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Improbable theories, experiments, and conclusions
compiled by Dirk Manley, Improbable Research staff
Slingshot-delivered, Microchip-laden Hot Dogs to Gulls
“High Predation on Small Populations: Avian Predation on Imperiled Salmonids,” Ann-Marie K. Osterback, Danielle M. Frechette, Andrew O. Shelton, Sean A. Hayes, Morgan H. Bond, Scott A. Shaffer, and Jonathan W. Moore, Ecosphere, vol. 4, no. 9, 2013, article 116. The authors, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and San Jose State University, report:
PIT [passive integrated transponder] tags were inserted into miniature hotdogs (Hillshire Farm Beef Lit’l Smokies) and tossed out with a folding slingshot to maximize the number of different individual gulls that ingested tags.
Detail from the study “High Predation on Small Populations: Avian Predation on Imperiled Salmonids.”
Increased Gravitational Acceleration in Potato Deep-Fat Frying
“Effect of Increased Gravitational Acceleration in Potato Deep-Fat Frying,” John S. Lioumbas and Thodoris D. Karapantsios, Food Research International, vol. 55, 2014, pp. 110–8. (Thanks to Maarten Keulemans for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, report:
This work extends our previous studies on crust thickness evolution and evaporation front propagation during deep fat frying of potato sticks (French fries) by incorporating the effect of increased gravitational acceleration.... For this, a special device is constructed which permits... execution of deep fat frying experiments at increased gravity levels. The latter is achieved by means of a large diameter centrifuge (European Space Agency). Temperature recordings and crust thickness evolution indicate that heat transfer during frying depends on gravity level but differently at different potato orientations. Most significant variations with gravity are found up to 3.0 · gearth and for 0° orientation.
The Non-Anomalous Nature of Anomalous Utterances
“The Non-Anomalous Nature of Anomalous Utterances,” Victoria A. Fromkin, Language, vol. 47, no. 1, March 1971, pp. 27–52. (Thanks to Jim Cowdery for bringing this to our attention.) The author, at the Unviersity of California, Los Angeles, explains:
An analysis of speech errors provides evidence for the psychological reality of theoretical linguistic concepts such as distinctive features, morpheme structure constraints, abstract underlying forms, phonological rules, and syntactic and semantic features.... To explain the occurrence of particular kinds of errors, a specific ordering of rules is posited, which ordering may or may not coincide with the organization of a grammar.
The DNA Remains of a Kiss
“Prevalence and Persistence of Male DNA Identified in Mixed Saliva Samples After Intense Kissing,”
Natália Kamodyová, Jaroslava Durdiaková, Peter Celec, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik, Forensic Science International Genetics, vol. 7, no. 1, January 2013, pp. 124–8. (Thanks to Toby Sommer for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia, and other institutions, report:
In our study, 12 voluntary pairs were tested at various intervals after intense kissing and saliva samples were taken from the women to assess the presence of male DNA. Sensitivity-focused assays based on the SRY (single-copy gene) and DYS (multi-copy gene) sequence motifs conﬁrmed the presence of male DNA in female saliva after 10 and even 60 min after kissing, respectively.
Discovery: Fight Knockouts Often Come from Blows to the Head
“Comprehensive Analysis of ‘Knockouts’ in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA),” Michael Hutchison, Michael Cusimano, David Lawrence, and Tanveer Singh, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 47, 2013, e1. The authors, at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, report:
Objective: To quantify and identify potential risk factors for knockouts (KOs) and technical KOs (TKOs) in Mixed Martial Arts fighters.
Setting: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Design Retrospective: Fight card and fighter data was collected from all numbered UFC events over a 4-year period ending in 2009. Publicly available databases and digital video images were used to retrieve all pertinent information.
Conclusion: Most often the mechanism of contact resulting in a KO was direct blow to the head.
Nuclear Weapons and the Gastrointestinal System
“Effects of Nuclear Weapons on the Gastrointestinal System,” D.A. Freshwater, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, vol. 150, no. 3, 2004, pp. 17–21. The author is at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, University of Birmingham, U.K.
This article is republished with permission from the May-June 2014 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.
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