Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Study: Top (male) comedians die earlier?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

A new study from professors Simon Stewart and David Thompson of the Centre for the Heart and Mind and the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research (MMIHR) at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) has found that :

“Elite comedians are at increased risk of premature death compared to their less funny counterparts.”

The team examined a study cohort of 53 (exclusively male) comedians from the UK and Ireland – both living (23) and not (30) – and analysed the data using IBM SPPS Statistics version 22.0. The data were weighted according to the ‘funniness’ of the man in question, running from ‘relatively funny’ to ‘hilariously funny’.


“On an adjusted basis, there was no correlation between the decade of birth (HR 0.94, 95% 0.65 to 1.38 per incremental decade; p =0.763) and comedy team status (HR 1.13, 95% 0.51 to 2.48 versus independent comedian; p = 0.761) with longevity. However, an increasingly funny comedy score was associated with increased mortality (HR 1.24, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.44 per unit funny score; p = 0.006). Of the 23 comedians adjudged to be very funny (score 8–10), 18 (78%) had died versus 12 (40%) of the rest; mean age at death 63.3 ± 12.2 versus 72.3 ± 14.7 (p = 0.079). Within comedy teams, those identified as the funnier member(s) of the partnership were, on an adjusted basis, more than three times more likely to die prematurely when compared to their more serious comedy partners (HR 3.52, 95% CI 1.22, 10.1; p = 0.020).”

The hypothesis was further bolstered with the finding that in the case of double-acts, the ‘stooges’ (or straight men) were more than 3 times less likely to die on an adjusted basis before those designated as the funny man.

See: ‘Does comedy kill? A retrospective, longitudinal cohort, nested case–control study of humour and longevity in 53 British comedians’ in: The International Journal of Cardiology, 180 (2015), pp. 258–261.

Notes [1] : The paper cites this study from the British Journal of Psychiatry, 204 (2014), pp. 341–345, by Victoria Ando, Gordon Claridge and Ken Clark Psychotic traits in comedians. The researchers asked more than 500 comedians to complete an online form based on the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE), with scales measuring four dimensions of psychotic traits, finding that : “Comedians scored significantly above O-LIFE norms on all four scales.”

[2]: Sadly, both the comedians in the clip above – Peter Cook (comedy rating 9 in the ACU study) and Dudley Moore (comedy rating 5 in the ACU study) are no longer metabolically extant. They are deceased. They are ex-comedians. They do, however, in a sense, live on, in YouTubeLand

For fans of randomization: Effect of Vaginal Electrical Stimulation

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

If you find randomization to be stimulating, we suggest you read this study:

Effect of Vaginal Electrical Stimulation on Female Sexual Functions: A Randomized Study,” Serdar Aydın, Çağrı Arıoğlu Aydın, Gonca Batmaz and Ramazan Dansuk, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, epub December 3, 2014. The authors, at Bezmialem Vakif University and at Liv Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey, explain:

METHODS. Forty-two women… The probe was inserted, and a medium-frequency (50 Hz) alternating current was administered for a duty cycle of 5 seconds on followed by a 5-second rest.

CONCLUSIONS. The lack of significant difference… puts into question the effectiveness of electrical stimulation as a monotherapy…

Here’s further detail from the study:


(Thanks to investigator Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.)

Consumption of Pornography, Sexting Behavior, a Publication

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This study was published, possibly for some reason:

ouytselThe Associations Between Adolescents’ Consumption of Pornography and Music Videos and Their Sexting Behavior,” Joris Van Ouytsel [pictured here], Koen Ponnet, and Michel Walrave, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Volume 17, Number 12, 2014. The authors, at the University of Antwerp and Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, reach this conclusion:

“The results of our study show that various types of sexting behavior are significantly linked with both pornography and music video consumption.”

The study includes numbers. Here are some of them:


(Thanks to investigator Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.)

That, and maybe why, some seals have sex with some penguins

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Neighbors sometimes come together in unexpected ways. This study shows it happening with seals and penguins:

Multiple occurrences of king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) sexual harassment by Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella),” William A. Haddad, Ryan R. Reisinger, Tristan Scott, Marthán N. Bester, P. J. Nico de Bruyn, Polar Biology, November 2014. (Thanks to David Delaney for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, report:

“We describe three new occurrences of the sexual coercion of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) by Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) on sub-Antarctic Marion Island. These recurrent observations follow a common pattern where the seal chases, captures and mounts the penguin, followed by copulation attempts. These observations are similar to a previously published observation from the same island, and we suggest that this may be an emergent behaviour.”

Here’s further detail from the study (the online version of which contains three action videos):


The authors hazard guesses as to why this happens.

Matt Walker provides still additional details, in a report for the BBC: “Fur seals have been caught engaging in an extreme form of sexual behaviour. Specifically, trying to have sex with penguins“. The report includes one of those action videos, which is of a kind some Americans call “must-see TV”.

To license Australia’s National Public Toilet Map dataset…

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

To license Australia’s National Public Toilet Map dataset, you must agree to a set of terms and conditions.

toiletmap-iconTo use the National Public Toilet Map, you go to the National Public Toilet Map web site. There you can:

  • Enter a location, address or postcode to find nearby toilets.
  • Plan a journey, to get a list of toilets along the way.
  • Login or register to personalise your Toilet Map experience including saving maps, trips plans and toilet information.

The Toilet Map is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services as part of the National Continence Program.

(Thanks to investigator Feng Qin for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (possibly unrelated): Urination, free will, and the John Templeton Foundation