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Director : F. Javier Gutiérrez.
Producer : Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald.
Release : February 1, 2017
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : Vertigo Entertainment, Macari/Edelstein, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Waddieish Claretrap.
Language : English.
Runtime : 102 min.
Genre : Horror.

Movie ‘Rings’ was released in February 1, 2017 in genre Horror. F. Javier Gutiérrez was directed this movie and starring by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz. This movie tell story about Julia becomes worried about her boyfriend, Holt when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before.

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Headphones Can Be Risky

Personal listening devices like iPods have become increasingly popular among young — and not-so-young — people in recent years. But music played through headphones too loud or too long might pose a significant risk to hearing, according to a 24-year study of adolescent girls.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, involved 8,710 students of lower socioeconomic status, whose average age was about 16. Their hearing was tested when they entered a residential facility in the U.S Northeast.

“I had the rare opportunity, as an audiologist, to see how this population changed over the years,” said Abbey Berg, Ph.D., lead study author and a professor in the Department of Biology & Health Sciences at Pace University in New York.

In this period, high-frequency hearing loss — a common casualty of excessive noise exposure — nearly doubled, from 10.1 percent in 1985 to 19.2 percent, she found.

Between 2001, when testers first asked about it, and 2008, personal music player use rose fourfold, from 18.3 percent to 76.4 percent. High-frequency hearing loss increased from 12.4 percent to 19.2 percent during these years, while the proportion of students reporting tinnitus —ringing, buzzing or hissing in the ears — nearly tripled, from 4.6 percent to 12.5 percent.

Overall, teens using the devices were 80 percent more likely to have impaired hearing than those who did not; of the teens reporting tinnitus, all but one (99.7 percent) were users.

However, “just because there’s an association, it doesn’t mean cause and effect,” Berg said. For the teens who took part in the study, other aspects of their lives — poverty, poor air quality, substance abuse, risk-taking behavior —might Sadd to the effects of noise exposure.

“This paper offers compelling evidence that the inappropriate use of headphones is indeed affecting some people’s hearing, and the number of ‘some people’ is not small,” said Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The level of impairment detected in this study might have been relatively subtle “but the point is that it is completely avoidable,” said Fligor, who has no affiliation with the study.

“The ear is going to be damaged throughout your lifetime; what we’re seeing here resembles early onset age-related hearing loss — you might think of it as prematurely aging the ear,” he said.

“I don’t demonize headphones,” said Fligor, who encourages moderation, not prohibition. At a reasonable volume — conversational or slightly louder—there’s little risk, he said: “It’s when you start overworking the ear that you get problems.”

Berg said her findings suggest the need for more effective educational efforts to reduce unsafe listening behavior, particularly among disadvantaged youth. “You have to target them at a much younger age, when they are liable be more receptive,” she said.

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Laws Equate Sex to Love

What do banning sex toys, being fired for an off-hours affair, or losing custody of a child because of sexual orientation have in common?

They’re all the result of legal rulings, thanks in part to narrow interpretations of a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eliminated criminal prohibitions against sodomy according to Laura Rosenbury, JD, professor of law, at Washington University in St. Louis.

In the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, the high court ruled 6-3 that Texas’ criminal ban on sodomy between consenting adults was unconstitutional. The decision, which overturned similar laws in other states, was expected to broaden, not restrict, sexual rights.

The petitioners in Lawrence, two men who had been arrested for engaging in sodomy in a private home, were not in a committed, romantic relationship with each other. (It was a jealous partner who called police.) But since the ruling was handed down, scores of lower court cases have held that the case applies only to sexual activity involving emotional intimacy.

These subsequent rulings stem from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s wording of the decision, according to Rosenbury, who co-authored “Sex In and Out of Intimacy,” published in July in the Emory Law Journal.

“Justice Kennedy actually overlooked the actual facts of the case and instead reasoned that consensual sexual activity should be constitutionally protected because it’s an important part of relationships,” Rosenbury says. “And the lower courts have used that language, not the facts of the case, to protect sex only when it’s in this relationship context.”

