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Carlos Fenollosa

Carlos Fenollosa

Engineer, developer, entrepreneur

After some years reading funny papers from colleagues and media, I decided to collect the best of them.

This is a compilation of papers I find weird, funny, or just caught my attention. I don't mean to bash other people's work; I believe in the scientific process. Referees of the field are the most qualified to decide if something is worth publishing.

But you know, some are really funny.

Science ☆☆☆Not actual science / not a paper
★☆☆Low scientific content or bad science; methods don't lead from hypothesis to conclusions
★★☆Follows the scientific method, actually a good paper
★★★Funny or not, this is solid science!
Fun ☆☆☆Out of the norm but not very funny
★☆☆Curious, mildly amusing
★★☆Definitely worth a read, you will like it
★★★You will laugh out loud and email it to your colleagues

Sexy waitresses get better tips

Lynn M.
Determinants and Consequences of Female Attractiveness and Sexiness: Realistic Tests with Restaurant Waitresses
Archives of sexual behavior (2009) 38:737-745. doi:10.1007/s10508-008-9379-0
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
[...] the waitresses' tips varied with age in a negative, quadratic relationship, increased with breast size, increased with having blond hair, and decreased with body size [...]

The physics of penguin poop

Meyer-Rochow VB, Gal J.
Pressures produced when penguins pooh—calculations on avian defaecation
Polar Biology (2003) 27:56-58. doi:10.1007/s00300-003-0563-3
Science:★★★
Fun:★★★
[...] we calculated that fully grown penguins generate pressures of around 10 kPa (77 mm Hg) to expel watery material and 60 kPa (450 mm Hg) to expel material of higher viscosity similar to that of olive oil. The forces involved, lying well above those known for humans, are high, but do not lead to an energetically wasteful turbulent flow. Whether a bird chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its faeces, and what role the wind plays in this, remain unknown.
Penguin poo

Empirical proof that chili burns your anus

Surg D.
Red hot chilli consumption is harmful in patients operated for anal fissure - a randomized, double-blind, controlled study
Digestive Surgery (2007) 24:354-357. doi:10.1159/000107716
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
The global scores for postoperative pain (7.60 in chilli group and 2.95 in control group, p < 0.001) and for anal burning (8.85 for the chilli group vs. 4.21 for the control group, p < 0.0001) were significant.

The conspirationist theories on aluminum helmets are actually a conspiration!

Rahimi A, Recht B, Taylor J, Vawter N.
On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study
Unpublished. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★★
Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.
The Centurion

Show me your trunk

Mayer J, Khairy K, Howard J.
Drawing an elephant with four complex parameters
American Journal of Physics (2010) 78(6):648-649. doi:10.1119/1.3254017
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
We define four complex numbers representing the parameters needed to specify an elephantine shape.
Complex elephant

The coolest dance floor moves

Neave N, McCarty K, Freynik J, Caplan N, Hönekopp, Fink B.
Male dance moves that catch a woman's eye
Biology letters (2010). doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0619
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
Nineteen males were recorded using the ‘Vicon' motion-capture system while dancing to a basic rhythm [...] Linear regression subsequently revealed that three movement measures were key predictors of dance quality; these were variability and amplitude of movements of the neck and trunk, and speed of movements of the right knee. In summary, we have identified specific movements within men's dance that influence women's perceptions of dancing ability

Hot women are a reward for men's eyes

Platek SM, Singh D.
Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men
Plos One (2010) 5(2):e9042. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009042
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Here, using fMRI, we found that males show activation in brain reward centers in response to naked female bodies [...] These findings suggest that an hourglass figure (i.e., an optimal WHR) activates brain centers that drive appetitive sociality/attention toward females that represent the highest-quality reproductive partners

Drosophila females do chores after sex

Isaac RE, Li C, Leedale AE, Shirras AD.
Drosophila male sex peptide inhibits siesta sleep and promotes locomotor activity in the post-mated female
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences (2010) 277(1678):65-70. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1236
[...] females sleep much less than males during day-time, presumably because reproductive success requires greater foraging activity by the female [...] Copulation results in the female losing 70 per cent of day-time sleep and becoming more active. [... but... ] we show that virgin females can minimize this risk [...] with an extended afternoon 'siesta'

Yet another reason to fight against climate change

Mozny M, Tolasz R, Nekovar J, Sparks T, Trnka M, Zalud Z.
The impact of climate change on the yield and quality of Saaz hops in the Czech Republic
Agricultural and Forest Meterorology (2009) 149(6-7):913-919. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2009.02.006
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Simulations using future climate predict a decline in both yields, of up to 7–10%, and α-acid content, of up to 13–32%, the latter a major determinant of quality [...] Policy assistance may be necessary for the adaptation of the Czech hop growing industry to changed climatic conditions

A study of bouncing breasts

Scurr JC, White JL, Hedger W.
The effect of breast support on the kinematics of the breast during the running gait cycle
Journal of Sports Sciences (2010) 28(10). doi:10.1080/02640414.2010.497542
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
Fifteen females ran at 2.8 m · s−1 in no bra, an everyday bra, and a sports bra. Three-dimensional coordinates of breast and body markers were tracked during ten gait cycles and following each trial the participants rated their breast comfort.

