HotAIR - AIRhead Research


AIRhead Research Review

Improbable theories, experiments, and conclusions

compiled by Dirk Manley


Carl Peterson (center, holding trophy) and Fordyce Ely (right, holding trophy), co-authors of “Factors Involved in the Ejection of Milk,” photographed in 1925 when they were members of the Iowa State Dairy Judging Team.

Cow, Cat, Bags, Boom

“Factors Involved in the Ejection of Milk,” Fordyce Ely and W.E. Petersen, Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 3, 1941, pp. 211-23. (Thanks to Andrea Gaddini for bringing this to our attention.) The authors explain their experimental protocol:

It was thought that there might be a difference in the response of the two halves of the udder as measured by the rate of ejection of milk if the cow was severely frightened. Accordingly, E 307 was systematically frightened as the mechanical milker was attached. Frightening at first consisted in placing a cat on the cow’s back and exploding paper bags ever ten seconds for two minutes. Later the cat was dispensed with as unnecessary.

Adventure Ride

“Fluctuation of Riding Passengers Induced by Chaotic Motions of Shuttle Buses,” T. Nagatani, Physical Review E, vol. 68, September 12, 2003. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Chittaranjan Andrade for bringing this to our attention.)

Oscillatory Baffled Flocculation 1

“Experimental Investigation of Bentonite Flocculation in a Batch Oscillatory Baffled Column,” S. Gao, X. Ni, R.H. Cumming, et al., Separation Science and Technology, vol. 33, no. 14, 1998, pp.2143-57.

Oscillatory Baffled Flocculation 2

“Experimental Study of Flocculation of Bentonite and Alcaligenes Eutrophus in a Batch Oscillatory Baffled Flocculator,” X. Ni, J.A. Cosgrove, R.H. Cumming, C.A. Greated, K.R. Murray and P. Norman, Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, vol. 79, 2001, pp.33-40. The authors are at Edinburgh University.

We welcome your suggestions for this column. Please enclose the full citation (no abbreviations!) and, if possible, a photocopy of the paper.

This HotAIR feature first appeared in AIR Volume 9 Issue 6. For a complete list of strangely fascinating featured articles elsewhere on this web site, see What's New.