Mathematics and Sex

by Clio Cresswell | Science |
ISBN: 1741141591 Global Overview for this book
Registered by okyrhoe of Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on 11/7/2005
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8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Monday, November 07, 2005
Found this at a second-hand charity book sale, and was intrigued by the title (actually, by the author's biographical background more than that).

Journal Entry 2 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Monday, June 26, 2006
In the beginning I was irritated by Cresswell's somewhat contrived conversational style (as if she's the instructor speaking to students who have to be lured into finding an interest in mathematics) but gradually I ignored that in favor of the interesting questions regarding human relationships.

Eg.:
-- Why is it biologically 'sensible' that the human male produces millions of sperm daily while a woman releases only one egg a month?
-- Why are there more than 2 sexes in other species? And what is likely to happen to the 2 human sexes, over the passage of biological time?
-- Is there a statistical and/or descriptive differentiation in the experience of orgasms between men and women?
-- Is there a formula for evaluating happiness? What's more likely to contribute to a more fulfilling life - seeking personal happiness or achieving group happiness?
-- How much should one compromise in a marriage?*
-- How many behavioral characteristics should we take into consideration when evaluating our compatibility with a romantic/sexual partner? Is there a formula for deducing who is the most suitable mate?
-- How many persons should you date before concluding you've found 'the one,' or at least the 'best' person who's liable to reciprocate your affections?**

I find that this perspective of looking at human (emotional & sexual) relationships is refreshing, especially in the wake of the countless self-help relationship books that advise us to work and work on improving our lackluster selves, or our lackluster relationships, in the hope of improving our 'odds,' rather than guiding us towards identifying the partner who is compatible in the here and now.

Unfortunately Cresswell is not as good a writer as she is a summarist of other people's theories. And she has an annoying style of simplifying the mathematical formulas, usually by not identifying the variables of the equations. That's a shame, because it suggests that Cresswell assumes her readers are mathematically challenged, incapable of understanding the science involved. At least she could have included a detailed presentation of the formulas in a final chapter for optional reading.

- - -
Her answers (highlight to reveal text):
* Spouses that have a low negativity threshold (expressing negative feelings immediately, rather than keeping quiet and empathizing with their partner) remain married longer.
**If you experiment with 12 persons and then pick what Cresswell calls the 'next best' that most resembles the 'best' of the first dozen, then you have a 75% chance of selecting a suitable person for settling down with.

Journal Entry 3 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Wednesday, May 20, 2009
BOOK RAY

Please journal the book to say that you have received it, and then again when you have read it and are posting it to the next reader.
Please read and pass on the book within two months of receipt.
If you can't do this for any reason, please PM me to let me know.
When you are done reading, contact the next person on the list to get their mailing address.

Book Ring participants:

- Vekiki (in UK, posts to UK/Europe)
- vampirequeen (in UK, posts to UK/Europe)
- mysticcat (in Austria, posts to Europe) - asked to be skipped
- Hayes13 (in Italy, posts anywhere)
- NMReader (in USA, posts to USA)
- HeresDeb (in USA)
- azuki (in USA)
- aetm (in USA)
- Last person on the list can keep or release the book at their leisure.
Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy this.

Journal Entry 4 by okyrhoe at By Post, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Friday, June 12, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (6/9/2009 UTC) at By Post, By Post -- Controlled Releases

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The book is on its way to the first bookring participant. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by Vekiki from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 16, 2009
recieved today in the post - looking forward to it. thanks!

Released 10 yrs ago (6/25/2009 UTC) at A non-bookcrosser, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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Popped in the post to the next bookring participant

I must admit I was a bit disappointed with this... not enough detail on how the maths was worked out, or any real explanation of how to understand the equations. Hopefully this book will find a happier home in its next reader

Journal Entry 7 by vampirequeen from Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Received in the post this mornin' Looks like a good read!
Taa okyrhoe for hosting, and Vekiki for sending this on.

Journal Entry 8 by vampirequeen from Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, October 30, 2009
Sent this off to Hayes13 on the 27th (mysticcat asked to be skipped)

Unfortunately, no happier home found here, just couldn't get into it. The maths was just there on the page with no explanation really, which would have been nice. And was written in a kinda patronizing way.

Ah well live n learn.

Journal Entry 9 by wingHayes13wing from Roma, Lazio Italy on Monday, November 02, 2009
This arrived today. Thank you.

