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Konstantin Mereschkowski

Konstantin Sergeevich Mereschkowski was a prominent Russian biologist and botanist, active around Kazan, whose research on lichens led him to propose the theory of symbiogenesis – that larger, more complex cells evolved from the symbiotic relationship between less complex ones. He presented this theory in 1910, in his Russian work, The Theory of Two Plasms as the Basis of Symbiogenesis, a New Study of the Origins of Organisms, although the fundamentals of the idea had appeared in his earlier 1905 work, The nature and origins of chromatophores in the plant kingdom. Konstantin was born in Saint Petersburg, one of six sons and three daughters in the Mereschkowski family, his father Sergey Ivanovich served as a senior official in several Russian local governors' cabinets before entering Alexander II's court office as a Privy Councillor. His mother Varvara Vasilyevna was a daughter of a senior Saint Petersburg security official, was fond of arts and literature; the writer Dmitry Merezhkovsky was one of his younger brothers.

From 1875 to 1880 he worked for his degree at the University of St Petersburg, travelling north to the White Sea to examine marine invertebrates and discovering a genus of Hydrozoa. On graduating he travelled to France and Germany, meeting famous scientists, publishing on anthropology and animal pigments while in Paris. In 1883 he married Olga Petrovna Sultanova, became a lecturer at the University of St Petersburg. In 1886 they emigrated from Russia for unexplained reasons connected to the paedophilia for which he was prosecuted; the family set up home in Crimea. In 1898, he left his wife and young son in Crimea and emigrated to America, where he took the name "William Adler", he worked in California as a botanist at Los Angeles and Berkeley University, devising a new system of classification of the diatoms based on the internal structures of the specimens in his Black Sea collection. In 1902, he returned to Russia to become curator of zoology at Tatarstan. In 1914 he was prosecuted for raping 26 girls, including one who became one of his students aged six.

He was dismissed from the university, escaped to France. In 1918 he moved to the Conservatoire Botanique in Geneva, where he worked on Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert's lichen collection. In Geneva, he became depressed, ran out of money, on 9 January 1921 he was found dead in his hotel room, having tied himself up in his bed with a mask, supplied with an asphyxiating gas from a metal container, it appears that his suicide was connected to his utopian beliefs, reflected in his 1903 book of stories, Earthly Paradise, or a Winter Night's Dream. Tales from the 27th century; as an atheist, his dreamed-of utopia was to be scientifically-based, involving the evolution of a perfect human race. The Earthly Paradise describes specially-bred castes of human including one of neotenised sexual adults with child-like features, who were put to death at the age of 35, as they could not be happy in old age. Further, he held extreme ideological beliefs on eugenics and antisemitism, he assisted the right-wing nationalist organisation, the Kazan Department of the Union of Russian People, provided secret assistance to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in hunting down Jews and supposed traitors.

Mereschkowski argued that the cell organelles, the nucleus and the chloroplast, are the descendants of bacteria that evolved into an intracellular symbiosis with amoebae. His ideas are strikingly reflected in the modern symbiogenesis theory developed and popularised by Lynn Margulis, now accepted; the modern view is that two endosymbiotic events did take place, one by incorporating bacteria that became the mitochondria of all eukaryotes, another soon afterwards in the line that became the plants to form chloroplasts. Around the turn of the century, Mereschkowski formed a sizeable lichen herbarium, containing over 2000 specimens collected from Russia and around the Mediterranean; the collection remains at Kazan University. It had been shown that each lichen species consisted of a mutualistic symbiosis between a fungus and one or more algae; this may have inspired his theory of symbiogenesis. Merezhkovsky rejected Darwinian evolution, believing that natural selection could not explain biological novelty.

He argued instead that the inheritance of microbes was central. He was criticised and indeed ridiculed by other biologists, such as the Polish lichenologist Alexandr Alexandrovich Elenkin

Gay pulp fiction

Gay pulp fiction, or gay pulps, refers to printed works fiction, that include references to male homosexuality male gay sex, that are cheaply produced in paperback books made of wood pulp paper. Michael Bronski, the editor of an anthology of gay pulp writing, notes in his introduction, "Gay pulp is not an exact term, it is used somewhat loosely to refer to a variety of books that had different origins and markets". People use the term to refer to the "classic" gay pulps that were produced before about 1970, but it may be used to refer to the gay erotica or pornography in paperback book or digest magazine form produced since that date. Gay pulps are part of the expansion of cheap paperback books that began in the 1930s and "reached its full force in the early 1950s." Mainstream publishers packaged the cheap paperbacks to be sold in train and bus stations, drugstores, grocery stores, newsstands, to reach the market that had bought pulp magazines in the first half of the twentieth century. Designed to catch the eye, the paperback books featured vivid cover art and dealt with taboo subjects: prostitution, interracial romances and male homosexuality.

