Category:
Science

June 25, 2016

Scientist who thought women were like apes

The wikipedia article on Oxford anthropologist Arthur Thomson (1858-1935) notes that he's best remembered for formulating Thomson's Nose Rule, which states that ethnic groups from cold climates tend to have thinner noses than groups from hot climates.

Apparently he's not remembered for his "Women Are Like Apes" theory, which he presented to a meeting of the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1927. The basis of this theory was that, "woman's legs are usually shorter, and her arms longer, than man's" — and this, Thomson felt, made women more ape-like.

I was curious whether Thomson was actually correct about female body proportions, and after some googling I've concluded that he probably was — at least about women (on average) having shorter legs as a proportion of their total height than men do. See, for instance, this article by a designer of bicycles for women, which says that's the case.

Harrisburg Telegraph - Oct 5, 1927

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 25, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Science, Anthropology, 1920's, Women

June 15, 2016

Seven Ways Frogs Mate



Our knowledge of how frogs get sexy together continues to expand. It used to be that we knew of only six frog mating positions, but now a seventh has been added to the repertoire, thanks to the efforts of University of Delhi researchers who "spent a few dozen nights filming the sex lives of Bombay night frogs."

The new position, which involves no genital contact, is called the "dorsal straddle":

The male frog straddles the female from behind using a branch or leaf to brace himself while he deposits his sperm on the female's back. The female lays her eggs, which are fertilized by the sperm trickling down her backside.

Over at National Geographic they helpfully provide a chart of all seven positions.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 15, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Nature, Science

June 14, 2016

Court rules sun uninhabitable

Godfried Bueren of Germany declared that there were areas on the sun cool enough to support human life. He offered 25,000 marks to anyone who could prove him wrong. So the Hamburg Astronomical Society sent him a list of reasons why he was wrong. When Bueren refused to pay, the society took him to court. In 1953, the court ordered him to pay up.


Palm Beach Post - Mar 22, 1953



More info in Time - Feb 23, 1953:

Legally Hot

Through years of spare-time dabbling in such occult sciences as prophecy and mental telepathy, Godfried Bueren, 70, a West German patent attorney, never lost his amateur enthusiasm for astronomy. Finally, he announced, he had learned something that professional astronomers don't know. The sun, asserted Herr Bueren is a hot, hollow sphere, a million miles in diameter; inside its fiery shell floats a cool core, 600,000 miles thick and lush with vegetation. What's more, he had 25,000 marks ($5,945) that said he was correct about the sun.

When Herr Bueren announced his startling theory, most scientists shrugged it off. But the German Astronomical Society accepted the challenge. Said Hamburg Observatory Director Otto Heckmann: the society would like to keep such "silly ideas" from attracting too much attention. Besides, the society needed the money.

Like schoolmasters marking a poor student's test paper Dr. Heckmann and a couple of scientists sharpened their pencils and set to work on Herr Bueren's theory. The sun's corona does blaze at approximately 1,000,000° C., they conceded, but who can believe that the enormous heat is caused, as Herr Bueren also insisted, by cosmic particles striking the sun's outer atmosphere? Why shouldn't the same particles bombard the earth and set it glowing? And did Herr Bueren really believe that sunspots are gaping holes in the sun's shell, opening on to a cool black core where plant life changes heat into chemical energy, thus lowering the temperature? Pure nonsense, said the scientists. As for heat-reducing plants: Dr. Heckmann & Co. pointed out that science knows of no plants that use up all the energy available to them.

A Bueren-picked jury of West German scientists studied the astronomical society's arguments and solemnly announced the the Bueren solar theory had been demolished. His bald pate flushed with anger, the sun-gazing patent attorney refused to pay. "People who want to cash in on the money," he cried, "do not even pay attention to what I have to say."

But Dr. Heckmann and colleagues, having paid attention to the prize offer, sued Bueren in the Osnabruck court. "Science cannot always say what is correct." they argued, "but we have advanced so far as to be able to say what is wrong."