Surprise your kid with a cute nanoputian

Chanteau SH, Tour JM
Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules: The NanoPutians
Journal of Organic Chemistry (2003) 68(23):8750-8766. doi:10.1021/jo0349227
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
Described here are the synthetic details en route to an array of 2-nm-tall anthropomorphic molecules in monomeric, dimeric, and polymeric form. These anthropomorphic figures are called, as a class, NanoPutians
nanoputians

Cooking with calculus

Olszewski EA.
From baking a cake to solving the diffusion equation
American Journal of Physics (2006) 74(6):502. doi:10.1119/1.2186330
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
We explain how modifying a cake recipe by changing either the dimensions of the cake or the amount of cake batter alters the baking time [...] obtain a semiempirical relation for the baking time as a function of oven temperature, initial temperature of the cake batter, and dimensions of the unbaked cake. The relation, which is based on the diffusion equation [...] takes into account the evaporation of moisture at the top surface of the cake, which is the dominant factor affecting the baking time of a cake.

I bet you will look at your fingers

Choi IH, Kim KH, Jung H, Yoon SJ, Kim SW, Kim TB.
Second to fourth digit ratio: a predictor of adult penile length.
Asian Journal of Andrology (2011) advance online publication. doi:10.1038/aja.2011.75
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
In this study, we investigated the relationship between digit ratio and penile length [...] Under anaesthesia, flaccid and stretched penile lengths were measured by another investigator [...] Univariate and multivariate analysis using linear regression models showed that only height was a significant predictive factor for flaccid penile length [...] and that only digit ratio was a significant predictive factor for stretched penile length. [...] we suggest that the digit ratio can predict adult penile size and that the effects of prenatal testosterone may in part explain the differences in adult penile length.

Solving traditional idioms with science

DeLorenzo R.
When Hell Freezes Over: An Approach To Develop Student Interest and Communication Skills.
Journal of Chemical Education (1999) 76(4):503. doi:10.1021/ed076p503
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
According to the Bible (Rev. 21:8), hell is a lake of fire and brimstone [...] hell's temperature must be between sulfur's melting and boiling points, 246 and 832 F, respectively. [...] However, since hell is eternal, its temperature could not be at or anywhere near sulfur's boiling point. On the other hand, if hell were at 246 F, it could freeze over. Since hell will never freeze over, its temperature is slightly above 246 F.

Rules 1 & 2...

Bernstein M, Monroy-Hernández A, Harry D, André P, Panovich K, Vargas G.
4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community
Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★★
we explore how /b/ succeeds despite being almost entirely anonymous and extremely ephemeral [...] We find that most threads spend just five seconds on the first page and less than five minutes on the site before expiring. Our second study is an analysis of identity signals on 4chan, finding that over 90% of posts are made by fully anonymous users

Chicken Chicken Chicken

Zongker D
Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken
AAAS humor session, February 16, 2007. link
Science:☆☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
Chicken, chicken-chicken chicken chicken—chicken chicken, chicken chicken 95% chicken chicken-chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken—chicken chicken chicken chicken. Chicken, chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken 1987.

There's nothing better to cool water

Zubizarreta JI, Pinto G
An ancient method for cooling water explained by mass and heat transfer
Chemical Engineering Education (1995) (29):96-99. link
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
We poured 3.161 kg of water at 39.0°C into the botijo [...] We observed that the water temperature fell quickly (in about seven hours) to about 24°C, with a loss of mass of about 400g
botijo

A scientific comeback to a childhood trauma

Unger DL
Does knuckle cracking lead to arthritis of the fingers?
Arthritis & Rheumatism (2004) 41(5):949-950. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★★
During the author's childhood, various renowned authorities (his mother, several aunts, and, later, his mother-in-law [personal communication]) informed him that cracking his knuckles would lead to arthritis of the fingers [...] For 50 years, the author cracked the knuckles of his left hand at least twice a day, leaving those on the right as a control. Thus, the knuckles on the left were cracked at least 36,500 times

Supporting the idea that sex is good for the brain

Leuner B et al.
Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus Despite an Initial Elevation in Stress Hormones
PLoS ONE 5(7):e11597. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011597
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Chronic sexual experience no longer produced an increase in corticosterone levels but continued to promote adult neurogenesis and stimulate the growth of dendritic spines and dendritic architecture. Chronic sexual experience also reduced anxiety-like behavior. These findings suggest that a rewarding experience not only buffers against the deleterious actions of early elevated glucocorticoids but actually promotes neuronal growth and reduces anxiety.

