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Science: Too Much Information!

Sometimes you hear things that make you wish you had the power to purge memories. Maybe it's your lewd, blunt, and abrasive Uncle Harry talking about the build-up of smegma under his foreskin. Maybe it's your strange cousin Geninne, who won't shut up about the green fungus growing around her armpits. Maybe it's your over-the-top friend, who regularly reveals bare-all stories that soil your consciousness, like about the time he and his girlfriend fornicated in your bed... and on your couch... and on your desk.

You know the feeling that results from hearing these auditory indecencies: It's like you've been psychologically violated. Like you've been seeded, against your will, with a nauseating thought, a thought that's going to germinate within the nurturing and impressionable recesses of your brain.

Now, you might think that science would be above such vulgarity, but it's not. Science's most quintessential goal is the pursuit of knowledge, and that pursuit, as well as the knowledge it uncovers, can be supremely awkward. Studies abound that tell us things that we'd much rather not know, and that make us want to recoil and cry, "Geez, Science; way too much information!"

Without further ado, here are five of science's worst "TMI" offenders, expressed in the scientists' very own gauche writing:

5. Do Left and Right Armpits Smell Differently?  Human Axillary Odor: Are There Side-Related Perceptual Differences?"

"The aim of the present study was to test whether odor samples from the

right and left axillae

provided by right- and left-handed men were

perceived differently by female raters. Participants were 38 males and

49 females,

aged 19-35 years. Fresh odor samples (cotton pads

worn underarm for 24 h) were evaluated for attractiveness, intensity,


masculinity, with left and right samples being

presented as independent stimuli. A side-related difference emerged in


only (no difference in right-handers): The odor

from the axilla corresponding to the dominant side (left) was rated more


and more intense than the other side (right)."

shutterstock_104299313.jpg4. Cockroaches in Your Colon. "Caught on camera: an unusual type of bug in the gut."

Via Discoblog:

"During screening colonoscopy, a cockroach was encountered in the

transverse colon of a 51-year-old woman with a history of

schizophrenia.  It was <1 cm in size and had a green, aqueous

substance sticking to its legs. Despite extreme caution during

extraction, the cockroach disintegrated and was removed by using

suction. The patient denied any knowledge of accidental ingestion or

history of pica. The most plausible explanation was inadvertent intake

of the cockroach while the patient was consuming green gelatin shortly

before the procedure."

3. What's in Your Hot Dog? "Applying morphologic techniques to evaluate hotdogs: what is in the hotdogs we eat?"

"A variety of tissues were observed besides skeletal muscle including

bone (n = 8), collagen (n = 8), blood vessels (n = 8), plant material (n

= 8), peripheral nerve (n = 7), adipose (n = 5), cartilage (n = 4), and

skin (n = 1)... In conclusion, hotdog ingredient labels are

misleading; most brands are more than 50% water by weight. The amount of

meat (skeletal muscle) in most brands comprised less than 10% of the

cross-sectional surface area. More expensive brands generally had more

meat. All hotdogs contained other tissue types (bone and cartilage) not

related to skeletal muscle; brain tissue was not present."

2. Sex Histories of Catholic Priests. "Sexual and intimacy health of Roman Catholic priests."

"This study explores the sexual experiences and sexual health of Roman

Catholic priests. The qualitative research design looked at priests'

responses to the question, "Please share one or more sexual experiences

in your lifetime..." The data

were analyzed by frequency of responses and percentages within each of

the seven categories. The results indicate the need for early

intervention and education during seminary, ongoing education after

ordination, and psychotherapy support for priests."

1. Prisons and Gay Pornography. "In the slammer: the myth of the prison in American gay pornographic video."

"The purpose of this paper is to discuss the significance of the prison

scenario and its various permutations in the texts of American

commercial pornographic video. The paper will identify the prison as a

highly eroticised all male environment, an arena where the

active/passive dichotomy of gay pornography is staged and re-staged... Prison scenarios

take many shapes in gay pornography such as the American penitentiary,

the military brig, and the fantasised dungeon of the leatherman. I see

these scenarios as performing an important function within gay porn by

offering idealised spaces for the acts of pornography: voyeurism,

narcissistic display and active/ passive role-play." 

In searching for these "TMI" studies, Discover's Discoblog was an invaluable resource. Check it out!

(Image: Sweating Man via Shutterstock)

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