Michael Bronski has noted that lesbian pulp fiction were far more numerous and popular than those that dealt with male homosexuality. According to Bronski, "The trajectory of the gay male pulps is different. There was no burgeoning market for gay male novels in the 1950s because they had little crossover appeal for a substantial heterosexual readership."Still, some gay pulps were published by mainstream publishers throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. These were reprints of literary novels that involved references to homosexuality, such as Charles Jackson's 1946 novel, The Fall of Valor, Gore Vidal's 1948 novel, The City and the Pillar, which first appeared in paperback in 1950. Blair Niles' 1931 novel Strange Brother appeared in paperback in 1952; the first paperback original to deal with homosexuality was 1952's Men into Beasts, a nonfiction work by George Viereck. Viereck, a poet, was sent to prison during World War II for his work as a paid propaganda agent of Nazi Germany. Men into Beasts is a general memoir of the indignities and brutalities of life in prison, but a significant part of it deals with situational homosexuality and male rape in prison.

The cover of the book features a discreetly posed nude man, on his knees in a prison cell, being beaten by two prison guards. The text on the back of the book blames prison riots on "homosexual slavery--inmates being forced to practice abnormal acts with sex deviates who roamed the prisons at will." Beginning around 1964, the more than a decade of challenges to U. S. censorship laws applied to literary novels such as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Portnoy's Complaint, Naked Lunch had redefined legal standards for obscenity. Susan Stryker cites Tom Norman's bibliography of American gay erotic paperbacks to note that thirty gay paperback books were published in 1965, that over a hundred were in 1966. Many of these publishers had their roots in publishing beefcake, or "male physique" magazines in the 1950s, precursors to explicit gay pornographic magazines. Most of the new gay paperbacks were explicitly pornographic, writing designed to provoke sexual responses, rather than literary writing, they came from small, gay presses, such as the Guild Press, Greenleaf Classics, the Publisher's Export Company, rather than from mainstream national publishers.

For example, Greenleaf published a series of erotic spy parodies called The Man from C. A. M. P. Written by Victor J. Banis. Banis says once Kemp and Greenleaf proved how much of a market there was for this type of fiction, other publishers soon joined in. Among "the more provocative titles and noms de plume" published in this decade include: Summer in Sodom, by Edwin Fey. Sometimes, these past ephemera can become useful community history resources; as Susan Stryker and Michael Meeker note in a new preface to Lou Rand's The Gay Detective, San Francisco area LGBT historians found that the paperback in question turned out to be a valuable document in describing past prominent if closeted social figures, ethnic conflicts over police corruption and the emergence of a narcotics underworld in their city, as well as referring to bygone LGBT venues. Some of the titles issued by these presses in the late 1960s blurred the lines between literary gay fiction and pornography. While all of them include more explicit sexual content than literary novels or mainstream, non-sexual paperback fiction of the time, some aspired to higher literary merit and include attempts at more careful characterizations and plots.

Susan Stryker cites in this category Chris Davidson and Richard Amory, who both wrote for Greenleaf Classics. Davidson put gay porn twists on familiar genres: A Different Drum features sex between Yankee and Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. Richard Amory, meanwhile, in the Song of the Loon has a Last of the Mohicans-type story, but with the lone frontiersman and the Indians having sex. Gay historian John Howard has identified Carl Corle

Clapperton's spurfowl

The Clapperton's spurfowl is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda. Clapperton's spurfowl was described in 1826 by John George Children and Nicholas Aylward Vigors in an appendix to the Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa by the explorers Dixon Denham and Hugh Clapperton. Children and Vigors coined the binomial name Francolinus clappertoni. In their publication Children and Vigors did not specify where the specimen had been collected but the type locality was designated as Borno in northeast Nigeria; the species is now placed in the genus Pternistis, introduced by the German naturalist Johann Georg Wagler in 1832. A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2019 found that Clapperton's spurfowl is sister to Harwood's spurfowl. Two subspecies are now recognised: P. c. clappertoni – Mali to south Sudan, east South Sudan, northeast Uganda and west Ethiopia P. c. sharpii – north and central Ethiopia, Eritrea Xeno-canto: audio recordings of Clapperton's spurfowl