Curiosity-driven.
387 stories
·
1 follower

Clitóris e orgasmo feminino. Como a ciência aborda esses assuntos?

1 Share

É impressionante como a ciência atual está direcionada para áreas relacionadas com algum retorno financeiro e não com o bem estar das pessoas. Um exemplo claro disso é a negligência científica sobre assuntos tão importantes como o órgão sexual feminino e o orgasmo feminino. A explicação sobre a polêmica do assunto e do raro financiamento para pesquisas nessas áreas está associada claramente ao fato da nossa sociedade ser patriarcal e machista, além de vários outros aspectos sociais envolvidos. Porém, aqui no blog Cientistas Feministas esses assuntos devem constar, e hoje nós vamos falar das últimas publicações sobre esses tabus sociais e científicos. Vamos lá!

O interesse pela função sexual feminina documentado se inicia com os trabalhos de Hippocrates (a.c. 400). No entanto, sobre o clitóris, especificamente, foi apenas no século XVI que os anatomistas Realdo Colombo e Gabriele Falloppio reivindicam a sua descoberta, sendo que nestes trabalhos pela primeira vez foi atribuída a função sexual a esta estrutura [1].

Seguindo a linha do tempo, os primeiros relatos mais precisos da anatomia do clitóris aconteceram só no século XIX e, durante o século XX, essa terminologia praticamente desapareceu dos textos médicos por 30 anos e só voltou a reaparecer com o surgimento do movimento feminista da época. A explicação para o desaparecimento de investigações sobre o tema foi relacionada ao surgimento dos trabalhos de Freud, nos quais ele afirmava que o orgasmo vaginal era superior ao orgasmo clitoriano. Freud dizia que a capacidade de atingir orgasmos vaginais era fundamental para o desenvolvimento psicológico de uma mulher. No entanto, a ideia foi refutada por trabalhos de Kinsey e Masters e Johnson [2]. Sim, os mesmos pesquisadores da série de TV Masters of Sex (Mestres do Sexo) que voltaremos a falar mais adiante.

00834313.JPG

Muitos artigos na internet descrevem o clitóris como um botãozinho de prazer, porém a verdade é que esta estrutura é muito maior do que se imagina, sendo esse botãozinho apenas a parte externa do órgão. E, ao contrário do que muitos textos apontam, a idade, a altura, o peso e uso de contraceptivos não afetam o tamanho do clitóris. A real representação do clitóris está sendo desvendada agora, com as principais pesquisas realizadas nos anos de 2005 [3], 2015 [2], 2017 [4], utilizando imagens de ressonância magnética, sendo os trabalhos pioneiros nesta área desenvolvidos pelo grupo de pesquisadores australianos liderados pela professora Helen O’Connell [3].

Clitoris anatomia

Histologicamente, o corpo do clitóris é semelhante ao pênis. Porém, esse órgão possui mais de oito mil terminações nervosas, o dobro do encontrado na glande (cabeça) do pênis. Os nervos estão na superfície externa do corpo, e os corpos do clitóris também são cercados por ramos nervosos, sendo que a maior concentração de pequenos nervos está dentro da glande do clitóris [2].

Clitoris desenho fonte

Masters e Johnson investigaram o orgasmo humano na década de 1960 e criaram o termo “ciclo de resposta sexual humana”. Em seus trabalhos eles descreveram as fases sexuais como excitação, platô (plateau), orgasmo e resolução. Atualmente essas fases foram modificadas e podem ser identificadas como desejo, excitação, orgasmo e resolução. Em seus trabalhos os pesquisadores estudaram o comportamento de 694 voluntários (312 homens e 382 mulheres), após o acompanhamento de 10 mil relações e outros estímulos sexuais em condições de laboratório durante 11 anos de estudo. Masters e Johnson concluíram que as pessoas possuem uma constante tensão sexual humana, que só precisa ser estimulada para que o orgasmo seja alcançado. Porém, apesar de todas essas descrições científicas, é bem fácil de perceber que nem todas as mulheres passam por esse exato “ciclo de resposta” em suas relações sexuais e nem por esta exata sequência [2].fases orgasmo 2O orgasmo é regulado por nervos somáticos e autônomos, ou seja, uma mistura de estímulos voluntários e involuntários [3]. E diferente dos homens, em que a testosterona desempenha o principal papel na resposta sexual, nas mulheres o estrogênio é o hormônio primário que rege a resposta fisiológica feminina. Os estudos apontam que o desenvolvimento da capacidade da mulher de obter orgasmos é gradual ao longo da vida, e a maioria das mulheres só consegue atingir o orgasmo após os vinte anos [2]. Além disso, as pesquisas relatam que mulheres que experienciam orgasmos tem uma saúde mental superior a mulheres que não passam por essa experiência [2]. E, percebendo todas essas imagens do clitóris é possível perceber algo em que a maioria dos cientistas atuais são muito enfáticos: o papel central do clitóris no orgasmo feminino é indiscutível.

