are choosing not to have children. 'So why do friends, family, colleagues and even strangers think it's OK to question their decision?' 'A woman's fertility status is still very much considered public property. There are still assumptions about women's role in society, about families and about family size."''US Census Bureau says 36% of American women have no children.''Once this was considered insane or unnatural. Even today, it is viewed with suspicion - women with no desire to procreate say they sometimes face awkward questions and disapproval.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jul 29, 2010 - 301 comments

Abortion Not OK in OK

Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2010 - 169 comments

Women hold up half the sky

Gendercide, or sex-selective abortion aided by female ifanticide, is soberingly common in coutries where a strong cultural and economic preference for male children exists: 100 million women are "missing" in the Asia-Pacific region, 85% of them in India and China alone. [more inside]
posted by halogen on Mar 9, 2010 - 101 comments

What Can Your Womb Do For You?

What bleeds [Flash], grows babies [possibly NSFW], and "functions so efficiently that a full understanding of its processes may lead to novel treatments for a plethora of medical disorders?" The Uterus! Jacqueline Maybin, a PhD student at the Centre For Reproductive Biology at Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, discusses her research into "the secrets of the womb" and its incredible ability to heal and repair in her essay, "The Best A Man Can't Get."
posted by radiomayonnaise on Sep 1, 2009 - 26 comments

Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)

If plastics, or pesticides, or antidespressants have got you down, you can still make art with it, drink it or cook with it. It's been a strange week for semen. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen on Nov 19, 2008 - 23 comments

A Thin Blue Line

The history of the home pregnancy test kit. via the NIH History Office
posted by Rumple on Mar 9, 2008 - 6 comments

Old Clothes

Puzzled about what to get the history buff, throwback or Luddite on your holiday shopping list? Explore the sutler's wares in the world of historic reproduction clothing! Strut your eighteenth-century style with Jas. Townsend & Son, or dress for the Lewis & Clark expedition with Smoke & Fire. USHist.com provides the finest in Mexican War and Cavalry/Indian War apparel, as well as fashion to end all wars in theWWI collection. Don't forget the ladies (and weak-minded gents) left at home - Blockade Runner offers fine Civil War civvies. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Dec 11, 2007 - 22 comments

Art to Go

The Grand Tour. Until August 31st, the National Gallery in England is putting reproductions of famous paintings on the streets of London, with MP3 audio guides and maps available for download. The reaction has been good.
posted by djgh on Aug 5, 2007 - 22 comments

What's long and hard and ultimately futile?

"Grigioni, now back in Switzerland, said she could normally get tortoises to ejaculate within minutes, but spent months manually stimulating George and never extracted semen from him."
posted by mr_crash_davis on Jul 1, 2007 - 46 comments

Ashley Treatment Deemed Illegal

FollowupFilter: The "Ashley Treatment" is a violation of Washington state law, ruled an investigative report today. The hospital that performed the sterilization acknowledged that a miscommunication was to blame.
posted by pineapple on May 8, 2007 - 141 comments

"I would love to see it banished off the face of the Earth."

Bisphenol A: this extremely common chemical leaches out of food packaging and plastics, and was long considered safe. But a number of recent studies link it to developmental problems and cancer in lab animals in doses far lower than the current regulatory limit. Canada and the United States both review the scientific data available in the coming months, but critics already worry the process will be corrupted by industry. Industry, of course, insists that BPA is safe.
posted by mek on Apr 7, 2007 - 32 comments

How did that get there?

The origins of the vagina Only mammals have 'em. Why? (via markmaynard).
posted by klangklangston on Jan 23, 2007 - 36 comments

A Happy Family is a World's First

"There are few world firsts nowadays, but it may be one." - A quote used to describe triplets born to a woman with two wombs. Double uterus is an uncommon condition that is often undetected until a woman becomes pregnant. The outcome for such pregnancies is usually good, though posing a higher risk for breech positioning. The odds of triplets (twins in one womb, one fetus in the other) are 25 million to one.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Dec 21, 2006 - 29 comments

Men will be men

Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion It seems that men will be men throughout the animal kindom, not just our little lonely corner of of it. Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case. But is this the case with everyone?
posted by pezdacanuck on May 23, 2006 - 41 comments

Stop the presses!

Newspaper Snippet Generator
posted by crunchland on May 9, 2006 - 17 comments

And we thought putting them through college was hard!

