The Lighter Side of Research

Lighter Side of Research

Ten studies that will leave you scratching your head in disbelief

Researchers are inquisitive people. I mean, that’s pretty much what our professional purpose in life is – asking questions to find answers. Many studies yield important results about consumer trends that help businesses operate more profitably or cancer-fighting drugs that prolong life. Lately we’re seeing more than the usual amount of political surveys as pollsters are constantly measuring public opinion about the latest news out of Washington.

But, as we start a new year, let’s look at the lighter side of research for a change. This article is a showcase of the absurd, pointless and bizarre sides of research.

  1. DOES VIAGRA HELP HAMSTERS RECOVER FASTER FROM JET LAG?

We all know that Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction. However, researchers in Argentina discovered that the little blue pill might also help treat jet lag. This bizarre scientific research was conducted on hamsters that were injected with Viagra. After administering the drug, the rodents’ sleep cycles were pushed ahead by six hours – the approximate amount of time needed to fly from New York to Paris. The hamsters on Viagra recovered from jet lag as much as 50 percent faster than the hamsters without Viagra. We do not recommend trying this on your pet hamster.

  1. DOES COUNTRY MUSIC MAKE YOU SUICIDAL?

Country music is one of the most popular genres of music in the United States, with a huge audience that encompasses all age ranges. Yet given its recurrent themes of wedded disharmony and excessive drinking, researchers decided to probe whether this music genre has an influence on municipal suicide rates in America. Their research actually discovered a strong link between the amount of country music radio airplay in any particular city and the suicide rate among the white population in that area. If you’re depressed, it seems like some Lady Gaga might be a better musical choice.

  1. in bar fights, is a full beer bottle a better weapon than an empty one?

Common weekend warrior tales would suggest that a beer bottle makes a good weapon in the event of a bar brawl. But would a full or an empty bottle inflict the most damage, and would that damage include fracturing a human skull? These “important questions” were answered by a team of Swiss researchers who discovered that a “full bottle will strike a target with almost 70 percent more energy than an empty bottle,” but that either is capable of breaking a human skull. Good to know if you’re the kind of person who worries about weaponizing yourself at Ruby Tuesday’s happy hour.

  1. What are the dangers of SWORD SWALLOWING?

Sword swallowers have obviously chosen a dangerous profession, but are there other hidden dangers we should know about? A radiologist and world champion sword swallower teamed up on a study that analyzed the “technique and complications” of 46 members of the Sword Swallowers Association International. This study found that there is a heightened chance of injury when “distracted or adding embellishments” – as in the case of one unfortunate swallower who lacerated his throat after being disturbed by a “misbehaving macaw on his shoulder.” I think that study went to the birds.

  1. DO WOODPECKERS GET HEADACHES?

The British Journal of Ophthalmology published a study to help identify the physiological traits that woodpeckers have developed to avoid brain damage and bleeding or detached eyes when hammering their beaks into trees at up to 20 times a second, 12,000 times a day. In addition to a very broad but surprisingly squishy skull and sturdy jaw muscles, the woodpecker has a “relatively small” brain – which probably explains a lot.

  1. BOOTY CALLS: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?

Appearing in The Journal of Sex Research, “The booty call: a compromise between men’s and women’s ideal mating strategies,” analyzed the booty-calling behavior of college students. The study confirmed its central thesis that “the booty call may represent a compromise between the short-term sexual nature of men’s ideal relationships and the long-term commitment ideally favored by women.” I’m just not sure how to interpret this study’s findings – are booty calls good things or bad? I guess it depends on whether you’re male or female, according to this data.

  1. CAN YOU PERFORM A COLONOSCOPY ON YOURSELF?

Do-it-yourself projects are all the rage, but a Japanese gastroenterologist took the craze to another level. The doctor boldly probed the inner contours of his colon by performing a self-colonoscopy multiple times. He then chronicled the peculiar activity in a medical journal to show people that colonoscopies are not painful and that fears of the procedure may be exaggerated. For all the do-it-yourselfers out there, we recommend something a bit less invasive for your next project.

  1. WHAT IS THE GROWTH TREND WITH MAMILS?

An Australian study aimed to explore the distribution of the Mamil (middle-aged man in Lycra).

The authors of the study described the Mamil as an “emergent cycling-focused species.” The researchers found that the proportion of middle-aged men who could be categorized as belonging to this species at least once a week had increased from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 13.2 percent in 2016. The authors also noted that the “habitat of the Mamil is predominantly in affluent suburbs of major cities, often near water.” This is an alarming statistic when you visualize what many middle-aged men look like in Lycra bike pants.

  1. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE THE DRUG ECSTASY TO AN OCTOPUS?

Research published in the journal Current Biology explored the similarities in behavioral responses between humans and octopuses by dosing the latter with MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy. The researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found through gene analysis that octopuses share the same serotonin transporter gene that humans have, which is known to be the principle binding site for ecstasy. The researchers stated that this commonality was surprising, given that octopuses and humans are separated by more than 500 million years of evolution. When the octopuses were given ecstasy, the scientists noted that they spent more time with other octopuses and engaged in exploratory physical contact with one another. A lot of club-goers in Miami could have told you that.

  1. CAN BACON CURE NOSEBLEEDS?

According to one study, bacon can quickly and effectively treat a nosebleed by serving as a nasal tampon. For this bizarre method to work, one must plug the bleeding nostril with a piece of cured pork that is uncooked. When researchers inserted a piece of cured pork inside a person suffering from a prolonged nosebleed, the bleeding stopped immediately. The researchers noted that this method had been used previously, but was discontinued due to the high risk of parasitic and bacterial complications. We don’t know why this study was even done in light of the risks – seems like a wad of toilet paper is still a safer nose plug.

A final question is, “How does this weird research apply to my casino?” Tribal casino operators and marketers are using research more frequently because it has become so affordable, fast and reliable. This is true not just for tribal enterprises, but for countries, industries and companies all over the globe. What burning research question would help you become more profitable if you knew the answer? It may not involve hamsters or bacon, but the data is out there just waiting to be found.

Deb Hilgeman
Deb Hilgeman 11 Articles