Anything is better than Perl

Stefik A et al.
An Empirical Comparison of the Accuracy Rates of Novices using the Quorum, Perl, and Randomo Programming Languages
Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU) 2011. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
[...] we call Randomo a Placebo-language, where some of the syntax was chosen with a random number generator and the ASCII table. [...] Perl users were unable to write programs more accurately than those using a language designed by chance

Validating the existance of this webpage

Schwartz MA.
The importance of stupidity in scientific research
Journal of Cell Science (2008) Jun 1;121(Pt 11):1771. doi:10.1242/jcs.03334
Science:☆☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
[...] we don't do a good enough job of teaching our students how to be productively stupid — that is, if we don't feel stupid it means we're not really trying. [...] Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time.

Finally I get it! Wait, what was I thinking again?

Radvansky GA et al.
Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Further explorations
The Quarterly journal of experimental phsychology 2011, 64 (8), 1632-1645. doi:10.1080/17470218.2011.571267
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Previous research using virtual environments has revealed a location-updating effect in which there is a decline in memory when people move from one location to another. [...] In sum, walking through doorways serves as an event boundary, thereby initiating the updating of one's event model

Maybe humans aren't Pavlov dogs

Jamtvedt G et al.
Chocolate bar as an incentive did not increase response rate among physiotherapists: a randomised controlled trial
BMC Research Notes (2008) 1:34. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-1-34
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
Norwegian physiotherapists from private practice were randomised in blocks [...] A bar of dark chocolate did not increase response rate in a prospective study of physiotherapy performance. Stronger incentives than chocolate seem to be necessary to increase the response rate among professionals who are asked to report about their practice.
Chocolate bar

Are there bars for drosophilas?

Shohat-Opir G et al.
Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila
Science 16 March 2012: 335 (6074), 1351-1355. doi:10.1126/science.1215932
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
The brain’s reward systems reinforce behaviors required for species survival, including sex, food consumption, and social interaction [...] In males, mating increased, whereas sexual deprivation reduced, neuropeptide F (NPF) levels. Activation or inhibition of the NPF system in turn reduced or enhanced ethanol preference. These results thus link sexual experience, NPF system activity, and ethanol consumption.

Solving puzzles with math

Demaine ED et al.
Picture-hanging puzzles
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Fun with Algorithms. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
We show how to hang a picture by wrapping rope around n nails, making a polynomial number of twists, such that the picture falls whenever any k out of the n nails get removed

Studying the color of the perfect vagina

Johns SE et al.
Red Is Not a Proxy Signal for Female Genitalia in Humans
PLoS ONE 7(4): e34669. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034669
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★★
Red is a colour that induces physiological and psychological effects in humans [...] associated with increased sexual attractiveness [...] we show that contrary to the hypothesis, heterosexual men did not prefer redder female genitalia [...] We found a relative preference for pinker genital images.
Vulva

Seems that alcohol is a pretty good problem solver

Jarosz AF, Colflesh GJH, Wiley J.
Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving
Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2012) 487-493. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2012.01.002
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
That alcohol provides a benefit to creative processes has long been assumed by popular culture [...] Individuals were brought to a blood alcohol content of approximately .075, and, after reaching peak intoxication, completed a battery of RAT items. Intoxicated individuals solved more RAT items, in less time, and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight.

The homosexual, necrophiliac duck

Moeliker CW.
The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae)
Deinsea 8:243-247. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★★
[...] an adult male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) collided with the glass façade of the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam and died. An other drake mallard raped the corpse almost continuously for 75 minutes. Then the author disturbed the scene and secured the dead duck. Dissection showed that the rape-victim indeed was of the male sex. [...] the first described case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard.
Ducks
Here's Kees Moeliker delivering a TED talk after his Ig Nobel prize

The carpet in my office can vouch for this

Mayer HC, Krechetnikov R.
Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?
Physical Review E 85, 046117 (2012). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.85.046117
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
In our busy lives, almost all of us have to walk with a cup of coffee. While often we spill the drink, this familiar phenomenon has never been explored systematically. Here we report on the results of an experimental study of the conditions under which coffee spills for various walking speeds and initial liquid levels in the cup.

