Most human beings and certainly those that populated northern Europe a few thousand years ago could not drink milk or if they did they could not digest it. Though the majority of modern humans can. Probably as the result of a recent and neat little evolution in our genes that allowed for the production of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose in cow’s milk. With that in mind this might be another example of recent genetic adaptation – Gut Bacteria Give Super Seaweed-Digestion Power to Japanese
In a neat confluence of human history, stomach bacteria and food, researchers have found that the intestinal microbes of Japanese people may be souped up for eating seaweed.
“In a marine bacteria, we identified an enzyme that is very specialized for degrading algal cell walls,” said Mirjam Czjzek, a biologist at France’s Station Biologique de Roscoff. “The only other place we find this enzyme is in the human-gut bacteria of Japanese individuals.”
I will not be contributing my part to the U.S. gene adaptation for digesting seaweed. Unless they blend in with some pasta and a nice sauce.
Take a look at the recent spate of advertising targeting guys’ manxiety, all those stories about the crisis of men, and the popular idea that we need to reclaim our inner asshole or some other intangible manly quality that has been taken from us. Or to quote the article:
“For thousands of years, being a man meant being honorable, having courage, having competence,” said Brett McKay, 27, a law school graduate turned blogger who writes “The Art of Manliness” from Tulsa, Okla. “Till the 1950s, manliness meant action and a force for good.”
Then, feminism disturbed that order. “We created this new world where men and women were equal,” McKay said. “A lot of men were confused. What was my role now?”
This statement has obvious problems (I didn’t realize courage and competence were gender-specific), but I don’t think it’s an uncommon view for many young men, and I think there is a growing desire to pick up where our grandfathers left off — if not in fashion, at least in attitude. (bold mine)
I had a link to another article about women and the cultural cycles of how they should portray or present themselves to the public, but I lost the link. It was either mom or dad or probably both that told us to be ourselves. We quickly learn there is pressure – some actually practical – not to be ourselves. It’s self-defeating to deal in such generalities. Whatever the trends are, whatever you believe in, wherever you live, wherever your search for happiness and fulfillment takes you – well there YOU are. You can make some adjustments – better grooming, start to exercise, get some therapy for anger management, get off booze, take night classes – but you are still going to be the basic you. You can move the furniture around but you cannot rebuild the house. So all the people who want us to be more friendly or aggressive or macho or feminine or whatever is on the gender identity cycle are spinning their wheels. Traister mentions his WW II hero grandfather. How much he loved him and how difficult it was to get along with him. I can relate. We got to wherever we are now in gender roles through a long and arduous process. If it was not working out there would be overwhelming support and a concerted effort to go back to that complete fantasy that is the golden years of yesterday ( yes there are cultural dinosaurs among us, but do we really see conservatives like Sarah Palin pleading to stay barefoot and pregnant without the right to vote or own property). Work and corporations put the most modern pressure on us not to be individuals and while many employers do intrude into our personal lives – try saying something bad about your employer on Facebook – when we leave we can generally hang out with people who tolerate who and what we are. Despite the necessary and on going culture battles most of us want progress, not a return to something that did not work out as well as the nostalgia clouded minds of some would have us believe.