Assorted items to make you smile

First up, in case there aren’t enough cats on the Internet: photos of an 11-month-old lion cub at the Scottish Drummond Safari Park, discovering the joys of autumn leaves. (Hat tip to Inge.)

Have you ever heard of Dance Your Ph.D.? It’s a contest sponsored by Science magazine and the publisher of ScienceNOW, which challenges doctorate students to present their thesis topic in the form of dance. Now in its sixth year, the contest has attracted a stellar group of entrants. The winner was “Sperm competition between brothers and female choice,” demonstrating the biology of sperm competition in red jungle fowl. It involves skimpy outfits, synchronized swimming, and an inspired choice for representing the egg. Read more about the research here. (You can thoroughly enjoy the video without the extra information, but knowing a few details about what you’re watching adds some punch to it.)

There were several other top entrants, whose very worthy videos can be seen here. The Reader Favorite award went to an invigorating salsa dance interpretation of cancer cells vs. normal cells, but my favorite was “Sleep loss in a social world,” in which Ph.D. candidate Tina Sundelin dances her way through two versions of the same day: one in which she got a good night’s sleep, and one in which she did not. What’s different about this thesis is that it doesn’t explore the effects of sleep deprivation on the deprived one, but rather on the perception of others within the same social net.

(Hat tip to Mary.)

Finally, Buzzfeed asked Brits to label the states on a blank map of the United States, with hilarious results. I’m happy to note that more often than not, Oregon was in the right place. Colorado got no respect, though, being labeled variously Potatoes, Nebraska, Ohio, Kansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas (!!), and my favorite, Squaresies.

Just to keep things balanced, here are the results when Americans tried to label a map of Europe. Spoiler: We have no room to criticize.

(Hat tip to Astrid.)

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in humor, life, science. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Assorted items to make you smile

  1. syrinpt says:

    I saw these maps today too and I’d have to admit that I couldn’t fill in the names of all the european countries either. Especially those in eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Shame on me.
    On the up side, it’s nice to see that, contrary to popular belief, pretty much everyone knew where Portugal is. Though that’s probably more of a design thing that real knowledge. Probably the same reason I know where Florida is, but have no idea where to place New York. 😉

  2. Malkor says:

    What gets me is how one candidate placed Liechtenstein. Not so much that it was in the wrong place, but that someone across the sea has even heard of that tiny speck of land. It is so small it does not show on most maps.

  3. Inge says:

    Do you actually study the countries of Europe in your American schools? As far as memory serves me, all we had to learn were the countries (which i loved USA and Soviet union for, because of their size and simplicity), their capital and the major rivers. We never had American or Russian states..

    • oregon expat says:

      Are you kidding? American students are barely taught that Europe exists. If it weren’t for WWI and WWII, we probably wouldn’t learn anything about Europe except that it’s one of the continents. Oh, and that it’s SOCIALIST. [insert horror movie soundtrack here]

      • Inge says:

        Welll, these results are not that much of a surprise. I find it much harder to swallow when Belgians can’t tell me al of our regions and provinces. (which our television tested a couple of years ago and it was truly horrifying)

  4. Luis Rebelo says:

    Oh, all very good and nice to make fun of all of us who don’t know their geography, on either side of the pond (angry face, now what is the emoticon for that?)
    How about ending each story with either a correctly labeled map, or at the very least a link to one?

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