In making a point about the importance of making your marketing pitch interesting, topical, and relevant, Mr. Holmes informs businessmen (and women) that our grandfathers' sperm count used to be something impressive... 100,000,000 per whatever the standard liquid measurement is for semen. Now, it is allegedly 50,000,000.
I was especially struck by this because suddenly my alien superimpregnators didn't looks quite so super. I'd done my research in a modern fertility clinic.
According to : http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/normal-sperm-count.html
World Health Organization guidelines say a normal sperm count consists of 20 million sperm per ejaculate, with 50 percent motility and 60 percent normal morphology (form). The amount of semen in the ejaculation matters, too. If the concentration is less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate, it may impair fertility. Still, if the sperm show adequate forward motility -- the ability to swim -- concentrations as low as 5 to 10 million can produce a pregnancy.
It's interesting to note that only 25 years ago, counts of 100 million sperm per ejaculate were the norm. With time, the effects of our toxic environment and/or lifestyle seem to be gradually degrading male sperm counts.
Last January 2008, editor and columnist Mark Alpert in Scientific American discussed declining female fertility with particular reference to bisphenol A, which is a component of plastics used in many consumer products including baby bottles and bottled water bottles.
Apparently, bisphenol A can cause miscarriages, birth defects, and can interfere with the growth of egg cells not only in the bottled water drinker, but also in her daughters and grand-daughters.
Another problem for all of us is what is in our tap water, because of all the prescriptions (used, or discarded unused) that are flushed down the toilet. I remember being appalled at the hospice staff's standard procedure when my mother in law passed away in our home a few years ago. All manner of laxatives, diuretics, heart medicine, narcotics, stimulants went down the toilet. It was the law.
Alien-human romances are wonderful fodder for Romance authors. One of the favorite premises for an alien romance is that the hero's race needs fertile women because their own have either all died out, or are no longer fertile, and so the heroes have to kidnap suitable candidates from Earth.
Maybe in a few hundred years, we Earthwomen will go off and kidnap alien males for similar reasons. That, also, is a popular premise, I'm sure.
My thought for the day is that science is following art. We have several eminently plausible explanations why the premise for alien abduction romances could be utterly convincing and topical.
By the way... not every nation on Earth is challenged.
If it's April 19th, my interview is still running on http://www.theauthorsshow.com