Archive for September, 2011

Dizzy Discus Throwers, Horny Beer-Bottle Beetles, and the Wasabi Alarm Clock: the 2011 Ig Nobels

By Veronique Greenwood | September 30, 2011 12:07 pm

Those classy folks at the Annals of Improbable Research are at it again. Last night, they announced the 2011 winners of some of the most coveted awards in science: the Ig Nobels.

You should watch last night’s ceremony in its entirety, but here are (drumroll) the winners:

NCBI ROFL: Scientists say sloppy supper servings seem seriously substandard.

By ncbi rofl | September 29, 2011 7:49 pm

Neatness counts. How plating affects liking for the taste of food.

“Two studies investigated the effect that the arrangement of food on a plate has on liking for the flavor of the food. Food presented in a neatly arranged presentation is liked more than the same food presented in a messy manner. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Winners love winning and losers love money.

By ncbi rofl | September 28, 2011 7:13 pm

“Salience and satisfaction are important factors in determining the comparisons that people make. We hypothesized that people make salient comparisons first, and then make satisfying comparisons only if salient comparisons leave them unsatisfied. This hypothesis suggests an asymmetry between winning and losing. For winners, comparison with a salient alternative (i.e., losing) brings satisfaction. Therefore, winners should be sensitive only to the relative value of their outcomes. For losers, comparison with a salient alternative (i.e., winning) brings little satisfaction. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings, NCBI ROFL

Newsflash! Scientists Can Use WiFi to Count Your Breaths and Spy on You

By Veronique Greenwood | September 28, 2011 1:57 pm

I sense a disturbance in the Force…

Swimming through a sea of wireless radio waves is de rigeur these days (in fact, you have to move to West Virginia if you think you’re allergic to them). But your body leaves a wake in that sea, and watching it can let observers count your breaths per minute, says a researcher who surrounded himself with twenty wireless units to test the idea. Cute, right? But it also means someone on the sidewalk can tell from disturbances in the wireless where you are in your house, and track you as you move from room to room. A little less cute.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

You Wouldn't Like Your Fish When They're Angry!

By Douglas Main | September 28, 2011 9:19 am

MAD FISHAnger not your fish.

Your fish are probably pissed off if you keep them in a small aquarium, suggests a study published this month in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science that looked at levels of aggression in the common aquarium species Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus). Fish stored in average-sized aquariums used by most small collectors (i.e. tanks holding fewer than 100 gallons) were significantly more aggressive and violent than fish in artificial stream environments or home in their natural habitat. With 180 million or so ornamental fish in America, that’s a lot of mad fish.

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NCBI ROFL: How scaring small children can help you lose weight.

By ncbi rofl | September 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Fear signals inhibit impulsive behavior toward rewarding food objects.

“We examined whether presentation of environmental cues that are associated with motor inhibition, i.e., fearful facial expressions, can be effective in controlling unintentionally evoked impulses toward rewarding food objects. Participants were presented with palatable foods or control objects. During presentation of the objects, facial expressions displaying fear, disgust, or neutral emotion were shortly presented. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, feelings shmeelings, NCBI ROFL

NCBI ROFL: Science discovers ideal mortician phone number is 1-800-CORPSES.

By ncbi rofl | September 26, 2011 6:59 pm

I 5683 you: dialing phone numbers on cell phones activates key-concordant concepts.

“When people perform actions, effects associated with the actions are activated mentally, even if those effects are not apparent. This study tested whether sequences of simulations of virtual action effects can be integrated into a meaning of their own. Cell phones were used to test this hypothesis because pressing a key on a phone is habitually associated with both digits (dialing numbers) and letters (typing text messages). In Experiment 1, dialing digit sequences induced the meaning of words that share the same key sequence (e.g., 5683, LOVE). Read More

NCBI ROFL: Scientifically proven dating tips for the ladies.

By ncbi rofl | September 23, 2011 7:00 pm

Women’s eye contact and men’s later interest: two field experiments.

“Previous studies indicated various nonverbal behaviors including eye contact of women are associated with men’s approach; however, duration of the eye contact was not tested. In Exp. 1, a female confederate established eye-contact of 3 sec. or 1 sec. with a man when entering a bar. Read More

After One Colon-Embedded Bread Clip Too Many, Doctors Provide Design Analysis, Call for Reform

By Veronique Greenwood | September 23, 2011 1:07 pm

bread clips

If you swallowed pony beads when you were a kid, you are not alone. So many teeny plastic dooboppies are just crying out to be ingested…and frankly, doctors are tired of all those irresponsible designs. After finding a bread clip in the colon of a patient, several docs have outlined the clips’ “evolutionary heritage” and “species” classification in a new article in BMJ Case Reports, in hopes of prompting someone, anyone, to make one that isn’t the perfect shape for lodging in the digestive nether regions.

The researchers, drawing on several members’ longstanding membership in the illustrious Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group, have given each type of bread clip a handy-dandy Latin name. The bread clip genus (?) is Occlupanidae, presumably for its occluding capabilities, while the species names refer to the relative toothiness—one-toothed, two-toothed, etc.—of the types. They also provide a detailed phylogenetic chart showing the evolution from the smooth proto-bread clip to the many-tined versions adorning our bags today. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Effects of playing video games on pain response during a cold pressor task.

By ncbi rofl | September 22, 2011 7:00 pm

“Two studies assessed whether playing video games would significantly distract participants from painful stimulation via a cold pressor test. In Study 1, participants (8 men, 22 women, M age = 18.5 yr., SD = 1.3) in an action-oriented game condition tolerated pain for a longer time period and reported lower pain intensity ratings than those in a nonaction-oriented game or a nongame control condition. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings, NCBI ROFL

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