Last time, I was going through Sen. Jeff Flake's post on some of the stupidity in government spending, and thought as long as I have nothing better to post about, why not go back to that list and see what other humor we can glean from things that should make us cry.
I CAN NAME THAT TUNE IN... Once again we footed the bill through our good friends at the National Institute of Health for a smattering of studies to learn what kind of music monkees like. At a cost of over $1 million, we learned that while chimps like West African or Indian Raga music, they didn't care for western or Japanese style music. Researchers concluded that the chimps liked the West African and Indian music the beat structure was either all strong or nearly all weak beats. The pulse of western and Japanese music was off putting to the apes. In another $2.9 million study, tamarin monkeys were given a choice of music composed "just for them"- in imitation to their own natural calls. The researchers, however, found the composition "nails on chalkboard". However, they did that there was at least one western song that took the monkeys to their happy place- Metallica's Of Wolf and Man.
I STILL WOULDN'T TEST 'EM IN A RACE: This time, our NIH buddies teamed with the National Science Foundation to try a couple ways to answer the burning question- could dinosaurs run? To do this, close to $2 million was spent on studies looking at the problem from two angles. Angle one, study lizards. Now here's a strange fact: lizards can NOT run and breathe at the same time. That left them out of the study, and scientists having to find a close relative that COULD do both. Answer: the alligator. However, alligators aren't very inclined to run. So, they had to train the gators to run on treadmills.
After several months of training, the gators managed to turn the treadmill to the tune of about 1 mile an hour for up to four minutes.
So they tried angle 2: Birds are direct descendants of dinos (so they say), so let's take a chicken, grow it (by computer program) to dino size, and see what it can do. The results: their muscle mass would be hard pressed to allow them to WALK at dino size. Conclusion, if T-Rex could run, we have no idea how he did it.
|Coming soon- we will manufact- er, find evidence that gravity was much weaker in the late Triassic and early Cretaceous Eras...|
JEEZ, ALL YA GOTTA DO IS SHOW SOME SKIN... So they're now trying to find a way to predict which new model will be fashion's next success. Okay, I can see how that might be important to Ralph Lauren and the in-crowd, and maybe I could see Indiana University (yes, my alma mater) getting involved in the research. But how to you figure that the two main sponsors of said study were the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, who kicked in $2 million, and the NSF, who put in $920,000.
MORE STUFF TO LEARN FROM CHIMPS: NIH and NSF, chipped in $350,000 to see if humans and chimps were similar in being able to play video games. Faced with a video maze to find their way through, 4 adult chimps, four adult humans and 12 kids were tested- with the kids and the chimps doing the best, and a chimp named Panzee (gee, how'd they come up with THAT one?) took home first prize. The tests were over several days and skill levels, and sometimes the chimps had to be bribed with "the universal favorite, M&Ms" to "work".
In another study, NIH kicked out over $1 million on several studies into the contagiousness of yawning. They found that chimps would even yawn when shown a video of cartoon characters yawning. And what do we learn from this? “Understanding how chimpanzees connect with animations, to both empathize and imitate, may help us to understand how humans do the same.”
THE SELF-FULFILLING FB PROPHECY... NSF blew half a million bucks trying to determine whether Facebook is addictive. Based on a study of 5,000 volunteers by Cornell, the research team came up with "four factors that could indicate an addiction to FB"- and you'll LOVE the first one:
1- You BELIEVE FB is addictive...
2- You use FB "to create an impression" (of yourself, I guess...)
3- You are in a bad mood... (WTF? I'm in a bad mood, thus I am addicted to FB? So if you're in a good mood you're addicted to porn?)
and 4- You do not use other social media.
Thankfully, I also use Twitter, so I'm safe. But is FB an addiction?
However, the researchers concede the data used for this study “are not the result of a
purposeful, designed social scientific study” and have limitations. In other words, it's about as trustworthy as, say, a FB meme.
WE TOLD YOU IT WAS A SICKNESS: $2 1/2 million by NSF and NIH to determine if Liberal beliefs were genetic or societal. Really? Okay, let's play along. What did they find?
Social scientists believe there is an association between liberal ideology and the 7R
variant of the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4), but only among those who had a larger
number of friendships during adolescents. “It is important to note,” the authors caution, “that
the 7R allele by itself does not make a person liberal and neither does simply having a greater
number of friends as a teenager. Additionally, the 7R allele does not cause an individual to have
more friends, and twin studies have shown that the number of friends one names is not
significantly heritable. Rather, it is the crucial interaction of two factors—the genetic
predisposition of having a greater number of 7R alleles and the environmental condition of
having many friends in adolescence—that is associated with being more liberal.”
In less technical speak, apparently they found that you need both a dopey gene and dopey friends in adolescence. Or something like that.
Wow, there's a bunch more of these to go! Tune in next time when we find out which has more hairs- a grey squirrel or a bumblebee! (No lie!)