Friday, October 21, 2005

Unusual biology on the internet

As a digital biologist, I spend way too much time on the Internet trying to postpone doing real work (just a joke, really!). One of my work-postponing occupations is reading about things like the Ig Nobel awards. The Ig Nobels reward science that makes you both laugh and think. These are great criteria for awards, since we scientists have a tendency to take ourselves far too seriously. Better yet, the Ig Nobels reward experiments that my kids would like. The award for biology went to researchers who actually smelled 131 species of frogs to see if the frogs were feeling stressed. My youngest child would love smelling frogs. Of course, I don't think we could do a good control experiment; all the handled frogs would be terribly stressed.

Others have already written about the award for medicine, which went to the inventor of Neuticles. These are fake testicles for dogs. Having known one male dog owner who refused to let his dog have the big operation, I think these are probably great for wives of male dog owners who sympathize with their dogs, just a bit too much.

But my favorite award from this year wasn't for biology. It was the literature award. The winners were those most creative e-mail writers, those enterprising Internet entrepreneurs and champions of persuasive communication, the Nigerian spammers. Some people enjoy their work so much they've gone to the trouble of collecting it and posting them for everyone to enjoy, see Scamorama.

Nothing like the continuing adventures from the Lads from Lagos and few sniffs of stressed frog to start the day off right.


Subject:

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Johnson said...

Just a few odd comments about frogsniffing:

Seems to me you'd have to find a way of sniffing the frogs without them knowing they're being sniffed. I get stressed at just the thought of scientists sneaking around sniffing me and mine. And what sort of control do you need? Unstressed frogs? Like, what, frog monks or something?

Frog-sniffing definitely isn't the worst work in science; check this out:

http://tinyurl.com/b47rx

Finally, a bit of poetry from Mason Williams, the musician whose biggest hit was "Classical Gas" back *hrumph* years ago. Probably before your time. I guess you can find an MP3 of this floating around the "internets". Anyway, this poem is properly read aloud, rhythmically, with a heavy Hazzard County accent:

Them Toad Suckers

How 'bout them toad suckers, ain't they clods?
Sittin' there suckin' them green toady frogs!

Suckin' them hop toads, suckin' them chunkers,
Suckin' them a leapy type, suckin' them flunkers.

Look at them toad suckers, ain't they snappy?
Suckin' them bog frogs sure make's 'em happy!

Them hugger mugger toad suckers, way down south,
Stickin' them sucky toads in they mouth!

How to be a toad sucker, no way to duck it,
Get yourself a toad, rear back, and suck it!

-- Mason Williams

6:45 AM  
Blogger Sandra Porter said...

Hi Mark,

I do remember "Classical Gas" but unfortunately, I missed out on the Toad sucking poem.

Thanks for sharing!

Sandy

7:49 AM  

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