Yogurt is the macho meal

Dolgin E.
Real Males Eat Yogurt
Scientific American (May 2012), 306, 26. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0512-26b
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
[the male mice] projected their testes outward, which endowed them with a certain "mouse swagger" [...] the testicles of the yogurt consumers were about 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets alone and around 15 percent heavier than those of junk-eating males [...] yogurt-eating males inseminated their partners faster and produced more offspring than control mice. Conversely, females that ate the yogurt diets gave birth to larger litters and weaned those pups with greater success.

Do sheep dream of asymmetric fences?

Anderson DM, Murray LW.
Sheep laterality
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition n/a. doi:10.1080/1357650X.2011.647919
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Turning preferences among 309 white-faced ewes were individually evaluated [...] Overall, ewes that initially turned right when presented a second turning opportunity had a slight preference to alternate their turning direction, while ewes that initially turned left tended to continue turning left when given another chance to turn.

Bats like oral sex

Tan M. et al.
Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time
PLoS ONE 4(10): e7595. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007595
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
Female bats often lick their mate's penis during dorsoventral copulation [...] Males never withdrew their penis when it was licked by the mating partner. A positive relationship exists between the length of time that the female licked the male's penis during copulation and the duration of copulation. Furthermore, mating pairs spent significantly more time in copulation if the female licked her mate's penis than if fellatio was absent. Males also show postcopulatory genital grooming after intromission [...] Supporting Information S1: The face-to-back copulation of Cynopterus sphinx, showing the fellatio by female.
Bat fellatio

This can win you a bar bet

Benilov ES, Cummins CP, Lee WT.
Why do bubbles in Guinness sink?
arXiv:1205.5233v1 [physics.flu-dyn]. link
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
Stout beers show the counter-intuitive phenomena of sinking bubbles while the beer is settling. [...] In this paper, we demonstrate using simulations and experiment that the flow in a glass of stout depends on the shape of the glass. If it narrows downwards (as the traditional stout glass, the pint, does), the flow is directed downwards near the wall and upwards in the interior and sinking bubbles will be observed. If the container widens downwards, the flow is opposite to that described above and only rising bubbles will be seen.

These penguins are even worse than the necrophiliac duck

Russell DGD, Sladen WJL, Ainley DG.
Dr. George Murray Levick (1876-1956): unpublished notes on the sexual habits of the Adélie penguin
Polar Record, FirstView Article : pp 1-7. doi:10.1017/S0032247412000216
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
A previously unpublished four-page pamphlet [...] commented on frequency of sexual activity, autoerotic behaviour, and seemingly aberrant behaviour of young unpaired males and females including necrophilia, sexual coercion, sexual and physical abuse of chicks, non-procreative sex and homosexual behaviour. His observations were however accurate, valid and, with the benefit of hindsight, deserving of publication.

The penis not only it displaces semen inside, but also outside

Gallup Jr. GG et al.
The human penis as a semen displacement device
Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (2003) 277 – 289. doi:10.1016/S1090-5138(03)00016-3
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
Displacement of artificial semen in simulated vaginas varied as a function of glans/coronal ridge morphology, semen viscosity, and depth of thrusting [...] two surveys of college students showed that sexual intercourse often involved deeper and more vigorous penile thrusting following periods of separation or in response to allegations of female infidelity.
Genital models

Modeling a zombie outbreak

Munz P. et al.
When zombies attack!: mathematical modelling of an outbreak of zombie infection
Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress (2009) pp. 133-150. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
We introduce a basic model for zombie infection [...] then refine the model to introduce a latent period of zombification, [...] the effects of possible quarantine or a cure [...] We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all.

Teaching the controversy

Marsland S.
The Creationist Algorithm
Unpublished. link
Science:☆☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
We have applied the algorithm to many important problems. To inspect the results of the algorithm would imply doubt, and doubt denies faith. The results are therefore shown in figure 1 and need no interpretation.
The Creationist Algorithm

Just don't drink and drive

Miller KE.
Alcohol Mixed with Energy Drink Use and Sexual Risk-Taking: Casual, Intoxicated, and Unprotected Sex
Journal of Caffeine Research. June 2012, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/caf.2012.0015
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
This study examined the confluence of several behaviors common to U.S. young adults: caffeinated energy drink use, alcohol use, and sexual risk-taking. The author examined relationships between the use of energy drinks mixed with alcohol (AmEDs) and three sexual risk behaviors: casual sex (i.e., intercourse with a nonexclusive and/or nonromantic partner), intoxicated sex (i.e., intercourse while under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs), and unprotected sex (i.e., intercourse without use of a condom).

