By Megan Wiebelhaus
Husky Herald Opinion Writer
This is a collection of—and a homage to—the most unfortunate academic titles ever to grace to pages of academic journals. Their authors should have known better. In fact, they probably did know better, but they went to print anyway…
Step into action! A guidebook for the above-knee amputee
This title’s perkiness is matched only by its stunning lack of awareness. One wonders if this book from New York University had footnotes. If not, it didn’t have a leg to stand on.
(All protests and letters-to-the-editor regarding this defamation of the Hallowed Halls of Humor will be read solemnly and in a spirit of repentance.)
Travelers’ Diarrhea in the New Millennium: Consensus among Experts from German-speaking Countries
This article says exactly what you think it will—and then some. Essentially, tourists from industrialized countries can expect to get travelers’ diarrhea in pretty much every country in the world. This, according to the Journal of Travel Medicine, is a problem especially for–wait for it–”times of high expectations.”
What, you may ask, are times of high expectation at which travelers’ diarrhea might be a problem? The article calmly explains that they include business trips, vacations—and honeymoons.
Toward a Bibliography of Erotic Pulps
The mind wanders—even sprints—to discover a meaning for “erotic pulps.” But no matter where your mind just went, this article, printed in 1982, suggested that “books of erotic fiction” or “pulps” would experience increasing use–and decreasing censorship–and would soon become collectors’ items. So get on Ebay and find out if your Aunt Agatha’s stash of old naughty books could pay for your education—just because their bawdy insipidness ruined the minds of one generation doesn’t mean they can’t pay for another’s!
Orange and green monkeys jumping around the room
Perhaps best suited to a quirky children’s picture book, this title from “The Lancet” is the grimmest thing you could read (outside of federal deficit numbers or final remarks from the cast of “Community”). It describes hallucinations that can come with Parkinson’s disease, and in this case, those hallucinations included orange and green monkeys…and aliens.
Not guppies, nor goldfish, but tumble dryers, Noriega, Jesse Jackson, panties, car crashes, bird books, and Stevie Wonder
I’m serious, this is the actual title. According to the abstract, “This paper focuses on the guppy effect…that is, on the existence of examples of conjunctive concepts that are more typical of the conjunction than of both constituents.”
Well, now that we’ve cleared that up! This article from “Memory & Cognition” may not have been readable, but its title should go down in history as “Most Likely to Have Been Written While Under The Influence of Illegal Substances.”
Speaking of illegal substances…
Effects of cocaine on honey bee dance behaviour
This must have been a hard sell: “Hey boss, we’d…um…like some cocaine…for the bee dancing experiment…”
As it turns out, coke makes bees dance! Actually, it makes them dance more often and faster!
This research wasn’t as trivial as it sounds. The idea was to discover if cocaine—which is an excellent insecticide (who knew!?)—would hurt bees or get them high. The idea being that, if it got them high, then bee-brains wouldn’t be too different from human brains, and then they would prove…something about the evolutionary composition of cocaine. You should read the article and find out, especially if you understand terms like “biogenic amine neuromodulator systems.”
Amusing titles in scientific journals and article citation
That’s right, we’ve come full circle–you’re reading a newspaper article about article titles which features an article about article titles! Very meta! This report from the Journal of Information Science discovered that scholarly articles are less likely to be cited if they are “highly amusing.” This means the above articles will get less “air time” than their more normal competitors. Let this be a lesson to us all…
If you have some unfortunate academic titles in your scholarly research, send me the link! They’ll feature in the next column of arduous academic appellations along with a book review called “A Meringue of Semiotics and Erotic Casualness.”
I would like to credit the message board at http://light-cite.livejournal.com/?skip=80 for its role in finding some of these gems.