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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Roach’

7. “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void,” Mary Roach

December 24, 2010 1 comment

Mary Roach looks at the history of the US (and Russia’s) space program to feel out the feasibility of a future peopled mission to Mars.

This is the sort of thing Mary Roach does well: exhaustive Googling paired with access to important people and a willingness to ask questions that embarrass both of them. Poop factoids abound and it is a fun and quick read.

Note to self: Read Mike Mullane’s biography. Apparently he is one of the astronauts most willing to make a good poop joke.

Page count: 321
Page total: 1,865

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Weekly update

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

This week was consumed by the only paper I had to write for my ghosts class. Not much progress made on the various books I accumulated this book, but there were a lot of panicked trips to the library.

-“Covering,” Kenji Yoshino. G-d as my witness, I’m finishing this book.
-“The Summoning,” Kelley Armstrong (FWD write-up here) (17). Chloe starts seeing dead people and is locked up in a group home for unstable teens where she is forced to accept that she is ill… or suffer the consequences
-“Dumbfounded,” Matt Rothschild (158). A fat, cross-dressing, gay, red-headed Jew? It’s like Rosthchild’s life was compiled to amuse me.
-“The Ghost Writer,” Philip Roth (49). I figure I should read one Roth book, since my class is reading like five.

-“Who Fears Death,” Nnedi Okorafor. I thought I returned this already.
-“Blonde Roots,” Bernadine Evaristo. I was panicking about my ghosts paper and just started grabbing books I had already read.
“Dust,” Karen Frances Turner. I could tell from the title it was a zombie book, but I didn’t know it was ON THE WRONG SIDE.
-“Out Stealing Horses,” Per Petterson. Goodwill!
-“Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife,” Mary Roach.

47. “Stiff,” Mary Roach

July 9, 2009 Leave a comment

An interesting and quick read. Roach’s books are almost hypertextual. I like her use of footnotes and her insatiable Googling. It’s a pretty quick read and worth a go.

By the way, one frightening fact that I learned from this book is that, until 1965, necrophilia was not a crime in any US state.

Page count: 294
Page total: 20,882

45. “Bonk,” Mary Roach

July 5, 2009 1 comment

I found the first couple chapters sort of dry and self-conscious, like Roach was uncomfortable. By the time she started getting involved in the experiments she documents, she was decidedly less so.

This was interesting, and I learned some cool stuff (see below), but I wish a few things:
-That she had better citations. There are a lot of facts flying around and I would like to be able to quote them without fear
-That, instead of the “quirky” pictures that start each chapter she had pictures illustrating some of the stuff she was talking about. Some of it was hard to follow. The picture of the rat wearing polyester trousers was priceless, though– possibly because it actually had to do with an experiment she addressed
-That this book were called “Boink,” not “Bonk.” “Boink” is the term I have always heard for “have sex with.” Is it a regional thing?

I’m going to be Twittering (I can barely bring myself to use Twitter, let alone the verb “tweet.” I have only just started saying “Google” for “run a search”) some of the weird things I learned for vaginapagina. You can check the Twitter here: http://twitter.com/vaginapagina Since you read my blog, you don’t have to go over there, and you get some bonus facts that I deemed too hetero-/PIV-/baby-making-/penis-oriented for the VP deluge.

My favorite anecdote is that a Michigan woman holds a patent on “Decorative Penile Wraps” to “heighten sexual arousal prior to intercourse.” Designs include a ghost, Grim Reaper, and snowman.

Pigs and humans are the only heterosexual couplings that include breast manipulation as part of sexual contact.

Fallopian tubes dialate on only the side that has produced an egg, directing semen toward the egg, rather than the opposite ovary.

Semen contains a mild spermicide, believed to be intended to guard against another man’s semen making it to the egg.

One research study supports the idea that the flare of the glans of a penis is intended to scrape out any one else’s semen that might be in a person’s vag.

The fire department of San Fran has a code to refer to incidences of a cock ring getting stuck (“C-Ring”). They also have a modified saw to cut them free and undergo training on proper technique.

The collegen fibers in a penis are as stiff, by weight, as steel! I have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive.

Only one tenth of the clitoris is visible to the naked eye.

Both females and males have an average of 3-5 erections a night (yes, clitorises can get erect.)

It takes one to two pounds of force to push an average-sized penis, finger, or dildo into a lubricated vagina. This is about the same amount of force as it takes to open a screen door.

In a study of cis women in long-distance relationships, the amount of testosterone in their system jumped when they were having sex, compared to when they had no sexual contact. Testosterone is closely linked to sex drive in all sexes.

People with spinal cord injuries may form non-genital “hypersensitive areas,” which can be stimulated to trigger orgasm. These are usually located above the break in the spine.

Heterosexual women who cheat on their partners are most likely to do so when ovulating.

Page count: 306
Page total: 20,408