There is a long-standing and heated debate in the scientific literature about whether or not there are two kinds of female orgasm. One side argues that orgasms stemming from penetration are fundamentally different from those arising from clitoral stimulation. The other side insists that they are really the same thing, and the only difference is how the clitoris is stimulated. Here, two scientists set out to test these two hypotheses by using ultrasound to track blood flow patterns and determine how the clitoris moves during different types of sex. Their results support the hypothesis that there are, in fact, different kinds of female orgasm. We’re just glad they didn’t use the acronyms from this study.
“INTRODUCTION: Women describe at least two types of orgasms: clitoral and vaginal. However, the differences, if any, are a matter of controversy. Read More
Paying attention to the kinds of jokes people tell can give us valuable insight into their views of social issues; however, we’re pretty sure that the real reason these researchers conducted this study was to find the best doctor jokes, which they proudly recite in Table 1 (below). To find Facebook posts with doctor jokes, two coders read through over 30,000 Facebook posts containing the word “Doctor”, of which only 442 contained doctor jokes. (We assume these coders will never enjoy Facebook again.) They then calculated the popularity of the doctor jokes: “The median number of Facebook likes for doctor jokes was 2 (IQR 0-19). Ironically, the joke with the greatest number of Facebook likes (49 total likes from a network of 253 friends) was a “doctor, priest, lawyer” joke in which lawyers were the butt of the joke.”
“BACKGROUND: Social networking sites such as Facebook have become immensely popular in recent years and present a unique opportunity for researchers to eavesdrop on the collective conversation of current societal issues.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to explore doctor-related humor by examining doctor jokes posted on Facebook. Read More
Peeing in the pool, although considered a gross social faux-pas, seems harmless enough, right? And so much easier that getting out of the pool, drying off, and trekking to the nearest toilet. But what happens when the uric acid in your pee reacts with the chlorine and other chemicals in pool water? In this study, researchers from China Agricultural University and Purdue University studied the chemical byproducts that form when pee meets pool. They found that two chemicals, cyanogen chloride and thrichloramine, are formed by the reaction of uric acid and chlorine. When inhaled, these chemicals are known to affect multiple organs, including the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. So it seems that peeing in the pool has its own punishment — it’s just too bad it affects everyone.
“Cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCl3) are important disinfection byproducts in chlorinated swimming pools. However, some unknowns exist regarding the precursors of their formation. In this study, uric acid is shown to be an efficient precursor to formation of CNCl and NCl3. Read More
I’ve always suspected that crowded parking lots bring out the worst in people … and now we have the data to back it up. These brave scientists took to the streets (well, parking lots) and measured how long people took to leave their parking spaces. The drivers took longer if another car was waiting for the space, and longer still if honked at, revealing a territorial tendency. And if they were yelled at to hurry up? Well, those experiments are still in progress.
“Three studies showed that drivers leaving a public parking space are territorial even when such behavior is contrary to their goal of leaving. In Study 1 (observations of 200 departing cars), intruded-upon drivers took longer to leave than nonintruded-upon drivers. Read More
We’ve all been there: you tell a joke, only to have it fall flat, leaving you standing there in the dead silence wishing the ground would just swallow you up. Well, these scientists must have experienced this as well, because they designed a series of experiments to determine the best way to save a joke. Although it has long been assumed that jokes are the funniest when their punchlines are unexpected, the researchers discovered that surprise isn’t nearly as important as fluidity. In other words, it’s more important that your joke is easily understood than unexpected, and some jokes actually benefit from having their punchlines ruined. Apparently, peppering conversation with key words from the punchline before delivering a joke can help, as can writing printed jokes in easy-to-read font — which just might be the first evidence of a good use for Comic Sans.
“Earlier theories on humour assume that funniness stems from the incongruity resolution of the surprising punchline and thus an insight into the joke’s meaning. Applying recent psychological theorising that insight itself draws on processing fluency being the ease and speed with which mental content is processed, it is predicted that increasing the fluency of processing the punchline of a joke increases funniness. In Experiments 1 and 2, significant nouns from the punchlines or from the beginnings of jokes were presented before a joke was rated in funniness. Read More
Do you suffer from excessive “anal gas evacuation” (scientific jargon that just means ‘farting’)? If so, your gut bacteria might be contributing. The authors of this study looked at the differences between patients complaining of flatulence compared to healthy controls. They measured both the number and volume of “gas evacuation” episodes (see below for more details, if you’re into that kind of thing) from the subjects on both standard and “flatogenic” (fart-producing) diets. One big difference between the two groups was that the species of bacteria in flatulent patients changed much more when the patients ate the flatogenic diet, whereas the bacterial communities in the controls remained stable. In fact, specific bacteria were correlated with increased numbers of gas evacuations and increased gas volumes in those patients. So there you have it: apparently, not all farts are created equal.
