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This is a question Pointless Experiments

Pavlov's Frog writes: I once spent 20 minutes with my eyes closed to see what it was like being blind. I smashed my knee on the kitchen cupboard, and decided I'd be better off deaf as you can still watch television.

(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 12:00)
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[Various] Assorted Pointless Experiments
This QOTW was made just for me, but some of my experiments are so utterly pointless that they've probably just been forgotten about completely. So I've racked my memories and here's what I remembered from the deep and dark archives of the mistaspakkaman research institute.


[Physics] Does something good happen when you stick things in plugholes?

One Wednesday afternoon aged 5, I thought electrical wall sockets were mysterious. Things go in them and they can be turned on. Somehow, I had gotten hold of a piece of wire where both ends went into a headphone socket. Headphone plugs fit nicely inside Continental wall-sockets, so I wondered what would happen if I stuck both ends into both holes of a plug.

Result: A blue spark flew out and the electricity in the house stopped working. Not realising how a fuse had saved me from 220 volts of electrifying goodness, I had more immediate things to deal with - my angry mother (although she may have been more glad I was still alive). That night, we had our dinner by candlelight, as we couldn't get the lights back on. In fact, we enjoyed the candlelight dinner so much that we started a new tradition at our house - every Wednesday, we'd have dinner by candlelight.

Conclusion: Fuses are your best friends. And besides, as any regular reader of QOTW knows, there are better ways of spending a Wednesday afternoon. And do have a candlelight dinner afterwards.


[Biology] Can girls wee standing up?

Aged 12, it was something I was curious about. Not having the right *ahem* apparatus to test this out myself, I would need to find a subject. Being shy, I was unable to bring this up, but I came up with a plan. At the time, me and my dad were on holiday staying in some kind of bed-and-breakfast place with shared toilet facilities. So what I did was to sneak into the girls' toilets and lift up the seats. The idea being that any women entering would assume the previous occupant of the stall had done it standing up and this might encourage them to try doing it standing up themselves, rather than it being done by some 12 year old boy feeling disorientated from the sudden activation of his pituitary gland. The acoustics of the place were such that I could hear what was going on without being in a suspicious position.

Result: Sadly, I always heard someone putting the seat down on entry. However, it was only many years later that I discovered this.

Conclusion: The Internet rocks!!!


[Psychology] Does subtly imitating someone make them fancy you?

In my final year on my school bus, I was feeling bored. On top of that, I had a crush on two of the girls on the bus and was too shy to do anything about it. This had been going on for some time and I was getting fed up of it. For various reasons which I won't go into I'm saving for a future QOTW, I had just gotten into the habit of wearing a Walkman (we had proper Walkmans back in them days - Discmans were around but were too seedy for my tastes).

So there was this new girl on the bus and she too was wearing a Walkman. I remembered reading somewhere (possibly me sneaking a read of my sister's 'Just 17' magazine) that subtly imitating someone would subconsciously flatter them and cause them to fancy you. She was sat just a few seats in front of me and I could see how she moved and rotated her earphone-clad head. In a fit of boredom, I copied her movements exactly.

Results: Nothing happened. No chatting up, no marriage proposals, no attempts to initiate the baby manufacture process. However, there was one major flaw in my method. This was because she was facing away from me most of the time (and only occasionally glancing sideways to look out the window). As for me, it did not cause me to fancy her either, but it did offer a brief mental distraction.

Conclusion: Inconclusive.


[Psychology] How are women affected by their menstrual cycle?

Noticing that various girls I knew changed their personality without warning, I decided to see if the patterns followed the menstrual cycle. I knew that the menstrual cycle was approximately the same length of time as the Lunar orbit, so I installed a Lunar calendar on my computer that showed what the phase of the moon would be at any given time. By comparing girls' moods with the current phase of the moon, I could see if I could notice any patterns.

Results: Seeing that I was actually nerdy enough to think this way, it meant that I didn't get enough contact with my 'subjects' to properly test this hypothesis.

Conclusion: I needed to get out more!


[Psychology] Am I strange enough to automatically get the blame if something strange happens?

At one of my jobs, we had this system where there was a pile of sweets/chocolates etc. and you took one and the company had faith that you'd pay for it by putting in some money or an I.O.U. in a small nearby plastic cup. Just to see what would happen, I put in a worthless banknote with a high numerical value from a certain east-European country in the plastic cup.

Result: At first, I heard nothing and I thought that was that, but several weeks later, we got a company-wide email from a shocked receptionist asking why we had done this (she was so shocked the e-mail was in all-capitals). This lead to an e-mail flamewar from two of the bored employees that had somehow descended into a discussion on Scottish banknotes. I got away Scott free (I did pay for my chocolate bar and the banknote was absolutely worthless, even though the denomination was four digits long).

Conclusion: I hadn't yet established my unusual-ness. Perhaps I should have posted my previous experiments to the office-wide e-mail system beforehand.


[Psychology] Does sending a postcard once a year alter someone's perception of me?

I once spent a night at a B&B in Blackpool. After having come back in from a night on the town and not yet wanting to go to bed, I went down to the B&B's bar and stayed around a bit. Feeling a bit overly-excited, I decided to let out my weird imagination in its unrestrained form. This was too much for both the other guests and the proprietors and they just couldn't handle my unorthodox personality. I was getting frustrated with their closed-mindedness, and my weirdness was causing their heads to explode.

After I left, I had a sudden urge to send them a postcard a few days later. Since then, I've been sending them a postcard once a year. Currently, they have no means of contacting me. This experiment is ongoing (even though I've not sent a postcard for 3 years). I'm not sure where I want to go with this one. If anyone has any ideas for where to take this, the mistaspakkaman research institute would like to hear from you.


OK. That's my experiments. Does the mistaspakkaman research institute get a grant?

Previously... | Next...

(, Wed 30 Jul 2008, 15:46, 4 replies)
You is one strange dude, but earn clicks-a-plenty (TM) from me.

That stuff on girls weeing standing up...well! It sure opened MY eyes.
(, Wed 30 Jul 2008, 16:00, closed)
Were I the EPSRC or any other funding body, I'd give you loads of cash to do more of this!
(, Wed 30 Jul 2008, 16:04, closed)
You need to meet The Resident Loon.
You'll get on like a house on fire.
(, Wed 30 Jul 2008, 16:14, closed)
I can state without reservation or disclaimer that a woman's mood will definitely change based on her hormones. The degree to which it changes. or to which the mood changes are displayed, varies greatly- but the changes are very definitely real. I have even observed them in women who have had a hysterectomy, so they no longer menstruate but still have the ovaries to produce the hormones. (Meaning, no cramps to blame it on.)

As to getting the blame based on the fact that you're odd- yes, that happens to me a lot. On the other hand, when I make sure I'm quiet and well-behaved in a group, I can often get away with the most amazing things by merely looking innocent and puzzled when they look for the culprit...
(, Wed 30 Jul 2008, 16:28, closed)

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