Male ducks are violent, the sweet birds children feed bread to. (Bread is fattening which and has little nutritional value, but fills the duck’s stomach reducing foraging for nutritional foods). In dense populations of non-territorial ducks, 40% of female copulations are by rape. Female ducks have evolved a corkscrew-like vagina that makes it difficult for the male duck’s super long penis to penetrate. As a result, females chose mates which sire nearly 100% of their young. Female choice comes at a cost, resisting violent males can result in injury and even death, but is worth it.[i]
A fracas in the pond is watched by an Eastern water dragon who has seen it all before, has barely changed his ideas in 20 million years, and can live for up to 20.
Fifteen Brush Turkeys by the pond at Coffs Botanic Gardens. Most are perched in the trees above. It’s a puzzle.
And who destroyed the bower? Kids or a rival male Satin Bowerbird?
Coffs Creek is quiet.
In for a biopsy, already knowing the answer, mortality plays. I am 68, which always surprises me.
And I am so lucky, which also surprises me. Have never had a broken bone, a colonoscopy or a lobotomy.
11 global health issues to watch in 2023
- Long COVID: ‘Long COVID is absolutely a health issue to watch in 2023.’
- Mental health.
- Impact of climate change.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Lower respiratory infections.
- Poverty’s role in health.
- Health systems strengthening.
- Road Injuries.
- Population ageing: ‘Anticipated trends in population growth and population aging are expected to lead to large increases in the number of people affected by dementia globally, underscoring the public health importance of dementia. To adequately care for those with dementia, appropriate planning for the necessary supports and services required is needed. Interventions targeting modifiable risk factors, such as low education, smoking, and high blood sugar, have the potential to reduce the overall societal burden and should be prioritized.’ Emma Nichols, lead author of The Lancet Public Health paper on dementia forecasting.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington School of Medicine.
Zygmunt Bauman writes: ‘Living in a globalising world means being aware of the pain, misery and suffering of countless people whom we will never meet in person. Over 50 years ago, when the network of wireless broadcasting encircled the globe, Alfred Weber suggested that the world had become a much smaller place and it was no longer possible to honestly claim ignorance of what was going on.
The new knowledge which alerted Weber was audial; hearing about human misery is, however, much less potent in arousing compassion than the misery we see: the pictures, the spectacles of human suffering. What would Alfred Weber say of the network of TV satellites and cables which spans the globe?’[ii]
Before I can watch Miku Hatsune sing aversion of ‘Kew. Rhone’ (One of my favourite albums from the late seventies in Bristol), UNICEF reminds me that I have the power to help. I gave them money months ago, obviously it wasn’t enough. The next ad offers me a holiday.
[i] Richard O. Prum, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us, Doubleday, 2017. His ‘Beauty Happens’ hypothesis posits that mates may have arbitrary preferences for certain traits and their offspring inherit not only the traits but also the preference for them leading to co-evolution. The process will lead to a standard of beauty with no adaptive benefit except female choice.
[ii] Zygmunt Bauman, ‘Quality and inequality’ in The Moral Universe, Demos, 2002.