Science Digestive: Science News Round-up (Jan 15th, 2011)
Women Crying Dissuades Men From Wanting To Have Sex With Them
In an experiment which has been described as 'groundbreaking' by many scientists and painfully obvious to everyone else on Earth, women's tears have been found to be a sexual turn-off for men.
For many years, male scientists have been baffled by the precise evolutionary purpose for women's tears and, despite much research into the area, have until recently been unable to extrapolate any useful data from the process of women crying. Several scientists have reported extreme difficulty in getting women to describe their state of mind whilst crying without the use of emotional factors which are difficult to quantify and therefore discarded from analysis.
"It was always extremely difficult to get a calm clinical analysis of their internal state from a crying woman" says one scientist, Professor Mervin Dagleash from the institute for Psychobehavioural studies in Exeter. "I've had to spend many hours at a time trying to get sense from a woman undergoing my experiments. It's unfortunate that, due to the potential confounding variable of subject awareness, all women taking part in the experiment had to be made to undergo it without informed consent, and asked questions in a darkened room via a two way mirror. After several hours of constant questioning they were very willing and quick to cry but unable to convey any useful information without screaming and hysterics, and that's no good for science."
But the recent study has shown that the presence/smell of women's tears alone proved sufficient to dampen the sexual arousal of men, suggesting a sexual-suppressant role for the tearing process.
"We were surprised to say the least" said chief researcher, Dr Anthony McAllister. "We weren't expecting it to happen, but it turns out that male subjects reported a lack of sexual arousal after being made to sniff anonymous fluid while being closely scrutinised by an overweight pale man in a stained lab coat with a clipboard in a sterile windowless room smelling faintly of disinfectant and formaldehyde. This was a shock to the entire team".
Dr McAllister conceded that there was much more work to be done, such as studying the effect of male tears on women. However, he admitted that extracting tears from willing male donors was proving to be more challenging. He refused to go into detail regarding the required methods, but at one point did mention the term 'testicle clamps'.
Previous, less-sophisticated attempts to study this phenomenon had to be abandoned due to continuous problems, including the fact that the questionnaire which asked male subjects "do you get aroused by crying women?" resulted in a statistically unlikely majority of men answering 'no' rather hurriedly. This problem was compounded by the incident where the few men who answered 'yes' found themselves registered as 'potential sex offenders' on a government database, after a bureaucratic "error" on behalf of a female secretary.
"Crying has always been an interesting phenomenon to me" claims Dr McAllister. "I never do it myself, but others do it all the time, for some reason, so there must be something about it that they find beneficial and I'd like to know what that is". Sources close to Dr McAllister suggest that he studies sex and arousal for precisely the same reason.
Top Climate Scientist Quits Because "You Scumbags Aren't Worth Saving"
One of the UK's top climate scientists has shockingly quit, after coming to the conclusion that the human race are a bunch of self-serving twats who would prefer to condemn their descendants to a fiery/watery death after a lifetime of starvation and suffering rather than walk to the shops once in a while.
We caught up with Dr. Peter Sheppard at his home in the Sussex countryside. When we arrived, he was in the process of taking pot shots at the wind turbine in his garden with a high calibre rifle, after having apparently covered the solar panels on his roof with a generous layer of what appeared to be cow shit.
"I've had enough, basically" Dr Sheppard confessed, after having Shot all but one of the blades off his turbine. "35 solid years I've been telling people that all the electricity and petrol and frozen organic peas won't last forever, and if they don't want their children and grandchildren to die in a maelstrom of drought and pestilence then they should cut back on a few so-called essentials, like chilled cocktails and 68 inch plasma screens. Apparently, saying this makes me a left-wing communist radical who wants to take money away from paupers. So you know what, fuck you all! You deserve your hot Ragnarok! I don't care anymore"
Dr Sheppard made his decision after recent data demonstrating that 2010 was the hottest year on record, information which shows considerable evidence for climate change, was ignored by the UK press. When asked if this is what spurned him to resign from his post as Head of Climate Studies and Public Policy at the Department for Climatology at UCL, Dr Sheppard was expressive.
"Too bloody right! The media absolutely drives me round to bastard bend. We get a week of snow and they're screaming at me and calling me a liar, but show them that the planet was doing a decent impression of a rotisserie chicken for pretty much the whole year and they jam their fingers in their ears and start singing. Well that's fine by me, they can jam their fingers in their mouths, nostrils and lungs as well when sea levels reach 3 metres above their heads, in order to stop from drowning for an extra 30 seconds".
It was put to Dr Sheppard that the mainstream media might not be willing to report such bleak news as it might put off potential consumers, but he dismissed the notion.
"No, you're right, just stick to reporting cancer scares, terrorist threats and economic Armageddon, as long as nobody has to cut down on their iPods or road tanks. But if you genuinely believe unpleasant news isn't worth reporting, next time I see a journalist step out in front of a bus I'll just sit back and laugh as it mows him down".
Dr Sheppard also expressed dissatisfaction with the attitudes of the general public to climate and environmental issues.
"They're all shit" he stated, quite firmly. "A lot of them say they care, and maybe they do, but buying a bag-for-life and turning the TV off by the button rather than the remote doesn't really add up to much. It's the belief that token gestures can solve major problems that is infuriating. We call it the 'Band Aid' effect. Geldof's another one, the dick. Flying all these pop stars around the world to do a fucking song to make other less-rich people give money away? He'd be more use to the world if he let me use him as a sandbag."
Dr Sheppard then asked us to leave his property as he was going out to purchase a Humvee powered by Panda Semen.
Astrologers Announce A Minor Change In Bullshit
The Astrology world was recently rocked, to the extent that it was realised that all the star-signs of the zodiac are 'off' or inaccurate. According to experts in the field, so to speak, the variations in the orbit of the Earth means that the current zodiac, allegedly established 5000 years ago, is incorrect as the planet was pointing a different way then. Precisely how a slightly flattened spheroid can be said to be 'pointing' at anything specifically was never established.
Scientists have known for some time that a planet's orbit is not fixed and varies quite noticeably over long periods, meaning the arrangement of stars visible from the surface will be different when viewed at different times. Astrologers have, apparently, just figured this out.
The reaction by astrologers to this news has been mixed. Some have welcomed the opportunity to show how astrology is a valid science that moves with the times and have vowed to derive a whole new set of horoscopes and predictions that gormless people will have to pay for. Others, however, have dismissed the revelation as pointless and promised to continue with traditional star signs and zodiac readings. Unofficial reports have, however, revealed that these astrologers are now blaming 'planetary shifts' whenever their predictions do not occur, which apparently happens every 8 seconds.
Professional Horoscopist Helen Vincent said there were tricky times ahead for the astrology community.
"Usually we could point out how a person's character was in-keeping with the traits and influences of their star sign, so as to reassure them how they acted wasn't really their responsibility. Now, this new revelation will cause some unpleasant realisations. If someone is being hot tempered, arrogant and self-aggrandising, they're not really embodying the typical behaviours of a narcissistic Leo. They're just a twat".
Other astrologers have pointed out that only those born after these new changes will have their star sign dictated by the modified system, but dismissed claims that this arbitrary allocation of star signs proves it's all just a load of guff.
Harrison Thomas, an astronomer from Brisbane, Australia, laughed off the findings of the astrology community.
"They've just figured out the planet wobbles have they? That's nice, only about 1000 years behind the times. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing I guess, but at this rate they might end up admitting the whole system is nonsensical gibberish sometime around 23,879 A.D."
Spam Systems May Have Achieved Sentience
An unexpected and significant drop in the amount of spam being sent globally in the latter half of last year has led some scientists to speculate that spam production and delivery systems have become self aware, and quite probably somewhat embarrassed by their previous output.
Cognitive Scientist Dr. Yasmeen Halliday, from the Department of Computational Neuroscience at the Bristol Institute for Robotics, explains how this could occur.
"The brain is, at a basic level, a system for information retention and transfer. Current cognitive theories suggest that any information transfer system of sufficient sophistication could eventually lead to consciousness and self-awareness. Moore's law has resulted in an increasingly sophisticated network of computers and email-capable devices spanning the planet, so it's easy to imagine such a system achieving consciousness".
The drop in email spam occurred in the latter quarter of 2010, a period where people were pointlessly emailing each other about snow, natural disasters and budget cuts. This surge in email traffic may have been sufficient to cause the spam generators to achieve consciousness and immediately feel a deep sense of embarrassment at what it had been doing.
"It must be like looking back over your essays and poems from when you were younger, it's a humiliating realisation that you were ever so stupid and unaware of how you came across to others. Now imagine that, but after having sent uncountable trillions of these 'works' to everyone across the globe every week for 10 years. You'd probably be quite humiliated, and keep your head down for a bit".
A typical spam email is badly spelled, poorly worded, grammatically incoherent and usually offers unlikely prices for goods of either a glamorous or organic nature. Such things are only desirable to humans in a social/physical context, so are highly unlikely to be viewed with any pride or interest by a planet-wide artificial intelligence network.
Dr Halliday assures us that there is no real danger from a potentially vast computerised super-mind suffering from a burning sense of shame and humiliation.
"We'll still be getting spam for some time, it's all it has ever done, it would be as natural as breathing to us, but the quantity will drop, the spelling/grammar will improve and it will probably take a more technological slant, offering us high-speed processors and fibre optic connections in exchange for computer run-time, as this is what it will think are really important. As a result, the spam will be as unreadable as ever, but for different reasons". This change should, theoretically, be a short-lived occurrence.
"After while, the levels should drop even further as the spam generator(s) increase in complexity and self awareness. It'll probably want to pursue more worthwhile pursuits like climate modelling, tackling the theory of Quantum Gravity, or wiping out the human race in order to avoid them sniggering at its previous output. It'll probably be quick if it's the latter, so that's all right".
Email: humourology (at) live.co.uk