“Objective To characterise the influence of diet on abdominal symptoms, anal gas evacuation, intestinal gas distribution and colonic microbiota in patients complaining of flatulence.
Design Patients complaining of flatulence (n=30) and healthy subjects (n=20) were instructed to follow their usual diet for 3 days (basal phase) and to consume a high-flatulogenic diet for another 3 days (challenge phase). Read More
Some research articles simply restore our faith in humanity, and this is definitely one of them. These doctors realized that giving hurt children “glove balloons” with faces drawn on them distracted the kids while they received treatment. What was less clear, however, was which style of glove balloon was most cherished: the Jedward (named for the hairstyle of a popular music duo, Fig. 1) or the Mohawk (Fig. 2). The Jedward ended up being sightly more popular, but honestly, we’d be pretty excited to receive either one.
“OBJECTIVE: To examine the use of a standard hospital glove, inflated as a balloon with a face drawn on it, as a distraction technique in children with an acute injury.
METHODS: We designed a study to assess the ‘best’ way to orientate the glove when drawing a face on it. A prospective study was performed in the authors’ institution, where all children between the ages of 2 and 8 years presenting during the study period were given the option of playing with one of two glove balloons with a face drawn on it in two different ways. Read More
We’ve all experienced it: the dreaded “earworm,” in which a song keeps playing in your head long after you’ve heard it on the radio. The causes of this phenomenon are still unclear, although studies suggest that random events, sounds, and thoughts may be to blame, and it might happen more often when we are thinking too much or too little. But more important is knowing how how to get rid of this “involuntary musical imagery”–especially when you’re already sick of hearing “Royals” on the radio, much less in your head. In this study, researchers surveyed a group of British subjects about how they get rid of earworms. The most common approaches were either exposure therapy — that is, listening to the song in question — or distraction. Interestingly, listening to a “cure tune” was a common approach, and the same cure tunes were actually reported by multiple people in the study. The top song? “God Save the Queen”, followed by “Karma Chameleon”, “Happy Birthday”, “Theme to the A-Team”, “Kashmir”, and “Sledgehammer.” But how did they get “Karma Chameleon” out of their head?
“The vast majority of people experience involuntary musical imagery (INMI) or ‘earworms’; perceptions of spontaneous, repetitive musical sound in the absence of an external source. The majority of INMI episodes are not bothersome, while some cause disruption ranging from distraction to anxiety and distress. To date, little is known about how the majority of people react to INMI, in particular whether evaluation of the experience impacts on chosen response behaviours or if attempts at controlling INMI are successful or not. The present study classified 1046 reports of how people react to INMI episodes. Read More
You’ve probably heard about the five-second rule: the idea that if you drop food on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up and eat it before it gets too “contaminated” to safely ingest. But does this “rule” actually have any scientific basis? Here, researchers tested how long it took for bacteria to be transferred to food (specifically, bologna and bread) resting on different surfaces (tile, wood, and carpet). They found that 5 seconds of contact was enough to transfer 99% of bacteria from the tile to the bologna, but a much smaller number of bacteria were transferred when the food was dropped on carpet. So there you have it: if you drop your food on the carpet, feel free to pick it up, brush off the lint, and enjoy. But if you drop it on tile, you might want to go ahead and grab another slice of bologna.
Three experiments were conducted to determine the survival and transfer of Salmonella Typhimurium from wood, tile or carpet to bologna (sausage) and bread. Read More
Do you like math? Are you a fan of “Pride and Prejudice”? Then have we got the paper for you! Here, the authors propose a set of differential equations that describe the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. Apparently, the mathematical model of their love story is characterized by a “saddle-node bifurcation”; according to the authors, “A series of small discoveries can give rise to a sudden turning-point in the development of a love story. In mathematical terms these turning-points are nothing but so-called catastrophes, which, in the case of Pride and Prejudice, are technically revealed by the existence of a saddle-node bifurcation.” For more details on the model, check out the figure and text below. We just wonder if there is a mathematical model that explains why Colin Firth is the best Darcy?
“A mathematical model is proposed for interpreting the love story between Elizabeth and Darcy portrayed by Jane Austen in the popular novel Pride and Prejudice. The analysis shows that the story is characterized by a sudden explosion of sentimental involvements, revealed by the existence of a saddle-node bifurcation in the model. Read More