Last week, despite Herr Bueren's dark mutterings that his professorial jury had been intimidated, the court found the sun's core legally hot, ordered him to hand over the 25,000 marks plus a year's interest at 4% and court costs.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 14, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Eccentrics, Science, 1950's

June 7, 2016

Fetal Soap Addiction

June 1988: Australian researcher Peter Hepper reported in the medical journal The Lancet that fetuses often appeared to learn to recognize the theme tune of their mother's favorite soap opera. As a newborn baby, hearing this tune would then calm them down.

He tested this hypothesis by playing the theme tune of the Australian soap "Neighbours" to a group of newborns whose mothers watched the show. Upon hearing it, he reported, six of the seven babies promptly adopted a "quiet alert state."

The Lancet - June 11, 1988





Des Moines Register - June 29, 1988

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 07, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Science, Experiments, Television, 1980's

June 6, 2016

The Production of Warts by Suggestion

Back in 1981, Dr. Melvin Gravitz (a doctor at George Washington University Medical School) published an article in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis in which he noted that it's possible not only to cure warts by hypnotic treatment (sometimes) but also to produce warts by suggestion as well.

Gravitz wasn't actually doing this himself, but he reported that back in the early 20th century (and presumably earlier as well) creating warts was a popular pasttime among girls in the Swiss canton of Vaud:

Charles Baudouin, a contemporary Swiss, noted that the canton or province of Vaud, in which Lausanne is located, was well known for its large number of lay wart healers. It was also possible for a patient to employ a prescription for the treatment of warts without consulting one of these folk healers. "In these cases, autosuggestion is seen in all its beauty. Prescriptions pass from village to village and 
hamlet to hamlet. Some of them are incredibly quaint. For example, to cause 
warts, the subject goes out one evening, moistens the tip of the finger, looks 
at a star, and simultaneously applies the
 wet finger-tip to the other hand. The operation is repeated, the finger being freshly moistened with saliva each time, while the subject counts, 'one, two, three . . .' up to the number of warts desired. Now, wherever the moistened finger-tip has been applied, a wart duly appears."

He noted that such practices were a form of amusement among the Vaudois girls who derived pleasure from passing their own warts on to someone else. "A ribbon is tied around the affected hand, and is knotted as many times as there are warts on the hand; then the ribbon is dropped on the highway. Whoever picks it up and unties the knots, will get the warts, and the original owner of the warts will be cured."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 06, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Science, Psychology, Skin and Skin Conditions

April 21, 2016

Three-Winged Chickens

1950: Scientists at UCLA breed three-winged chickens. More buffalo wings on one bird!

Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Oregon) - Nov 9, 1950



The Eugene Guard - Nov 15, 1950

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 21, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments, 1950's

April 10, 2016

The Science of Craps

If this is true, I assume the effect isn't significant enough to overcome the house advantage.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sep 7, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 10, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Science, 1930's, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

February 17, 2016

True Legend

image
Andres Ruzo grew up with the story of the boiling river as told to him by his grandfather. Later, as a geoscientist, he decided to try and validate the legend. The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon is the story of how, as a man, he proved the legend that captivated him as a boy.

Posted By: patty - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Geography and Maps, Science, Books, Myths and Fairytales

December 31, 2015

The MRE Diet

Army researchers are conducting a study to try to improve the healthfulness of MREs (meals, ready-to-eat), and they're looking for volunteers.

To qualify to participate, you need to live near Natick, Massachusetts and be willing to eat MREs (and nothing but MREs) for 21 days.

But the researchers say the lack of variety won't really be that bad because they've managed to come up with a book of recipes using only MRE ingredients. Recipes include "everything from specialty beverages ('Canteen Irish Cream Latte') to main dishes ('Bunker Hill Burritos') to desserts ('Fort Bliss-ful Pudding Cake')."