SMB was not only hard... it was NP-Hard

Aloupis G, Demaine ED, Guo A.
Classic Nintendo Games are (NP-)Hard
arXiv:1203.1895v1 [cs.CC] 8 Mar 2012. link
Science:★★★
Fun:★★★
We prove NP-hardness results for five of Nintendo's largest video game franchises: Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Pokémon [...] For Mario and Donkey Kong, we show NP-completeness. In addition, we observe that several games in the Zelda series are PSPACE-complete.
Super Mario Bros

Coffee shrinks breast size but protects against cancer

Jernström H et al.
Coffee intake and CYP1A2*1F genotype predict breast volume in young women: implications for breast cancer
British Journal of Cancer (2008) 99, 1534-1538. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6604687
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
A moderate-to-high coffee intake was associated with lower breast volume in women with the C-allele [...] As breast volume is associated with breast cancer risk in lean women, our finding is compatible with earlier reports of a protective effect of coffee on breast cancer risk restricted to women with the CYP1A2*1F C-allele.

Swearing eases pain

Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A.
Swearing as a response to pain
NeuroReport(2009). doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
[...] the participants immersed the same hand in the cold water with the instruction that they should submerge their unclenched hand for as long as they could, while repeating their chosen word. Timing began when the hand was fully immersed and stopped when the hand was fully removed from the water. [...] One participant was excluded because none of their suggested words were swear words. [...] Heart rate was recorded after the initial hand submersion in the room temperature bath (resting heart rate) and at the end of each coldpressor submersion..

Pigeons as art critics

Watanabe S.
Pigeons can discriminate "good" and "bad" paintings by children
ANIMAL COGNITION Volume 13, Number 1 (2010), 75-85. doi:10.1007/s10071-009-0246-8
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
Fifty-seven paintings by children (ages 9–11 years) that were graded A, C, or D by the classroom art teacher were obtained. I considered the teacher’s evaluation of an A as "good" and C or D as "bad" [...] Pecking at the "good" pictures (S+) was rewarded by a four s period of access to a feeder after a variable interval with a mean of 20 s (Variable Interval 20 s schedule), whereas pecking at the "bad" pictures was not rewarded.
Pigeon rate paintings

Adult rats drink more responsibly than adolescents

Hargreaves GA et al.
Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats
Alcohol 43 (2009) 305-314. doi:10.1016/j.alcohol.2009.02.005
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
We investigated the possibility of excessive adolescent drinking in a rodent model [...] Adolescents with intermittent access consumed more than adolescents with daily access, a "binge"-like effect that was not observed in adult groups and that disappeared in adulthood. [...] After 3 months [...] rats previously kept under an intermittent schedule displayed a higher preference for beer relative to 3% sucrose, but only when testing occurred after 2 days of abstinence.
Adult rats drink responsibly

Arousal lessens disgust in women

Borg C, de Jong PJ.
Feelings of Disgust and Disgust-Induced Avoidance Weaken following Induced Sexual Arousal in Women
PLoS ONE 7(9): e44111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044111
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
Film clips were used to elicit the relevant mood state. Participants engaged in 16 behavioural tasks, involving sex related (e.g., lubricate the vibrator) and non-sex related (e.g., take a sip of juice with a large insect in the cup) [...] For both the sex and non-sex related behavioural tasks the sexual arousal group showed less avoidance behaviour.
Some of the tasks

Viewing pictures of kittens enhances productivity

Nittono H. et al.
The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus
PLoS ONE 7(9): e46362. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046362
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.
Viewing pictures of kittens enhances productivity

Penis size vs GDP

Westling T.
Male organ and economic growth: does size matter?
MPRA 32706. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
[...] With considerable reservations it is also found to be a more important determinant of GDP growth than country's political regime type. Two interpretations for the patterns between male organ and economic growth are discussed briefly: the link between penile length, testosterone and risk-taking, and self-esteem production. Despite the robust statistical links, until more rigorous treatments on the subject the proposed 'male organ hypothesis' should be taken with reservations.
Penis vs GDP

Eat chocolate, get a Nobel prize

Messerli FH.
Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1562-1564. doi:10.1056/NEJMon1211064
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
There was a close, significant linear correlation (r=0.791, P<0.0001) between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries (Fig. 1). When recalculated with the exclusion of Sweden, the correlation coefficient increased to 0.862. Switzerland was the top performer in terms of both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption. The slope of the regression line allows us to estimate that it would take about 0.4 kg of chocolate per capita per year to increase the number of Nobel laureates in a given country by 1.
Chocolate consumption vs Nobel prize winners

