Science side of tumblr explain Vulcan Pon Farr
Vulcan Pon Farr is actually, strangely enough, based on the mating cycle of ferrets. Like most mammals, ferrets have a breeding season, or a time of year at which they are fertile or able to reproduce (humans are actually quite unusual in being fertile all year round). During this period, the body produces higher than usual amounts of sex hormones (testosterone or estrogen), and in female ferrets, this condition, known as hyperestrogenism, continues until she mates; ferrets are what is known as induced ovulators, meaning that they do not ovulate until they mate. Thus, if a female ferret comes into heat and does not mate, her ‘heat’ period continues indefinitely, and her body stays producing excessive amounts of estrogen. If she goes for longer than a month or two without mating, the ferret will die because the excess of estrogen in her system suppresses the functioning of her bone marrow, thus meaning that her ability to produce blood cells is severely inhibited. This leads to severe anaemia and eventually death as a result.
In Vulcans the process is probably similar - Vulcans come into heat once every seven years (as this is the natural course of their breeding cycle), and their ‘heat’ period only comes to an end when they mate or reach orgasm with a partner (since Vulcans are a telepathic species, it is possible that a telepathic connection to a partner is an essential part of mating, and the effects of pon farr cannot be overcome without it, e.g. by masturbating). In dyadic cis female or DFAB individuals, this will most probably be when they ovulate - Vulcans, like ferrets, are most probably induced ovulators - and in dyadic cis male or DMAB individuals, when they ejaculate. Thus, like ferrets, if they don’t mate this most probably leads to a build-up of excessive amounts of sex hormones in the body, which eventually interfere with the body’s ability to function. Dyadic cis female or DFAB Vulcans probably get the same problem as female ferrets - fatal anaemia caused by suppression of bone marrow by estrogen. However, since testosterone actually stimulates bone marrow instead of suppressing it, dyadic cis male or DMAB Vulcans probably face a different risk, most likely heart attacks caused by the excess of testosterone in the system (higher than usual amounts of testosterone have been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and atherosclerosis, or heart disease, in humans). This is obviously a very rapid process compared to that of ferrets, so the body must produce massive amounts of testosterone or estrogen during pon farr in a very short period of time - this would also explain why Vulcans undergo personality changes characterised by aggression and mood swings while they are under the effects of pon farr.
Of course, it is also possible that Vulcan sex hormones differ from those of humans and thus that the effect a build-up of these hormones has on the system, and thus the eventual cause of death, is different. Vulcans are aliens after all. But Vulcans are also very physiologically similar to humans and are obviously genetically similar enough to humans to produce hybrid offspring, thus meaning that their sex hormones may well be the same or at least similar to ours. And obviously the process would probably be a bit more complicated in the case of Vulcans with certain intersex conditions, or trans Vulcans on hormone therapy.
Good to know.
[since Vulcans are a telepathic species, it is possible that a telepathic connection to a partner is an essential part of mating, and the effects of pon farr cannot be overcome without it, e.g. by masturbating)]
Actually, in the Voyager episode “Body and Soul" (7x07), Tuvok is able to survive pon farr by using a medication developed by the Doctor and through using a hologram of his wife T’Pel as, a sex doll. This would indicate the telepathic connection is not needed for mating.
Also, sex and violence are very closely related physiologically, and ancient Vulcans fought over/for their mates. Which is probably why the sexual impulse of pon farr can be overridden by participating in or watching the combat of a koon-ut-kal-if-fee.
Now I’m wondering:
According to a recent study conducted by students at Harvard University, it is now literally impossible to properly satirize the issues of police brutality and corruption.
The study attempted to analyze various attempts at making satire directed at the prevalence of police brutality within the United States, and tried to measure the ability of various pieces of satire to adequately fulfill a number of standards of good satire.
"Satire," said one of the Harvard researchers, Alicia Powell, "is a form of comedy in which one portrays an exaggerated version of a social or political issue, and does so in a tone which clearly suggests condemnation of one side."
She continued, “On the one hand, satirizing the issue of police brutality seems extraordinarily easy. You just need to imagine a scenario where a police officer does something cartoonishly evil, and is defended by practically all of society and gets away with it. This seemed relatively straight-forward, but as our study went on, we came across some surprising - or perhaps not so surprising - results.”
The study involved interviews with various popular satirists, as well as exhaustive analysis of real-world instances of police brutality. One aspect of the study involved showing people a mixture of real headlines and satirical headlines involving police brutality and corruption. A sample size of two thousand people, across many races, genders, and various other backgrounds, showed that literally no one was able to distinguish between the real stories and the fake ones, with an astonishing 84% insisting afterward that clearly every headline was actually satire, as there was no way scenarios so absurd could actually happen in the real world.
One writer for the popular satirical news website The Onion said, “I was going to write an article about a police officer seeing a black man holding a sandwich, saying that the sandwich was actually a gun, and then shooting him ten times. Except now that’s actually happened. Only worse, because first he tasered the teen, and shot him not ten times, but sixteen. How can I write satire when the most absurd, outlandish things I can dream up are actually happening in the real world? I might as well just become a regular journalist, it would literally be the exact same thing at this point.”
Another satirist, the author of the Tumblr news blog The Wishwashington Post, commented, “I give up. I literally give up. I could write a ridiculous article about, like, the Ferguson Police Department doing a drone strike on Ferguson and saying it was self-defense because all the black people all had guns, and then they all get applauded for being brave officers and they all get bonuses and white people shake their heads about how violent black people are and how they were just looking for an excuse to protest or riot and how if they didn’t want to be bombed they should’ve just been more civil to white people… but honestly, I could probably turn to Fox News a few weeks from now and hear that story. Verbatim.”
They went on to say, in an exasperated and hopeless voice, “I can’t do it. They are literally parodies of themselves. I give up. I’m done.”
While the study did account for the phenomenon of Poe’s Law, in which satire of extremism is often indistinguishable from the real thing, the study nevertheless concluded that true satire of police brutality is now impossible. One of the study’s closing comments read, “You can poke fun at the extremes of certain situations, but when extreme is the norm, it seems almost fruitless and redundant. You could write a satirical article about how the sky is so incredibly blue, and you can play up how absurdly blue it is, but when you look up, it really is that blue. You haven’t made anything up. You haven’t made a cartoonish parody of the real thing. You’ve documented a fact. It’s not satire, it’s just humorous, depressing journalism.””
The Texas gubernatorial elections are less than a month away. There will be other elections, of course, but that’s my main concern. My posts will be getting increasingly political in the time leading up to November 4.
If you want to block these posts, I’ll be using the tag “elections”.
You’ve been warned. ^_^