Em relação ao orgasmo vaginal a discussão ainda é ativa, o canal vaginal não possui a mesma quantidade de inervação do clitóris, pelo motivo de sofrer uma grande expansão no parto. Além disso, 30 a 40% das mulheres afirmam nunca terem sentido na vida orgasmo vaginal sem uma estimulação direta ou indireta do clitóris. Adicionalmente, uma parcela de trabalhos relatam uma relação entre o prazer da penetração vaginal com uma estimulação do clitóris internamente a vagina. Assim, todos os estímulos se iniciariam no clitóris e posteriormente iriam para o cérebro através de um nervo chamado nervo pudendo.

pudental nerve

Entretanto, estudos com mulheres com diferentes graus de lesão da medula espinhal, com ferimentos que bloqueiam as vias nervosas que conectam a medula espinhal dos genitais ao cérebro, demonstraram que essas mulheres podiam sentir o momento em que a vagina e o colo do útero estavam sendo tocados. Algumas até experimentaram orgasmo, apesar do nervo pudendo ter sido rompido. Isso mesmo, você não leu errado. Mulheres com lesão da medula espinhal que não conseguiam sentir o clitóris, tiveram orgasmos por estimulação vaginal. Essa pesquisa constitui nos dias de hoje a melhor prova de que existem orgasmos vaginais. A explicação para isso pode ser a existência do nervo vago, que está situado fora da medula espinhal e carrega sensações da vagina para o cérebro [5].

Sobre ponto G (ponto Gräfenberg) e ejaculação feminina, a maioria dos estudos possuem uma baixa amostragem de casos e ainda hoje os resultados são inconclusivos. Assim, a existência de uma região específica mais sensível no interior da vagina que ao ser tocada provocaria orgasmos não foi comprovada pela ciência. Em um trabalho publicado na renomada revista Nature, pesquisadores italianos liderados pelo professor Emmanuele Jannini afirmam que seria mais adequado nomear a região anterior da vagina, junto com o clitóris e a uretra, de “clitourethrovaginal complexo ou CUV complexo”. Os pesquisadores ainda afirmam que a região distal da vagina está tão relacionada com o clitóris que é difícil afirmar que são duas estruturas separadas [6]. Já sobre a emissão de algum fluído feminino durante a atividade sexual, os cientistas afirmam que isto pode ser muito mais relacionado com uma pequena incontinência urinária (pelo relaxamento da uretra) no momento do sexo, a emissão de secreção das glândulas de Skene em resposta à excitação sexual ou orgasmo, ou a uma mistura de urina com secreções de Skene [2].

Sobre as diferenças da percepção do orgasmo no cérebro, os trabalhos do pesquisador Barry Komisaruk da Universidade Rutgers nos Estados Unidos trazem algumas explicações. A verdade é que o orgasmo consiste na ativação de muitas áreas do cérebro, fazendo com que a origem e as causas de toda essa ativação seja difícil de definir. Em relação às diferenças entre o orgasmo feminino e masculino os pesquisadores afirmam que as similaridades entre as sensações é muito maior do que as diferenças. Porém, após ocorrer um orgasmo, as coisas mudam de configuração: o cérebro masculino não responde imediatamente à estimulação sensorial adicional dos órgãos genitais, já o cérebro das mulheres continua a ser ativado. Essa pode ser a explicação do fato de algumas mulheres terem experiências com orgasmos múltiplos, e os homens não [7].

