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Archive for 'Research News'

The case of the roaming cat carcass & the case of the dead cat carcass

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Cat carcasses can create curiosity.

A study called “A Case Report of a Botulism Outbreak in Beef Cattle Due to the Contamination of Wheat by a Roaming Cat Carcass: From the Suspicion to the Management of the Outbreak” has been published by a research team in France.

An earlier report by a team in Australia, about a different incident, concerns what would appear, from the writing, to be a doubly dead cat. The study, called “Aggregation in quads but not pairs of rats exposed to cat odor or bright light”, includes this passage:

The predator odor stimulus was a 2 g ball of cat fur obtained from a dead cat carcass acquired from the company Australian Feral Pest Management.

Those are but two of science’s curious cases involving cat carcasses. If you know of other examples—good examples, not just examples, we might enjoy hearing about them.

Press release breathes hint of a more potent garlic

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Discovery could lead to more potent garlic, boosting flavor and bad breath” is the punch-in-the-nose headline in a news release from Virginia Tech. The lead researcher [pictured here, gazing at a test tube] explains:

“This information changes the whole story about how garlic could be improved or we could make the compounds responsible of its unique flavor,” said Hannah Valentino, a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ph.D. candidate. “This could lead to a new strain of garlic that would produce more flavor.”

The team offers punchy details, in a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is called “Structure and function of a flavin-dependent S-monooxygenase from garlic (Allium sativum)“.

(Thanks to Davide Castelvecchi for bringing this to our attention.)

How does faecal sludge in pit latrines decompose? The quarrel continues.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Does fecal sludge in pit latrines decompose more aerobically, or more anaerobically? The debate bubbles, bubbles, toils, and troubles on, in the research journal Water Science & Technology:

Miriam H. A. van Eekert and colleagues, like their rivals, do not settle for too-quick, easily-disposed-of answers. Some things take time.

Recent progress in Peppa Pig® studies

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Given the worldwide success of the Peppa Pig® TV series (and subsequent spinoffs), it’s perhaps not surprising that the character has attracted attention in academic circles. Here are some recent examples of scholarly publications on the subject.


Does Peppa Pig encourage inappropriate use of primary care resources? British Medical Journal, 2017; 359

Peppa Pig and Friends International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, volume 31, pages 451–471(2018)

I’m Peppa Shit: Spokes-characters 2.0 as Bearers of Reputational Risk? The Case of Peppa Pig  Meaning and λόγος, Proceedings from the Early Professional Interdisciplinary Conference, 2015

Peppa Pig in China (2019) MKVM13 20182, Media and Communication Studies, Lund University

Peppa Pig: a study on family relationships between grandparents, parents and grandchildren Pensando Familias, 2017, vol.21, n.1, pp. 63-79.

The Billion Dollar Pig – A Subjective Extrospective Exploration of the Cross-Cultural Meanings of The Peppa Pig Cartoon Character Franchise, Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) conference, 2017, Queen Mary University

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Studying Men Who Send Out Pictures of Bits of Themself

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Scholars continue to study some of the many men who send out pictures of bits of themselves. A new study and a new book stand out. The book was written by a man who sends out copies of his book about studying men who send out pictures of bits of themselves.

A Study to Study

The study is: “I’ll Show You Mine so You’ll Show Me Yours: Motivations and Personality Variables in Photographic Exhibitionism,” Flora Oswald, Alex Lopes, Kaylee Skoda, Cassandra L. Hesse, and Cory L. Pedersen, Journal of Sex Research, vol. 57, no. 5, 2020, pp. 597-609. (Thanks to Sarah Larsen for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Pennsylvania State University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and The University of British Columbia, explain:

“The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in the motivations, personality aspects, and sexualities of men who send unsolicited genital images relative to men who do not send such images. Within our sample of 1,087 heterosexual males, 48% (n = 523) confirmed that they had engaged in sending unsolicited dick pics, suggesting that this behavior is common amongst heterosexual men…. [Our] findings are consistent with previous literature indicating that men often send such images in the hopes that the recipients will be turned on by the images and reciprocate the behavior.”

A Book to Look At

The book is: The Fine Art of Dick Pics and Selfies, Jeremy Bell, brotherhogarth [publishers], 2020, ISBN 099883422X

BONUS: The author will play a small but vital role in the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

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