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The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the burning-potential-of-fire dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 127

Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."

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Naval fluff... (4, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441926)

...is really just navel fluff; no military personnel were harmed in the making of this submission. [Insert witty rejoinder here]

Re:Naval fluff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442656)

+1 if you didn't realize this wasn't a piece on the navy.

Re:Naval fluff... (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442806)

Ask any Marine, Naval is fluff.

Guess everyone knows the old joke where a Marine, a Navy pilot and an Army soldier discuss their accomodations.

Navy: "Last week was a nightmare, the air condition in our tents failed"
Army: "Wait, what? You guys got air condition?"
Marine: "Wait, what? You guys got tents?"

Re:Naval fluff... (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443480)

Everyone knows the AF has the best living conditions.

Now let me get back to my desk job. It's only a couple of hours from happy hour.

Re:Naval fluff... (2, Funny)

leadfoot (159248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444744)

Air Force: It's not just a job, it's a job with a uniform

Re:Naval fluff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446276)

I was going to be offended, but I'm reading this article from an Air Force base.

Re:Naval fluff... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31443916)

A marine, a sailor, and an airman were asked to secure a building.

The marine built an outer perimeter with barbed wire, set up a rotating schedule for patrols, and stationed an overwatch on the next building over.

The sailor locked all the doors, turned off all the lights, and waited for the "all clear" signal.

The airman took out a 30 year lease with an option to buy.

Re:Naval fluff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446836)

Oh come on, like I'm going to trust a M.A.R.I.N.E., everyone knows it stands for "My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment"... you've just got an inferiority complex.

Re:Naval fluff... (1)

pokechop (1437139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447570)

Yeah, the Marine Corps is just a department in the Navy....the MEN'S department!

Re:Naval fluff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31443814)

_Insert witty Rep. Massa joke here_

Why aren't.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441990)

The climategate models on here? Surely those were completely and utterly absurd.

Re:Why aren't.. (-1, Offtopic)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442112)

I've seen CRU's climate model source code. It's complete shit. It couldn't predict a wet paper bag let alone the world's climate in 50 years. No wonder they kept it hidden and refused all requests to see it.

Hacking other people's computer and publishing their private files on the internet is generally a bad thing, but not in this case.

Re:Why aren't.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442262)

You can mod the parent (and me, for that matter) down, but the fact is that the "Climategate" models are indeed broken, because they have failed to accurately predict the weather in the last eight years. By definition, if a model fails to predict observed behavior, it is the model that is wrong, not the observation.

The fact that both the parent and I felt the need to post this anonymously is itself indicative of the level of behavior seen in this "debate" - the "warmists" refuse to listen to any criticism (regardless of validity), going so far as to attempt to change the past to support their contention. (Consider the "disappearance" of the Roman Warm Period from Wikipedia, despite ample evidence from various sources including ice cores, and the denial and subsequent rediscovery of the Medieval Warm Period as two such examples.)

Re:Why aren't.. (2, Informative)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446038)

the "Climategate" models are indeed broken, because they have failed to accurately predict the weather in the last eight years.

Climate and weather are different things. It would help your arguments if you sounded much like you knew the difference.
You also display an ignorance of statistics, I'm afraid. 8 years is too short a time to talk about a high confidence level. The much vaunted "cooling trend" is actually perfectly reasonable within a warming model. But to discuss it requires something called "statistics," which I detect will overwhelm you. LOL
I recommend this page [skepticalscience.com]

Re:Why aren't.. (2, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446746)

No, you post AC because you know your "science" is not valid. The bulk of the "critical" response to climate science is built on shaky evidence and the attempts to discredit the models used by climate scientists to make their predictions. Big swooping claims about how the ice cores show that (apparently) CO2 lags behind temperature on the graphs must mean that the connection is reversed - it gets warm so more CO2 is trapped, when more than a casual glance at the science shows you how the CO2 readings have an offset, and an uncertainty in time accuracy that puts them right on top of the temperature line. The sceptics handily ignore this (which is pointed out in the real science), hoping that people will just look at the graph and not how it is plotted. There are dozens of instances like this.

The fact that you don;t really know the difference between weather and climate suggests a reason you posted AC: you don;t know what you're talking about.

Scientists are more than willing to listen to genuine claims against them, and will adjust and test their models and evidence as they needs to. Just because they easily discredit the bulk of the sceptics through non-science and faulty reasoning doesn't mean they refuse to listen to any criticism. The arguments need to have actual merit.