Na biologia evolutiva, o papel do orgasmo feminino ainda é motivo de muitos atritos. No último trabalho publicado (fev. 2017) como resposta ao Dr. Komisaruk, os biólogos Gunter Wagner e Mihaela Pavlicev discutem a origem e a função no orgasmo feminino. O que se tem certeza até agora é que o orgasmo feminino não é necessário para a reprodução e não traz para a espécie humana maiores taxas reprodutivas. Sabe-se que o orgasmo feminino é uma característica de um sistema fisiológico muito antigo, que foi responsável pela ovulação induzida por copulação. Um fato curioso é que em espécies que possuem esse tipo específico de ovulação todo o clitóris, incluindo a parte externa (glande), está localizada totalmente no interior do canal vaginal, provavelmente com estimulação direta e indireta através da parede vaginal durante a cópula. Assim, entender os motivos da transformação da genitália feminina para a parte externa em humanos, em conjunto com a fisiologia do ovário é um fato biológico que ainda precisa de explicação [8].

Infelizmente, ainda em 2017 a área de pesquisa sobre anatomia e orgasmo feminino é dominada por homens, mas nos últimos anos o número de publicações feitas por mulheres têm aumentado significativamente. Por fim, como disse o pesquisador italiano Emmanuele Jannini “Somos capazes de ir à lua, mas não entendemos o suficiente sobre nossos próprios corpos” [9]. Assim, em meio a tantas certezas e incertezas, a mensagem da maioria dos cientistas para cada uma das mulheres é: busque conhecer e entender quem você é hoje, porque provavelmente amanhã você será diferente, e não pense no corpo feminino como uma máquina que sempre irá responder da mesma forma.

Para saber mais, uma animação maravilhosa sobre o assunto é chamada “Le Clitoris”. E um vídeo inspirador do website TED sobre a relação entre o prazer feminino e a sociedade nos dias atuais é da jornalista Peggy Orenstein. Vale a pena conferir!

Referências

[1] Stringer MD, Becker I. Colombo and the clitoris. Eur. J. Obstet. Gynecol. Reprod. Biol., v. 151, p.130–133, 2010.

[2] Mazloomdoost, D., Pauls, R.N. A Comprehensive Review of the Clitoris and Its Role in Female Sexual Function. Sex. Med. Rev., v. 3, p. 245–263, 2015.

[3] O’Connell, H.E., Sanjeevan, K.V., Hutson, J.M. Anatomy of the Clitoris.  Journal of Urology, v.  174, 1189–1195, 2005.

[4] Agarwal, M.D., Resnick, E.L., Mhuircheartaigh, J.N., Mortele, K.J. MR Imaging of the Female Perineum. Clitoris, Labia, and Introitus. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am (in press). 2017.

[5] Komisaruk, B. R., Gerdes, C. A. & Whipple, B. ‘Complete’ spinal cord injury does not block perceptual responses to genital selfstimulation in women. Arch. Neurol. 54,  1513–1520. 1997.

[6] Jannini, E.A.,  Buisson, O., Rubio-Casillas, A. Beyond the G‑spot: clitourethrovaginal complex anatomy in female orgas. Nature Rev. Urol. (opinion). 2014.

[7] Komisaruk, B. R., Beyer-Flores, C. & Whipple, B. The science of orgasm (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

[8] Pavlicev M, Wagner G. Origin, Function, and Effects of Female Orgasm: All Three are Different. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 00B:1–5. 2017.

[9] BBC (Linda Geddes). The mistery of female orgasm. Disponível em: <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150625-the-mystery-of-the-female-orgasm>, 2015.


Arquivado em:biociências











Read the whole story
iaravps
18 hours ago
reply
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete

Reflections on the Application of the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework to analyze the Ubatuba Open Science Platform

1 Share

By: Anne Clinio of the OCS and Community Development in Brazil Project

Summary:

  • Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework demonstrated that a community can self-organize in order to use and manage sustainably a common pool resource in its favor, countering the thesis that individuals tend to develop opportunistic behaviors that result in overexploitation (and ruin) of common resources.
  • Using the IAD framework to analyze the possibilities and limits of open science in the context of the municipality of Ubatuba, North Coast of the State of São Paulo, Brazil helped us to characterize an action arena as well as the exogenous variables that affect it.
  • However, we found that the delimitation of a common pool resource system in Ubatuba is more complex than the framework predicted for three reasons: First, the local conflict / issue is not restricted to the management of a single resource of common use as assumed in the IAD framework; second, the IAD framework operates at a different scale than the Ubatuba case, making delimitation of a common pool resource system challenging; finally, IAD’s local-scale approach does not lead to considerations about broader sociopolitical and economic relations, analysis of power relations, conflicts and inequalities among actors with different expectations, which are fundamental to understanding the broader socio-political and economic scenario of Ubatuba.
  • Through this project and testing the application of the IAD framework in the case of Ubatuba, we found that common pool resources are not defined by their intrinsic characteristics. They are the result of collective decisions and actions that promote or hamper practices that ensure their equitable and sustainable management, maintaining community ties and dealing with conflicts.

 

The Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework is a methodology developed by Elinor Ostrom with researchers from the Indiana School, based on empirical research on successful management of common pool resources (Ostrom, 2000). In 2009, Ostrom  shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Oliver E. Williamson for “her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons” (Wikipedia). These studies have demonstrated that a community can self-organize in order to use and manage sustainably a common pool resource in its favor. They countered the thesis that individuals tend to develop opportunistic behaviors that result in overexploitation (and ruin) of common resources, advocating limiting the access to them through their privatization or imposition of rules and sanctions by the State (Hardin, 1968; Dawes, 1973-1977; Olson, 1965).

Ostrom’s institutionalist approach emphasizes rules-in-use – those practiced by actors – and “invisible” institutions – widely recognized sets of rules-in-use. This approach contributes to identify incentives, benefits, and costs of community self-organization processes for common use resource management, especially at times of institutional change. Its initial focus was on natural commons (Ostrom, 2000), then further expanding the analysis to knowledge commons (Ostrom, Hess, 2007). In this approach, resources are defined as a “common good” due to two characteristics: a high capacity of resource units subtraction and great difficulty in excluding free riders.

An important contribution of IAD methodology is that its meta-theoretical language recognizes a set of heterogeneous variables that can be combined and mobilized for the analysis of institutional arrangements from multidisciplinary perspectives. In addition, it highlights the importance of information and communication within the community as a way to improve collective understanding of the use of common resources, collectively elaborating norms on rights and duties in resource management and evaluating the cost-benefits of collectively agreed rules.

Utility of the IAD Framework for Ubatuba Case

Using the IAD framework to analyze the possibilities and limits of open science in the context of the municipality of Ubatuba, North Coast of the State of São Paulo, Brazil – the focus of our action-research project on open science in development –  helped us to characterize an action arena (see Figure 1 below), as well as the exogenous variables that affect it. It has been observed that, when analyzing an action situation, one must consider both natural and knowledge commons since the collective and sustainable management of a territory demands information and knowledge sharing as well as the co-production of knowledge between scientists and non-scientists. Also, the production of knowledge commons involves the social appropriation of the territory, as well as a common material base, composed of natural and artificial goods that support life in common.

Complexities of Applying IAD to Ubatuba Case

On the other hand, the delimitation of a common pool resource system in Ubatuba is more complex than the framework predicted, since the local conflict / issue is not restricted to the management of a single resource of common use as assumed in the IAD framework, but refers to a medley of resources. It is also important to remember that IAD encompasses small-scale resource systems, usually involving communities with about 50 to 15,000 people who depend heavily on resources for their livelihoods. The Ubatuba case covers a population of about 80,000 inhabitants, in a heterogeneous composition with diverse interests and conflicts: indigenous communities, fishermen, caiçaras, quilombolas and a multitude of floating residents and seasonal tourists, etc.Finally, IAD’s local-scale approach facilitates the analysis of “invisible institutions” that act locally in favor of or against common pool resources´ permanence over time. But it does not lead to considerations about broader sociopolitical and economic relations, analysis of power relations, conflicts and inequalities among actors with different expectations (VIEIRA, 2014), elements that we consider fundamental to understanding the socio-political and economic scenario of Ubatuba.

In this sense, we emphasize that common pool resources are not defined by their intrinsic characteristics. They are the result of collective decisions and actions that promote or hamper practices that ensure their equitable and sustainable management, maintaining community ties and dealing with conflicts.