LONG HISTORY OF CORRALLING SEX, RELATIONSHIPS

States have long protected sexual activity only when it serves the states’ own interests, typically marriage and procreation. While Lawrence has reined in that effort in some cases, the ruling has reinforced the link between sex and relationships in others by suggesting the protection of sexual activity should occur only in long-lasting, intimate associations.

“States used to be much more coercive, punishing sex outside of marriage, and have gradually become less coercive but they still maintain this idea that sex is only valuable in relationships,” Rosenbury says. “We’re trying to highlight how such practices remain to this day, and to provide arguments for really letting go of the channeling of sex into marriage or other relationships that have the potential of long-term intimacy.”

States’ constant linking of sex and intimacy diminishes not only sex outside of relationships but also intimate relationships that are not sexual. Rosenbury’s article asks: Why shouldn’t states allow people to divide the rights and obligations currently attached to marriage among a variety of others: spouses, friends, siblings and sexual partners.

The sex-intimacy connection also reinforces gender stereotypes, assuming that that men achieve intimacy primarily through sex and that women desire intimacy over sex, according to Rosenbury.

“There have long been sexual double standards, and protecting sex only when it is in the service of intimacy does nothing to change those standards,” Rosenbury says. “Although Lawrence acknowledged that emotional intimacy need not involve women, it did nothing to disrupt the idea that sexual pleasure is a male domain.”

Rosenbury, whose research and teaching focuses on sex, family, work and other everyday issues, is committed to examining ways that the law influences seemingly private relationships and conduct. “Sex In and Out of Intimacy” is her most recent examination of that phenomenon.

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The Four Best Exercises

Exercise trends are called trends for a reason. They last about as long as a head of lettuce and offer about as many benefits. But some have been around since the birth of weight lifting, and that’s because they work.

But which are the best of the best, and how can you maximize them?

Push-ups
imageWhat’s great about pushups is that you can do them even though you may be weaker than a pick up line. You can start with a few, and over time increase repetitions at a good, even pace that builds muscle in the chest, shoulders and triceps. Different variations of the exercise can work the abdominals as well.

The one-arm pushup: It’s the pushup that impresses, the one that only the strongest and bravest should attempt. That’s right I’m talking about you.

Widen your feet and place your hand on the floor beneath the middle of your chest. Tuck your other arm behind your back. As you lower yourself, you’ll realize that this isn’t a straight-up-and-down movement like a regular pushup.

You’ll twist on the ball of your foot and untwist as you push yourself back up—if you can. You’ll feel muscles working all up and down the side of your body that corresponds to which hand is on the floor.

Do an equal number with each arm, and don’t even try one-arm pushups unless you can bench-press your own body weight eight to 10 times.

imageThe Arm-Blaster Curl
The arm blaster hangs from your shoulders and prevents your elbows from moving forward and back during a curl.

This forces your biceps to work much harder than they would if allowed to swing a little.

Consequently, this curl is the best single exercise for working all parts of the biceps with maximum intensity.

The Squat
imageIf you aren’t doing squats in your workout, then you don’t have a workout. Squats shape the body and develop performance power.

It’s the easiest power move to learn, and you’ll see the fastest results in both strength and muscle size.

To get more out of the squat: Focus on squatting deeper, rather than heavier. The key is to descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor, while still keeping your heels on the floor and maintaining the natural arch in your lower back.

Use a light weight until you develop the correct form.

This deeper squat builds muscle faster and is safer for your knees than a squat in which you stop before your thighs are parallel to the floor. When you cut a squat short, you turn your knees into brakes. And you know what happens to brakes. They wear out.

The Clean and Jerk
imageThe clean and jerk used to be a staple move in hard-core gyms where guys would throw around weights the size of small cars.

But it’s making a big comeback in collegiate training rooms and with the popularity of its champion, Ivan Stoitsov (photo). It requires a combination of speed, strength, skill and balance that few exercises can match.

Place your feet hip-width apart with the bar directly over the balls of your feet. Set the bar right above the point where your toes meet the rest of your foot. Place your hands just about shoulder width apart.

Begin to lift the bar by pushing your feet through the floor. Keep your shoulders, hips and the bar all moving at the same rate of speed. The bar will get to about mid-thigh.

Give your shoulders a big “shrug” and jump your feet out to the sides as you raise the bar to your shoulders. Catch the bar across your shoulders with your elbows held high. You’ll be in a squat position with bar slightly under your chin.

