Female college students, and rats

A rat (but not one of those used in this study).

A study called Similar Preference for Natural Mineral Water between Female College Students and Rats pulls off a nice bit of interspecies diplomacy. Reading it end to end, you would be hard pressed to say who – the college students or the rats – was most intended to benefit from the research.

Written by Esumi Yukiko of Shimane Women’s Junior College in Matsui, Japan, and Ohara Ikuo of Kobe Women’s University, and published in the Journal of Home Economics of Japan, this six-page monograph describes a simple experiment.

The authors explain their work was partly inspired by a simple fact: “The Society for the Study of Tasty Water, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Public Welfare, proposed hardness to be one of the most important requirements for tasty water.” …

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.