The “The” Study

Perhaps wanting to prove that she is second to none in the prestigious town of Crazyville, Glenda Brown carried out a study on the word “The” and the problems it causes in indexing. To be fair, the problems she outlines are not bad. After all, she points out that people are often confused when searching for a phrase in an index because they do not know whether their phrase will begin with “the” or whether it will start with the word after “the.”


In her study’s conclusion, she tells us a solution to the problem: to avoid confusion, an indexer should include the phrase in the section where all “the”s are kept as well as include it in the section of the letter with which the second word is beginning so that people will find the phrase no matter which section they check. This is like going up to someone and telling them, preferably with a crazed look in your eyes, that to avoid feeling cold, they should cover their upper body as well as their lower body and then publishing this as an article.


Language Recognition in Rats

According to New York Times, a team of researchers from Barcelona University carried out a study to find out how good rats are at recognizing languages. They trained rats to listen to either Japanese or Dutch and then tested the rats to see if their learned behavior showed up when listening to either language or if it showed up only when listening to the language they had been trained in. The study found the latter case to be true. In other words, the rats recognized the language they had been trained in.


Not content with having instilled armies of intelligent plague-carrying conquerors into only half of our nightmares, the researchers then went on to tackle the important question of whether rats could recognize the language when it was spoken backwards. For reference, this is a feat even human infants cannot perform.


Your tears hold no sway over us. Prepare to be replaced.

Luckily, their conclusion was that no, a rat cannot tell the difference between Japanese and Dutch when hearing them spoken backwards, which is scientific jargon for “whew, rats won’t be taking over the world after all.”


Other People’s Effect on Urination

For some, urination is a topic that causes awkwardness in conversations. For others, it is an art form, its execution brimming with intricacies meant to be pored over and recorded with periscopes and stopwatches. Enter Middlemist and Colleagues.

According to the link, in their study, an observer hid in one of the stalls of a public lavatory, using a hidden periscope to look at them while they communicated with the urinal through a medium that penises are famous for employing.


An analogous picture to understand how a penis would say hello.

A confederate of the researchers would either stand on the urinal directly adjacent to the subject, or one urinal away, or would not enter the lavatory at all. The study, meant to show how invasion of someone’s personal space can affect their urination delay (the time between unzipping of pants and when urination begins), found that the urination delay was 8.4 seconds in the Adjacent condition, 6.2 seconds in the One Urinal Away condition and 4.8 seconds in the Confederate Absent situation, which is surprising because we at WeirdWorm expected the “urination delay” when no one else is around to be 3 minutes. We receive no health benefits.