What is necessary — from an engineer’s perspective —to keep a strapless evening dress in place? We explore that question, and the Henson-Conantian music that resulted from it, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.
Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Dress: The essay — Charles E. Siem‘s essay “Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown” appears in the book called Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown, edited by Robert Baker. Here’s a look at the book cover, and at one of the diagrams in the essay:
Stress Analysis is a collection of knowledge and techniques developed by engineers, to help them figure out whether particular objects will remain intact, or will instead crack and perhaps break.
The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.
The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS Play.it web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).
Pugnacious behavior of airline passengers mirrors that of the society that is, in several ways, miles below them, suggests this newly published study. By studying what happens to the the high class people and other classy people crammed into high-flying airplanes, you can better understand what happens to the teeming, sometimes steaming, millions on the ground:
“We posit that the modern airplane is a social microcosm of class-based society, and that the increasing incidence of “air rage” can be understood through the lens of inequality…. Analyses reveal that air rage is more common in economy class on airplanes, where inequality is physically present, and in both economy and first class when inequality is situationally salient. We extend research demonstrating that the salience of inequality decreases prosocial behavior by higher class individuals, showing that temporary exposure to physical and situational inequality predicts antisocial behavior among individuals in both higher and lower classes.”
“Here, we bring [report] on sexual behavior of Darwin’s bark spider, Caerostris darwini. This sexually size dimorphic Madagascan species is known for extreme web gigantism and for producing the world’s toughest biomaterial. Our field and laboratory study uncovers a rich sexual repertoire that predictably involves cannibalism, genital mutilation, male preference for teneral females, and emasculation. Surprisingly, C. darwini males engage in oral sexual encounters, rarely reported outside mammals. Irrespective of female’s age or mating status males salivate onto female genitalia pre-, during, and post-copulation.”
This adds to the list of species eagerly observed, by humans, to engage in oral sex. Among the very most celebrated: The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for biology was awarded to Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats. Their report about that is; “Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time,” Min Tan, Gareth Jones, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, Shuyi Zhang and Libiao Zhang, PLoS ONE, vol. 4, no. 10, e7595. Here is video of that: