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The Legendary Dr Fox Lecture - Footage Found!

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Several years ago when I first wrote about the famous Dr Fox lecture I thought the original footage was lost forever. When I recently learned that it is still around I tracked down one of the researchers Don Naftulin who was kind enough to send it to me. Below is an edited version of what has become one of the most unusual experiments in psychology.

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Lying Down for 370 Days - the Longest Bed Rest Study Ever

Posted on June 3, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Exactly one year ago today the six men of the Mars500 study entered the simulated spacecraft near Moscow in order to learn more about human behavior of living for prolonged time in a tight space (picture above). The anniversary made headlines world wide. There was a time though when similar events did not prompt any press releases.


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Crucifixion Experiments

Posted on April 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

No other Christan holiday ...

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The Science of Keith Richards

Posted on March 1, 2011 at 5:22 PM

In 1969 Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and his partner Anita Pallenburg had a car accident near their home in Sussex. Richards escaped serious injury but Pallenburg was taken to the hospital with a broken collarbone....

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Honey, I Shrunk the Sample Covariance Matrix

Posted on February 9, 2011 at 3:13 PM

sorry, but I can't stop:

Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989) is another contributer to cinematic title formation in science:

Honey, I Shrunk the Sample Covariance Matrix (UPF Economics and Business Working Paper No. 691 June 2003)

Honey, I Shrunk the Currency Union Effect on Trade (The World Economy 25: 457)

‘Honey, I Shrunk the Bus Travel Time on Route 12!’ (Westernite 57: 1)

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The Man who Hanged Himself - 12 Times

Posted on February 7, 2011 at 5:19 AM

Certain subjects seem to be outside of the range of self experimentation for principal reasons. One of them is hanging. That did not deter Roumanian forensic scientist Nicolas Minovici from trying it (see picture). In hi...

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Cinematographic title formation (3)

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Raiders of the lost park… mobility management: more than just parking (Traffic Technology International, 2003)


Raiders of the Lost Arch (J Calif Dent Assoc. 35: 302)


Dial M for molecular (Molecular Interventions, 2001)


Dial M for flavor symmetry breaking  Journal of High Energy Physics (2001)


See the full list here:

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Testicular cycling in the swamp

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Sex in the swamp seems to be complicated:

Involvement of the gonadal germinal epithelium during sex reversal and seasonal testicular cycling in the protogynous swamp eel, synbranchus marmoratus Bloch 1795 (teleostei, synbranchidae)


Journal of Morphology

Volume 257, Issue 1, pages 107–126, July 2003

Wedding Experiments

Posted on January 27, 2011 at 7:49 AM

New Scientist TV blog has a clip of a wedding where bride and groom (an some of the guests) had drawn their blood before and after the ceremony to check their oxytocin levels.

But this was not the first time tha...

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Job Risks

Posted on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Espresso maker's wrist (West J Med. 15: 721)

Carpet layer's knee (Aust Fam Physician 27: 415)

Bag packers' hand (British Journal of Plastic Surgery 44: 158 )

Refrigeration Engineer's Testis (British Journal of Urology  65: 213)

A Life in Scientific Journals

Posted on January 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

The Birth Gazette

Gifted Child Quarterly

Journal of Child Psychotherapy

Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology News

Journal of Adolescence

Journal of Drug Education

Journal of Marriage and Family

Journal of Happiness Studies

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Headache Quarterly

Journal of Worry Research

Journal of Divorce & Remarriage

Healthy Weight Journal

Ageing International


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The photofit challenge - solution

Posted on December 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I am afraid I have to tell you that nobody could solve the weird experiments photofit challenge. All the answers that came in (second from the right is John Lennon, the second from the left Carl Sagan...) were wrong. That was to be expected as it was exactly what Pawan Sinha had in mind when he asked an expert to produ...

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The photofit challenge

Posted on December 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM

These four faces were generated by an IdentiKit operator at the request of a scientist. IdentiKit is a standard software used by the police to produce face composites of criminals. The individuals depicted here are all famous celebrities. If you think you know them (or one of them) you can participate in the weird...

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My talk at PINC conference: spiders on drugs, the common cold myth and the real difference between men and women (you knew it all along...)

Posted on December 6, 2010 at 9:22 AM

part 1:

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part 2:

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A talk I gave at the PINC conference ...

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And the Winner is "The Good the Bad and the Outsourced"

Posted on December 4, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Who would have thought that scientists favourite movie is a spaghetti western? I can prove it statistically: No other movie title pops up more often in the heading of a scientific paper than Sergio Leones The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Below a ranking of the films that were most often referenced in google scholar:

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What is the most common sexual fantasy of a computer?

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Although this doesn't seem to be a scientific question the answer can be found in the highly original paper Intimate Exchanges: Using Computers to Elicit Self-Disclosure from Consumers  in the Journal of Consumer Research from March 2000. Its author Youngme Moon (now the Donald K. David Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School) had to come up with an answer in order to do her study on the principle of reciprocity between computers and humans.


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Once Upon a Time in the Electron Radiation Belts: more cinematographic title formation

Posted on November 13, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Found three more movies that made it into titles of scientific papers. Sergio Leone is still number one with The Good, the Bad and the Outsourced but now has a second movie on rank 10: Once Upon a Time in the Electron Radiation Belts. Woody Allen is third now with Everything you always wanted to know about Amorphophallus, but were afraid to stick your nose into! followed by Billy Wilders Some like it haute: leadership lessons from France's great chefs.

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Dog Telepathy

Posted on November 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Just found this picture from around 1920. In this telepathy experiment between human and dog Karl Krall (on the right) tried to detect the thinking radiation he assumed to flow between the two. Krall was a rich dealer in diamonds who had founded his very own institute for paraphysical research in Munich. He had also taken care ...

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Experiments in Cartoons

Posted on October 28, 2010 at 6:30 PM

When I came across this hilarious cartoon by Craig Swanson (with kind permission) during the research for my book I was wondering which scientific experiment is most inspiring to cartoonists.


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My new blog

Posted on October 28, 2010 at 8:42 AM

I always had a knack for noticing the weird in scientific research. When I first read about Pavlov's Dogs it didn’t take me long to find out that Ivan Petrovic Pavlov holds an unusual record: no other scientific experiment has had more bands named after it than his conditioning study. I also did an informal study about the use of film titles in scientific papers (more about that and Pavlovs bands in a later post).


For more then ten years I have been writing columns (i...

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