Thursday, May 13, 2010

a little lesson in biology

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark." -Woody Allen

it's true. wikipedia says so...

Unlike bony fish, sharks do not have gas-filled swim bladders for buoyancy. Instead, sharks rely on a large liver, filled with oil that contains squalene and the fact that cartilage is about half as dense as bone.[13] The liver constitutes up to 30% of their body mass.[16] The liver's effectiveness is limited, so sharks employ dynamic lift to maintain depth and then sink when they stop swimming. Sand tiger sharks are also known to store air in their stomachs, using the stomach as a swim bladder. Most sharks need to constantly swim in order to breathe and cannot sleep very long, if at all, or they will sink.
Like other fish, sharks extract oxygen from seawater as it passes over their gills. Unlike other fish, shark gill slits are not covered, but lie in a row behind the head. A modified slit called a spiracle lies just behind the eye; the spiracle assists water intake during respiration and plays a major role in bottom dwelling sharks. Spiracles are reduced or missing in active pelagic sharks.[11] While the shark is moving, water passes through the mouth and over the gills in a process known as "ram ventilation". While at rest, most sharks pump water over their gills to ensure a constant supply of oxygenated water. A small number of species have lost the ability to pump water through their gills and must swim without rest. These species are obligate ram ventilators and would presumably asphyxiate if unable to move.

and so there is too a likeness with love...

Biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, similar to hunger or thirst.[9] Psychology sees love as more of a social and cultural phenomenon. There are probably elements of truth in both views. Certainly love is influenced by hormones (such as oxytocin), neurotrophins (such as NGF), and pheromones, and how people think and behave in love is influenced by their conceptions of love. The conventional view in biology is that there are two major drives in love: sexual attraction and attachment. Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to its mother. The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate); companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal.
Studies have shown that brain scans of those infatuated by love display a resemblance to those with a mental illness. Love creates activity in the same area of the brain where hunger, thirst, and drug cravings create activity. New love, therefore, could possibly be more physical than emotional. Over time, this reaction to love mellows, and different areas of the brain are activated, primarily ones involving long-term commitments.
There is evidence in a variety of species that the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are involved in the bonding process, and in other forms of prosocial and reproductive behavior. Both chemicals facilitate pair bonding and maternal behavior in experiments on laboratory animals. In humans, there is evidence that oxytocin and vasopressin are released during labor and breastfeeding, and that these events are associated with maternal bonding. According to one model, social isolation leads to stress, which is associated with activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the release of cortisol. Positive social interaction is associated with increased oxytocin. This leads to bonding, which is also associated with higher levels of oxytocin and vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones.[15]
Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of trust in laboratory studies on humans. It has been called the "cuddle chemical" for its role in facilitating trust and attachment.[16] In the reward centers of the limbic system, the neurotransmitter, dopamine may interact with oxytocin and further increase the likelihood of bonding. One team of researchers has argued that oxytocin only plays a secondary role in affiliation, and that endogenous opiates play the central role. According to this model, affiliation is a function of the brain systems underlying reward and memory formation.[17]

and this last tidbit also plays a role in sexual endeavors, which links the two others together:

In biology, anaerobic respiration is a way for an organism to produce usable energy without the involvement of oxygen; it is respiration without oxygen.

so. for a shark to breathe, it must move forward using ram ventilation. for a relationship to survive, it must move forward and develop bonding attributes, which include the stimulation of oxytocin and vasopressin, neurotrophins, and pheromones which increases the chance of stimulation through sexual attraction, which inevitably leads to sex, in which we could assume that anaerobic respiration occurs during physical exchanges.

so. it looks like we have a dead shark on our hands, alright?

let it wash up on shore and get eaten by the gulls already. sheesh.


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