Today in weird animals : An international group of scientists has described an animal that provides nutrition for its young by letting them peel off and eat its skin.
posted by Afroblanco on Apr 17, 2006 - 30 comments

File form 36-R, then insert A into B

Welcome to Indiana: married straight parents only. The Indiana state legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal for anyone other than a married couple to become pregnant by artificial means such as artificial insemination or egg/embryo donation. In addition, couples wishing to have their inseminations approved will have to apply and provide information including criminal history checks and "description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents, including participation in faith-based or church activities."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Oct 4, 2005 - 78 comments

"Family Values, My Ass!"

"Family Values, My Ass!" That article in the Lexington Herald-Leader inspired me to look up the Nation article it referred to. Now I'm beginning to see why many women won't go to "evangelical Christian" MDs: this guy Hager (previously brought up on MetaFilter in 2003, in fact twice, and then again in 2004) is strongly anti-abortion -- so pro-conception that he tried to keep the "morning-after pill" known as "Plan B" away from women -- but he's apparently pro- sodomy and pro-rape. It almost sounds like fiction.
posted by davy on May 13, 2005 - 86 comments

Turning the tables on Anti-Choice Protesters

Turning Pickets Into Pledges Planned Parenthood has launched a new program that "creates a no-win situation for anti-choice protesters — the more picketers who demonstrate outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, the more donations that clinic receives." This campaign allows supporters to pledge between 25 cents and one dollar per protester -- not a lot of money, but it adds up to thousands over time.
posted by zarq on Dec 23, 2004 - 29 comments

What's your genetic fitness, eh?

Breeders are winning. "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts." (WaPo link, bugmenot says try fedup@mailinator.com and fedup if you don't care to register. Definition of genetic fitness here.)
posted by jfuller on Sep 6, 2004 - 77 comments

Genetic Sexual Attraction

A new brand of incest. "You're 40, happily married - and then you meet your long-lost brother and fall passionately in love. This isn't fiction; in the age of the sperm donor, it's a growing reality: 50% of reunions between siblings, or parents and offspring, separated at birth result in obsessive emotions. Last month, a former police officer was convicted of incest with his half-sister - but should we criminalise a bond hardwired into our psychology?"
posted by Hildegarde on Jan 12, 2004 - 51 comments

Picture Hunt time!

Picture Hunt time! How many women are in this picture? (more inside)
posted by AaRdVarK on Nov 6, 2003 - 54 comments

1930 Shanghai style advertising posters

1930 Shanghai style advertising posters
posted by hama7 on Sep 5, 2003 - 6 comments

Eggs-tra ova

One egg, one month. Seemed like such a simple, comprehensible system - until now. "We are literally going to have to re-write medical textbooks," said Dr. Roger Pierson. Turns out many women may ovulate more than once a month, which may be why the rhythm method fails so often.
posted by soyjoy on Jul 9, 2003 - 56 comments

Sperm Wars: The Game

Sperm Wars: Extreme sporting's next generation may well be Exo-biotic. What could be first manifestation in this new realm of sport? Taking into account such factors as: simplicity of contest design, ease of sample collection, lots of visible action, and abundant human male competitiveness, the most logical and economic choice would be a sperm competition.

Any volunteers? What do you think the next "extreme" sport will be?
posted by bedhead on Jun 13, 2003 - 17 comments

Flocks of sperm turning to the left indicates possible memory.

Flocks of sperm turning to the left indicates possible memory. Does this mean every sperm really is sacred?
posted by srboisvert on Aug 30, 2002 - 17 comments

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement "Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense." More inside...
posted by Irontom on May 30, 2002 - 21 comments

Thanks to a breakthrough in medical technology

Thanks to a breakthrough in medical technology allowing HIV-infected semen to be purified of the virus, thousands of men will now be able to father children whose high-school graduations they'll never live to see. Is there no limit to human vanity?
posted by tiny pea on May 2, 2002 - 19 comments

Artificial womb.

Artificial womb. Goodbye women, hello complex ethical debates. ... artificial wombs raise the prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion law might well please them,' he added.
posted by geoff. on Feb 10, 2002 - 27 comments

A procedure known as haploidisation

A procedure known as haploidisation could allow lesbian couples to have a baby that shares both their genes. The procedure may be available in 18 months' time. Sperm? We don't need no stinking sperm!
posted by homunculus on Jan 22, 2002 - 41 comments

Woman Pregnant Twice.

Woman Pregnant Twice. An Italian woman is due to give birth in a hospital in Rome this week to a baby girl - before returning three months later to have triplets. If both deliveries are successful, it is thought that this will be the first such case in history.
posted by tpoh.org on Nov 12, 2001 - 17 comments

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