 

Featured image caption: Economic-Ecological Zoning of São Paulo Northern Coast (ZEE-LN) Draft Law Voting and Zoning Maps, 1 September 2016 (by Tami Albuquerque).

 

References

DAWES, Robyn M. The Commons Dilemma Game: An N-Person Mixed-Motive Game with a Dominating Strategy for Defection. ORI Research Bulletin 13, 1973

DAWES, Robyn M. Formal Models of Dilemmas in Social Decision Making. In Human Judgment and Decision Processes: Formal and Mathematical Approaches, eds. M. F. Kaplan and S. Schwartz, pp. 87-108. New York: Academic Press, 1975

HARDIN, Garret. The tragedy of commons. Science Magazine, 1968

OLSON, Mancur. The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1965.

OSTROM, Elinor. El Gobierno de los bienes comunes. La evolución de las instituciones de acción colectiva. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 2000.

OSTROM, Elinor. Institutional Analysis and Development: Elements of The Framework in Historical Perspective. In: CROTHERS, Charles (Ed). Historical Developments and Theoretical Approaches in Sociology, vol. II. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems Publishers & Unesco, Singapura, 2010.

OSTROM, Elinor. HESS, Charlote. Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice. The MIT Press, 2007

VIEIRA, Miguel Said. Os bens comuns intelectuais e a mercantilização. 365 pp. Tese (doutorado). Faculdade de Educação, Universidade de São Paulo: São Paulo, 2014.

Read the whole story
iaravps
1 day ago
reply
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete

Maior grafite do mundo feito por uma mulher é inaugurado no Rio

1 Share

A artista e sua arte

O painel “Contos”, que colore as paredes da Escola Municipal Rivadávia Corrêa, (entre as Avenidas Presidente Vargas e Marechal Floriano) é o maior do mundo pintado por uma mulher. A artista paulista Luna Buschinelli, de 19 anos de idade, é a responsável pela obra de 2.500 m² grafitados, que levou 45 dias para ficar pronta.

“É um painel de empoderamento da mulher, da mãe. O que eu quero passar com isso é que algumas habilidades são mais bem vistas na sociedade que outras. Mas na verdade cada uma tem sua importância. Por exemplo, a Arte. A Arte na escola, às vezes, não é valorizada. Mas eu estou aqui hoje por causa dela. Então o que eu quero dizer aqui é que todo mundo pode ser o que quiser”, frisa Luna Buschinelli.

Pao-do-OuvidorCada vez mais, o Shopping Paço do Ouvidor se fortalece como ponto de encontro no centro do Rio. Se você ainda não conhece, deveria conhecer. Passa no Paço.

Para a produção de “Contos” foram usados mais de mil litros de tinta e três plataformas para elevar a artista. O projeto tem o apoio de empresas privadas como a RUA – Arte Urbana, Mills e Coral. Luna foi convidada pelo produtor Pagu, que ao lado de Andrea Franco, trabalha com artistas responsáveis pelos murais pintados na Orla Conde, entre eles o “Etnias”, de Eduardo Kobra, que ganhou em 2016 o título de maior grafite do mundo do Guiness Book.

O Secretário Municipal de Educação, César Benjamin, anunciou que o projeto vai se estender a outras 19 escolas na cidade. Além de Beijamin, o Prefeito Marcelo Crivella estava presente no evento que inaugurou a arte, realizado na última segunda-feira, dia 19 de junho, em frente ao grafite.

“Nós vamos ser premiados, e isso não custou absolutamente nada aos cofres públicos. Veja que coisa interessante: estamos discutindo tanto sobre patrocínios da prefeitura, e aqui está uma parceria linda, feita por uma jovem idealista com o seu produtor, numa oferta gratuita à Prefeitura”, disse Crivella.

 

Confira o artigo Maior grafite do mundo feito por uma mulher é inaugurado no Rio de Felipe Lucena no Diário do Rio de Janeiro - O dia a dia do carioca todos os dias

Read the whole story
iaravps
5 days ago
reply
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete

Mellon Grant to Support Values-Based Metrics for the Humanities and Social Sciences

1 Share

CC-BY Nicky Agate / Medium

I’m excited to announce that the HuMetricsHSS research team–which I was a part of at the 2016 TriangleSCI conference–has received the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue our work of encouraging the discovery and use of “humane” research evaluation metrics for the humanities and social sciences.

