10 Most Bizarre Scientific Papers

1«The Effect of Country Music on Suicide»
(S. Stack and J. Gundlach; Wayne State University and Auburn University; 1992)
“The greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate”

According to the authors, Steven Stack and Jim Gundlach, the paper “assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates. Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.” The paper can be found online.

2«Love and Sex with Robots»
(D. Levy; University of Maastricht; 2007)
“Human-robot marriages will be legal by 2050”

“My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots,” artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience. Levy recently completed his Ph.D. work on the subject of human-robot relationships, covering many of the privileges and practices that generally come with marriage as well as outside of it.

At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, “but once you have a story like ‘I had sex with a robot, and it was great!’ appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I’d expect many people to jump on the bandwagon,” Levy said. In his thesis, “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners,” Levy conjectures that robots will become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people will fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them. “It may sound a little weird, but it isn’t,” Levy said. “Love and sex with robots are inevitable.”

3«Rectal Foreign Bodies: Case Reports and a Comprehensive Review of the World’s Literature»
(D. Busch and J. Starling; Madison, Wisconsin; 1986)
“The study reports, among other items: a beer glass, a suitcase key and a magazine”

The citations include reports of, among other items: seven light bulbs; a knife sharpener; two flashlights; a wire spring; a snuff box; an oil can with potato stopper; eleven different forms of fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs; a jeweler’s saw; a frozen pig’s tail; a tin cup; a beer glass; and one patient’s remarkable ensemble collection consisting of spectacles, a suitcase key, a tobacco pouch and a magazine.

4«Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans»
(S. Ghirlanda, L. Jansson, M. Enquist; Stockholm University; 2002)
“The animals showed preferences for faces consistent with human sexual preferences”

Authors at the Stockholm University explain it: “We trained chickens to react to an average human female face but not to an average male face (or vice-versa). In a subsequent test, the animals showed preferences for faces consistent with human sexual preferences (obtained from university students). This suggests that human preferences arise from general properties of nervous systems, rather than from face-specific adaptations. We discuss this result in the light of current debate on the meaning of sexual signals, and suggest further tests of existing hypotheses about the origin of sexual preferences.”

5«Safe and Painless Manipulation of Penile Zipper Entrapment»
(Satish Chandra Mishra; Charak Palika Hospital; 2005)
“A quick, simple and non-traumatic approach to penile zipper entrapment”

Author Satish Chandra Mishra, about his enlightening paper: “Entrapment of penile foreskin is quite a distressing situation for the child and the parents and can be a frustrating management problem. Any overzealous intervention would simply worsen the situation. Also, attempts to cut open the zip fastener are time taking and may not be either helpful or feasible in all the situations. The approach to the zipper manipulation should be quick, simple, non-traumatic and reproducible irrespective of the age of the child, mechanism and site of entrapment, presence of the local edema and zipper size or design.” The paper can be found online.

6«Pressures Produced When Penguins Poo — Calculations on Avian Defecation»
(V. Breno Meyer-Rochow and J. Gal; International University of Bremen and Lorand Eotvos University of Hungary; 2005)
“They get up, move to the edge of the nest, turn around, bend over… and shoot”

Ever wondered how far a penguin can fire waste from its anus? Wonder no more. Victor Breno Meyer-Rochow of International University, Bremen, and Jozsef Gal of Lorand Eotvos University, Hungary, used the basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin. Dr. Meyer-Rochow explained that the research began in 1993, when he led the first, and so far only, Jamaican expedition to the Antarctic.Later, while showing students pictures of faeces-lined penguin nests, he was asked how the elaborate displays were created. “They get up, move to the edge of the nest, turn around, bend over – and shoot,” he said. That’s when he got the idea to calculate the pressure produced by penguin poo.

7«Farting as a Defence Against Unspeakable Dread»
(Dr. M. Sidoli; Washington DC; 1998)
“When feeling endangered, Peter used his bodily smell and farts to envelop himself in a protective cloud”

According to it’s author, “this paper describes some features of the behaviour of a severely disturbed adopted latency boy. Peter was born premature, suffered several early hospitalizations and surgical operations, and at 2 months of age was removed from his mother’s care by Social Services for neglect and abandonment. When feeling endangered, Peter had developed a defensive olfactive container using his bodily smell and farts to envelop himself in a protective cloud of familiarity against the dread of falling apart, and to hold his personality together.”

8«Navigation-Related Structural Change In the Hippocampi of Taxi Drivers»
(E. A. Maguire and others; University College London; 1999)
“The brains of London taxi drivers are more developed than those of their fellow citizens.”

Aothors at the University College London, about their research: “Structural MRIs of the brains of humans with extensive navigation experience, licensed London taxi drivers, were analyzed and compared with those of control subjects who did not drive taxis. The posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers were significantly larger relative to those of control subjects. A more anterior hippocampal region was larger in control subjects than in taxi drivers. Hippocampal volume correlated with the amount of time spent as a taxi driver (positively in the posterior and negatively in the anterior hippocampus). These data are in accordance with the idea that the posterior hippocampus stores a spatial representation of the environment and can expand regionally to accommodate elaboration of this representation in people with a high dependence on navigational skills. It seems that there is a capacity for local plastic change in the structure of the healthy adult human brain in response to environmental demands.”

9«Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature»
(A. Mulet, J. Benedito and J. Bon; Polytechnic University of Valencia; 2006)
“The most reliable temperature interval to carry out ultrasonic measurements in Cheddar cheese is identified as 0 to 17 °C.”

The paper reads: “The ultrasonic velocity in Cheddar cheese is temperature dependent. This relationship can be used to make corrections when determining ultrasonic texture or to determine mean temperatures in cooling/heating processes. At 0 < T < 35 °C ultrasonic velocity was 1590 to 1696 Ms, at 0 and 35 °C, respectively. Differential Scanning Calorimetry thermograms linked the temperature dependence of ultrasonic velocity to fat melting. Three parts are distinguished in the curve as a consequence of the fat melting and the appearance of free oil. The most reliable temperature interval to carry out ultrasonic measurements in Cheddar cheese is identified as 0 to 17 °C."

10«Impact of Wet Underwear on Thermoregulatory Responses and Thermal Comfort in the Cold»
(M. K. Bakkevig and R. Nielson; Sintef Unimed and Technical University of Denmark; 1995)
“The thickness of the underwear has the most influence on thermoregulatory responses”

The authors explain: “The purpose of this study was to investigate the significance of wet underwear and to compare any influence of fibre-type material and textile construction of underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort of humans during rest in the cold. The tests demonstrated the significant cooling effect of wet underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort. The thickness of the underwear has more of an influence on the thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort, than the types of fibres tested.”