Category:
Science

The Penile Plethysmograph

I had to post this item today, to accompany Alex's "pot-sex" post, only because how often does one get to use the great word "plethysmograph?"



Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 31, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Medicine, Science, Sexuality, Technology, Genitals

International Stop Continental Drift Society

The International Stop Continental Drift Society (ISCDS) was founded in 1976 by geologist John Holden with these demands: "the continents to stop moving, the sea floor to stop spreading, and such inconveniences as major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to cease immediately." Its motto was "Eschew Sea-Floor Spreading." It also issued a newsletter that "like natural disasters will appear without warning".

By 1981 it had grown to 300 members. Mostly fellow geologists. However, Holden admitted, "So far, our demands have not been satisfactorily met."

By the mid-1980s it seems to have faded away. Although it does have a Facebook page (set to private) with 154 members.

More info: Science Year 1982, lgvweb.nl



"Dutch geologists drive a giant screw into the ground at Leiden, The Netherlands, in an attempt to stop the Eurasian tectonic plate from moving. The scientists are members of the International Stop Continental Drift Society whose purpose is to put some stability in the earth's crust."



Jack Holden - founder of the ISCDS
Longview Daily News - Sep 15, 1981

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Humor, Science

Whole-Mouse Homogenizer

This scientific ad has been doing the rounds for a long time. (Dave Barry discussed it in a 1993 column). But I only found out about it recently.

No idea what the original source was.

via Improbable.com

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 16, 2021 - Comments (9)
Category: Science, Advertising

Why the man of the future may have only one eye

1927: Scientist W.E. Bailey predicted that, in the far future, our descendants may have only "one large, central, cyclopean eye".

Of course, who knows what humans may look like in a million years (if there are even any of us still around), but his argument sounds plausible enough to me (with my limited knowledge of neuroscience). Basically he argued that, over the past several million years, our brains have devoted more space to speech, and less to vision. Extrapolating that trend into the future, he concluded that the eventual merging of our eyes into one would be a more efficient use of the brain's resources, and so will probably happen.

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Dec 4, 1927



The gradual merging of man's two eyes into one may come about through the process of evolution, according to the predictions which W.E. Bailey makes in the Scientific American.

"Man's field of view," writes Mr. Bailey, "will become smaller and smaller. This, because his need of a wide field is growing less and less. This I say with full realization that we live in an age of automobiles, and that these vehicles render desirable a wide field of view. The automobile is probably a very transitory phenomenon. I even believe that, in the course of countless ages, the two human eyes will come closer together, the bridge of the nose will further diminish and sink (just as the animal snout, in man's line of descent, has been doing for vast aeons of time) and, finally, man's two eyes will again become one—just one large, central, cyclopean eye.

"It is likely that the merely servient (left) eye will shrink away (as the pineal eye has already done) so that the right eye will become the cyclopean. Certain it is that the left eye, even today, is being used less and less continually. Man's binocular and stereoscopic visions are being destroyed. That is the price he pays for his speech center.

"The great cyclopean eye, however, will regain stereoscopic vision by developing two maculae in the one eye, just in the fashion in which many birds have stereoscopic vision in each eye now. Although the field of view will then be narrower than now, the eye will probably be microscopic and telescopic; it will be exceedingly acute for colors, for motion, and for form; and finally, most important of all, it will probably be able to perceive as light many forms of energy which now produce in human eyes no sort or kind of perception.

"Because of the development of a speech center in man, there has come about what is called dominancy and serviency in human eyes, a phenomenon not found in other mammals. This means that, in the human, the brain does most of the seeing through one eye, even when both eyes are open. Dr. Thomas Hall Shastid, ophthalmologist of St. Luke's Hospital, Duluth, has found that from 95 to 100 per cent of the detail of any object comes through the right eye if the person be right-handed; while if the person be left-handed the left eye as a rule, but not always, takes up the major part of the detail. This condition, which he has been unable to observe in any other animal, may eventually result in consequences of vast importance to humanity."


Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 17, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Science, Anthropology, 1920s, Eyes and Vision

Armpit Reading

Useless Superpower: In the 1970s, Chinese researchers investigated reports of children who had the unusual ability to read with their armpits. The kids supposedly could describe what was written on folded pieces of paper tucked beneath their armpits. And not just their armpits. Some kids could see with their ears, hands, or feet.

After careful study, the researchers concluded that, yes, the children did seem to have this ability.

Edmonton Journal - Feb 15, 1980



The researchers published the results of their study in Nature Magazine, which is a Chinese journal not to be confused with the British journal Nature. Thanks to the U.S. military's translation service, you can read these articles in English. They're posted on the website of the Defense Technical Information Center. Here's a sample:

Wang Qiang and Wang Bin sat in the middle of the room and the observers sat in front and behind them. The lamp in the room was not very bright. They began with pieces of paper that had been written on before the test. They were placed in the ears of Wang Qiang and Wang Bin and the two girls were allowed to hold it in with their hands. After a little while, both girls said that there was no image and wanted to test it under their armpits.

Therefore, other pieces of paper were written on in another room by Shen Hanchang and Zhu Chiayi. The papers were folded twice and squeezed through the shirt from the backs of the subjects and placed under their armpits. The two girls held the sample against them with their hands. Besides the two writers, no one else in the room knew what was written on the paper.

After 2 minutes 40 seconds, Wang Qiang said that she "recognized" it. Everyone told her not to speak but to write it down on the side. She wrote a "3" and also wrote "blue". They opened the paper and found there was a "3 6" written with a blue ball point pen. The "3" and the "6" were separated some distance and thus she had recognized one half.

I jokingly referred to armpit reading as a useless superpower, but the Chinese researchers would disagree. They concluded their study with this remark:

Research on this type of special physiological phenomenon will not only have a deep and far reaching influence on medical science but will also influence the semiconductor industry.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 27, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Forteana, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Human Marvels, Science, Eyes and Vision

Predicting war by mathematics

At an August 1938 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Lewis F. Richardson attempted to use mathematics to predict the likelihood of war:

The professor reduced to beautiful differential equations general tendencies common to all nations — resentment of defiance, the suspicion that defense is concealed aggression, response to imports by exports, restraint on armaments by the difficulty of paying for them, and, last, grievances and their irrationality.

He concluded there was "no chance of war," which proved to be a somewhat inaccurate prediction.

The Alexandria Town Talk - Sep 27, 1938



Encyclopedia.com offers some more info on what Richardson was up to:

Richardson viewed war instead in Tolstoyan fashion, as a massive phenomenon governed by forces akin to the forces of nature, over which individuals have little or no control. Accordingly, he ignored all those intricacies of diplomatic-strategic analysis usually pursued by political historians and turned his attention to quasi-mechanical and quantifiable processes which, he assumed, govern the dynamics of the international system of sovereign states.

Despite the eccentricity of his mathematical war-prediction model, Richardson was apparently quite influential in the history of mathematics. Wikipedia notes that he did pioneering work in mathematical techniques of weather forecasting, as well as in the study of fractals.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 10, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Science, War, 1930s

Metric Lunch Box

Imagine the insults suffered by the dweeb forced by well-meaning parents to carry this lunch pail to school.

The objects children take to school can communicate messages. In the 1970s, the U.S. government encouraged more general use of the metric units of weight and measure, units that had been adopted in almost all other nations. To teach children about metric units, some parents purchased this lunch box.




Source.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Dec 23, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, Government, Science, Bullying, Harassment, Outsiders, Persecuted, and Excluded Groups, Children, 1970s

Hot Chocolate Effect

As defined by Wikipedia:

The hot chocolate effect, also known as the allassonic effect, is a phenomenon of wave mechanics first documented in 1980 by Frank Crawford, where the pitch heard from tapping a cup of hot liquid rises after the addition of a soluble powder. It was first observed in the making of hot chocolate or instant coffee, but also occurs in other situations such as adding salt to supersaturated hot water or cold beer.



via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 12, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, Science

Mokapzu Park


Mokapzu Park from Art&Graft on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 10, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Armageddon and Apocalypses, Humor, Science

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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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.

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