Slowly rise up out of the squat until you’re standing straight with the bar on your chest. Take a deep breath and dip down before you raise the bar overhead.

When complete, split your feet with one leg forward, the other one back and hold. Get steady then bring your legs even with each other again.

So go ahead and jerk. Get a spotter, and start with light weights. Focus on building speed more than building strength. Add weight only when your form is fluid and the move feels natural.

If you’re not ready, use dumbbells instead of a barbell.

imageContributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based JockBoyLocker.comand contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

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8 Weeks to Cardio Fitness

Hooray to JockBoy for this article:

If you would like a challenge and want to lose fat while gaining strength to get your ultimate Beach Body, we offer this day-by-day, step-by-step workout that can get you there quickly.

As with all workouts, this one should be done at your own risk with a doctor or trainer consult if you have any doubts about doing strenuous activity. I have been doing it now for four weeks, and I have seen incredible results.

This program consists of a lot of running and swimming, so be sure to prepare yourself mentally for long, hard cardio workouts. I recommend that you take it one day at a time and always remember: don’t give up!

Mondays: Back and Abs
One-arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Machine Row: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Lat Pull-down: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Pull-ups: 3 sets to maximum # of reps
Sit-ups: 3 sets to exhaustion
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets to exhaustion
Twisting Crunches: 3 sets to exhaustion

imageTuesdays: Shoulder, Triceps and Abs
Military Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Side Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Rope Pull-down: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dips: 3 sets to exhaustion
Crunches: 3 sets to exhaustion
Leg Raises (Bench): 3 sets to exhaustion
Crunches (Machine): 3 sets to exhaustion

Wednesdays: OFF

Thursdays: Legs
Squat: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Extension: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Standing Calf Raise: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

imageFridays: Chest, Biceps and Abs
Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Incline Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Decline Fly: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Pec Dec Fly: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Push-ups: 3 sets to exhaustion
Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 repsReverse Barbell Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Decline Crunch: 3 sets to exhaustion
Knee Raise: 3 sets to exhaustion
Hanging Leg Raise: 3 sets to exhaustion

Weekends: Cardio as you go
The weekends are yours to go to the beach, run, swim. Cardio is important in order to get ripped, and although I’m not giving you a set cardio routine, you should make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of cardio done.

Check out more of Troy’s fitness articles at ProjectQ Atlanta

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Coupling Reduces Stress

Newswise — Being married has often been associated with improving people’s health, but a new study suggests that having that long-term bond also alters hormones in a way that reduces stress.
Unmarried people in a committed, romantic relationship show the same reduced responses to stress as do married people, said Dario Maestripieri, Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, published in the current issue of the journal Stress.
“These results suggest that single and unpaired individuals are more responsive to psychological stress than married individuals, a finding consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that marriage and social support can buffer against stress,” Maestripieri writes in the article, “Between- and Within-sex Variations in Hormonal Responses to Psychological Stress in a Large Sample of College Students.”
The team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University studied 500 masters’ degree students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. About 40 percent of the men and 53 percent of the women were married or in relationships. The group included 348 men with a mean age of 29 and 153 women with a mean age of 27.
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The students were asked to play a series of computer games that tested economic behaviors, and saliva samples were taken before and after to measure hormone levels and changes.
Each student was told that the test was a course requirement, and it would impact their future career placement. That made the test a potentially stressful experience that could affect levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone.
The researchers found cortisol concentrations increased in all participants, but that females experienced a higher average increase than males. The exercise also decreased testosterone in male subjects, but not in females, a stress effect previously observed in humans and animals.
But a piece of personal information collected before the test provided another interesting difference within the subjects. “We found that unpaired individuals of both sexes had higher cortisol levels than married individuals,” Maestripieri said.
“Although marriage can be pretty stressful, it should make it easier for people to handle other stressors in their lives,” Maestripieri said. “What we found is that marriage has a dampening effect on cortisol responses to psychological stress, and that is very new.”
The study also found that single business school students also displayed higher baseline testosterone levels than their married or committed colleagues, a finding that mirrors previous human research as well as animal observations.
Maestripieri, who conducts the majority of his research on monkeys in Puerto Rico, said that in species of primates and birds where males assist females with rearing offspring show similar changes. In species that show monogamous pairing and shared rearing of offspring, testosterone levels in males drop as they engage in more fatherly behavior.
Maestripieri’s co-authors are former University of Chicago student Nicole Baran, AB ’09, now a graduate student at Cornell University; Luigi Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and Paola Sapienza, Professor of Finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
The Templeton Foundation helped support the study with a grant.

