Dolphins can engage in name-calling, women are often harassed in chatrooms and drunk monkeys are a lot like drunk people.

Name That Dolphin
Calling out, “Hey, dolphin!” in the Sarasota Bay is like yelling “Grandma!” on a cruise ship. Scientists already knew that dolphins had a distinct whistle for each bottle-nosed friend or relative, but they thought the voice of the whistler rather than its content carried all its meaning. According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found dolphins could refer to a third party by name, allowing for scandalous dolphin gossip. To test for name recognition, the researchers removed all vocal inflection and vocal cues from the name-calling whistles and played them for 14 dolphins. Nine of the dolphins turned more often if the researchers played the name of one of their close relatives. The other five swam away with the excuse, “You would too if your name was Weeeeee-heeee-oo-weeee.”
(source: Reuters)

Scent of a Woman
A recent study shows that when lesbians smell male and female pheromones their brain patterns more closely resemble those of straight men than straight women. Swedish researcher Ivanka Savic studied 12 homosexual women, 12 heterosexual women and 12 heterosexual men as they sniffed AND (a pheromone found in sweat that’s more concentrated in men), EST (an estrogen-like steroid), lavender oil and cedar oil. The similarity in brain patterns between lesbians and straight men was not as strong as the similarity between straight women and gay men found in an earlier study. The researchers note that sexual orientation may direct the brain’s response to pheromones.
(source: WebMD)

Researchers have unearthed a highly secret British Ministry of Defense document on UFOs. “Project Condign,” conducted over four years, concludes that “plasmas” —which can create false memories of alien encounters and possibly burn the skin—are the cause of unexplained UFO sightings and are created by electrically charged weather conditions or meteor reentry. The plasmas trigger a response in the temporal lobe of the brain, and victims may have extended memory retention and repeat experiences. The report also noted that the UK has never collaborated with other countries on the topic of UFOs, so all of those crazy conspiracy theories aren’t true.
(source: Sheffield Hallam University)


No, I Don’t Think I’d Like That Much
If your screen name strongly indicates that you’re female, you might as well change it to HarassMe2Day. A new study out of the University of Maryland shows that female usernames in a chatroom receive 25 times more threatening or sexual private messages than male or neutral usernames. The obviously female screen names in the study were subjected to 163 malicious messages per day. The harassment ranged from the relatively benign (“feeling horny?”) to thoroughly unsavory (no example needed, I’m sure you get the idea). The authors advise parents to tell their kids to create gender-ambiguous screen names. The authors also note that the malicious messages didn’t seem to come from bots spamming female usernames; real men were targeting these women.
(source: University of Maryland, College Park)

Did Someone Say “Fuel Efficient?”
University of Bath engineering professor Andy Green has built a vehicle he believes can get 6,000 miles to the gallon (2,500 km/l). Sure, you can’t fit in the vehicle and it wouldn’t get the same mileage if it weighed more than 66 pounds (30 kg). Green kept costs low, building his three-wheeled, 122-inch vehicle on a mere £2,000 budget. The TeamGreen machine—it’s convenient when your last name is synonymous with “eco-friendly”—will be Britain’s only entry in a global competition for the title of the world’s most fuel-economic car.
(source: Scotsman)

Drunk as a Monk-ey
The only image more depressing than a grown man getting drunk alone is an adorable macaque monkey getting drunk alone. According to a recent paper in the journal Methods, the drinking behaviors of monkeys mimic those of humans. Macaques in the study drank more when they were alone and often liked to have a morale-booster after a long day in the lab. In one experiment researchers created two “happy hours,” one where 21 monkeys all boozed and schmoozed together and one where 10 individually housed monkeys each had their own private happy hour of solo drinking misery. These monkeys drank two to three times more than their social counterparts. In another experiment, monkeys had all-day ethanol access, and the researchers found they drank the most right after work, when the lab closed. The researchers found that some of the monkeys who were most predisposed to alcohol abuse would drink until they stumbled, vomited or just fell asleep.
(source: Discovery News)

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Originally published May 15, 2006


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