Saturday 20 January 2018

Recommendation Time

"How YOU doin'?"

Simon Evans, the only right-wing comedian in the BBC Radio 4 village (and, no, unlike Daffyd from Little Britain, he's probably not imagining that!), has a new series of Simon Evans Goes to Market going out at the moment on Radio 4. It's not your run-of-the-mill, predictable BBC comedy show. I came away having laughed a bit and having learned a lot, this week about the big social media corporations. It was genuinely illuminating. Very good!

I'd also like to recommend this week's The Infinite Monkey Cage on 'The Secret Life of Birds'. (Forget your 'hatred' of Brian Cox and Robin Ince please!). Yes, the 'secret life' turned out to be mainly the 'sex life', but this programme is so valuable for giving voice to some wonderful scientists. This week it was the University of Sheffield's Professor Tim Birkhead, who did himself great credit, especially for his bit on male ducks - particularly the Argentine lake duck (a veritable Peronist duck if ever I've heard one)..

I'll summarise:

Not many bird species have a penis, but male ducks (including the mallard) have. Their penis isn't like ours though. It's a spiral, explosive structure powered by lymph rather than blood. The male Argentine lake duck (about a foot in length) has an 18-inch penis. The female duck has a complex vagina to match - at the most extreme, three side branches and a very vigorous spiral. The female's vagina spirals in the opposite direction to the male's spiralling penis. If a female is forced upon (raped) she can close her ovary duct and send the male's penis off down a blind alley.

One for Jane Gravy that!

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