Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seriously, who would fund that?!?!

Sometimes I fill in on a Discovery Channel podcast called the "Friday News Feedbag." There's a host and two reporters who pick random, off-beat scientific research press releases to talk about on the show. When one of the regular reporters is away on vacation or out sick, they call upon me. There's banter and a lot of back-and-forth, but it's always a good time.

One thing I find myself often wondering when I'm looking through mountains of research press releases for The 'Bag is, "Really. Who would even think of that?" or more terrifying - "Really. Who would FUND that?" Some are hilarious. Some are sick. Some are just down right common sense - study not needed.

Here are just a few of my favorites from today. I should note that I didn't alter the name of these studies in any way. I have written them below as they appear on the press releases...

- New study finds increased prevalence of left-handedness in children with facial development disorder.

- After a few drinks, older adults more impaired than they think.

- Buckyballs could keep water systems flowing.

- Politicians can use fear to manipulate the public.

- Pure fructose frequently confused with high fructose corn syrup.

- Older adults control emotions more easily than young adults.

- Fast-food density and neighborhood walkability affect residents' weight and waist size.

- Geeks may be chic, but negative nerd stereotype still exists.

Sometimes, I feel sad to be an American taxpayer. Tune into the Feedbag every Friday, but I'll be on this week (the March 6th show)!


themedianerd said...

Hahaha awesome, these are hilarious.

I am always shocked that common sense studies get funded and think "Um, I could have told you that."

Lauren Effron said...

I couldn't find it, but by far the best one I've ever found was from a few months ago - it was something like... "New study shows women become pregnant more often from unprotected sex rather than protected sex."

Larry said...

Publish or perish! You ever read the Annals of Improbable Research? By the same folks who put out the Ignoble Awards. I once had the great honor of informing them of a paper which later won the ignoble in Physics. It was a quantitative study out of Australia or New Zealand (forget which), about the different amounts of force required to drag sheep across a variety of surfaces. Conclusion: Less force was required to drag sheep in a direction parallel to sheep shed floor planks that perpendicular to the planks.