International News Desk – At Home: Surfin? Canada

At Home: Surfin? Canada

How much time do you spend online? More than your friends? More than your neighbours? don’t be afraid to admit it; high Internet use has become part of the Canadian identity.

As The Globe and Mail reports, no-one ?spends more time online than Canadians,? including our neighbours to the south.

The numbers, collected from various sources (including Statistics Canada and the CRTC), show that on average, Canadians ?spent 42 hours a month surfing? the Internet last year. Americans? Just 30 hours a month. And Canadians spend ?up to 50 per cent more time online? than people in the UK or Australia.

In fact, Canadians ?also dominate use of certain sites . . . rank[ing] first for frequency of use in online banking, Wikipedia and YouTube.?

Researchers are puzzled over the large gaps, pointing to causes as diverse as isolated geographic conditions, lower personal expenditure on entertainment (in particular as compared to Americans), and high levels of ?digital literacy.?

But maybe it comes down to something much simpler: long, cold winters. As Sidney Eve Matrix, a communications professor at Queen’s University, told reporters, ?Maybe we stay inside and get bored. I know I’d rather sit around and connect with my friends on Facebook than drive in extreme weather [to see them.]?

Around the World: A Time to Cry

Dealing with a bully or attacker? Fending off unwanted advances? don’t listen to Fergie?big girls (and boys) do cry, and what’s often frowned on as childish and ?weak? might actually be nature’s way of protecting us from aggression, whether sexual or otherwise.

As the National Geographic‘s Daily News Site reports, new neurobiological research has discovered that when women cry, men’s sex drive drops. The double-blind study showed lower levels of sexual arousal as well as ?less activity in parts of the brain linked to sexual excitement.?

But study author Noam Sobel, a neurobiologist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, believes that the study’s results have a broader application than just to the field of human sexuality. For example, ?the men’s lack of sex drive [could be] just a side effect of the drop in testosterone??which would also cause lower levels of aggression.

In the natural world, ?the ability to control aggression in another animal can have major value,? particularly against a dominating species or predator. In fact, Sobel believes that the effects of human tears are connected to dominance rather than gender and sexuality: ?less dominant people may be sending aggression-reducing messages to stronger individuals via their tears.?

He hopes to reproduce the study using male tears to compare the results.