Don't strip while menstruating

Miller G, Tybur JM, Jordan BD.
Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?
Evolution and Human Behavior 28 (2007) 375-381. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.06.002
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
All participants in this study worked as lap dancers in Albuquerque "gentlemen's clubs" circa November 2006 through January 2007 [...] topless but not bottom-less [...] can wear tampons [...] without revealing any visual signs of menstruation. Dancers typically wear very little perfume, but they often have breast implants, dye their head hair, trim their pubic hair, shave their legs and underarms, and adopt a "stage name" different from their real first name. They typically do regular aerobic and resistance exercise to maintain a fit, lean body shape.
Ovulating strippers

Work more at home, weigh less

Archer E. et al.
45-Year Trends in Women's Use of Time and Household Management Energy Expenditure
PLoS ONE 8(2): e56620. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056620
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
By 2010, women allocated 25% more time to screen-based media use than HM (i.e., cooking, cleaning, and laundry combined). The reallocation of time from active pursuits (i.e., housework) to sedentary pastimes (e.g., watching TV) has important health consequences. These results suggest that the decrement in HMEE may have contributed to the increasing prevalence of obesity in women during the last five decades.

Drop your pants to sell Viagra

Klotz L.
How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous brindley lecture
BJU International, 96: 956-957. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05797.x
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★★
The Professor [...] injected himself with papaverine in his hotel room before coming to give the lecture, and deliberately wore loose clothes (hence the track-suit) to make it possible to exhibit the results. He stepped around the podium, and pulled his loose pants tight up around his genitalia in an attempt to demonstrate his erection.

Size does matter

Mautz BS et al.
Penis size interacts with body shape and height to influence male attractiveness
PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print April 8, 2013. doi:10.1073/pnas.1219361110
Science:★★★
Fun:★★☆
Before clothing, the nonretractable human penis would have been conspicuous to potential mates. This observation has generated suggestions that human penis size partly evolved because of female choice. [...] larger penis size and greater height had almost equivalent positive effects on male attractiveness.
Penis size does matter

Beard or no beard?

Dixson BJ, Brooks RC.
The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities
Evolution and Human Behavior 34 (2013) 236-241. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.02.003
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
We quantified men's and women's judgments of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities for photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded. We also tested the effect of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use on women's ratings. Women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive. In contrast, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, followed closely by clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. Men and women rated full beards highest for parenting ability and healthiness.
Beards used in this study

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder

Bègue L et al.
'Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder': People who think they are drunk also think they are attractive
British Journal of Psychology, 104: 225-234. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.2012.02114.x
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
This research examines the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. [...] Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance.

How to effectively order in bars

Loth S, Huth K, De Ruiter JP.
Automatic detection of service initiation signals used in bars
Front. Psychol. 4:557 (2013). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00557
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Detecting whether a customer would like to order is essential for the service encounter to succeed. This detection is particularly challenging in a noisy environment with multiple customers [...] we recorded real-life customer-staff interactions in several German bars. These recordings were used to generate initial hypotheses about the signals customers produce when bidding for the attention of bar staff.

How to pee into a urinal

Hurd R. et al.
Urinal Dynamics
66th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics. Volume 58, Number 18. Abstract E9.00003. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
In response to harsh and repeated criticisms from our mothers and several failed relationships with women, we present the splash dynamics of a simulated human male urine stream impacting rigid and free surfaces.
Peeing into a urinal

Cats recognize owners, but don't care

Saito A, Shinozuka K.
Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus)
Animal Cognition, Volume 16, issue 4, pp 685-690. doi:10.1007/s10071-013-0620-4
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
We studied 20 domestic cats to investigate whether they could recognize their owners by using voices that called out the subjects' names [...] The cats responded to human voices [...] This tendency did not change even when they were called by their owners [...] This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.

Don't wash your jeans, it doesn't matter

Jack T.
Nobody was Dirty: disrupting inconspicuous consumption in laundry routines
Journal of Consumer Culture (2013) vol. 13 no. 3 406-421. doi:10.1177/1469540513485272
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
Intervening into cleanliness conventions, 31 people in Melbourne were engaged to wear the same pair of jeans for three months without washing them. Transcripts from interviews about their experience were used to draw insights on how individual courses of actions are shaped by collective conventions.
Disgust

Too lazy to exercise? Watch it on TV!

Brown R, Kemp U, Macefield V.
Increases in muscle sympathetic nerve activity, heart rate, respiration, and skin blood flow during passive viewing of exercise
Front Neurosci. 2013; 7: 102. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00102
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Nine subjects watched a first-person running video [...] On average, statistically significant increases from baseline during the running phase were seen in heart rate, respiratory rate, skin blood flow, and burst amplitude of MSNA. These results suggest that observation of exercise in the first person is a strong enough stimulus to evoke “physiologically appropriate” autonomic responses that have a purely psychogenic origin.