More info: Army Times.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 31, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Military, Science

October 2, 2015

Seeing The Light

image
For those who wish to recover their sight promising research is being done by the Universities of Bern, Switzerland and Gottingen, Germany. The process is called Optogenetic therapy and is expected to help those who have lost their sight due to some degenerative diseases of the eyes. Certain proteins are inserted into cells in the retina causing those cells to sense light. The effected cells then act in place of the light sensing cell that were destroyed by the disease process. This treatment has already been successful in returning sight to mice. It is not a cure for all blindness but it is certainly a great step forward in treating blindness due to degenerative diseases. There seems to be a long way to go before it will be ready for human use but the journey has at least begun.

Posted By: patty - Fri Oct 02, 2015 - Comments (2)
Category: Science, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia, Eyes and Vision

Page 1 of 21 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »
Custom Search





Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


weird universe thumbnail

Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is best known as the curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the weird news "expert" at about.com.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
June 2016 • May 2016 • April 2016 • March 2016 • February 2016 • January 2016

December 2015 • November 2015 • October 2015 • September 2015 • August 2015 • July 2015 • June 2015 • May 2015 • April 2015 • March 2015 • February 2015 • January 2015

December 2014 • November 2014 • October 2014 • September 2014 • August 2014 • July 2014 • June 2014 • May 2014 • April 2014 • March 2014 • February 2014 • January 2014

December 2013 • November 2013 • October 2013 • September 2013 • August 2013 • July 2013 • June 2013 • May 2013 • April 2013 • March 2013 • February 2013 • January 2013

December 2012 • November 2012 • October 2012 • September 2012 • August 2012 • July 2012 • June 2012 • May 2012 • April 2012 • March 2012 • February 2012 • January 2012

December 2011 • November 2011 • October 2011 • September 2011 • August 2011 • July 2011 • June 2011 • May 2011 • April 2011 • March 2011 • February 2011 • January 2011

December 2010 • November 2010 • October 2010 • September 2010 • August 2010 • July 2010 • June 2010 • May 2010 • April 2010 • March 2010 • February 2010 • January 2010

December 2009 • November 2009 • October 2009 • September 2009 • August 2009 • July 2009 • June 2009 • May 2009 • April 2009 • March 2009 • February 2009 • January 2009

December 2008 • November 2008 • October 2008 • September 2008 • August 2008 • July 2008 • 

Weird Universe Categories
1900's - 1910's - 1920's - 1930's - 1940's - 1950's - 1960's - 1970's - 1980's - 1990's - 2000's - 2010's - Accidents - Actors - Addictions - Advertising - Africa - Agriculture - AI, Robots and Other Automatons - Air Travel and Airlines - Alcohol - Alex - Aliens - Amateurs and Fans - Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Deliberate Obscurity - Animals - Anniversary - Annoying Things - Anthropology - Anthropomorphism - Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks - Antisocial Activites - Appliances - Archaeology - Architecture - Armageddon and Apocalypses - Armed Forces - Art - Asia - Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters - Australia - Authorities and Experts - Avant Garde - Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests - Babies - Babies and Toddlers - Backyard BBQ - Bacon - Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses - Bathrooms - Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods - Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues - Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles - Billboards - Birth Control - Blood - Boats - Body - Body Fluids - Body Modifications - Body Painting - Bodybuilding - Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers - Bombast, Bloviation and Pretentiousness - Books - Boredom - Brain - Brain Damage - Buildings and Other Structures - Bums, Hobos, Tramps, Beggars, Panhandlers and Other Streetpeople - Bus - Business - Busybodies, Snoops and Kibitzers - Butt - Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults - Can't Possibly Be True - Candy - Cannibalism - Caribbean - Cars - Cartoons - Cats - Celebrities - Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No's - Central America - Centuries - Ceremonies - Certificates, Diplomas, and Other Testaments of Achievement - Charities and Philanthropy - Charity - Child Prodigies - Children - Chindogu - Chocolate - Chuck - Civic Duties - Clowns - Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations - Coffee and other Legal Stimulants - Collectors - Comedians - Comics - Comments - Communications - Computers - Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension - Conspiracy Theories and Theorists - Contest - Contests, Races and Other Competitions - Conventions - Cops - Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings - Corrections - Cosmetics - Costumes and Masks - Couples - Crafts - Crime - Criticism and Reviews - Crossovers and Mashups - Crowds, Groups, Mobs and Other Mass Movements - Cryptozoology - Cult Figures and Artifacts - Culture and Civilization - Curmudgeons and Contrarianism - Curses - Curses, Slurs, Insults, Vituperation, Libel and Slander - Customs - Dance - Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers - Death - Decades - Delusions, Fantasies and Other Tricks of the Imagination - Design and Designers - Destruction - Detectives, Private Eyes and Other Investigators - Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers - Dieting and Weight Loss - Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical - Dinners, Banquets, Parties, Tributes, Roasts and Other Celebrations - Dinosaurs and Other Antediluvian Creatures - Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Creatures - Diplomacy and Foreign Relations - Disabilities - Disasters - Disease - Diseases - Disguises, Impersonations, Mimics and Forgeries - Dismemberment - Divorce - Documentaries - Dogs - Domestic - Double Entendres and Nudge-Nudge, Wink-Wink - Dreams and Nightmares - Drones - Drugs - Eating - Eccentrics - Education - Eighteenth Century - Elderly - Elderly and Seniors - Emigrants, Immigrants and Borders - Emotions - Engineering and Construction - Enlargements, Miniatures, and Other Matters of Scale - Entertainment - Environmentalism and Ecology - Ethics and Morals - Ethnic Groupings - Etiquette and Formal Behavior - Europe - Evil - Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough - Excrement - Exercise and Fitness - Experiments - Experts and Authority Figures - Exploitation and Grindhouse - Explosives - Eyes and Vision - Face and Facial Expressions - Facial Hair - Fads - Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts - Family - Fantasy - Farming - Fashion - Fate, Predetermination and Inevitability - Feet - Feminism - Fetishes - Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack - Fictional Monsters - Fireworks and Pyrotechnics - Fish - Flags - Flatulence - Flight - Food - Foreign Customs - Forgotten Figures and Where Are They Now? - Forteana - Frauds, Cons and Scams - Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature - Freebies, Come-ons and Loss Leaders - Furniture - Futurism - Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance - Games - Garbage, Trash, Waste and Other Detritus - Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters - Gender - Gender-bending - Genitals - Geography and Maps - Giant People in Ads - Gods - Goofs and Screw-ups - Goths - Government - Graffiti - Graphics - Guess the Scientist - Guns - Hair and Hairstyling - Hair Styling - Head - Headgear - Headlines - Health - Hermits - Highways, Roads, Streets and Traffic - Hillbillies, Country Bumpkins, Ruralism and Flyover Country - Historical Figure - History - Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators - Hobbies and DIY - Holidays - Hollywood - Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings - Horror - Horticulture and Gardens - Hospitals - Hotels - Human Marvels - Humor - Hunting, Trapping and Other Wilderness Activities - Husbands - Hygiene - Imitations, Forgeries, Rip-offs and Faux - India - Industry, Factories and Manufacturing - Inebriation and Intoxicants - Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art - Infantilism - Injuries - Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages - Insects - Insurance - Intelligence - Interior Decorating - Internet - Inventions - Jabberwocky, Scat Singing, Nonsense Verse and Glossolalia - Jewelry - Jobs and Occupations - Johnson Smith Catalog - Jokes - Journalism - Judges - Junk Food - Juvenile Delinquency - Kitsch and Collectibles - Landmarks - Landscaping - Languages - Law - Lawsuits - LGBT - Libraries - Lies, Dishonesty and Cheating - Literature - Little People - Longevity - Love & Romance - Love and Romance - Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains - Magazines - Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand - Marriage - Martial Arts - Mass Transit - Medicine - Men - Mental Health and Insanity - Middle East - Midwest Divisions Friday Feast - Military - Mining - Misbehavior, Rebellion, Acting-out and General Naughtiness - Mistranslations - Money - Monuments - Moral Panics and Public Hysteria - More Things To Worry About - Motor Vehicles - Motorcycles - Movies - Museums - Music - Myths and Fairytales - Name That List - Native Americans - Natural Resources - Natural Wonders - Nature - Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust - New Age - New Zealand - Newspapers - NGOs - Nineteenth Century - Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace - North America - Not Clear On The Concept - Nudism - Nutrition - Obesity - Obituaries - Obscenity - Obsessions - Oceans and Maritime Pursuits - Odd Names - Officials - Opera - Outrageous Excess - Outsider Art - Overpriced Merchandise - Pain, Self-inflicted and Otherwise - Parades and Festivals - Paradoxes, Enigmas and Other Conundrums - Paranormal - Parents - Parody - Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil - Patriotism - Paul - Performance Art - Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents - Perfume and Other Scents - Pests, Plagues and Infestations - Pets - Philosophy - Photography and Photographers - Pirates - Poetry - Police and Other Law Enforcement - Political Correctness - Politics - Pop Art - Pop Culture - Postal Services - Posters - Power Generation - Pranks - Pranks and Revenge - Predictions - Pregnancy - Prisons - Products - Propaganda, Thought Control and Brainwashing - PSA's - Psychedelic - Psychology - Public Humiliation - Public Indecency - Public Utilities - Publicity Stunts - Puns and Other Wordplay - Puppets and Automatons - Quizzes - Racism - Radio - Rants, Warnings, Jeremiads, Prophecies and Cassandra-like Figures - Reader Recommendation - Real Estate - Really Bad Ideas - Recreation - Recurring - Reformers, Do-gooders, Agitators and SJWs - Regionalism - Regulations - Religion - Restaurants - Retail Establishments - Retailing - Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience - Rituals and Superstitions - Robots - Roleplayers and Re-enactors - Romances - Royalty - Rube Goldberg Devices - Russia - Sadness - Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny - Scary Criminals - Scatology - Scholarship - School - Science - Science Fiction - Screams, Grunts and Other Exclamations - Screwups - Seasonal - Self-help Schemes - Seventeenth Century - Sex - Sex Lives Worse Than Yours - Sex Symbols - Sex Toys - Sexuality - Shoes - Shopping - ShowBiz - Sightseeing - Signage - Sixteenth Century - Skin and Skin Conditions - Skulls, Bones and Skeletons - Slang - Slavery, Bondage and Indenture - Sleaze and Sleazeballs - Sleep and Dreams - Smoking and Tobacco - Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages - South America - South Pacific - South Pacific and Polynesia - Space Travel - Space-age Bachelor Pad & Exotic - Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy - Spies and Intelligence Services - Spies and Secret Agents - Spies and Secret Agents - Sports - Stamps - Statues, Monuments and Memorials - Stereotypes and Cliches - Stomach - Stop-motion Animation - Strange Candidates - Strange Websites - Stupid Criminals - Stupidity - Subcultures - Subways - Success & Failure - Suicide - Superheroes - Superstition - Surgery - Surrealism - Swears - Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving - Synchronicity - Synchronicity and Coincidence - Tattoos - Taxidermy - Technology - Teenagers - Teeth - Telephones - Television - Terrorism and Terrorists - Testing and Ranking - Theater and Stage - Time-travel - Tobacco and Smoking - Tools - Torture - Tourists and Tourism - Toys - Tradesmen, Manual Laborers, and Skilled Workers - Tragedy and Pathos - Trains - Trains and Other Vehicles on Rails - Transportation - Travel - Trucks - TV News - Twentieth Century - Twenty-first Century - Twins, Lookalikes & Doppelgangers - Underwear - Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia - Unsolved Mysteries - Urban Life - Utilities - Utilities and Power Generation - Utopias and Dystopias - Vaudeville - Vegetables - Vegetarians and Vegans - Video - Videogames - Videogames and Gamers - Vigilante Justice - Violence - War - Weapons - Weather - Weddings - Weddings and Marriage - Weird Names - Weird Studies and Guides - Weird Theory - Weird Universe - Wild West and US Frontier - Wimps, Milquetoasts and Cowards - Wives - Women - Work and Vocational Training - World - World Records - Wrestling - Writers - Yesterday's Tomorrows - Your Daily Jury Duty - Your Daily Loser




This page has been viewed 43908195 times.