Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Psychologists Under the Bed [research study]

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

’Egocentricity’ in Adult Conversation,” is one of several studies featured in the article “Soft Is Hard: Psychologists Under the Bedfurther evidence why the ‘soft’ sciences are the hardest to do well,” which is one of the articles in the special Numbers issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, which is one of the 142 issues published so far!

The psychologists-under-the-bed-eavesdropping study is by Mary Henle and Marian B. Hubbell, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 9, no. 2, 1938, pp. 227-234.

Of Mice, Men and Scrumpox

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Herpes gladiatorum is caused by a highly infectious version of the human herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and is associated with high physical-impact sports – it frequently plagues rugby players (who know it as ‘Scrumpox’), along with Judo participants and Sumo Wrestlers.

For details of the latter, a paper by Fumihiko Ban, Satoe Asano, Shigeru Ozawa, Hiroyuki Eda, James Norman, William G. Stroop and Kazuo Yanagi in the Journal of General Virology, 89 (Pt 10): 2410-5 · November 2008, explains that :

“The pathogenic properties of HSV-1 variants in mice and professional sumo wrestlers were examined here.”

“The frequent severe skin damage of sumo wrestlers may impair subcutaneous nerve cells and the strong physiological and mental stress resulting from their hard practice regime may affect their immunological status.”

See: Analysis of herpes simplex virus type 1 restriction fragment length polymorphism variants associated with herpes gladiatorum and Kaposi’s varicelliform eruption in sumo wrestlers

[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]

A Biological Switching Valve Discovered in the Famous Sex-Role Reversed Cave Insect

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The team that won the 2017 Ig Nobel Biology Prize for discovering a female penis, and a male vagina, in a cave insect has published a new paper, reporting a further discovery about the body parts of that insect.

Their new paper is “A Biological Switching Valve Evolved in the Female of a Sex-Role Reversed Cave Insect to Receive Multiple Seminal Packages,” Kazunori Yoshizawa, Yoshitaka Kamimura, Charles Lienhard, Rodrigo L Ferreira, Alexander Blanke, eLife, 2018;7:e39563. The team explains:

“In dry caves of southeastern Brazil, live a group of insects named Neotrogla that are perhaps best known because the egg-producing females have penises while the sperm-producing males have vaginas. The sex roles of these Brazilian cave insects are also reversed: females compete over the males, who in turn are selective of their female partners….

“The valve complex has two slots for insemination so that Neotrogla can continue mating while the first slot is occupied. In conjunction with the female penis, this switching valve is a morphological novelty enabling females to compete for seminal gifts in their nutrient-poor cave habitats through long copulation times and multiple seminal injections.”

Nasality in Homosexual Men, Compared to Heterosexual Men and Women

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Do homosexual men sound different from other people, when they talk? This Belgian study is a new attempt to answer that question:

Nasality in Homosexual Men: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men and Women,” Belle Vanpoucke [pictured here], Marjan Cosyns, Kim Bettens, and John Van Borse, Archives of Sexual Behavior, epub 2018. The authors, at Ghent University, Belgium, explain:

“Several studies reported that pitch and articulation may vary according to a person’s sexual orientation. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether homosexual males also demonstrate differences in nasal resonance compared to heterosexual males. Speech samples of 30 self-identified homosexual males, 35 heterosexual males, and 34 heterosexual females were compared both instrumentally and perceptually. Nasalance scores were calculated for the sounds /a/, /i/, /u/, and /m/ and for an oronasal, oral, and nasal text. In addition, the Nasality Severity Index was determined. Spontaneous speech samples were used for a perceptual evaluation of nasal resonance. Neither the nasalance scores nor the Nasality Severity Index were significantly different between the homosexual and heterosexual males. Heterosexual females, on the other hand, showed significantly higher nasalance values for the oronasal and oral text and a significantly lower Nasality Severity Index than both the homosexual and the heterosexual males. The perceptual judgment revealed no significant differences between the three groups. The results of this study suggest that, in contrast to pitch and articulation, nasality does not tend to vary with sexual orientation.”

“The Duck Guy” in German—A Book for All Ages

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Today is publication day for the German edition of Kees Moeliker’s Tell-All-About-The-Duck book. As you probably know, Kees was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, for his research study “The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos.” This nifty video shows Kees gamely talking about it in German, rather than his native Dutch.

The Original Dutch title is De Eendenman. The German edition, is called Der Entenmann: Von Spatzenklöten, aussterbenden Filzläusen und nekrophilen Enten. Mysteriöse Todesfälle aus dem Tierreich. If you prefer  numbers, you’ll note that the ISBN is 978-3841906106.

The book’s name translates, into English, as “The Duck Guy.” If you prefer English, you will have to wait until some sensible, greedy book publisher wises up and asks Kees to do an English language edition. In the meantime, you can see and hear Kees telling the basic story of the duck, in this TED Talk (which you can also find by Googling the four words “TED Talk dead duck”):

Kees Moeliker, an ornithologist, is director of the natural history museum in Rotterdam. You are always welcome to visit him and the preserved remains of one of the ducks, at the museum. The most fun time to visit, of course, in any year on June 5, when the museum and the city of Rotterdam celebrate Dead Duck Day, on the anniversary of the incident, involving two ducks and a glass wall, that led to all this.

UPDATE: Kees interviewed on the DAS! TV program, September 7, 2018

UPDATE: “Die tote Ente ist immer dabei“, Spiegel, September 7, 2018

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