If you're like me, you wonder all the time about how country music affects America's suicide rate. Or why spaghetti noodles never break in half. Or what a nervous gekko smells like.
Well, somebody out there -- smart somebodies with more letters after their names than I -- actually get paid to research such things. Here's a quick listing of 20 really important scientific research projects that will change the world tomorrow. Or soon. Maybe. Well, they might. Possible. I didn't say probable. Better living through nerdy behavior.
«Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis» (1990) Presented by J. F. Nolan, T. J. Stillwell, and J. P. Sands. A quick, simple and non-traumatic approach to the zipper manipulation -- the paper says -- is presented in which prepuce is instantly released by lateral compression of the zip fastener, using a pliers.
«Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half» (2006)Presented by B. Audoly and S. Neukirch (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris). It explains why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces.
«Impact of Wet Underwear on Thermoregulatory Responses and Thermal Comfort in the Cold» (1994)Presented by M. K. Bakkevig (Sintef Unimed in Trondheim, Norway) and R. Nielson (Technical University of Denmark). Investigates the significance of wet underwear and compares any influence of fibre-type material and textile construction of underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort of humans during rest in the cold. The tests showed that the thickness of the underwear has more of an influence on the thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort, than the types of fibers tested.
«On Human Odour, Malaria Mosquitoes, and Limburger Cheese» (1996)Presented by B. Knols. It shows that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.
«Rectal Foreign Bodies: Case Reports and a Comprehensive Review of the World's Literature» (1986) Presented by D. B. Busch and J. R. Starling (Wisconsin). Includes reports of, among other items: seven light bulbs; a knife sharpener; two flashlights; a wire spring; a snuff box; an oil can with potato stopper; eleven different forms of fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs; a jeweler's saw; a frozen pig's tail; a tin cup; a beer glass; and one patient's remarkable ensemble collection consisting of spectacles, a suitcase key, a tobacco pouch and a magazine.
«The Pitch Drop Experiment» (1984) Presented by J. Mainstone and the late T. Parnell (University of Queensland, Australia) An experiment that began in the year 1927 -- in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years.
«The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size» (1993) Presented by J. Bain (Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto) and K. Siminoski (University of Alberta). While comparing height, foot size and penile length, Bain said the relationship was minimal. "We found a weak correlation," he said and added this ratio should not be used by anyone to assess the size of a man's penis.
«Elucidation of Chemical Compounds Responsible for Foot Malodour» (1990)Presented by F. Kanda and others five scientist (Shisedo Research Center, Yokohama). It concluded that people who think they have foot odor do, and those who don't, don't.
«Navigation-Related Structural Change In the Hippocampi of Taxi Drivers» (2000) E. Maguire, and others (University College London) Presented evidence that the brains of London taxi drivers are more highly developed than those of their fellow citizens.
«Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of UFO Abductions» (1992) Presented by J. Mack (Harvard Medical School) and D. Jacobs (Temple University). Concluded that people who believe they were kidnapped by aliens from outer space, probably were, and that "the focus of the abduction is the production of children."
«Interim Report: Results of the National Demonstration Project To Reduce Violent Crime and Improve Governmental Effectiveness In Washington, D.C., June 7 to July 30, 1993» (1993) Presented by J. Hagelin (Maharishi University and The Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy). Concluded that 4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C.
«Survey of Frog Odorous Secretions, Their Possible Functions and Phylogenetic Significance» (2004)Presented by Benjamin Smith (University of Adelaide, Australia) and others. It catalogs the peculiar odors produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.
«Blink-Free Photos, Guaranteed» (2006)Presented by N. Svenson and P. Barnes (Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization) It calculated the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed.
«Transmission of Gonorrhea Through an Inflatable Doll» (1993) Presented by E. Kleist (Nuuk, Greenland) and H. Moi (Oslo, Norway).
«A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years» (1996) Presented by C. Mills, M. Llewelyn, D. Kelly, and P/ Holt (Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport).
«Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed» (1975) Presented by B. Vonnegut (State University of New York at Albany).
«Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature» (2006)Presented by A. Mulet, J. Benedito and J. Bon (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain) and C. Rosselló (Universitat de les Illes Balears).
«The Effect of Country Music on Suicide» (1992) Presented by S. Stack (Wayne State University) and J. Gundlach (Auburn University).
«Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans» (2002) S. Ghirlanda, L. Jansson, and M. Enquist (Stockholm University)
«Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth» (2002) Presented by A. Leike (University of Munich) Demonstrated that beer froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay.
(Tip o' the mortar board to 2Spare.com)