Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Odorous preoccupations of James Joyce – the low down [study]

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

James Joyce may not have had particularly good eyesight, but (some say) he at least partially made up for it with a heightened awareness of smells. Especially bodily ones. Which he often wrote about. In great detail.

But do academic works about Joyce’s evident preoccupations with flatulence – which have led some scholars to suggest that he might have been an eproctophiliac, or even a renifleur – sometimes have a whiff of overegging about them?

Dr Crispian Neill (University of Leeds, UK) points out that :

“Joyce’s taxonomy of flatus does not provide a differentiation based upon odorous characteristics. Rather, the characteristic intangibility of the fart as a gaseous emanation is offset by the narrative’s ascription of spatial and auditory properties, which enables the encoding of flatulence within the text.”

And further :

“The unstable linkage between an odor and its presumed source or odor object recalls the linguistic unit’s arbitrary pairing of sign and object, an interconnection signaled in representations of odor throughout Joyce’s writing, as smells—flatulent or floral—become aromatic signs that float free from their original referents.”

See: The Afflatus of Flatus: James Joyce and the Writing of Odor in the journal James Joyce Quarterly, Volume 53, Number 3-4, Spring-Summer 2016 pp. 307-326, and which can be savoured in its entirety here.

[Research research by Martin Gardiner]

He loves beaver

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

BBC News reports, abut Poland’s Minister of Agriculture:

“I will decide to recognise [the endangered species] beaver and bison as edible animals,” he said, adding that beaver tail was an aphrodisiac.

(Thanks to Dariusz Jemielniak for bringing this to our attention.)

 

“National Income Inequality Predicts Cultural Variation in Mouth to Mouth Kissing”

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

A new study marries, so to speak, economics and kissing. The study is:

National Income Inequality Predicts Cultural Variation in Mouth to Mouth Kissing,” Christopher D. Watkins, Juan David Leongómez, Jeanne Bovet, Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz, Max Korbmacher, Marco Antônio Corrêa Varella, Ana Maria Fernandez, Danielle Wagstaff, and Samuela Bolgan, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, article no. 6698 2019. (Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.) The authors explain:

Romantic mouth-to-mouth kissing is culturally widespread, although not a human universal…

Here, we test for cultural variation (13 countries from six continents) in these behaviours/attitudes according to national health (historical pathogen prevalence) and both absolute (GDP) and relative wealth (GINI)…. When aggregated, the predicted relationship between income inequality and kissing frequency was over five times the size of the null correlations between income inequality and frequency of hugging/cuddling and sex.

Here is some numerical detail:

Using Amino Acids to Identify Pornographic Images

Friday, May 17th, 2019

This study pioneers the use of amino acids for identifying pornographic images:

Using Amino Acids of Images for Identifying Pornographic Images,” Vijay Naidu, Ajit Narayanan, and Manoranjan Mohanty, 2019 IEEE Conference on Multimedia Information Processing and Retrieval (MIPR), 2019.

The authors, at Auckland University of Technology and the University of Aukland, New Zealand, report:

The pornographic images need to be regulated as they can have an adverse effect on the society. This paper purposes an image amino acid-based method to identify a pornographic image. The proposed method works by converting an image into biological amino acid form (e.g., to A, C, D, G, H, etc. form) and then extracting a signature from the image (which is represented in amino acid form) using biological tools. Using this method, a number of signatures are obtained from a set of few known pornographic images. These signatures are then matched against a database of images to find out the pornographic images. The matching is done using the openly available anti-virus scanner Clamscan. Here, the signatures obtained from the pornographic images are represented as signatures of viruses. The experimental result shows that the proposed method can identify a pornographic image with a high detection rate.

Many biologists who view themselves as being experts in the study of amino acids. This up and coming application of amino acids to pornographic images may be surprising to them.

Why he calculated the internal poo pressure of a penguin

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow tells why he and his colleagues calculated the internal pressure of a penguin. He then confides that there remain questions worth answering:

…The pressing question had been that of the pressure of course, but what still puzzles me is why the streaks were found all around the nest and not just in one direction? Did the penguins choose the direction into which they lifted their tail or did the end result depend on the direction of the wind? I don’t know the answer and perhaps we need a second Jamaica Antarctic Expedition to find out. What I do know is that, compared with seed eaters, the meat and fish-eating birds expel heir faeces with greater force, because their wastes contain higher amounts of uric acid, which is corrosive and irritating: watch an eagle you visit a zoo the next time. But take care where you stand: like penguins these birds can bite – and shoot, from the rear and below the belt!

The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for fluid dynamics was awarded to Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany and the University of Oulu, Finland; and Jozsef Gal of Loránd Eötvös University, Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed in their report “Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh — Calculations on Avian Defaecation.”

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