What happens when you swallow your cell phone, case and all?

By Seriously Science | September 16, 2015 6:00 am

Apparently, it gets stuck in your throat. At least it did for the 35-year-old man featured in this medical case study. Doctors had to remove it under general anasthesia. The report says he was intoxicated, but since it doesn’t say with what, we will just have to assume he consumed more than just his phone.

Accidental cell phone ingestion with pharyngeal impaction.

“BACKGROUND: 35 year old intoxicated male ingested an unusual, large foreign object (cell phone). Read More

Horrifying study shows how far bed bugs can spread in apartment buildings.

By Seriously Science | September 14, 2015 6:00 am

If bed bugs are living in your home, they are probably hiding out and waiting to sense the carbon dioxide from your breath to home in on their next blood meal. But how did they get there in the first place? If you haven’t recently picked up a mattress off the street (always a good plan), it’s often assumed that they could have migrated from your neighbor’s place. But how frequent these wanderings are, or if they actually happen, hasn’t been demonstrated… until now! Here, scientists captured bed bugs from infested apartments in New Jersey, painted their backs, released them, and then watched over the next several months to see where the little monsters ended up. It turns out that, yes, bed bugs make the rounds of neighboring apartments, and they can live inside empty apartments for months without a blood meal. And perhaps the worst part? “The estimated number of bed bugs per apartment in the six apartments was 2,433–14,291.” Sleep tight!

Mark-Release-Recapture Reveals Extensive Movement of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) within and between Apartments

“Understanding movement and dispersal of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) under field conditions is important in the control of infestations and for managing the spread of bed bugs to new locations. We investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments using mark-release-recapture (m-r-r) technique combined with apartment-wide monitoring using pitfall-style interceptors. Read More

Flashback Friday: Is poker a game of skill or chance?

By Seriously Science | September 11, 2015 6:00 am

Photo: flickr/Ulf Liljankoski

Can you really get better at poker? How much skill does it take to win? In this ‘quasi-experimental’ study, the researchers set out to answer these questions. To do this, they had both expert and novice poker players sit down to fixed games, receiving prearranged card hands. This allowed the authors to test whether skill or chance could predict the outcome of the game. The results revealed that although the cards dealt pretty much predicted the winner, skill was important for reducing losses when players are dealt a bad hand. So, if you are a beginner, you’d better have beginner’s luck… or you might be broke by the end of the game.

Is poker a game of skill or chance? A quasi-experimental study.

“Due to intensive marketing and the rapid growth of online gambling, poker currently enjoys great popularity among large sections of the population. Although poker is legally a game of chance in most countries, some (particularly operators of private poker web sites) argue that it should be regarded as a game of skill or sport because the outcome of the game primarily depends on individual aptitude and skill. The available findings indicate that skill plays a meaningful role; however, serious methodological weaknesses and the absence of reliable information regarding the relative importance of chance and skill considerably limit the validity of extant research. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: super powers, told you so

And the fluffiest-tail-in-the-world award goes to…

By Seriously Science | September 10, 2015 6:00 am
Image: HOSCAP/Borneo

Image: HOSCAP/Borneo

…this cute little guy, also known as the Tufted Ground Squirrel, or Rheithrosciurus macrotis to his friends. In his free time, he enjoys having a tail volume of 130% relative to his body volume (for comparison, skunks are at 35% and possums are at 100%), making it “one of the most voluminous tails among all mammals
relative to body size.” Scientists think he may use his huge tail for self-defense and to confuse predators during pursuits. But best of all, locals in Borneo (where his species is found) believe this “vampire squirrel” is capable of killing deer, disemboweling them, and drinking their blood. What a cutie!

Tall Tales of a Tropical Squirrel

“The Tufted Ground Squirrel, Rheithrosciurus macrotis is an endemic of the South East Asian island of Borneo. This species is remarkable in several aspects. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, rated G

Scientists are actually studying Ryan Gosling memes.

By Seriously Science | September 8, 2015 6:00 am

127469594MT038_The_Ides_Of_Hey girl. You’ve probably seen those Ryan Gosling memes floating around the interwebs–you know, the ones where he says all the things girls like to hear. Well, these scientists set out to see if memes can garner more than just a laugh, and investigated whether they could actually change people’s views on important subjects. To do so, they showed groups of men and women a variety of Ryan Gosling feminist memes, and then tested whether the memes had any effect on the participants’ feminist beliefs. Surprisingly, although the men didn’t rate themselves any more feminist after seeing the memes, they did display “significantly higher endorsement of subtypes of feminism (radical and social).” The results were presented at the 2014 Canadian Psychological Association annual conference (abstract below). We assume these scientists are already hard at work on their follow-up study focused on how magnets work.

The Effect of Ryan Gosling Feminist Memes on Feminist Identification and Endorsement of Feminist Beliefs

“This study examined the impact of Ryan Gosling feminist memes on feminist identification and endorsement of feminist beliefs. Participants were asked to complete a one-item measure of feminist identification and then complete an adapted version of the Feminist Perspectives Scale (FPS) which measured endorsement of feminist beliefs. Contrary to our hypothesis, the experimental meme group did not display a greater level of feminist self-identification than the control group. In partial support of our hypothesis, the meme group displayed significantly higher endorsement of subtypes of feminism (radical and social). Read More


Flashback Friday: Facial hair scientifically proven sexy.

By Seriously Science | September 4, 2015 6:00 am

Hipsters aside, most of the straight women I’ve talked to have stated a strong preference for clean-shaven men, which makes the research presented in this paper a bit of surprise. When shown pictures of the same men with differing facial hair lengths, men and women expressed a preference for full beards and heavy stubble, respectively. But pictures are one thing, and beard burn is another. We demand a followup study that requires the participants to actually kiss those hairy faces!

The role of facial hair in women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities.

“Facial hair strongly influences people’s judgments of men’s socio-sexual attributes. However, the nature of these judgments is often contradictory. The levels of intermediate facial hair growth presented to raters and the stage of female raters’ menstrual cycles might have influenced past findings. We quantified men’s and women’s judgments of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities for photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded. We also tested the effect of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use on women’s ratings. Women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive. Read More

Gorillas, like people, have individual tastes in music.

By Seriously Science | September 2, 2015 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar

Image: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar

Problem: you have a bunch of gorillas coming over for a party and you have no idea what music they like. Solution: apparently there is none. That’s because, at least according to this study, gorillas have individual responses to different kinds of music. Here, researchers observed three gorillas (Koga, Sydney, and Lily) listening to rainforest sounds (natural), Chopin (classical), or Muse (rock). Although all the gorillas changed behaviors when listening to the rainforest sounds, Koga oriented toward the speakers playing Muse 40% of the time, while Sydney did it 10%, and Lily never did (graph below). Maybe next time they should try Gorillaz.

The effects of auditory enrichment on gorillas.

“Several studies have demonstrated that auditory enrichment can reduce stereotypic behaviors in captive animals. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative effectiveness of three different types of auditory enrichment-naturalistic sounds, classical music, and rock music-in reducing stereotypic behavior displayed by Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, rated G

Strong-stomached scientists develop a (hilarious) hand-pumped artificial vomiting machine.

By Seriously Science | August 31, 2015 6:00 am
Fig 2. Photo of a Simulated Vomiting Episode. Projectile vomiting of colored simulated vomitus matrix.

Fig 2. Photo of a Simulated Vomiting Episode.
Projectile vomiting of colored simulated vomitus matrix.

When a friend has a stomach bug and you hold her hair back while she blows chunks, are you at risk for inhaling aerosolized virus? Well, that’s exactly what these scientists wondered. But who wants to spend months hanging out at the hospital in the hopes that someone with a stomach bug walks in and lets you measure how many viral particles get aerosolized when they puke? Let’s just go ahead and say (or hope) no one. So, to answer the question, these scientists built a vomit machine–that even included a face–to replicate what happens to the chunks that get blown when we hurl. But what to put in the vomit machine? Why, artificial vomit of course! (And virus. Don’t forget the virus.) Finally, to measure the amount of aerosolized virus, they collected air samples from a plexiglass box that surrounded the “face” of the vomit machine. The result of these shenanigans? Well, lets just say the harder they puke, the worse your chances are.

Aerosolization of a Human Norovirus Surrogate, Bacteriophage MS2, during Simulated Vomiting.

“Human noroviruses (NoV) are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. Epidemiological studies of outbreaks have suggested that vomiting facilitates transmission of human NoV, but there have been no laboratory-based studies characterizing the degree of NoV release during a vomiting event. The purpose of this work was to demonstrate that virus aerosolization occurs in a simulated vomiting event Read More

Flashback Friday: Sexually aroused by farts? You’re not alone.

By Seriously Science | August 28, 2015 1:49 pm

Photo: flickr/wackyvorion

The saying goes “to each his own,” and that definitely holds true for fetishes. This paper describes a person with “eproctophilia”, which is the term for when someone is sexually aroused by flatulence. The first half of the article is included below. Warning–it’s a bit of a wild ride!

Eproctophilia in a Young Adult Male

“Olfactophilia (also known as osmolagnia, osphresiolagnia, and ozolagnia) is a paraphilia where an individual derives sexual pleasure from smells and odors (Aggrawal, 2009). Given the large body of research on olfaction, it is not surprising that, in some cases, there should be an association with sexual behavior. As Bieber (1959) noted, smell is a powerful sexual stimulus. Furthermore, the erotic focus is most likely to relate to body odors of a sexual partner, including genital odors.
One subtype of olfactophilia is eproctophilia. This is a paraphilia in which people are sexually aroused by flatulence (Aggrawal, 2009). Therefore, eproctophiles are said to spend an abnormal amount of time thinking about farting and flatulence and have recurring intense sexual urges and fantasies involving farting and flatulence (Griffiths, 2012a). To date, there has been no academic or clinical research into eproctophilia. Therefore, the following account presents a brief case study of an eproctophile and given a pseudonym (Brad). Brad gave full consent for his case to be written up on the understanding that he could not be identified and that he was guaranteed full anonymity and confidentiality. Read More

Too much eye contact can actually cause hallucinations.

By Seriously Science | August 25, 2015 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/Tambako the Jaguar

Photo: flickr/Tambako the Jaguar

If you think gazing into someone else’s eyes for a long time becomes uncomfortable rather quickly, imagine if you were a subject in this study, and were asked to stare into a stranger’s eyes for ten whole minutes. Turns out that it’s a lot more than just awkward. They actually started to experience hallucinations, likely brought on by “a dissociative state induced by sensory deprivation.” So there you have it: look deeeeep into my eyes… at your own risk!

Dissociation and hallucinations in dyads engaged through interpersonal gazing.

“Interpersonal gazing in dyads, when the two individuals in the dyad stare at each other in the eyes, is investigated in 20 healthy young individuals at low illumination for 10-min. Results indicate dissociative symptoms, dysmorphic face perceptions, and hallucination-like strange-face apparitions. Dissociative symptoms and face dysmorphia were correlated. Strange-face apparitions were non-correlated with dissociation and dysmorphia. These results indicate that dissociative symptoms and hallucinatory phenomena during interpersonal-gazing under low illumination can involve different processes. Read More


Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
Follow us on Twitter: @srslyscience.
Send us paper suggestions: srslyscience[at]gmail.com.

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