HSS scholars are increasingly frustrated by the prevalence of the use of evaluation metrics (borrowed from the sciences) that do not accurately capture the impacts of their work. Our grand vision is to develop better metrics, ones that are rooted in the values that are important to scholars. This grant-funded research is a start.

From the press release:

“We are reverse-engineering the way metrics have operated in higher education,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University and one of the Principal Investigators (PIs) of the Mellon-funded project. “We begin not with what can be measured technologically, but by listening to scholars themselves as they identify the practices of scholarship that enrich their work and connect it to a broader public.”

We’ll be sharing updates on the HuMetricsHSS project from our website and on Twitter, so please follow along!

Much gratitude to the Mellon Foundation for supporting HuMetricsHSS.

Read the whole story
iaravps
5 days ago
reply
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete

Long Live Octopus Pie

1 Comment

Three cheers!

I check the webpage out of habit, but Meredith Gran’s comic work Octopus Pie is over.  I feel like this is how sports fans feel when a jersey is retired and lifted to the rafters, forever in its untouchable place, time divided between when it was active and whatever comes after.  

That might sound grandiose, but in my mind, nothing tops the ten year run of Octopus Pie.  And in the lifespan of what we call Webcomics, 2007-2017 is a granddaddy of a run, worthy of names like “pioneering,” “influential” and “groundbreaking” because in the space of those years, in this new medium, there was room to be those things without any hyperbole.  The comics landscape of the past decade needed filling out and Meredith carved her space out with precision, showing a polish and drive and a talent from the beginning that set a high standard.  

I’m guessing that I started Hark a Vagrant about six months after Octopus Pie began, but Meredith’s was already a name to be reckoned with, due to the solid reputation of her previous comic Skirting Danger and because she was an honest to god trained animator in a sea of stickmen comics or two-dudes-on-a-couch comics (RIP forever *kisses fingers, holds them to the sky*). I was intimidated by her sheer capability.  But inspired too.  I did not need to be intimidated, she was one of the first people I met in comics, and easily one of the best.

Meredith and I briefly shared an apartment and a studio, and I can tell you, she can draw circles around everyone you know.  I later shared a studio with Mike Holmes, who could also draw circles around everyone, and now the two of them are married in some sort of talent supernova.  I am happy for them, even though I feel like I make grade three crayon pictures next to them.  But the other thing that being friends with Meredith for a long time has shown is the cutting wit, the care for stories done right, the love for a medium that will take you through highs and lows that come with comics, and lately through her job as a comics professor, the nurturing of upcoming talent.  I see all of this in Octopus Pie, a comic where character was paramount, where plots were expertly moved, a fine balance was found between the messiness of people and the fun you can have with stories, where subtle emotional movements where rendered with room to breathe, where I felt like I could reach deep into the hearts and minds of the characters on the page because they had been fleshed out so well over the years that they seemed as real people, people that I loved.

I don’t really like that phrase “comics will break your heart,” commonly attributed to Schultz, or Kirby, it doesn’t really matter.  You see it all the time, mostly when people are reckoning with the fact that they work in an unforgiving medium.  I don’t even know what it is about the saying that I don’t like.  Maybe it’s because we all know that comics are hard work, we all know that you might put your life and blood and heart into something and you might get nothing back.  There are no surprises to be found there - it’s not a bad day you had, it’s a life you’re well aware of living, if you do.  But we love the perserverers in comics.  The people who live the phrase are the ones who inspire us the most.

I’m saying all this, and pardon the segue, because I have seen Octopus Pie, some of the finest story work of my generation, passed for recognition time and again and it confuses the hell out of me, truly.  I don’t want to turn a tribute to a work I hold dear into sour grapes, that’s not the intention here, but lord above, if I can’t point this out now, then when can I?  We all know that there are no guarantees in this life (comics will break your heart) but I’ll say this once and then leave it: this is a comic of quality that was miles ahead of so many of its peers, and it deserved better, industry wise.  To wrap up the earlier point, maybe I don’t like CWBYH because it implies that you should shrug your shoulders and not ask for better every time, that a short end of some kind of stick is expected even.  That’s easy when it’s yourself, but speaking as a fan now, I say to heck with shrugging, I want to put Meredith on my shoulders and parade her around and dump her into a Scrooge McDuck thing full of awards.  

Actually that sounds pointy and bad and the Ignatz awards are bricks to begin with so maybe forget that analogy but you get the idea.

I hope you read Octopus Pie, I hope you buy the books.  I hope the legacy of it is long and full, because it always will be for me.  And I think readers will agree, because I know this devoted fan base pretty well.  I read the comments, I’ve sat next to Mer at comic shows, I’ve listened to some of the emails that touched her.  I know this is a comic that meant a lot, to a lot of us.  In this world of work we put our hearts and souls into to begin with, that is a wonderfully worthy thing.

I do not know what Meredith will do next, but whatever it is, I am here for it, seat pulled close to the stage.  The retired jersey is in the rafters, the game is still being played by the people who dreamed better because it was there.  Aw what can I say, I’m sentimental!

 Thanks, Meredith. <3

Read the whole story
iaravps
7 days ago
reply
Beautiful tribute to a beautiful comic
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete

The Impact of Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium in e-Science

1 Share

By Dora Ann Lange Canhos1, Sidnei de Souza1, Alexandre Marino1, Vanderlei Perez Canhos1, and Leonor Costa Maia2

1Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental – CRIA

2Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, UFPE

Summary:

  • Herbarium, a collection of preserved samples of plants and fungi and associated data, is key documentation of the biodiversity of the past and an important instrument with which to model the biodiversity of the future. If prepared and maintained correctly, these specimens hold their scientific value for centuries.
  • Comparing Brazil’s collection of herbaria with that of Europe or the USA demonstrates a significant difference in holdings. Therefore integrating the data of Brazilian herbaria through a network, enabled by the development of information and communication technology, makes it possible for Brazil to have an on-line herbarium with significant holdings that are comparable to more dominant global holdings.
  • Today, data providers to Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium hold over 7 million samples and share about 5.6 million data records and 1.5 million images of more than 78 thousand distinct species. There is a constant increase in data and data providers and more than 1.7 billion data records were used between October 2012 and May 2017. The year 2016 indicated an average usage of 1.2 million records a day.
  • As a result of the continued growth of the Virtual Herbarium, it appears that the number of angiosperm species identified in Brazil and described by Brazilian scientists also has increased. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of participating herbaria and their association to graduate programs has also had a great impact on education and training of future researchers, not only as to tools and data usage, but also as to more open sharing of data and knowledge.
  • The greatest impact of the OCSDNet support of the Virtual Herbarium has been on the herbaria (data providers) that, through the project, have had the opportunity to reflect upon outcomes derived from their participation in the network and share their thoughts with other herbaria. This reflection has helped to turn what used to be more “one sided” data providers into a robust and collaborative human network.

 

A herbarium can be defined as a collection of preserved samples of plants and fungi and associated data. In a herbarium, specimens (samples) of plants and fungi collected in the field are normally dried and mounted on sheets of paper and labelled with essential data, including who collected the sample, when and where it was collected, what was collected (the scientific name of the plant or fungi) and who identified the sample. The identification of the sample can be informed as part of the field data or can be determined later by experts. As taxonomy evolves with time, scientific names, and sometimes even municipalities and country names must be updated. A dynamic curation of specimens and associated data must be in place.

Through herbaria data one can analyze species’ distribution across both time and space. Studies based on this data are important for a number of applications such as education, research, and conservation. A herbarium is a center of documentation of the biodiversity of the past and an important instrument to model the biodiversity of the future. If prepared and maintained correctly, these specimens hold their scientific value for centuries. Having a sample associated with the data enables reassessing its identification and perhaps carrying out analysis that may not have existed when the sample was collected. An example is DNA sequencing of historical specimens. This undoubtedly increases the importance of a herbarium.

Herbaria have existed since 1635, with the establishment of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, but the first herbaria in Brazil were established in the early 19th century. It is important to compare Brazil’s largest herbaria with those in Europe and USA. The largest herbaria in the world, such as Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and New York Botanical Garden (NY), hold about 8 million specimens, while Brazil’s two largest herbaria, Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro and our National Museum only hold about 600 thousand specimens each. However, Brazil has about 200 active herbaria that together hold about 8 million specimens. Integrating the data of Brazilian herbaria through a network, enabled by the development of information and communication technology, has made it possible for Brazil to have an on-line herbarium with significant holdings, comparable to large herbaria worldwide.