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Study of Sex Workers in Vietnam

More than a million dollars in U.S. federal funds will be used to examine homosexual male prostitutes in Vietnam.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $1.44 million for a “study of drug and sexual risk among young male sex workers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.”
“There are an estimated 8.3 million individuals with HIV infections in Asia, one-fifth the disease burden worldwide,” the project abstract states. “Initially thought to be confined to circumspect populations of male (injection-drug users) and female sex workers, it is now clear that men who have sex with men are also at high risk.”
Along with rapid increases in cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among young men in the region, the abstract states that there’s also been an “expansion of markets for male sex work and international male sex tourism.” Many of the male prostitutes also have female partners.
The agency says the first study will “describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated.”
The second study will conduct a survey to “estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”
The third study will be a broad cross-sectional study to construct a “comprehensive ethno-epidemiological profile of behavioral HIV risk among male sex workers.”
Study 4 will assess negative medical consequences in the population and screen for the presence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
“In Study 5, we will recruit young men who have recently initiated male sex work for participation in a one-year series of ethnographic interviews to describe the unique vulnerabilities associated with the early course of male sex work,” the abstract states.
Study 6 will use data from earlier studies to assess the impact of behavioral risk among male sex workers on the diffusion of HIV-1 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Under a section titled “Public Health Relevance,” the agency explains why the project is needed:
This study seeks to address an important public-health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection-drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men. … Through comprehensive behavioral interviews, detailed ethnography and state-of-the art biological tests (including tests for HIV and (hepatitis C) subtypes and HIV treatment resistance), we will describe the demographic, social and economic characteristics of the male sex worker population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as the unique vulnerabilities associated with the onset and early social course of male sex work. …
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is listed as the funding entity, and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine is the grant recipient. According to the institute website, the institute supports more than 85 percent of the world’s research on drug abuse and addiction.
It receives its funding through congressional appropriations, and the institute is also authorized to accept donations.
The following are recent award amounts for the Vietnam study:
Fiscal year 2010: $442,340
Fiscal year 2009: $465,974
Fiscal year 2008: $534,201
A total of $1,442,515 in federal funds has been awarded to the project.
<a href=http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=7797618&icde=4252393 target=awer>Read the details here.</a>

More than a million dollars in U.S. federal funds will be used to examine homosexual male prostitutes in Vietnam.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $1.44 million for a “study of drug and sexual risk among young male sex workers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.”
“There are an estimated 8.3 million individuals with HIV infections in Asia, one-fifth the disease burden worldwide,” the project abstract states. “Initially thought to be confined to circumspect populations of male (injection-drug users) and female sex workers, it is now clear that men who have sex with men are also at high risk.”
Along with rapid increases in cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among young men in the region, the abstract states that there’s also been an “expansion of markets for male sex work and international male sex tourism.” Many of the male prostitutes also have female partners.
The agency says the first study will “describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated.”
The second study will conduct a survey to “estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”
The third study will be a broad cross-sectional study to construct a “comprehensive ethno-epidemiological profile of behavioral HIV risk among male sex workers.”
Study 4 will assess negative medical consequences in the population and screen for the presence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
“In Study 5, we will recruit young men who have recently initiated male sex work for participation in a one-year series of ethnographic interviews to describe the unique vulnerabilities associated with the early course of male sex work,” the abstract states.  Study 6 will use data from earlier studies to assess the impact of behavioral risk among male sex workers on the diffusion of HIV-1 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Under a section titled “Public Health Relevance,” the agency explains why the project is needed:
This study seeks to address an important public-health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection-drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men. … Through comprehensive behavioral interviews, detailed ethnography and state-of-the art biological tests (including tests for HIV and (hepatitis C) subtypes and HIV treatment resistance), we will describe the demographic, social and economic characteristics of the male sex worker population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as the unique vulnerabilities associated with the onset and early social course of male sex work. …
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is listed as the funding entity, and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine is the grant recipient. According to the institute website, the institute supports more than 85 percent of the world’s research on drug abuse and addiction.
It receives its funding through congressional appropriations, and the institute is also authorized to accept donations.
The following are recent award amounts for the Vietnam study:
Fiscal year 2010: $442,340Fiscal year 2009: $465,974Fiscal year 2008: $534,201A total of $1,442,515 in federal funds has been awarded to the project.
<a href=http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=7797618&icde=4252393 target=awer>Read the details here.</a>

