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The Sexist Pseudoscience at the Heart of Biology

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The Sexist Pseudoscience at the Heart of Biology

For years, studying zoology made me feel like a sad misfit. It wasn’t because I loved spiders or enjoyed removing dead animals from the roadside. I also didn’t like the idea of digging in animal feces to find clues about their owners. My sex was the reason for my anxiety. Being female was one thing. I was a loser.

“The female can be exploited and the evolutionary basis is that eggs are bigger than sperms,” said Richard Dawkins, my college tutor, in his bestseller The Selfish Gene ..

According to zoological law, we egg-makers had been betrayed by our bulky gametes. Our forebears were able to invest their genetic heritage in a few nutrient rich ova rather than millions upon millions of mobile fertilm. We were now doomed to be second fiddle to the mobile sperm-shooters forever, a feminine footnote in the macho main event. This seemingly insignificant difference in our sex cells was the foundation for sexual inequality. Dawkins explained to us that it was possible to see all differences between sexes stemming from the same basic difference. “Female exploitation begins here.”

Male animals led swashbuckling lives of thrusting agency. They fought for female leadership and possession. They sprinted around randomly, driven by a biological imperative that their seed would spread far and wide. They were socially dominant, and females followed the males wherever they went. The role of a female was that of a selfless mother. As such, we had no competitive advantage. Sex was more of a chore than a driving force.

In terms of evolution, it was the males who drove that bus of change. Thanks to our shared DNA, we females could ride along as long as they promised to be quiet and nice. As an egg-making student, evolution was not something I could see in this ’50s sitcom about sex roles. Did I become a female aberration?

The answer is no, thankfully.

In the natural world, both the female form and its role can vary greatly to cover a wide range of anatomies as well as behaviors. The mother who is devoted to her children is one example. But the jacana bird abandons her eggs to be raised by cuckolded males is another. Although females are faithful, only 7 percent of birds can be sexually monogamous. This leaves many philandering women looking for sex with multiple partners. There are many animal societies that do not have male dominance. Alpha females can be found in a range of classes and their authority ranges between benevolent (bonobos), to brutal (bees). Females can fight with one another as viciously as men: Topi antelope engages in fierce battles with their male counterparts using their huge horns. Merkat matriarchs are some of the most brutal mammals on the planet and kill their babies as well as suppress their reproduction. There are also the femme fatales, which are cannibalistic female spiders who eat their partners as pre- or post-coital snacks. These lizards are “lesbians” and have no need for males and reproduce only by cloning.

A sexist mythology is ingrained in biology and distorts our perception of female animals. However, we have made great strides in understanding what it means for a female in the past few decades.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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