NCBI ROFL: Top 10 absurd papers of 2009.

By ncbi rofl | March 10, 2010 7:00 pm

cat foodThe April issue of Wired UK features our picks for the 10 most absurd scientific papers from the past year (at the time of selection, that meant 2009). For your enjoyment, here are the links to those posts (in no particular order)!

1.) Optimising the sensory characteristics and acceptance of canned cat food: use of a human taste panel.

2.) Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behaviour.

3.) Swearing as a response to pain.

4.) Pigeons can discriminate “good” and “bad” paintings by children.

5.) The “booty call”: a compromise between men’s and women’s ideal mating strategies.

6.) Intermittent access to beer promotes binge-like drinking in adolescent but not adult Wistar rats.

7.) Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time.

8.) More information than you ever wanted: does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy?

9.) Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?

10.) The nature of navel fluff.

Photo: flickr/kerryvaughan

  • feralboy12

    11) On The Origin Of My Furniture

  • Heather

    Re: number 1: When I was working as a nanny in Switzerland several years ago, I had to do the grocery shopping, including buying cat food. The cans of Whiskas had an invitation on them to “Try our new recipe!” I figured that either the folks at Whiskas thought cats could read, or they were aware of a large human demographic consuming their product. Didn’t realize they might actually focus-test the stuff on humans.

  • Romeo Vitelli

    Numbers 3, 5, and 9 sound like pretty essential research to me. They all deal with vital questions that I would like answered.

  • Colin

    Number 8 – answer is yes. I had left facebook due to grief from my wife over old friends from highschool and college who were female and leaving messages asking how I was doing.

  • Jon H

    #9 seems like it could be marginally useful in criminal cases or pathology.

    And any research showing the utility of fellatio has to be a good thing.

  • Max

    Actually, re: #2, honeybee dance behavior is one of the most complex forms of communication in insects. It makes a pretty good test case for the effects of drugs.

  • TheBrummell

    I’m pretty sure most cat food (and dog food, and probably some other pet foods) are tested by human employees of the pet food companies. They’re not looking for “does it taste good to a human”, they’re looking for a detailed description of HOW it tastes, and things like texture and smell. Such descriptions are difficult to get from non-speaking, illiterate animals, after all, and quality control by having somebody eat it and describe it is probably much cheaper than sophisticated analytical chemistry that would tell you the same result (“too much salt”).

  • kk

    “Myth: one can lose weight by drinking cold beer” – my HS research paper.

  • jt

    Looks like another radical conservative attack on the pristine world of science. Discover, how could you?

  • v pills

    “5.) The “booty call”: a compromise between men’s and women’s ideal mating strategies. ”



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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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