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Pierre Bernard, yoga’s American proselytizer.

Several decades ago, you would have received a baffled stare if you had asked a stranger what a “downward facing dog” was. Today most strangers would nod knowingly and point you to their yoga studio, where the “downward facing dog” (feet and hands planted on the ground, torso stretched into an inverted “V”) and other poses are common practices for the more than 20 million people who study yoga in the U.S.

[BOOKREVIEW1] Bernard Collection, Historical Society of Rockland County Doing yoga outdoors in New York.

But yoga wasn’t always mainstream, as Robert Love informs us in “The Great Oom,” his rollicking and well-researched history of yoga’s early days in America. The spiritual discipline that has colonized America’s gyms and trendy loft spaces was once a fringe practice, its advocates treated as charlatans and, occasionally, criminals. Yoga’s cultural rise is a story of scandal, financial shenanigans, bodily discipline, oversize egos and bizarre love triangles, with a few performing elephants thrown in for good measure.

Mr. Love tells his story through the life of one of yoga’s earliest promoters, Pierre Bernard—known as the “Great Oom”—a zany man whose talent for self-invention rivaled that of P.T. Barnum. Born Perry Baker in Leon, Iowa, in 1876, Bernard’s early and serendipitous meeting with an Indian tutor in 1889 put him on the path to promoting yoga as his life’s work.

The “hatha yoga” that Bernard learned from his tutor emphasized postures (called asanas) as well as controlled breathing techniques and a range of “meditative arts.” His education also included “tantric yoga,” whose goal is to “merge the individual’s soul with the ultimate reality, divinity, or god.” Yoga’s origins reach back to ancient India, where it developed alongside Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Bernard Collection, Historical Society of Rockland CountyMr. Bernard’s acolytes flexing their muscles outdoors in New York.
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BOOKREVIEW1

Becoming yoga’s U.S. champion was not an obviously wise career move for Pierre Bernard. (He changed his name around 1896 to give himself a more mystical aura.) Over the course of his lifetime, Mr. Love writes, “yoga was labeled a criminal fraud and an abomination against the purity of American women. It was associated with sexual promiscuity and kicked to the fringes of society.”

But Bernard was a believer. He soon became a lauded hypnotist in 1890s San Francisco. During one demonstration, he used “mind control” to put himself in a trance that he claimed left him immune to pain. As the crowd watched, a doctor pushed pins through Bernard’s earlobes and cheeks and rammed a “large ladies hat pin” through his tongue—or so the newspapers reported. A bloodied Bernard awoke and showed his fitness by promptly hypnotizing someone else.

[BOOKREVIEW6] Bernard Collection, Historical Society of Rockland CountyPierre Bernard, yoga’s American proselytizer.

As Bernard’s reputation grew, he became a sought-after personal guru to wealthy San Francisco residents and established a “Tantrik Order” of disaffected socialites, artists and musicians who lived communally and practiced mystical rites—including yoga, which, Bernard promised, would bring its adherents a direct connection to the divine. Like many a guru before and since, he had his choice of sexual partners, from whom he demanded absolute loyalty and not a little forbearance, given his carefree attitude toward monogamy. Most of the women didn’t seem to mind; one 19-year-old declared herself “cured of her heart trouble and in fine spirits” after a months-long involvement with the guru.

