“Gluteal Hardness is simple to gauge, at least in security guards. The parameters of interest are: gender; age; fullness of uniform; visibility of scalp; and belt-width and -trappings. The values of these parameters reliably distinguish a guard who is basically strolling over to say hello in case his supervisor is watching, from a guard who’d shoot you if he could.” Private security guards — of many kinds — turn up in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.
Click on the “Venetian blinds” icon — at the lower right corner here — to select whichever week’s episode you want to hear:
This week, Marc Abrahams tells about:
- The hardness of security guards. (“Assessing Gluteal Hardness in Uniformed Security Guards,” an essay by Peter Freundlich, Annals of Improbable Research, vol. 11, no. 3, May-June 2005. Featuring a dramatic reading by Sue Wellington.) Here’s a photo of a dramatic depiction of a private security guard:
- Clever contraptions to capture crook (part 1). (Gustano Pizzo’s U.S. Patent #3811643, “Anti Hijacking System for Aircraft,” granted 1972 / Kuo Cheng Hsieh’s U.S. patent #6219959, “Net Trapping System for Capturing a Robber Immediately,” granted 2001 / Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong’s “A Security System for a Vehicle” — International Patent WO/1999/032331, granted 1999 / J.F. Hurd’s “Pickpocket and Coat-thief Detector” — U.S. patent 477940, granted 1892 / Thomas Walsh’s “Fire Alarm Box” — U.S. patent 545141, granted 1895 / Martin Plesac’s “Burglar Apparatus” — U.S. patent 978396, granted 1910. Featuring dramatic readings by Andrew Berry.) Pizzo, Hsieh, and Fourie were all awarded Ig Nobel Prizes for their inventions. Here’s one of the technical drawings from the Pizzo anti-hijacker patent:
- Boys will be boy (research by and for adolescent boys of all ages and sexes). (“Germination Success of Temperate Grassland Species After Passage Through Ungulate and Rabbit Guts,” E. Cosyns, A. Delporte, L. Lens and M. Hoffmann, Journal of Ecology, vol. 93, no. 2, April 2005, pp. 353-61. / “Chewing Behaviour in the Domestic Donkey (Equus asinus) Fed Fibrous Forage,” P.J. Mueller, P. Protos, K.A. Houpt and P.J. Van Soest, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 60, 1998, pp. 241–51. / “The Fate of Legume Seeds Eaten by Sheep from a Mediterranean Grassland,” L. Russi, P.S. Cocks and E.H. Roberts, Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 29, 1992, pp. 772–8. / “A Micro Creeping Robot for Colonoscopy Based on the Earthworm,” J. Zuo, et al., Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology, vol. 29, no. 1, January-February 2005, pp. 1-7. / “Improvement of Semen Quality by Nocturnal Scrotal Cooling in Oligozoospermic Men with a History of Testicular Maldescent,” A. Jung, W.-B. Schill and H.-C. Schuppe, International Journal of Andrology, vol. 28, no. 2, April 2005, p. 93. / “The Mother-in-Law Effect,” John Hunt, and Robert Brooks, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Supplement, vol. 271, 2004, pp. S61–S63.. Featuring dramatic readings by Daniel Rosenberg.)
The mysterious John Schedler 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, both on the new CBS Play.it web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).
BONUS: Here’s an earlier depiction of a private security guard: W.C. Fields in the movie The Bank Dick: