10 Oddball Questions Scientists Have Genuinely Tried to Answer

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Unbelievable, Unusual and Unique: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Unbelievable, Unusual and Unique: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

This week's roundup of HowStuffWorks podcasts and articles features glue inspired by slug mucus and far-out solar eclipse superstitions.

Author's Note: 10 Oddball Questions Scientists Have Genuinely Tried to Answer

Writing this article was a lot of fun because zany, weird and nonsensical science is as hilarious as it is absurd. And, at times, surprisingly useful. Kudos all around, Science People, kudos.

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  • Alleyne, Richard. "Silly Science: Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate weird and wacky research." Telegraph. Sept, 21, 2012. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9557317/Silly-science-Ig-Nobel-Prizes-celebrate-weird-and-wacky-research.html
  • Bertenshaw, Catherine and Rowlinson, Peter. "Exploring Stock Managers' Perceptions of the Human-Animal Relationship on Dairy Farms and an Association with Milk Production." Anthrozoos. March 2009. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berg/anthroz/2009/00000022/00000001/art00006
  • Bollinger, SA et al. "Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?" Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. April 2009. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19239964
  • Cheung, Karen. "Australian Scientists Develop Formula for Blink-free Photos." DigitalCameraInfo.com. Jan. 5, 2007. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/content/australian-scientists-develop-formula-for-blink-free-photos.htm
  • Eerland, Anita et al. "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller: Posture-Modulated Estimation." Erasmus University. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.academia.edu/843300/LEANING_TO_THE_LEFT_MAKES_THE_EIFFEL_TOWER_SEEM_SMALLER_POSTURE-MODULATED_ESTIMATION
  • "Friday Weird Science: how much wood could a woodchuck chuck..." Scientopia. Oct. 5, 2012. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2012/10/05/friday-weird-science-how-much-wood-could-a-woodchuck-chuck/
  • Ghirlanda, Stefano et al. "Chickens prefer beautiful humans." Stockholm University. April 15, 2004. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://cogprints.org/5272/1/ghirlanda_jansson_enquist2002.pdf
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  • Jabr, Ferris. "Cache Cab: Taxi Drivers' Brains Grow to Navigate London's Streets." Scientific American. Dec. 8, 2011. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=london-taxi-memory
  • "Names give cows a lotta bottle." Newcastle University. Jan. 28, 2009. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/names-give-cows-a-lotta-bottle#.UHiPOG_Af9Y
  • "Pregnant women standing on their own two feet." Science Blogs. Dec. 17, 2007. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2007/12/17/pregnant-women-standing-on-the/
  • Prigg, Mark. "Why leaning left can make the Eiffel tower look smaller, and how to jam speech: Annual Ig Nobel awards for weird and wonderful discoveries announced." Daily Mail. Sept. 21, 2012. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2206752/Annual-Ig-Nobel-awards-weird-wonderful-discoveries-announced.html
  • "IgNobel Prize winner in Acoustics: The SpeechJammer. The shut up machine for the passive aggressive." Scientific American. Sept. 21, 2012. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/2012/09/21/ignobel-prize-winner-in-acoustics-the-speechjammer-the-shut-up-machine-for-the-passive-aggressive/
  • Troop, Don. "Winning an Ig Nobel Beats a Sharp Blow to the Skull." The Chronicle. Oct. 1, 2009. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://chronicle.com/article/Winning-an-Ig-Nobel-Beats-a/48669/
  • Whitcome, Katherine et al. "Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins." Nature. Dec. 13, 2007. (Oct. 27, 2012.) http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3743553/27881641.pdf?sequence=1