But Bernard’s open sexual practices eventually cause trouble. In an era when hysteria over “white slavery” and prostitution dominated the news, his conduct fed into a “moral panic” (as Mr. Love puts it) fueled by yellow journalists and the purity crusader Anthony Comstock. In 1910, after relocating with his acolytes to New York City, Bernard was charged with having “inveigled and enticed” a young woman “for the purpose of sexual intercourse.” Although the charges were eventually dismissed, the taint lingered, and Bernard—whom newspapers dubbed “the Great Oom” after the common yoga chant “Om”—and his yogic band fled to more bucolic prospects in Nyack, N.Y.

There, with financial support from the Vanderbilt family— especially Anne Vanderbilt, whose daughters studied yoga with Bernard—he established a yoga center on an old Nyack estate. According to Mr. Love, it catered to “the idle wealthy with recreation, parties, and celebrity buzz” and promoted a philosophy of “self-expression, diet, and an attention to inner cleanliness” that included a startling devotion to colonics.

As Bernard’s fortunes improved so did his desire to bring his enterprise into the mainstream. He started calling his Nyack property the “Clarkstown Country Club” and sponsoring theater performances, circus-like entertainments (complete with elephants) and even a baseball team. His marriage to a former vaudevillian performer ensured that he had a partner in charming the needy heiresses on whom his fortunes often relied.

[BOOKS1]

The Great Oom

By Robert Love
Viking, 402 pages, $27.95

Bernard’s luck faltered during the Depression, as did his relationship with the Vanderbilts. The club was soon in arrears. Yoga’s appeal, however, was just beginning to spread. By the 1950s an increasing number of Americans were practicing yoga, seeing it less as a cultish practice than as a means of restoring one’s health in the stressful modern world. Bernard became a Miss Havisham figure, spending his final years alone, wandering around his decaying manse in Nyack. He died in 1955, at age 79, but many of his devotees went on to become teachers themselves and trained a new generation of yoga students who in turn spread the gospel of good health through yoga.

Today yoga flourishes even in the Great Oom’s home state of Iowa, and the yoga industrial complex has broadened to include magazines, books, clothing and celebrity followers. Eager students can study Christian yoga (or “Yahweh Yoga,” as it is sometimes called) and Jewish Yoga, where students replace “om” with “shalom.” What was once exotic is now simply part of America’s multicultural mix.

Mr. Love has the gift of the good biographer: He has sympathy for his subject’s “flamboyant weirdness” but the rigor to present him for what he was. Although yoga was an import, Pierre Bernard was an example of a fascinating American type: the spiritual entrepreneur. His life reminds us that the appeal of spiritual cures that promise practical results is not a new phenomenon; it is an enduring part of our country’s history. If our current pursuit of “wellness” is any guide, it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

—Ms. Rosen is senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society.

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Body Talk: You Are Hot!

Body Talk: Men4Men’s Guide to Fitness
By Jonathan Lovitz
Photo by Mark Bradley Miller

Ask any guy why he joins a gym and the answer will always be: “I want to get hot!” Well guys, it’s my pleasure to break it to you: you already are! When I was asked to write these fitness columns I really had no idea where to begin. Do I tell you about what weights are best; what you should be eating; the yummiest protein? No, none of that matters until you look at yourself in the mirror and realize the only person who you need to worry about impressing with your body is you. Don’t worry, I’ll answer all your questions about getting that beach body you’re looking for, but first things first: let’s chat about why we’re going to sweat (oh yes, there will be sweat) to get there.

Each week RuPaul tells her ladies on Drag Race that they’d better remember who really comes first because “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love someone else.” Amen, Ru. Amen.

Listen, body image, like that gorgeous muscle boy you stare at each time you go to the bar, is a bitch. Every ad in every magazine shows us glistening pecs and rippling six-packs that lead us to believe that we’re not worth squat unless we can grate cheese on our stomachs. I’ve traveled to every corner of the United States and met guys of all ages that buy into that load of brilliantly-designed marketing bull. Sure, sex sells, but you’re not a pair of underwear or the swankiest new all-organic-zero-calorie-high-energy cocktail being endorsed by Lance Bass. You are a gorgeous man who is already sexy just because you’ve embraced who you are. Working out, eating right, and keeping your body and brain healthy are what make the wrapping on the present firm and desirable, but it’s the man inside that matters.