This e-infrastructure is enabling the consolidation of a collaborative network of experts engaged in improving the quality of the holdings and of on-line data. This network is alsoinvolved with 95% of the botany related graduate courses of the country, influencing research and education of future botanists.

Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium today – some numbers

The network integrates 193 datasets from 130 Brazilian herbaria and 20 herbaria from Europe and the USA, with holdings of samples collected in Brazil.

Figure 1. Geographic distribution of Brazilian herbaria part of Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium (see http://inct.splink.org.br/showNetwork)

Together these data providers hold over 7 million samples and share about 5.6 million data records and 1.5 million images of more than 78 thousand distinct species (all with accepted names). Besides integrating new herbaria to the network, it is still necessary to invest in digitization.

An important indicator is the movement of data (entry and removal) in the network, showing its dynamic nature. Figure 2 presents monthly averages for both total online records and total georeferenced records. The red line shows the number of data providers per month.

Figure 2. Monthly averages of data entry (see http://splink.cria.org.br/indicators)

One can see the constant increase of data and data providers, with the exception of October 2015 when one of Brazil’s largest herbaria decided to remove its data because they felt that they were losing visibility. This shows that there are still some cultural and institutional barriers to overcome.

As for usage, more than 1.7 billion data records were used between October 2012 and May 2017. The year 2016 indicated an average usage of 1.2 million records a day.

Figure 3. Number of records used from Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium (see http://inct.splink.org.br/showUsage)

Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium and OCSDNet

Within the context of the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet), Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium sought to understand the impact of data sharing and open collaboration for both data providers and users. For this purpose, the following activities were carried out:

  1. Application of a semi-structured questionnaire and SWOT analysis indicating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats concerning Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium;
  2. Email sent out to voluntary contributors of two on-line tools – annotation system and geographic distribution modeling workflow (BioGeo);
  3. Analysis on blocked data, asking data providers the reasons why data was blocked; and,
  4. Analysis on data users and usage of Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium.

Impacts

The greatest impact of this OCSDNet project was on the herbaria (data providers) that had the opportunity to reflect on outcomes derived from their participation in the network and share their thoughts with other herbaria. This has made previous “herbaria that share data” into a robust network. The human network established is, by far, the greatest impact of this project and is the center of its innovative character.

It was found that on-line voluntary contributions through the annotation system and BioGeo (see http://biogeo.inct.florabrasil.net) had their own research as their motivation for participation. However, it was found that these contributors helped to improve data quality. The distribution models were also reported to be used to determine new areas for field collections and as such, these users also contributed in sharing new data records.

One of the aims of the Virtual Herbarium was to promote e-science. Its impact on taxonomy and the identification of new species is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Number of angiosperms species described by Brazilian (orange line) and foreign (grey line) scientists from 1990 to 2013. (Canhos, et al. 2015)).

The growth of the number of angiosperm species in Brazil described by Brazilian scientists is clear. The availability of data through Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium and the network of specialists established surely contributed to this change.

An important characteristic of this network, the geographic distribution of participating herbaria and their association to graduate programs, also has a great impact on education and training of future researchers, not only as to tools and data usage, but also as to open sharing of data and knowledge.

When developing the Virtual Herbarium, its main aim was to make data available on-line to all interested. This is not an easy task as it implies a cultural change as well. In the beginning of the project, it was not clear what the data provider, in this case, the team responsible for the herbaria, would gain from this. To most, it seemed to involve much more work with very little to gain. Due to the reflection carried out through the OCSDNet project, it became clear that a lot is gained from organizing and sharing one’s own data. Most data providers also became intensive users of data and were able to also share knowledge and benefit from other user’s knowledge to improve their own data.

Our team therefore concludes that providing data is not a one-way road. Besides using and benefiting from feedback mechanisms, most herbaria found that visits to the facilities increased as did new collaborative projects and research. Most benefited from an increase in usage and in awareness of the data’s importance. With time, this also brought an increase in their recognition and support from their own institution.

For more details on the project and project findings, download the final progress report here.

Read the whole story
iaravps
7 days ago
reply
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories