By Moriba Cummings, HLNtv.com
Have you ever just been randomly surfing the Internet only to stumble upon a study that triggers you to shake your head in pity?
When a penguin’s poop-squirting range is measured, with completely serious intentions (okay, it won a spoofy Ig Nobel Prize), one is forced to sit back and wonder, “Are people really that bored?”
Since everyone has been bitten by the “science bug” lately, we’ve decided to round up the top 10 most pointless studies. From the jumping frequencies of fleas to attractiveness/finger length links, we’ve got you covered — all in the name of science.
Some penguins can squirt poop up to 40 centimeters
In a classic case of, "Did we really need to know this?” Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, and Jozsef Gal, of Lorand Eotvos University in Hungary, won an Ig Nobel Prize in 2005 for breaking down the maximum distance of a penguin's excretion. "Whether the bird deliberately chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its (feces) ... needs to be addressed on another expedition," they said. Okay.
A brain scan can detect transexuality
Yes, you read correctly — according to findings published in early 2011 by a team at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain, a "transexual brain" can now be successfully detected via brain scan. Researchers found that through comparing the brains of 19 males, 19 females and 18 male-to-female transexuals, the structure of white matter in the four regions of transexuals' brains was structurally different to that of their counterparts.
You should date a dozen people before settling down
Giving everyone free rein to serial date, a study by Peter Todd, professor of informatics and cognitive science at Indiana University, states that before you settle down with the right person, you should date 12 people. Dubbed the "Twelve-Bonk Rule" — oh, brother — he states that if you have dated below the recommended number, you should "feel free to keep looking," however, if you go crazy and reach almost 30 partners, you're being "too picky."
Your days are numbered, lefties
If you're a leftie, your life's automatically cut a bit short when compared to your right-handed counterparts, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The study stated that left-handed people tend to live significantly shorter lives than right-handers. The researchers say the results are due to left-handers facing "more perils in a world dominated by the right-handed." Is it difficult for anyone else to keep a straight face after reading that statement? Riiight, riiight.
Country music exposure linked to suicide
Country music aficionados everywhere may want to take a look at this. Steve Stack from Wayne State University and James Gundlack from Auburn University were awarded a 2004 Ig Nobel prize for their research on country music/suicide links. They found that cities that play above the "standard" amount of country music have "higher than average suicide rates." The researchers also found that African-Americans were not affected by country music at all.
Vanilla can be extracted from cow dung
Do you occasionally enjoy a good bowl of creamy vanilla ice cream? Well, thank the cows — not for their milk, though. An Ig Nobel prize-winning study by Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan showed there is a way to extract vanillin — vanilla fragrance and flavoring — from cow dung. At the awards ceremony, a Massachusetts ice cream shop named a flavor in Yamamoto’s honor, calling it “Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist.” Indeed.
Dog fleas jump more than cat fleas
First off, yes — apparently cats have fleas, but why would anyone want to know the frequencies of their jumps? The 2008 Ig Nobel prize ceremony board happens to think this is some interesting stuff, as they have awarded Marie-Christina Cadiergues, Christel Joubert and Michel Franc of France for their study on the annoying little critters. Though disturbing and quite irrelevant, it would be interesting to see how they tested this theory. Are scientists chasing fleas now?
Selfless acts by men increase when hot women are around
In what should have been breaking news, a study published in February in the British Psychological Society's British Journal of Psychology said that men display their best behavior when attractive women are nearby. There's a twist, though. When the tables are reversed, women do not act any differently. Surprise, surprise! Did they get this study from a vintage edition of Cosmo, or did they really take the time to research this?
You're only smart if you listen to Beethoven ... Hip-Hop won't do
If the words of California Tech PhD student Virgil Griffith are anything to go by, you're smartest if you listen to Beethoven and dumbest if you listen to Lil' Wayne. Basing his results off standardized testing — which is flawless, of course — he found in 2009 that Beethoven listeners have an average SAT score of 1371, while Lil' Wayne's listeners have an average score of 889. "Loving this rubbish (rap) says a lot about someone," he said.
Guys with long ring fingers are automatically attractive
I bet all of you guys out there just looked down at your ring fingers. According to an April 2011 study by Swiss researchers, the ratio between the length of a man's right index and ring fingers is linked to facial attractiveness. Scientifically dubbed 2D:4D, as it compares the length of the second digit with the fourth digit, the study is driven by measuring testosterone. "The more masculine the 2D:4D is, the more attractive is the face," said Camille Ferdenzi at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Thanks to this study, men everywhere either now have a major boost in confidence, or are significantly insecure.
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