Dogs align themselves to the Earth's magnetic field to poo

Hart V et al.
Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field
Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:80. doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-80
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period [...] Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable MF. Disgust

My eyes are up here!

Gervais SJ, Holland AM, Dodd MD.
My Eyes Are Up Here: The Nature of the Objectifying Gaze Toward Women
Sex roles (2013) Vol. 69, Issue 11-12, pp 557-570. link
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
[...] we asked participants (29 women, 36 men from a large Midwestern University in the U.S.), to focus on the appearance (vs. personality) of women and presented women with body shapes that fit cultural ideals of feminine attractiveness to varying degrees [...] we found that participants focused on women’s chests and waists more and faces less when they were appearance-focused.

Chocolate makes you smarter, not heavier

Cuenca-Garcia M et al.
Association between chocolate consumption and fatness in European adolescents
Nutrition. Online: 17/Oct/2013. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2013.07.011
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower levels of total and central fatness, as estimated by BMI, body fat estimated from skinfolds and BIA, and waist circumference, regardless of potential confounders (P <= 0.01).

Trolls really are psychopaths

Buckels EE, Trapnell PD, Paulhus DL.
Trolls just want to have fun
Personality and Individual Differences, 2014, in press. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.01.016
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles [...] trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
Internet trolls are pshychopaths

Fashions in shaving... and skirt length

Robinson DE.
Fashions in shaving and trimming of the beard: The Men of the Illustrated London News, 1842-1972
American Journal of Sociology, 81(5) Mar. 1976, 1133-1141. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
This research note presents sample-derived measures [...] for changing modes in men's facial barbering [...] shifts in the comparative proportions of women's dress design [...] they are common expressions of underlying conditions and sequences in social behavior.
Beards/skirts correlation

Let's count Asterix's punches

Kamp MA et al.
Traumatic brain injuries in illustrated literature: experience from a series of over 700 head injuries in the Asterix comic books
Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1351-1355. doi:10.1007/s00701-011-0993-6
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★★☆
The goal of the present study was to analyze the epidemiology and specific risk factors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the Asterix illustrated comic books. Among the illustrated literature, TBI is a predominating injury pattern.
Asterix's punches

Scientific halal

Tarek K et al.
Histological Changes in Liver and Pectoral Muscles of Broiler Chickens Slaughtered with and Without Naming of Allah
International Journal of Poultry Science 12 (9): 550-552, 2013. link
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
Sixty six broiler chickens [...] were divided in 2 groups. The first group were slaughtered according to the Islamic ritual and Allah’s name has pronounced. The second group was slaughtered but the name of Allah was not pronounced [...] the liver and pectoral muscles of broilers slaughtered with Islamic method showed normal structure and no congestion have been noticed.

Don't get judged before lunch time

Danzinger S et al.
Extraneous factors in judicial decisions
PNAS April 26, 2011 vol. 108 no. 17 6889-6892. doi:10.1073/pnas.1018033108
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Summary: Are judicial rulings based solely on laws and facts? [...] We find that the percentage of favorable rulings drops gradually from 65% to nearly zero within each decision session and returns abruptly to 65% after a break.
Don't get judged before lunch

Don't duck-face on Facebook

Daniels EA, Zurbriggen EL.
The Price of Sexy: Viewers' Perceptions of a Sexualized Versus Nonsexualized Facebook Profile Photograph
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Jul 14, 2014, No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1037/ppm0000048
Science:★☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
The purpose was to investigate possible costs that adolescent girls and young adult women might face from portraying themselves in a sexualized manner on a social networking site. Specifically, this study investigated adolescent girls' and young adult women's perceptions of a peer who self-sexualizes on Facebook.

This paper says: Too Many Papers Out There

Della Briotta Parollo P et al.
Attention decay in science
arXiv:1503.01881v1 6 Mar 2015. link
Science:★★★
Fun:☆☆☆
Typically, the citation rate of a paper increases up to a few years after its publication, reaches a peak and then decreases rapidly [...] The decay is also becoming faster over the years, signaling that nowadays papers are forgotten more quickly [...] This indicates that the attention of scholars depends on the number of published items, and not on real time.
Citations vs years

Want a raise? Have more sex (at home)

Drydakis N.
The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7529. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
[...] we examine the relationship between adult sexual activity and wages. We estimate that there is a monotonic relationship between the frequency of sexual activity and wage returns [...] heterosexuals’ sexual activity does not seem to provide higher or lower wage returns than that of homosexuals [...] Sexual activity may also be of interest to social scientists, since sexual activity is considered to be a barometer for health, quality of life, well-being and happiness.

A warm bath, a glass of wine, and... death metal

Sherman L. and Dingle GA.
Extreme metal music and anger processing
Front. Hum. Neurosci.(9), 21 May 2015. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00272
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
In this study, 39 extreme music listeners aged 18–34 years were subjected to an anger induction, followed by random assignment to 10 min of listening to extreme music from their own playlist, or 10 min silence [...] The findings indicate that extreme music did not make angry participants angrier; rather, it appeared to match their physiological arousal and result in an increase in positive emotions. Listening to extreme music may represent a healthy way of processing anger for these listeners.
Relax with Death Metal

Pâté or dog food?

Bohannon J et al.
Can people distinguish pâté from dog food?
AAWE Working paper No. 36 - Economics. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and inexpensive substitute for pâté or processed blended meat products [...] To prevent bias, Newman's Own dog food was prepared with a food processor to have the texture and appearance of a liver mousse. In a double-blind test, [...] Although 72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples [...] were not better than random at correctly identifying the dog food.

Men accept unfairness from pretty women

Ma Q et al.
The undermining effect of facial attractiveness on brain responses to fairness in the Ultimatum Game: an ERP study
Front. Neurosci. 9:77. doi:10.3389/fnins.2015.00077
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
To investigate the time course of the neural processing of facial attractiveness [...] 21 male subjects performing a two-person Ultimatum Game [...] decided whether to accept offers from female proposers, whose facial images (grouped as "attractive" and "unattractive") were presented prior to the offer presentation.

Quit Facebook to be happier

The Happiness Research Institute.
The Facebook Experiment. Does social media affect the quality of our lives?
The Happiness Research Institute, 2015. link
Science:☆☆☆
Fun:★☆☆
In this experimental study we wanted to test if Facebook use affects our subjective well-being. 1095 people participated [...] After one week we asked all of them to evaluate their lives again [...] After one week without Facebook the treatment group reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction.
Facebook happiness

Obfuscate or Perish

Markowitz DM and Hancock JT.
Linguistic Obfuscation in Fraudulent Science
Journal of Language and Social Psychology 0261927X15614605, first published on November 8, 2015. doi:10.1177/0261927X15614605
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Fraudulent papers were written with significantly higher levels of linguistic obfuscation, including lower readability and higher rates of jargon than unretracted and nonfraudulent papers. We also observed a positive association between obfuscation and the number of references per paper, suggesting that fraudulent authors obfuscate their reports to mask their deception by making them more costly to analyze and evaluate.

Die for science's sake

Azoulay P, Fons-Rosen C, Graff JS.
Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?
Unpublished. link
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
We study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields [...] the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases precipitously after the death of a star scientist [...] the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases by 8% on average.
Die for science

Most of what is shared on the internet is bullshit

Pennycook G et al.
On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit
Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563. link
Science:★★☆
Fun:★★☆
We gave people syntactically coherent sentences that consisted of random vague buzzwords and, across four studies, these statements were judged to be at least somewhat profound. This tendency was also evident when we presented participants with similar real-world examples of pseudo-profound bullshit [...] Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.
Bullshit sentences

Technology, institution and wars: the longbow

Allen DW, Lesson PT.
Institutionally Constrained Technology Adoption: Resolving the Longbow Puzzle
Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 58 (August 2015). link
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
Rulers choosing between missile technologies thus confronted a trade-off with respect to internal and external security. England alone in late medieval Europe was suffciently pol.
Longbow

The 5000-year-old beer

Wang J. et al.
Revealing a 5,000-y-old beer recipe in China
Wang, Jiajing, et al. "Revealing a 5,000-y-old beer recipe in China." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016): 201601465. doi:10.1073/pnas.1601465113
Science:★★★
Fun:★☆☆
This research reveals a 5,000-y-old beer recipe in which broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears, and tubers were fermented together. To our knowledge, our data provide the earliest direct evidence of in situ beer production in China, showing that an advanced beer-brewing technique was established around 5,000 y ago.
Beer making toolkit

In spider sex, practice makes perfect

Daniela M et al.
Copulation with immature females increases male fitness in cannibalistic widow spiders
Biol. Lett. 2016 12 20160516; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0516. Published 20 September 2016. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2016.0516
Science:★★☆
Fun:★☆☆
Copulatory cannibalism of male ‘widow’ spiders (genus Latrodectus) [...] can increase their reproductive success by copulating with final-instar, immature females after piercing the female's exoskeleton to access her newly developed sperm storage organs..
Last modified: Mon Oct 3 17:52:01 CEST 2016
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