Science is Cool: Depraved Penguins and Horny Beetles

Despite the dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman, penguins are not very nice. In fact, they’re some dirty little buggers.

OK, I understand that March of the Penguins was about Emperor, and the new information that’s come to light is about Adelie penguins, but a penguin is a penguin in my book. (Funny sidenote: I first typed in “Amelie.” Which are obviously gamine little French penguins with large eyes.)

It’s my opinion that if one species of penguins is seriously freaky, it’s likely the other ones are too. It’s like when one person named Poe does something boneheaded, all Poes get tainted.

But back to the depraved penguins. According to FoxNews:

Hidden for nearly 100 years for being too “graphic,” a report of “hooligan” behaviors, including sexual coercion, by Adelie penguins observed during Captain Scott’s 1910 polar expedition have been uncovered and interpreted.

Levick noted the penguins’ autoerotic tendencies, and the seemingly aberrant behavior of young unpaired males and females, including necrophilia, sexual coercion, sexual and physical abuse of chicks, non-procreative sex and homosexual behaviors.

What the hell? Sexual and physical abuse of chicks? NECROPHILIA?? But….they seem so nice in the movies! And they’re cute and waddle and wear little tuxedos! How can they be so weird?

Girl, do not be fooled. He’s about to get weird on you. Do not turn your back. Or leave your children with him.

The current researcher who discovered the 100 year old papers defends the poor penguins.

Necrophilia, for instance, is not the same in penguins and humans; Rather than being sexually aroused by a hot gal, male penguins are chemically wired to respond in certain ways to a seemingly compliant female of breeding age.

Listen, I don’t care what “clues” I might be giving by lying prone while I am dead (or even sleeping), you do not get to hump me.

My favorite part is how the original doctor/explorer, Levick, compares the penguins to men back in the early 1900s.

Levick described penguins that waddled about the colony’s outskirts terrorizing any straying chicks as “little knots of hooligans” in his pamphlet. “The crimes which they commit are such as to find no place in this book, but it is interesting indeed to note that, when nature intends them to find employment, these birds, like men, degenerate in idleness.”

And this is from some dude stranded in the South Pole for three years. He might know something about “idleness.” You’d think he’d be the first guy to sympathize with the naughty penguins. Heck, you’d even think that after a certain amount of time stranded out there, he’d like to snuggle with a penguin or two himself.

But like a proper Edwardian man, he understands that there are societal norms to be upheld. Penguins could do with a bit more of a moral compass in my opinion.

At the time, Levick was so shocked by what he saw he recorded the events in Greek to disguise the information, at one point writing, “There seems to be no crime too low for these penguins.”

Indeed, good sir. Indeed.

I don’t normally find Fox News the best source for stories, and certainly this one was widely reported, so I could have gone with any source. But what clinched it for me was the link in the story to something I’d never heard of before. Something called the Ig Nobels.

They’re kinda like the Nobel Prize, only with less money. And less prestige.

But the research that is honored? Genius. Comedy gold. Below are some of the top winners in 2011:

CHEMISTRY PRIZEMakoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of JAPAN, for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.

So, so, so important. This is a game changer, folks. What if there’s a fire and you for some reason cannot arouse a person and the only tool you have at your disposal is wasabi left over from your sushi takeout?

Where, oh where, can I purchase a wasabi alarm??

MEDICINE PRIZEMirjam Tuk (of THE NETHERLANDS and the UK), Debra Trampe (of THE NETHERLANDS) and Luk Warlop (of BELGIUM). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder andRobert Feldman (of the USA), Robert PietrzakDavid Darby, and Paul Maruff (of AUSTRALIA) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.

OK, as someone with a small bladder, I can totally vouch for this research. I often think that I can have just one more beer at happy hour, when in fact, this is a bad decision, made because I have not yet broke the seal, if you know what I mean. Once I go to the bathroom, I can think much clearer and I know that beer is not going to pave a golden road home. Er, something.

I totally remember hearing about this next one on the news. I did not, however, realize that it is a Peace-award winning idea.

PEACE PRIZEArturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, LITHUANIA, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.

And how many bottles of international beer do you think the researchers had to empty in the name of this research?

BIOLOGY PRIZEDarryl Gwynne (of CANADA and AUSTRALIA and the UK and the USA) andDavid Rentz (of AUSTRALIA and the USA) for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle.

Maybe the beetles and the researchers could have benefited from the research in the Medicine category. They should look into combining the two and seeing if the beetles were making decisions to mate with certain kinds of beer bottles because they needed to urinate.

Don’t worry….i’m not as kinky as those penguins.