It's the sort of disconnect that network TV considers a "fair coverage" issue if they put a scientist on the "pro-warming" side, and a businessman/politician/lobbyist on the "con" side for a debate on the subject. Their arguments do not have equal merit.

Cmon /. (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442034)

If I want top ten lists, I'll look at digg.

Re:Cmon /. (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442782)

And if we want just regular lists, Cracked.

Re:Cmon /. (1)

Giordano (188346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444020)

Whole heartedly agree.

Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442038)

Anyone who's been in a bar fight knows that whether they are sturdier or not, full ones make much better blunt instruments due to their higher mass.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (5, Insightful)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442086)

For a forensic pathologist this actually seems like a somewhat valuable piece of information to have. I'd say that's the one paper on that list with some amount of value.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442130)

well the way I see it, the bottles ability to harm can be measured and recorded, this could lead to a clue about how a fight progressed.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442294)

This one seems to be kinda interesting too:
"Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats. "

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443702)

I think a few of them have some pretty serious merits. I'd pick "Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats" as having the most value.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (4, Funny)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442136)

Um, I've been in many bar fights.

Never once has there been a full beer anywhere nearby.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (5, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442376)

Anyone who's been in a bar fight knows that whether they are sturdier or not, full ones make much better blunt instruments due to their higher mass.

And yet, if you had taken the time to find the cited article, you would have learned that EMPTY bottles are significantly sturdier. The reasons why are left as an exercise to the reader. Being sturdy has an impact (pun intended) on their utility in blunt-force attacks (again, intended), but mass is arguably more important. Both empty and full bottles were found to have breaking thresholds higher than the human cranium, and so could be used to cause serious injury.

It's actually not that absurd a scientific question, given that the answer has important legal and forensic implications. And no, Virginia, the bottles you see used in Hollywood movie bar fights are not actually made of glass.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442824)

And no, Virginia, the bottles you see used in Hollywood movie bar fights are not actually made of glass.

Do they still use sugar glass, or have they moved on to something else?

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446530)

No. Yes: computers.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31447024)

The only purpose of your question was to inform us all that you are knowledgeable of movie glass.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447150)

No, the purpose was to find out if they used something else now. I'm a movie geek.

Re:Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier (2, Interesting)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446016)

Both empty and full bottles were found to have breaking thresholds higher than the human cranium..."

Being a homebrewer, I know there's a hell of a lot of different beer bottles out there. But they're also wrong. In grad school I had a roommate who lost a bet with a friend: he bet that he could break a beer bottle over his own head, which he successfully did, and not bleed. He lost the nickel bet and had to have a third graduate student stitch up his scalp.

Also reminds me of "The pot game." Inspired by a Simpsons episode, two grad students put pots on their heads and run head first at each other. Loser is the one who falls down, bleeds, or breaks something.

Grad students drink heavily. Very heavily.

So.... (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442062)

... Is a beer bottle actually sufficient to crack a human skull? I want to know!

Re:So.... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442126)

Depends on the bottle, depends on the person's skull, depends on the velocity and the targeted area.

Re:So.... (1)

doti (966971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442296)

...the targeted area AND the area and orientation of the bottle that hits the skull.

I suspect a lateral hit with the middle of the bottle will make the bottle easier to break, while the bottom seems sturdier.

Re:So.... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442236)

Sadly, all the copies of the paper I could find on Google Scholar were behind a paywall.

Perhaps someone on a college campus with library access could look this up for us?

Re:So.... (2, Informative)

Otto (17870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442812)

TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442116)

Why must his picture be attached to every story about science as if he was a messiah of some sort? Yes, he was a great scientist, but not far-and-away greatest, and he had many personal faults as well. Much of his pop culture and media hype is simply created due to his socialist politics [google.com] and nothing more!

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (1)

doti (966971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442320)

you must understand the concept of an "icon".

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442730)

You can't think of an icon for science that doesn't involve one man - a socialist and a likely plagiarist?

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442850)

Can you think of an icon for Microsoft that doesn't involve Bill Gates as a Borg?

Fucking get over it.

can you spot the crypto-goatse? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443364)

How about Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz [wikipedia.org] , discoverer of the ring-structure of benzene?

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442498)

Now there is the Abstract for a new absurd paper.

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (3, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442984)

Eh, Einstein really was a pretty damn great scientist though and made a bunch of critical contributions to our understanding of the world (from the quantum nature of light/photoelectric effect, to special relativity, to general relativity, to founding condensed matter physics). If you want something to get up in arms about, the worshipfulness of Stephen Hawking is probably more annoying since his contributions to physics are really fairly minor compared to his media portrayal. Not to say they are totally insignificant, just that he is breathlessly referred to as the greatest living scientist today in programs on the Discovery channel, when in reality, he's a good scientist who just happens to be physically disabled and a good popular science writer. The public fascination is more related to the latter two facts than the former.

