Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Boys Will Be Boys: Eat or Be Eaten, and a Pestle

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

v22i4-250wWhat’s the deal with people who yearn to eat or to be eaten — to literally consume, or to literally be consumed — during sex. And what’s a good example of an early medical report about a pestle found in a rectum?

Those questions are addressed in studies that are profiled (in the column “Boys Will Be Boys: Eat or Be Eaten, and a Pestle“) in the special kissing issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

The vorarephilia study, about the eating and/or being eaten, was done by researchers at the University of New England and the University of Toronto.

Shit and the Need for Data-Driven Standards

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Feces, faeces, ordure, dung, manure, excreta, stool, stool-NOT-faeces, and stool-NOT-feces are the prime examples in a newly published study that examines the need for data-driven standards. The study is:

Laying a Community-Based Foundation for Data-Driven Semantic Standards in Environmental Health Sciences,” Carolyn J. Mattingly, Rebecca Boyles, Cindy P. Lawler, Astrid C. Haugen, Allen Dearry, and Melissa Haendel, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 124, no. 8, August 2016, pp. 1136-1140. The authors, at North Carolina State University, the National Institutes of Health, and Oregon Health & Science University, present the essence of their argument in Table 1, which is reproduced here:

“Table 1. Variable results from a PubMed query of microbiome samples illustrates the consequences of lacking semantic standards and implementation.”


(Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: Ed Yong has a new book about the microbiome. It’s called I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Inside Us and a Grander View of Life.


Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture, etc.

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

'David'_by_MichelangeloThe 2002 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Chris McManus of University College London, for his excruciatingly balanced report, “Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture.” [That report was published in the journal Nature, vol. 259, February 5, 1976, p. 426; it was in fact the cover story of that issue.]

But some people care more about penis size than testicle asymmetry. For those people, Sara Rense writes about their favorite subject, in a report in Esquire, with the headline “The Real Reason Why Greek Statues Have Such Small Penises.”

BONUS: Here’s video of Chris McManus discussing a rather non-scrotal topic: editing

Bacteria Exchanged Via Osculation

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

v22i4-250wWhat bacteria are exchanged when two people kiss?

That question is addressed in studies that are profiled in the special kissing issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

One of those studies was honored with an Ig Nobel Prize last year.

Are There Societies Where Lovers Do Not Kiss?

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

v22i4-250wAre There Societies Where Lovers Do Not Kiss? Is any society devoid of osculation?

Those questions are addressed in a study that’s profiled in the special kissing issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.