Archive for 'Arts and science'

The Theory That Lesbians Evolved to Please Men [research study]

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Researchers in Cyprus gathered info about men’s sexual desire for lesbians. Then, having satisfied their desire to collect that info, the researchers explained what it means to them. The study is:

The evolution of female same-sex attraction: The male choice hypothesis,” Menelaos Apostolou [pictured here], Marios Shialos, Michalis Khalil, and Vana Paschali, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 116, 2017, pp. 372–378.

The authors, at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, explain: “this paper proposed a theoretical framework where, during the period of human evolution, same-sex attractions in women were under positive selection. The source of positive selection has been male preferences for opposite-sex sex partners who experienced same-sex attractions.”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali gathered data: “This theoretical framework was used to generate four predictions that were tested in two online studies which employed a total of 1509 heterosexual participants. ”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali explain that the data confirms their expectations about what some men find sexually attractive about some women sometimes:

“It was found that… a considerable proportion of heterosexual men desired partners who experienced same-sex attractions. In addition, it was found that men were more sexually excited than women by the same-sex infidelity of their partners, and they desired more than women, their opposite-sex partners to have sex with same-sex individuals. Finally, participants’ preferences were contingent on the seriousness of the relationships, with same-sex attraction to be preferred more in short-term than in a long-term partner.”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali arrive at a new understanding about evolution:

“These findings were employed in understanding the evolutionary origins of same-sex attraction in women…. Men’s desire for women who are attracted to other women selects for women who are attracted to other women. In turn, male desires, along with factors such as arranged marriage, which weakened the negative fitness costs of same-sex attraction, can explain the relatively high frequency of this trait in the population.”

BONUS: The newspaper El País supplies its own interpretation of this study, pointing out that “no homosexual woman has been interviewed in this study.”

Schmutz: White Wine Invites Melanoma, and Coffee Discourages It?

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Drinking alcohol — specifically, drinking white wine — may increase your change of getting melanoma, but drinking coffee may decrease your chance. That’s what this new study suggests. The study does not suggest, though we do, that you spend a few minutes exploring the ways that someone might find seemingly interesting things by the process known as “torturing the data.”

Here is the study: “Mélanome: alcool ou café, il faut choisir [Alcohol or coffee to help keep melanoma at bay],” Jean-Luc Schmutz, Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie, 2017. The author is at Hôpital de Brabois, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France.

Here is Doctor Schmutz:

The further adventures of Erwin Kompanje: Two-headed dolphin

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

A two-headed dolphin was rescued — rescued in the sense that the world now knows about it in some scientific detail — by Erwin Kompanje. Kompanje is a physician, medical ethicist, naturalist, and editorial board member of the Annals of Improbable Research.

The Washington Post reports:

Dutch fishermen caught a rare two-headed sea creature. What happened next would horrify scientists.

A photo of the thing began to circulate through the Netherlands — eventually to the inbox of Erwin Kompanje, the curator of mammals at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, who was astounded.

He recalled his first thought: “Where??”

Where was it, and how soon could he get it into a lab?

Even today, in an age of science, it might appear to many people to be a two-headed sea monster.

Kompanje knew better, though the truth was no less astounding. He was looking at photos of two conjoined harbor porpoises, newborns sharing a single body, a rarity among rarities in all the oceans in the world….

For a researcher hungry for any morsel of information about man’s aquatic mammalian cousins, it was a one-in-a-billion discovery.

So Kompanje got the boss of the fishing crew on the phone, who was helpful — providing the exact coordinates and details of the catch…. And just then, on the phone with the trawler boss, he learned the true end of this strange tale.

“They thought it was illegal to collect it,” Kompanje said. “They made four photographs and threw it back into the sea. Back into oblivion….”

Kompanje and colleagues wrote a study about the two-headed dolphin. That study has been published in the biology journal Deinsea:

The first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena (Mammalia, Cetacea),” Erwin J.O. Kompanje , C.J. (Kees) Camphuysen, and Mardik F. Leopold, Deinsea, June 7, 2017.

Deinsea is the same journal that in 2001 published Kees Moeliker’s Ig Nobel Prize-winning study “The First Case of Homosexual Necrophilia in the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae),” C.W. Moeliker, Deinsea, vol. 8, 2001, pp. 243-7.” Kees Moeliker and Erwin Kompanje and the world recently celebrated the 22nd Dead Duck Day, an event commemorating the incident of the duck.

The President’s Father and the Sneezing of Cats

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Jean-Michel Macron is a neurologist who has published several studies about the sneezing of cats.  His son is the current president of France.

Among Macron’s cat-sneeze studies:

Here’s graphical data pertaining to a sneeze, from the 1994 paper:

For most of his career, Macron has been based at the Université de Picardie Jules-Verne. The Huffington Post published a report about Macron’s scientific exploits, including  some of the cat sneeze research. We were unable to learn from that or any other source how many cats Macron owns at present, or whether he has any notable degree of allergy to cats.


The Perfect Selfie, and Higher Cognitive Variables [research study]

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Researchers who study selfies can focus their selfie-attentions on higher cognitive variables. Perhaps nowhere is this demonstrated better than in the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the University of Bamberg, and perhaps nowhere in the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the University of Bamberg is this demonstrated better then in this new study:

Taking the Perfect Selfie: Investigating the Impact of Perspective on the Perception of Higher Cognitive Variables,” Tobias M. Schneider and Claus-Christian Carbon [pictured here], Frontiers in Psychology, 2017.

Here’s further cognitive detail from the study, presented in direct perspective:

The authors take care to point out a limitation of their study:

“However, the effect of the combination of averted head plus direct gaze vs. frontal face plus averted gaze across different viewing perspectives on the perception of higher cognitive variables (like those we used) has not yet been investigated.”