Re:TOO MUCH EINSTEIN! (0, Offtopic)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443062)

It's a funny looking picture. How many famous scientists put out a picture like that? He is also one of the most recognizable faces in the science community. Yes there are more famous people - but do we know what they look like? How many of these scientists have multiple movies based on their lives? It's more then his political agenda.

Some of these might be interesting... (4, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442154)

Swearing as a response to pain. (NeuroReport)
Helping to understand the pain response can help develop treatments for pain. Knowing why someone would swear instead of just saying, "Ow," might provide some insight into the pathways that deal with pain response.

Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats. (Alcohol)
Rats are often used as models for humans to investigate addiction. Finding out where their addictive patterns differ is important to evaluate other addiction research.

Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull? (Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine)
These kinds of studies are used to help determine insurance rates and in some cases to redesign products or packaging. A new pub glass design in the UK that uses resin to prevent a shattering effect is hoped to decrease the number of dangerous cuts caused by people breaking glasses over someone's head, or breaking and then using the glass as a weapon.

The nature of navel fluff. (Medical Hypotheses)
Some things are just so obviously important that they need no explanation.

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (2, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442584)

new pub glass design in the UK that uses resin to prevent a shattering effect is hoped to decrease the number of dangerous cuts caused by people breaking glasses over someone's head
 
Sounds like people in the UK need cut back on what's in those glasses if this is such a serious problem.

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446240)

Binge drinking in the UK is reportedly a serious problem. According to an article about the new glasses, there were 87,000 incidents of patrons using a broken glass as a slashing or stabbing weapon. Given that there are fewer than 60,000 pubs in the UK, that's a pretty high rate of occurrence.

The fact that the new glasses keep the beer cold longer, though, has some drinkers interested in them. There's also a thought (yet to be proved or disproved) that the longer time that the beer is cold will lead to less rushing to finish the beer before it gets warm. I kind of doubt it myself, but I'd still like to get a few of these glasses for my home.

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (1)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447008)

I'd heard Brits liked warm beer. I drink mine at room temperature (not that I'm a Brit).

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (5, Funny)

Bob_Sheep (988029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443350)

I'm surprised this paper [acs.org] from Inorganic Chemistry didn't get mentioned

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (5, Funny)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443782)

Wow - I wonder if the folks at the ACS will wonder why the paper "{trans-1,4-Bis[(4-pyridyl)ethenyl]benzene}(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) Complexes and Their Supramolecular Assemblies with -Cyclodextrin" suddenly became so popular

and then be disappointed to find out it was the SlashDot effect.

My question, as a chemist, is what is the equilibrium constant - how fast does it go from product to reactant and back ?

Also, is the reaction reproducible?

Are there any degenerate orbitals involved?

Is it reproducible, even with protecting groups attached?

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (2, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444050)

That is the raunchiest picture I've ever seen in a chemistry paper.

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444144)

Actually, *all* of them seemed valid to me. Except maybe the Facebook one, but that's based on the silly journal name "Cyberpsychology and Behavior". Mocking them because they mention illegal drugs, curses and cock-sucking seems ... childish.

Re:Some of these might be interesting... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446068)

I didn't mean to imply that the others were not valid. I'm a firm believer in performing research simply because someone wondered about the answer to a question. Some of them, however, have more immediate use to daily life than others.

Dorsoventral Copulation (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442158)

Female bats often lick their mate’s penis during dorsoventral copulation. The female lowers her head to lick the shaft or the base of the male’s penis but does not lick the glans penis which has already penetrated the vagina. Males never withdrew their penis when it was licked by the mating partner.

That's what I call flexible.

Re:Dorsoventral Copulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442574)

Female bats often lick their mate’s penis during dorsoventral copulation. The female lowers her head to lick the shaft or the base of the male’s penis but does not lick the glans penis which has already penetrated the vagina. Males never withdrew their penis when it was licked by the mating partner.

That's what I call flexible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19jellncoo

TFA (4, Informative)

quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442162)

TFA is pretty short - mostly a list, with a short paragraph above it. The link posted in the summary isn't the original, and they don't have links to the articles, just to the /original/ article, which then has links to more on each paper.

Optimising the sensory characteristics and acceptance of canned cat food: use of a human taste panel. (Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition)

Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behaviour. (Journal of Experimental Biology)

Swearing as a response to pain. (NeuroReport)

Pigeons can discriminate "good" and "bad" paintings by children. (Animal Cognition)

The "booty call": a compromise between men's and women's ideal mating strategies. (The Journal of Sex Research)

Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats. (Alcohol)

Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time. (PLoS One)

More information than you ever wanted: does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? (Cyberpsychology and Behavior)

Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull? (Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine)

The nature of navel fluff. (Medical Hypotheses)

If any of those look interesting, here's the link that actually links: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/category/ncbi-rofl/ [discovermagazine.com]

What about chicken plucking? (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442188)

They left out "Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed." [Published in "Weatherwise," October 1975, p. 217.]. A paper published by Kurt Vonnegut's esteemed brother Bernard Vonnegut (for which he later won an Ig Nobel award).

More beer (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442254)

My personal favorite: "A possible role of social activity to explain differences in publication output among ecologists" by T. Grim in Oikos From the Abstract: .... I show that increasing per capita beer consumption is associated with lower numbers of papers, total citations, and citations per paper (a surrogate measure of paper quality) ... leisure time social activities might influence the quality and quantity of scientific work and may be potential sources of publication and citation biases.

Ig Nobel Prizes (4, Informative)

silverpig (814884) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442278)

Sounds a lot like the Ig Nobel Prizes... http://improbable.com/ig/ [improbable.com]

first posT?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442494)

munches 7he most

Wired is 15 years late..... (5, Informative)

WyrdOne (96731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442540)

The Annals of Improbable Research, a published journal, has been doing this since 1995. http://improbable.com/ [improbable.com]

- Current Subscriber
-- Has been since 1995
---Has every issue published since the start
---- Homemade zygotes. Just like Mom’s. BOX 48.

Don't forget 9/11 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442676)

How about this one? Fire can cause a skyscraper to collapse at free fall speed into it's own footprint. Should be at the top of the list.

Research confirms it... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442704)

Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time.

...I'm not a fruit bat.

Interview about bees on cocaine (2, Informative)

doconnor (134648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442800)

Quirks and Quarks interviewed the scientist about his paper on "Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior" back in Jan 2009. You can download the interview here [www.cbc.ca] , in mp3 or ogg format.

Re:Interview about bees on cocaine (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444306)

Sounds like a waste of good cocaine to me... wait, can I get a research grant to study "The effects of cocaine on stripper pole dance behavior"? Now THAT would be some valuable research!

It's not THAT bad (2, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442808)

- "Pigeons can discriminate "good" and "bad" paintings by children": does that mean there is such a thing as universal good taste ? Discernible by animals ? Even if not good or bad, do pigeons actually have artistic tastes ? if so, how is it formed ? sounds a somewhat worthwhile study to me... May just be a fluke, though.

- "Swearing as a response to pain": I actually read a summary of that one... swearing makes pain more bearable, funnily enough. I'm holding out for the complementary study: "does taunting make it hurt more ?"

- "Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats": again, kinda interesting, might be insightful (- suggested mod for my post) for humans too. would alcohol consumption and/or alcohol-binge related problems actually decrease if alcohol was more readily available ? I'm kinda puzzled by the youth alcohol situation in France vs the UK vs the US. It'd be kinda interesting to know which is the best objectively, before ideological pollution. Starting with animals sounds logical.

and so on.

Re:It's not THAT bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31447134)

When it comes to children's drawings, "good" and "bad" usually means whether or not you can identify what they're drawing. My guess is that is what the pigeons are picking up on.

Beer research (3, Funny)

Spitfirem1 (1124377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442882)

Whoever got a study funded that allowed them to buy large amounts of bottled beer on someone else's dime was a very smart person indeed.

Re:Beer research (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444346)

Ah yes, sounds like the perfect job: "We've got 100 bottles of beer here, and we need half of them emptied... can you handle that?"

Re:Beer research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31447488)

If I had to drink it? Worst job ever. Beer tastes awful.

Re:Beer research (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447580)

Can they remember the jingle?

Re:Beer research (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444806)

They're rats, we're not talking about thousands of gallons of beer here...

Nevertheless, very cool indeed.

"Absurd" seems a bit too harsh to me (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442914)

As others pointed out [slashdot.org] , some articles don't even require much thinking to see their importance. Others, while causing our inner teens to giggle, not only are still science but also have implications in our lives.

