Friday November 4, 2011
Sizing up words and imagery
By NITHYA SIDHHU
Taking a look at words related to size.
IF you have scanty knowledge of the tuberous bushcricket, Platycleis affinis, I won’t hold it against you. After all, what’s there to know about crickets except for the fact that they’re those little insects doing all the chirping at night, right?
But, what if I told you that this species (P. affinis) has the largest testes in the world compared to any other creature on the globe? Has this tidbit arouse your interest now?
Its testicles are titanic, to say the least! Or, gigantic, if you prefer this word. According to the Royal Society of Behavioural Ecologists at Britain’s University of Derby, this meagre cricket has testes that account for 14% of its body mass. Ratio-wise, they are huge. (The Star, Nov 11, 2010)
If this cricket were an adult man weighing 70kg, his testicles alone would weigh a massive 10kg! If you were a man, it’s like being burdened with a hefty piece of luggage. Can you imagine lugging around a humongous parcel like that?
By the way, are you a male reading this article online on your laptop? Are you aware that your laptop may be tiny but is releasing a lot of heat? So, beware. Your scrotal temperature is rising dramatically as you do so!
Don’t look at me. Ask urologist Yelim Sheynkin from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
In a study he carried out among 29 young men who balanced laptops on their knees, thermometers showed that their scrotal temperature rose above the safe level within 10 to 15 minutes of computer usage! (The Star, Nov 9, 2010).
A teeny bit worried? You should be. Although the study was not substantial enough to provide ample evidence that there was a correlation between a rise in scrotal temperature and reduced male fertility or sperm counts in the men studied, you must surely know the reason God designed the testicles of men to be positioned outside their body?
Let me enlighten you. It was to keep them a few degrees cooler than the inside of their bodies. The slight difference may appear miniscule to you but it has a hefty effect on sperm production!
Ever notice how traditional Asian men prefer to keep their precious “cargo”, pocket-sized though it may be, under capacious and voluminous cool sarongs, dhotis or lungis?
The significance behind this geographical placement? It is this: The lower the temperature of the testicles, the better the production of healthy, copious sperm. Cool!
To put it simply, what this trivia tells you is that a rise in scrotal temperature does not bode well for the healthy production of sperm and consequently, male fertility.
Sheynkin’s study, even if it appears inadequate, should give you cause for full concern – because, as he puts it, “millions and millions of men are using laptops, especially those in the reproductive range”.
According to the American Urological Association, “nearly one in six couples in the US have trouble conceiving and about half the time, this is due to male infertility.”
So, should the use of laptops be limited to the laps of women alone? Go figure.
The good news is this – the problem of scrotal warming is at a micro level when compared to global warming, and it is more easily resolved.
All you have to do is not to place your laptop on your knees anymore or keep it there minimally. If you can, use a desk instead!