(Does look a little dry, but that has never stopped me from liking a book before!)

Will try to get to it soon.

Journal Entry 10 by wingHayes13wing at -- Mail or by hand -rings, RABCK, meetings, New Mexico USA on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (11/11/2009 UTC) at -- Mail or by hand -rings, RABCK, meetings, New Mexico USA

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Not in the right frame of mind for this, so I am sending it along to New Mexico!!

Journal Entry 11 by NMReader from Herndon, Virginia USA on Monday, November 23, 2009
It has arrived

Journal Entry 12 by NMReader from Herndon, Virginia USA on Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have finished this book and while I found it difficult to get into at first, I really enjoyed the book once I got into it. It was fin to see how research on biology, etc has affected math and vice versa. I was talking to a former co-worker about the book and he is eager to find a copy and read it.

I am in the midst of a move and may not get this mailed until the first weekend in Feb - sorry

Journal Entry 13 by NMReader at Herndon, Virginia USA on Friday, February 12, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (2/9/2010 UTC) at Herndon, Virginia USA

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Braved the snow to mail on Tuesday. Delivery Confirmation Number: 0306 0320 0001 5254 8858

Label/Receipt Number: 0306 0320 0001 5254 8858
Class: Package Services
Service(s): Delivery Confirmation™
Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 12:05 PM on February 16, 2010 in MIAMI, FL 33186.

Journal Entry 14 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Saturday, February 20, 2010
Book is here at the last stop. Will read and then send back to okyrhoe for a completed ring!

Journal Entry 15 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This book gets better as I continue to read. I enjoy the mentions of interesting scientific researches and studies conducted to learn about sex, such as the optimal number of dates to find your perfect mate, the vital-statistic figures of Miss Universes and Playboy centerfolds, the algorithm used by dating services, the cultural difference in peak testosterone levels... Trivia that would make interesting cocktail conversations. The author writes in a colloquial way seasoned with humor, and while some jokes fall flat, some are quite funny, "unlike most people, whenever a mathematician hears 'the matrix', they get bombaded by images like the one above (a complex matrix equation), not a leather-clad Keanu bouncing off walls."

I have aetm's address handy already so this will go out on my next post office visit.

Thanks okyrhoe for sharing such an interesting book.

Journal Entry 16 by aetm from Austin, Texas USA on Sunday, May 02, 2010
The book arrived yesterday, and I couldn't resist and finish first the book I was reading (a nice Ludlum), so I started this one right away. My husband saw the title of the book, so I guess he'll read it after I'm done (and before it'll continue its journey from here on) :)

Journal Entry 17 by aetm from Austin, Texas USA on Friday, May 14, 2010
I quite enjoyed some parts of the book. Some parts were a bit too much of, um, math and formulas that went a bit beyond my skills, but there were a bunch of interesting parts to use as parts in cocktail discussion (or whatever equivalent I ever end up going to).

Some parts could have been more present, e.g. the complexity of orientation (I joke that the bisexuals have 100 % more potential catches than 'retrosexuals' or monosexuals..). There could be some math (research and statistics) on the potentials for which orientation would yield best results... (Why not? if among the examples was how many potential candidates to 'test drive' before settling the first one that exceeds the desired or minimum criteria, at least the orientation parts would help maximize the results)

I've always been curious about why there are only two sexes, but the math around the amount of genders didn't quite square it all. If there were let's say three genders, why would two be needed for repros? How about one (or two, or three) being autoreproductive? Or requiring all three genders sexes? Wait, how about considering the third gender as third sex instead? (Or how about the whatsitcalled historic tribe somewhere that considered there to be seven genders?) Or if there were more than three genders, why not need all n or n-1 or n-2 genders to participate (and with various matrices on potential combinations)? (can perhaps guess my favorite parts of math included statistics for all the possibilities and what they can prove?)

Next to my husband, let's see what he thinks (and then, will check with local BCers for interest or look for the perfect next readers after).

Journal Entry 18 by aetm at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, September 24, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (9/26/2010 UTC) at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland

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I will release this to engratisbok on Sunday in Helsinki.

Safe journey little book - I hope you'll make many new friends on your travels!

"Don't ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read... "
— Neil Gaiman

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Journal Entry 19 by engratisbok at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sain kirjan Länsiterminaali-miitissä itselleni luettavaksi, lukemisen jälkeen vapautunee Tampereen miitissä.

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