Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Playboy (the German edition) interviews Ig Nobel Prize winner Kees Moeliker, discoverer of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Playboy (the German edition) interviews Ig Nobel Prize winner Kees Moeliker, discoverer of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck:

Recent progress in ‘My Little Pony’ studies

Monday, December 17th, 2018

“This dossier represents a selection of papers presented at the first academic conference on My Little Pony (MLP), held at the University of Brighton in June 2014.”

Of the papers generated as a result of the conference, a small selection are published in the Journal of Popular Television, Volume 3, Number 1. They are:

From toys to television and back: My Little Pony appropriated in adult toy play , pp. 99-109(11). Author: Dr Katriina Heljakka (University of Turku)

“Research suggests that adults are increasingly widening the doors to their toy closets and demonstrating various play patterns (Heljakka 2013b). Toys, including MLP characters, are collected, cherished, customized, have stories created for them, are cosplayed, and communicated about. Everything starts with a toy character’s appearance, the moment the player falls in love with it through interaction, which can be all about visual engagement even before any manipulation, or object play, happens.”

It’s Ok to be joyful? My Little Pony and Brony masculinity, pp. 111-118(8). Author: Mikko Hautakangas (University of Tampere)

“Bronies, the adult male fans of the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010–), have raised controversy in public discussions and on the Internet: male interest in something so obviously non-masculine seems to call for some kind of explanation, for instance, as a sexual subculture or as one more ironic Internet meme.”

My Little Pony, tolerance is magic: Gender policing and Brony anti-fandom, pp. 119-125(7). Author: Bethan Jones (Aberystwyth University)

“The gendered nature of criticism in relation to female fans of ‘feminine’ texts has been explored by a number of scholars, but male fans of texts aimed at women, girls in particular, have been understudied in comparison.”

Finding Bronies – The accidental audience of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, pp. 127-134(8). Author: Dr Claire Burdfield (Sheffield University Management School)

“While much critical scholarship has been devoted to the way that media companies undertake extensive market research to target their products to specific demographic segments, this article concentrates on the way that untargeted and unexpected viewers have coalesced around certain television programmes, and become the ‘accidental audience’. “

The classical world is 20 per cent cooler: Greco-Roman pegasi in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, pp. 135-143(9). Author: Jen Cresswell  (University of St Andrews)

“In a fantasy world, the animators and writers are free to construct realms with no constraints except their own imaginations. Any decision made is deliberate, including the choice to incorporate Greco-Roman iconography in the depiction of the pegasi tribe in the television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010–). Why were these civilizations chosen for this type of horse, and what does this tell us of the audience preconceptions of the Ancient cultures of Greece and Rome?”

Also see:
Recent progress in Wonder Woman studies
Recent progress in Kung Fu Panda studies
Recent progress in Quidditch studies (part 3)

A news dump, about taking a dump: The Stool Stool

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Alex Blasdel, writing in The Guardian, waxes eloquent about methods old and new: “Bowel movement: the push to change the way you poo— Are you sitting comfortably? Many people are not – and they insist that the way we’ve been going to the toilet is all wrong.” Blasdel describes in depth the commercial rise of a simple product:

The Squatty Potty is a wildly popular seven-inch-high plastic stool, designed by a devout Mormon and her son, which curves around the base of your loo. By propping your feet on it while you crap, you raise your knees above your hips. From this semi-squat position, the centuries-old seated toilet is transformed into something more primordial, like a hole in the ground.

The Blonsky centrifugal birthing device

The family that makes the Squatty Potty says this posture unfurls your colon and gives your faecal matter a clear run from your gut to the bowl, reducing bloating, constipation and the straining that causes haemorrhoids.

The logic behind this invention—the inventor named it the “Squatty Potty”, but let’s call it “the Stool Stool”—is reminiscent of the logic that led to the Blonsky centrifugal birthing device. The idea, in each case, is that:

  1. ancient people learned a biologically-best way; but, but, butt…
  2. civilized, modern people have forgotten what works optimally, and now do things unnaturally.

Blasdel’s essay celebrates not only the stool stool, but especially the video ad that popularized the product:

BONUS (only tangentially related): The power of a name: Dr. Shit Fun Chew. Related to this is what may be the quintessential Twitter tweet.

BONUS (not even tangentially related): The four-legged Periodic Table Table


Two tales of headphone jacks gone awry

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Two reports about headphone jacks, appearing in the same year, raise possibilities. Here are portions of the two reports, side by side:

Mark Wilson writes, in Fast Company magazine:

I still miss my headphone jack, and I want it back
Two years after Apple removed the iPhone’s headphone jack, life without it still sucks….

The Asian Journal of Urology reports:

Listening to his inner voice? An unusual urethral foreign body: A review of literature and few learning points,” Abheesh Varma Hegde, Suryakanth Choubey, Revanna Siddappa Kanagali, Gotam Pipara, A. Nagaraja Rao, and A. Mohan, Asian Journal of Urology, vol. 5, no. 2, April 2018, pp. 131-132. (Thanks to Richard Wassersug for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at St. Johns Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, India, report:

“A 26-year-old man presented to the Emergency Department with dysuria and urinary retention. There were no other urinary symptoms. History revealed he had self-inserted the jack of an ear phone into his penis 2 h prior, for autoerotic stimulation. There were three prior instances of such insertions after which he would remove the ear phones himself. He had also tried to catheterize himself in the past, for sexual gratification. There was no history of underlying psychiatric illness. On examination, the ear phones and the cable were dangling from the external urethral meatus and the cable was palpable within the penile urethra (Fig. 1). Pelvic radiography showed a variable length of the cable within the bladder that appeared to be coiled and the ear phone jack, intact (Fig. 2).”

BONUS (distantly, if at all, related): Plug and Play

BONUS (probably unrelated): “A Salute To Head-Scratching Science


Borborygmi and alternative-to-colonoscopy news

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 reports:

Nobel winner’s device listens to your gut
A non-invasive way for detecting gut disorders could replace the dreaded colonoscopy, West Australian researchers say

Gut disorders could be detected without the need for dreaded, invasive colonoscopies thanks to an invention by West Australian researchers, led by a Nobel Prize laureate.

A University of WA research team headed by Barry Marshall [pictured here] has invented an acoustic sensing belt that listens, records and analyses gut noises linked to gut disorders for faster and more effective diagnosis….

Gut rumbling sounds can be called by a technical name: borborygmi. There have been previous, very different attempts to discern meaning in those sounds.

BONUS: Here’s one person’s self-recorded intestinal rumblings:

REMINDER (distantly related): The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for Medical Education was awarded to Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.” Here’s video of Dr. Horiuchi performing self-colonoscopy:

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