Gay Australian Penguin Couple Welcome Baby Chick. Get Ready to 'Aww.'

Well, here’s some good news.

As reported by CBS News, Magic and Sphen, the two male penguins who made headlines earlier this month when it was reported they were incubating an egg, have welcomed their adopted baby into the world.

Sphengic, as the same-sex celebrity penguin couple are called, became close during breeding season. The staff at Sea Life Aquarium Sydney gave the couple a dummy egg as an experiment. Magic and Sphen incubated the egg in their pebble nest. As is the norm for penguin couples, they’d swap roles daily: one penguin would sit on the egg while the other roamed the perimeter for danger.

The staff at the aquarium were so impressed by their commitment that they took a chance in giving them a real egg.

Sea Life Sydney wrote on its website:

"They were absolute naturals and displayed great care for their egg, so much so, the team at Sea Life Sydney fostered a real egg to them from another couple who had two.”

On Friday, the baby penguin hatched. For now, it’s been given its parents’ portmanteau, Sphengic, as a name.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

h/t: CBS News



Is There A Good Scientific Reason To Join The 'No Fap' Movement?

The super-smart guys at AsapSCIENCE just posted their newest YouTube video exploring the question, “What if you stopped masturbating?”

The guys begin with the statistic that over 50% of women and more than 70% of men masturbate on a monthly basis.

Wait - does that mean ‘once a month?’

According to the Asap guys, a 2003 study showed if you were to stop masturbating, within a week testosterone levels can rise up to 40%. So, that’s a good thing, right?

However, the same study showed those levels drop back down to normal on day 8. So, it’s not like you keep building up testosterone.

In any case, that study spurred the creation of the ‘no fap’ movement that encourages men to stop masturbating in order to achieve better sexual performance, higher sperm quality and feelings of better motivation, self-esteem and happiness.

But is any of that true?

Some experts say improving your diet and exercise could be big factors in increased testosterone levels whether you abstain or not.

In terms of performance, researchers for one study found those who didn’t masturbate for three weeks did not improve or change any tendency for pre-mature ejaculation when compared to those who didn’t abstain.

And it appears the more often you ejaculate, the stronger your little swimmers are.

In fact, wet dreams are your body’s way of cycling out old sperm even if you are a member of Team No-Fap.

One way that pleasuring yourself less often can help you is in regard to dopamine and serotonin release.

When you masturbate, your body releases those two chemicals which stimulates the reward pathway in the brain.

But the more often you fap, the more de-sensitized your brain can become to those chemicals, so less pleasure. Taking a break from masturbation allows your brain to stay sensitive to those neurotransmitters.

That said, there are good reasons to enjoy some self-love time.

In addition to feeling good, the occasional fap improves sleep, your immune system, reduces stress and pain, and even prostate cancer risks.

Watch the quick video below and be smarter in only three minutes.

For more about the subject of masturbation, you can also check out the boys’ earlier video on masturbation in general here.



New Study Says That Transgender People's Brain's Work Like Those Of Their Preferred Gender Identity

A new study says that the brain waves of transgender people matches their gender identity and not their biological sex.

Belgian neurologist Julie Bakker of the University of Liege is in headlines because of new information she’s released.

Bakker conducted a study in which her team used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests to examine the brains of participants. The brain was exposed to a steroid. Then, the gray and white matter was measured by using a technique called tensor imaging.

As for the participants, transgender men and women in their childhood and in their teens were tested. So too were cis-gender men and women of the same age (who acted as the controls).

The results found that 160 participants with gender dysphoria, the medical term for experiencing discomfort or distress because one’s biological sex does not fit their gender identity aka being transgender, had similar brain structures and neurological patterns as people of their aligning gender identity.

On top of that, the study found that those differences were detectable during childhood.

Bakker presented these findings at this years meeting of the annual European Society of Endocrinology gathering, according to the Telegraph.

While some may fear that this scientific finding will get in the way of a person’s right to choose over their gender identity, Bakker and her colleagues say this could open doors for new medical possibilities for transgender people.

For instance, when children feel that they are transgender, they either go through psychotherapy or take hormones to have puberty delayed until they are older and everyone’s sure it isn’t a phase.

This research could help make gender dysphoria detectable.

As Bakker said after the presentation:

 “Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.”

“We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”

h/t: Telegraph

Crystal Meth Use Accelerates HIV Even With Medication, Study Shows

Many have long assumed use of stimulants like crystal methamphetamine can accelerate HIV progression. Thanks to a new study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity there is scientific evidence to back that up. 

Adam Carrico, Ph. D., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was lead author on the study, "Recent Stimulant Use and Leukocyte Gene Expression in Methamphetamine Users with Treated HIV Infection."

"Stimulant use may accelerate HIV disease progression through biological and behavioral pathways," says Carrico. "But if we can identify the biological pathways, then we can develop new approaches to optimize the health of active stimulant users who are living with HIV."

The study was a collaboration between researchers at the University of California San Francisco, University of California Los Angeles, and New York University, and involved studying changes in gene expression of samples from 55 HIV-positive, meth-using men receiving effective anti-retroviral therapy.

"We found a differential expression of 32 genes and perturbation of 168 pathways in recent stimulant users, including genes previously associated with the HIV reservoir, immune activation, and inflammation," says Carrico. "Anti-retroviral therapy is often successful in suppressing HIV in the blood, however, the virus typically remains in reservoirs, such as the lymph nodes and inside some immune cells."

Carrico believes these findings could be helpful in finding a cure for the virus. “Maybe these pathways can help us to understand how we can ‘wake up’ the virus and pull it out of hiding; some of these pathways could become targets for potential biomedical treatments targeting the HIV reservoir,” he says.

"We are now testing behavioral interventions in San Francisco and Miami that are designed to reduce stimulant use in people living with HIV," Carrico says. "Hopefully, decreasing the use of stimulants like methamphetamine will allow for better control of the HIV viral load and could even directly improve the immune system."

For further information, check out this press release about the study:  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uomm-urf050418.php