Friday, 19 September 2014

Intersex Surgery in the 18th Century | New Republic

Sex-Change Surgery in the 18th Century | New Republic

According to Brand's report, published in 1787, he noticed an “irregularity” in the patient’s “external parts.” After further examination, he concluded that the child’s “part, which had the appearance of the labia pudenda, was in fact the scrotum,” and suggested an “operation to free the penis from its confinement.” He went ahead and made some alterations, enabling the child—whose name is unknown—“to urinate standing up, wear trousers, and enjoy the privileges of being a male.”
The child's wishes were of course deemed irrelevant. As they are all too often today.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Evolution IS a Blind Watchmaker

This is a good illustration of the principles involved in my PhD work.

Only I'm attempting to evolve more efficient settings for mutation rate and population size, so it's about not just genetic algorithms, but meta-genetic algorithms. Evolving more efficient evolution.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Mum forced to leave Australia after discovering gender error on birth certificate - Yahoo!7

Mum forced to leave Australia after discovering gender error on birth certificate - Yahoo!7
A British woman says she's been forced to surrender her dream life in Australia, after discovering her birth certificate lists her as a boy. Mother-of-five Kim Walmsey was mistakenly recorded as a male at her birth in 1965, meaning her marriage of 23 years was illegal
Upon discovering the mistake, Walmsey found herself unable to renew her Australian visa and spending over £150,000 on a mission to set things right in the UK. Worse, when word got out in her Liverpool neighbourhood, Walmsey became the victim of homophobic slurs as neighbours believed she was in a gay marriage.

Kim told the Mail, “The whole thing is absolutely disgusting. I’ve lived nearly 40 years not realising I was actually registered as a boy and then all of a sudden my whole life fell apart. “In the eyes of the law we were technically two men marrying and that was against the law at the time. "Since I found out I have tried everything I can possibly think of to get it changed but it’s like banging your head against a brick wall."

Westminster sanctuary ruled her marriage to Jack, a security officer, was against the law, which was confirmed in a letter from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury in June last year, the Mirror reports

Walmsey’s MP Bill Esterson has written to UK Prime Minister David Cameron on her behalf. "This is a ludicrous case of a mistake which was made nearly half a century ago, which is still plaguing Kim and her family today," he said. "The fact that Kim is obviously a female is unquestionable. She has five biological children, but because her birth entry states that she is male, she is having these problems which are causing great distress to Kim and her whole family."

So even a woman who has given birth to 5 kids can't get her birth certificate corrected. And suffers from the effects of Transphobic/Homophobic neighbours as she's in a "same sex relationship" with "another man".
“We live in a small community and we felt really intimidated. I don’t want people thinking I’ve had a sex change," she told the paper.
“Some people might think the kids are adopted and that I’m trying to hide the fact I’m a man.
“My death certificate will say I’m a boy too and so when I’m dead and buried, my family down the line will think there was this huge scandal.”

It's all about appearances. If it's this bad for someone in this situation who hasn't "changed sex" - consider what it must be like for someone who has?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe

Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe

Cross-sex hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side effects, according to the authors of the largest study to date to examine this issue.
More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers participated in the retrospective study, called Comorbidity and Side Effects of Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects, and nearly 1600 received at least 1 year of follow-up, the authors reported.
"Our results are very reassuring," principal investigator Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who heads HAJAP, his clinical research company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, told Medscape Medical News. "There are mostly minor side effects and no new [adverse events] observed in this large population."
Speaking at ICE/ENDO 2014 last week, where he presented the initial results of the research, Dr. Asscheman said the data confirm findings from smaller studies published in the past decade.
"The take-home message," he said, "is that when using the guidelines from the Endocrine Society ["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Why blogging has been light recently

Woman burnt in Downer house fire June 2, 2014

A 56-year-old woman has suffered serious burns following a kitchen fire on Burn Street in Downer.
The woman was treated by intensive care paramedics at the scene of the fire and then transported to the Canberra Hospital.
The ESA spokeswoman said she was in a stable condition.

My face was never my fortune, and a few minor scars on the forehead won't make any difference to that. I lost all the skin on my face, but it grew back, and I still have lips, eyelids, nose etc, and looking not very different from before. A few patches on my arms were 3rd degree, but so small no skin grafts were needed.

I just get a bit cold now, much of my dermis on face and arms was destroyed, so there's less subcutaneous fat now, and this will take a year or two to get better.

No damage to lungs or airways. So no real long-term or life-changing effects.

It's taken me a few months to feel OK with blogging it though. I always was terrified of fire, and to be put in a position of having to stay and fight rather than being able to flee was traumatic. Then being warned by the nurses in the resuscitation unit of Canberra Hospital not to look in the mirror was, well, I thought that only happened in the movies.

But it was only for a short while that I looked like a Hiroshima survivor. Now back to normal, or near enough.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Two sides. Same coin.

Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain

Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain Ingalhalikar et al PNAS ; published ahead of print December 2, 2013

Sex differences in human behavior show adaptive complementarity: Males have better motor and spatial abilities, whereas females have superior memory and social cognition skills. Studies also show sex differences in human brains but do not explain this complementarity. In this work, we modeled the structural connectome using diffusion tensor imaging in a sample of 949 youths (aged 8–22 y, 428 males and 521 females) and discovered unique sex differences in brain connectivity during the course of development. Connection-wise statistical analysis, as well as analysis of regional and global network measures, presented a comprehensive description of network characteristics. In all supratentorial regions, males had greater within-hemispheric connectivity, as well as enhanced modularity and transitivity, whereas between-hemispheric connectivity and cross-module participation predominated in females. However, this effect was reversed in the cerebellar connections. Analysis of these changes developmentally demonstrated differences in trajectory between males and females mainly in adolescence and in adulthood. Overall, the results suggest that male brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action, whereas female brains are designed to facilitate communication between analytical and intuitive processing modes. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

If you can read this....

Then consider yourself lucky. Some can't.

ISP Result Last check on Last blocked on
AAISP ok 2014-07-02 12:20:06 No record of prior block
BT blocked 2014-07-02 12:20:06 2014-07-02 12:20:06
EE ok 2014-07-02 12:20:07 No record of prior block
Plusnet ok 2014-07-02 12:20:06 No record of prior block
Sky ok 2014-07-02 12:20:06 No record of prior block
TalkTalk blocked 2014-07-02 12:20:06 2014-07-02 12:20:06
VirginMedia ok 2014-07-02 12:20:06 No record of prior block

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The (UK) government is promoting filters to prevent children and young people from seeing content that is supposed to be for over 18s. This includes pornography and sites that talk about alcohol, smoking, anorexia and hate speech.

In practice, filters block many sites that are not harmful to children. Sometimes, they are blocked by mistake. Sometimes, they are blocked deliberately. For example, many blogs and forums are blocked by default.

The Blocked! website lets you check whether a site has been blocked by these filters. The tool is free but you can support the project by joining ORG, making a donation or becoming a technical volunteer.