"Bizarre", yes. "Absurd"? Not really.

unfortunately there are many palindrones... (2, Funny)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444432)

who mock what they can't understand...almost undermines my faith in democracy, but then palindrones are only ~22% of the u.s. population:-}

Time for MythBusters (2, Funny)

jruschme (76180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442940)

This week on MythBusters: 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?'

Cut to shots of a sprint-loaded arm smashing bottles on the head of poor Buster. Quick cut to reaction shot of Cary and Grant.

Later in the show... Adam and Jamie get to the bottom of our navel fluff mystery.

Re:Time for MythBusters (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443336)

The disturbing thing about that show was the apparent ease with which they were able to obtain real human skulls for research. Is there a company out there just selling human remains to any ol' joker who asks? Where does said company get these remains? I've heard of people donating their bodies "for research" or for medical students, but I've never heard anyone ever say, "When I pass, I'd like my body to be donated for some company's profit."

Re:Time for MythBusters (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443860)

Some place like this [skullsunlimited.com]

Thanks for that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445748)

Yeah, I feel much better now that I've seen a typical huckster website hawking human remains, with pictures of a pile of assorted bones (are they all from the same person at least?) overflowing what appears to be some kind of pirate-style treasure box.

Some things are better off not not knowing.

It's not absurd (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443016)

Scientific studies performed without a reason have historically produced results that we can apply to practical applications. This doesnt' always happen and then someone comes around saying "but why are we wasting money on X worthless study"....but what if that study gave us some new piece of knowledge that helped us in some way? What if that study will help someone five, ten, fifteen, one-hundreed years from now?

So studies that seem worthless today may be great tomorrow. The studies may return immediate useful results. Then there is always - because we are curious and satisfying our curiousity and feeding our brains (we are explorers) is a good thing.

Grade school science fair (0, Offtopic)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31443150)

I built a model of a nuclear power plant for my science fair project in 7th grade. I would have won (aside from the fact that it wasn't really an experiment), except that the nuns decided I COULDN'T have done it myself and my Dad had to have helped, so I was DQ'd. Fine. Whatever.

Next year comes around, and my teachers asks me what I'm doing for the science fair. "Nothing - I'm not doing it."

"Yes, you are."

"But it's voluntary!"

"Not for you it isn't."

So I decided to fuck with the teacher and titled my experiment "The Aerodynamics of Paper Airplanes". I made 2 types, and tested them using a gravity drop and a rubber band launcher. I wound up coming in second place, and got an award from NASA at the county event. I can't help but think the nuns were feeling some mixed emotions.

Re:Grade school science fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31443248)

Don't be bitter.

Re:Grade school science fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445418)

-1 Offtopic? Just because we're talking about research, why on earth is this remotely important?

Some of them are probably cases of Corruption (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31443566)

Barcelona, the most corrupt spanish region, has published in recent years astonishingly stupid papers (some have even won an Ig nobel prize or two). It has also been reported that various research papers have been faked so that they can justify that the money was "spent in I+D grants" when in reality the money ends in the pockets of some politic. I denounce that "scientific papers" as stupid as these are a malversation of our money, even when the money is [b]really[/b] spend in the study, and that there should exist measures to force "researchers" like those to return the money.

Papers like the infamous one about lack of feminazism in videogames [www.oei.es] (in spanish) look like the job of a bad clown, and someone might even smirk at them, until you realize that some people were paid tens of thousands of euros for writing 400 pages of pretty bad femicommunist propaganda. Stop the corruption in academia! Stop the pork! If someone want to know if insects become confused when listening japanese media reproduced backwards, they can pay the study of their own pocket.

sounds like good mythbuster stuff to test! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31444102)

sounds like good mythbuster stuff to test!

The best paper from IEEE (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444374)

I see value in them all (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444538)

Its easy for the ignorant to mock, but I can see merit in all of these papers:

1. Optimising the sensory characteristics and acceptance of canned cat food: use of a human taste panel. (Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition)

Cats can't talk. Humans can. If humans and cats have at all similar reactions to stimuli, then why not use the species that can give you verbal feedback?

2. Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behaviour. (Journal of Experimental Biology)

How do you find out exactly how cocaine affects the nervous system? Keep the cocaine the same, try it on different nervous systems...

3. Swearing as a response to pain. (NeuroReport)

Why would pain cause a person to choose a socially frowned upon word to yell out, even if nobody is even there? The parts of the brain that deal with physical pain and those that deal with speech are physically separate, so its quite interesting to ask how they can be connected.

