did your hormones make you do it,eliot porter photographs, sensible millionaires

Some recent essays like this one from the NYT ask if your brain, or the neuro-circuits of your particular brain made you do it. Like people themselves the brain does not live an isolated existence, an island onto it’s self. Another question that we might ask is, did the hormones in your body make your brain make you do it, The Hormone Oxytocin Keeps Flirting Folks at Arm’s Length

Flirting brings women and men closer. But the “social distance” ensures that they will keep a certain spatial distance from each other. Researchers under the leadership of the University of Bonn studied whether this distance can be diminished by the so-called love hormone, oxytocin.

[  ]…Together with colleagues from the Universities of Bochum and Chengdu, his team studied the effect oxytocin, a neuro¬peptide, has on the social distance between women and men. “This neurotransmitter is often called the ‘love hormone,’ reports Professor Wolfgang Maier, Director of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Bonn, who also performs research for the German research center of neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE). It has long been known that the release of oxytocin in the brain is particularly strong during sex, or in parents, after the birth of their child. “This hormone contributes to strong social attachment,” adds Prof. Maier.

The researchers gave a total of 57 adult male subjects either oxytocin or a placebo in the form of a nasal spray. The experiment was conducted using an attractive female researcher as the experimenter. The subjects approached her and remained standing in front of her at a distance of about 60 centimeters. “We wanted to find out whether the social distance can be influenced by means of the hormone,” report researchers Dirk Scheele and Dr. Nadine Striepens. They hypothesized that oxytocin would result in a diminished social distance in the subjects because this substance is reputed to promote social relationships. To their surprise, the exact opposite happened – the male test subjects who had received oxytocin as a nasal spray and were in a relationship with a woman kept a greater distance from the attractive female researcher than subjects who were single or came from the control group who did not receive the hormone.

If the men already had a significant attachment, raising the level of oxytocin reenforced the level of attachment to someone they already knew and lessened their tendency to be attracted to someone new. Not just single men, but men who had not been treated with the spray containing oxytocin were significantly more open to flirtation with the attractive experimenter. That also turned out to be true even when test subjects were only shown photographs of other women. Thus this hormone turns out to be an important brain signal for forming attachments – fidelity – as long as it is present in some minimum amount when presented with some temptation. Even under conditions where oxytocin is not present in males that already have personal attachments to someone, flirting may still occur, but the brain is still weighing ethical considerations, and risk factors. Highly narcissistic men, even those who are devoutly religious are known to have less self-control when faced with ethical dilemmas.

Song sparrow’s nest in blueberry bush. June 1938, by Eliot Porter. Porter (December 6, 1901 – November 2, 1990) was an American photographer who became best known for his intimate portraits of nature. Since Porter’s beginnings as a photographer the field of nature photography has become inundated with talented professionals and amateurs. The field of nature photography has become especially difficult one to differentiate oneself because the photographer is generally not composing something in the way a studio photographer would. Porter happened along at a time – he was friends with both Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz – when there was still quite a few natural compositions to be discovered by someone with a good eye.

Raspberry leaves and grass. Great Spruce Head Island, Maine. 1964, by Eliot Porter. If Porter could be considered a pioneer of anything it was the intimacy in his use of color in capturing nature.

If Romnesia is the inability of someone who has benefited from the nation’s infrastructure and the context in which they made some money, the opposite is millionaires who do not live in that mental bubble, More Taxes, Please!

A pack of millionaires descended on Washington, DC, Wednesday to tell Congress to take more of their money. The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group formed in 2010 to push Obama to allow the Bush tax cuts on millionaires to expire, are back, and lobbying for the same thing as Congress faces the looming fiscal cliff.

[  ]…”I’m acting out of selfishness,” said Woody Kaplan, a businessman from Boston (who incidentally voted for Gary Johnson for president). “With every business I’ve owned, customers have been terribly important. If we give the middle class a break, then we’re much more likely to grow the middle class, and that will make all of us stronger.”

That sounds nice, but what about all that GOP grumbling that higher taxes on the rich will curb job creation? Balderdash, says Gruener. “Their theory is by reducing my tax rates, I’ll do more to create jobs. It just isn’t true. If I thought they were right about that I’d be on their side of this negotiation. But my own experience as a venture capitalist is that this sort of investment they’re talking about, in fact, has nothing to do with marginal tax rates.”

John McCain(R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) are busy smearing Amb. Susan Rice, a shameless endeavor considering their past behavior,  Supported Condi Rice After Massive Intelligence Failure. As the entire tweetersphere noted this is the same McCain who thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be VP.

black and white cracked earth