I promise there will be no more soapbox speeches about loving yourself, and no, I don’t mean what you do in your spare time. All I want you to think about is who you’re really looking to “get hot” for when you’re working out. If it’s anyone other than you, he’s not worth it. Trust me. It took me a long time to figure that one out, and now that I have I’ve never felt better.

In the coming months I’ll be giving you plenty of tips on building all the muscles you want to work on, all the foods that are best to eat, and all tricks to looking your best no matter what your body type. With my tips you’re going to look and feel the best you’ve ever felt. Just remember that there will always be some guy younger and more fit than you, but he doesn’t have your heart. That’s the sexiest muscle you’ve got!

Let’s get physical!

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Gay Family Members Help the Greater Good

Newswise — Male homosexuality doesn’t make complete sense from an evolutionary point of view. It appears that the trait is heritable, but because homosexual men are much less likely to produce offspring than heterosexual men, shouldn’t the genes for this trait have been extinguished long ago? What value could this sexual orientation have, that it has persisted for eons even without any discernible reproductive advantage?

One possible explanation is what evolutionary psychologists call the “kin selection hypothesis.” What that means is that homosexuality may convey an indirect benefit by enhancing the survival prospects of close relatives. Specifically, the theory holds that homosexual men might enhance their own genetic prospects by being “helpers in the nest.” By acting altruistically toward nieces and nephews, homosexual men would perpetuate the family genes, including some of their own.

Two evolutionary psychologists, Paul Vasey and Doug VanderLaan of the University of Lethbridge, Canada tested this idea for the past several years on the Pacific island of Samoa. They chose Samoa because males who prefer men as sexual partners are widely recognized and accepted there as a distinct gender category—called fa’afafine—neither man nor woman. The fa’afafine tend to be effeminate, and exclusively attracted to adult men as sexual partners. This clear demarcation makes it easier to identify a sample for study.

Past research has shown that the fa’afafine are much more altruistically inclined toward their nieces and nephews than either Samoan women or heterosexual men. They are willing to babysit a lot, tutor their nieces and nephews in art and music, and help out financially—paying for medical care and education and so forth. In a new study, the scientists set out to unravel the psychology of the fa’afafine, to see if their altruism is targeted specifically at kin rather than kids in general.

They recruited a large sample of fa’afafine, and comparable samples of women and heterosexual men. They gave them all a series of questionnaires, measuring their willingness to help their nieces and nephews in various ways—caretaking, gifts, teaching—and also their willingness to do these things for other, unrelated kids. The findings, reported on-line this week in the journal Psychological Science, lend strong support to the kin selection idea. Compared to Samoan women and heterosexual men, the fa’afafine showed a much weaker link between their avuncular – or uncle like – behavior and their altruism toward kids generally. This cognitive dissociation, the scientists argue, allows the fa’afafine to allocate their resources more efficiently and precisely to their kin—and thus enhance their own evolutionary prospects.

To compensate for being childless, each fa’afafine would have to somehow support the survival of two additional nieces or nephews who would otherwise not have existed. “If kin selection is the sole mechanism by which genes for male same-sex sexual attraction are maintained over time,” the fa’afafine must be “super uncles” to earn their evolutionary keep, explains Vasey. Consequently, Vasey suggests “that the fa’afafine’s avuncularity probably contributes to the evolutionary survival of genes for male same-sex sexual attraction, but is unlikely to entirely offset the costs of not reproducing.”

Do these findings have any meaning outside of Samoa? Yes and no. Samoan culture is very different from most Western cultures. Samoan culture is very localized, and centered on tight-knit extended families, whereas Western societies tend to be highly individualistic and homophobic. Families are also much more geographically dispersed in Western cultures, diminishing the role that bachelor uncles can play in the extended family, even if they choose to. But in this sense, the researchers say, Samoa’s communitarian culture may be more—not less—representative of the environment in which male same-sex sexuality evolved eons ago. In that sense, it’s not the bachelor uncle who is poorly adapted to the world, but rather the modern Western world that has evolved into an unwelcoming place.

For more information about this study, please contact: Paul Vasey at paul.vasey@uleth.ca

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article “An Adaptive Cognitive Dissociation Between Willingness to Help Kin and Nonkin in Samoan Fa’afafine” and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Catherine Allen-West at 202-293-9300 or cwest@psychologicalscience.org.

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