Tag: Photographs

The Eskimo Word is Oosic

Most mammals, though not humans, a penis bone.

These range in size from tiny to “heroic” in size, with the aforementioned “Oosic” coming from an Walrus, and being rather large.

There is now some question as to why humans do not have this bone, even though some of our closer relatives, like the Chimpanzee, do:

The baculum, also called the os penis or penis bone, is a puzzling thing. It sits in the tip of the organ, not connected to any larger skeletal structure. Your pet cat has one if it is a he, as does your male dog. Many male mammals do — chimpanzees, gorillas, weasels and bears. The walrus has a particularly impressive baculum, up to 22 inches in length. The bone was even larger in the past. A fossilized, 4.5-foot os penis of an extinct walrus species fetched $8,000 at auction in 2007.

But humans, curiously, do not have penis bones. One reading of Genesis offered an explanation for the disappearing bone by way of creation myth. It was the penis bone, not a rib bone, a pair of biblical scholars argued in 2015, that God removed to fashion Eve from Adam. (This interpretation went over about as well as one might expect.)

As to why humans lack the bones, a study published on Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B offered a possible explanation. By the standards of primate reproduction, humans do not need to do the deed for a long enough time to warrant an os penis. Plus, our breeding habits are, in the context of our great ape cousins, fairly low-pressure.

A pair of researchers at the University College London examined several sexual characteristics of primates and mammal carnivores, including features like polygamy, testes mass, seasonal mating and intromission time (how long an act of penetration lasts). For primates, the best predictor for whether the male had a penis bone was if intromission lasted three minutes or longer. There was also a correlation between long intromission and length of the bone for both primates and carnivores.

Study author Matilda Brindle wrote at the Conversation that “humans don’t quite make it into the ‘prolonged intromission’ category. The average duration from penetration to ejaculation for human males is less than two minutes.” These long bouts of primate intromission are not exactly romantic. The end goal is gestation, not gesture. They are insurance to a male mammal, Brindle pointed out, that a female does not mate “with anyone else before his sperm have had a chance to work their magic.”

Less than 2 minutes for humans? Seriously?

Damn! I barely have her shoes untied in 2 minutes.*

As an aside, if you Google Oosic, the almost all first links are for knife handles made from Walrus baculi.

*It’s not that I don’t know how to untie shoes, it’s that I am not using my hands.

An Inside Out Wankel

The 4 Stroke Cycle for This Engine

An animation, including P-V curves

A company called LiquidPiston has a new take on rotary engine technology, they have basically turned a Wankel engine inside out, which appears to have solved the apex seal problem while improving fuel economy.

It still has ports, instead of valves, so it’s also pretty simple:

Military and other operators prefer using kerosene, rather than gasoline, across ground and air platforms, but lightweight, reliable heavy-fuel engines for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proved challenging to develop.

LiquidPiston, a startup developing a novel powerplant that is smaller and lighter than piston diesel engines and more efficient than gasoline engines, has been boosted by winning Sikorsky’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.

Developing multifuel rotary combustion engines based on its high-efficiency hybrid thermodynamic cycle (HEHC), the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company has won $25,000 and the opportunity to explore applications for its X-engine on Sikorsky products.

“We are targeting our engine to be up to 10-15 times smaller and lighter than a piston diesel engine of similar power output, and up to 2-3 times more efficient than gasoline engines, especially at part-power,” says founder and CEO Alexander Shkolnik.

I think that the claims here are a bit much, but the shape of the combustion chamber is far less prone to the thermodynamic losses that bedevil the Wankel.

In a Wankel, apex seals on the triangular rotor move in and out at high speed during rotation. “The seals are impossible to lubricate, so they mix oil into the air, but 90% of the oil burns,” says Shkolnik. “In our engines, the seals are on the stationary housing and easier to lubricate.”

HEHC is a four-stroke cycle. The fuel/air mixture enters the X-engine through the rotor and is compressed and ignited. Constant-volume combustion increases efficiency. The combustion gases are then overexpanded before being exhausted through the rotor.

The overexpanded power stroke is similar to that used by the Atkinson Cycle engine used in the Prius to achieve higher fuel economy, though it appears that it does not share the rather low power density of the Prius engine (not an issue in a hybrid, as the electric motor supplies handles need for peak power).

Kitten Go Bye Bye

We could not keep the little tyke, we have too many cats, and one of them was having a nervous breakdown about the presence of the kitten. (Meatball has abandonment issues)

So after 10 days, the malnourished, feverish, goopy eyed, and dehydrated kitten has finished the drug regime, and it’s going to a friend.

It was just under 1½ pounds when we took it to the vet, and now it might top 2 pounds,

Good journey, fuzzball.


Photo: Natalie J. Saroff

We have a colony of feral cats that hang out behind our house in an wild corner of a neighbor’s yard.

Today, I came home, and a kitten darted out in front of me, and I caught it.

We now have to decide what to do with the cat.

We already have 2½ cats (2 cats plus an adult feral cat that is in the house), so adding a kitten to the mix might not be fair to the existing cats, my family, and the kitten.

Family discussion time.

Still, he is a seriously cute dude.

If anyone reasonably close to Owings Mills, Maryland wants a kitten, Email Me.

Deep Thought

My son, Charlie watched the tail end of the Vice Presidential debate with me, and made the following observation:

Tim Kaine looks like a cartoon villain, and Mike Pence looks like a Bond villain.

It’s true.  You can see Kaine saying, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.,” and you can see Pence saying, “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

Seriously, look at the side by side pictures:


My wife has raised a very wise young man.