4. Pigeons can discriminate "good" and "bad" paintings by children. (Animal Cognition)

It should be clear that examining how animals view art can give clues to its origin in humans.

5. The "booty call": a compromise between men's and women's ideal mating strategies. (The Journal of Sex Research)

This sounds like game theory; a few citations down the line the conclusions in this paper could be informing international diplomacy.

6. Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats. (Alcohol)

Yeah, those dumb scientists. Why the hell would anybody want to investigate the causes of binge drinking?

7. Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time. (PLoS One)

Bats suck each other off? But you were told at school animals only had sex for procreation weren't you?

8. More information than you ever wanted: does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? (Cyberpsychology and Behavior)

More game theory. This one has even more direct applications (ever had facebook drama kick off in a workplace?)

9. Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull? (Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine)

I suspect people in the law enforcement and medical professions might find this of use.

10. The nature of navel fluff. (Medical Hypotheses)

This fluff accumulates right next to peoples skins, so its probably a good idea we know what it is.

Re:I see value in them all (3, Insightful)

Hartree (191324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445870)

Actually, the study on honeybee dance was looking at the effect of dopamine levels in the bee's brain. How do you raise dopamine levels? Cocaine is actually a pretty direct and clean method of doing that. Bee dance is a complex social and communicative behavior that's used for one be to tell others the location of food sources. Looking at it can tell you a lot about what's going on in the central nervous system of the bee.

I hardly think the researcher would've wanted the paperwork, oversight and hassle needed for using a scheduled drug in research just for fun.

But, just to reassure people that this doesn't start a trend, I live about 20 miles from where the research was done. And I've seen no increase in the local bees out on the street corner jonesing for a toot.

Re:I see value in them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31447136)

Why would pain cause a person to choose a socially frowned upon word to yell out, even if nobody is even there?

Actually, why does pain cause yelling in general? Quite a lot of animals squawk, howl, moan, etc, which seems to me to be an evolutionary deadend "hay guyz! easy meat here!"

Re:I see value in them all (1)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447576)

EFfects of cocaine on honeybee dance behaviour

i just would recommend using some raid kill that little bugger that way no one wastes money on pointless bees

or

just stepping on the little bugger make sure u have shoes on won't want a stinger in your foot would u

Wait... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444566)

There's actually a "Journal of Sex Research"?!? Now I really know I'm in the wrong line of work! "But officer, I wasn't cruising for hookers, I was just recruiting test subjects!"

Journal of Sex Research (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446018)

"Sex Researchers: Taking the fun out of the last thing we hadn't already since 1962."

"Sex researchers do it rigorously and with copious bookkeeping."

"Sex researchers do it in double blind studies."

"Official sex researcher. Spread your legs for SCIENCE!"

Naval fluff? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31444726)

I know it's a typo, but for some reason I immediately thought of submarines farting underwater.

Re:Naval fluff? (2, Informative)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445846)

You may have been thinking about this... Submarine flatulence along the Hikurangi margin of New Zealand: Linking geochemical methane anomalies in the water column with hydroacoustic evidence of bubble transport, Geophysical Research Abstracts,Vol. 10, EGU2008-A-04390, 2008SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU2008-A-04390 EGU General Assembly 2008 Author(s) 2008 K. Faure et al.

But they missed one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445382)

"Mechanosensitivity of mouse tracheal ciliary beat frequency" WTF?

Ray Tracing Jell-O (2, Informative)

saccade.com (771661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445512)

They missed Paul Heckbert's classic SIGGRAPH 88 paper, "Ray Tracing Jell-O brand Gelatin" [acm.org] .

Hendrix used both hands to play guitar (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31447170)

Christman’s previous research found mixed-handedness is not uncommon among string players, who must tightly synchronize the actions of their two hands while performing. He writes that in Hendrix’s case, this trait allowed the guitarist to simultaneously use “his right hand to fret the strings, and his left hand to pluck the strings and manipulate the pickup selector and tone, volume and tremolo (i.e. ‘whammy bar’) controls on the body of his instruments.” In this way, Hendrix managed to “generate otherworldly howls, shrieks and siren-like sounds on the guitar,” most famously on his irreverent rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner recorded at the Woodstock Festival.

http://www.miller-mccune.com/science-environment/the-brain-that-gave-us-purple-haze-9680/

What about the Necrophile gay duck? (1)

twosat (1414337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31447506)

I'm surprised that no-one has yet mentioned Kees Moeliker's paper "The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard anas platyrhynchos" http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/09/gay_duck_honour/ [theregister.co.uk]
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