Hole Assessment by Finger and Tongue [research study]

A markedly penetrating report, involving fingers, tongues, and holes: “Differences in the oral size illusions produced by cross-modality matching of peg and hole stimuli by the tongue and fingers in humans,” Bruce Melvin and Robin Orchardson, Archives of Oral Biology, vol. 46, no. 3, March 2001, pp. 209-13. The authors, at the University of Glasgow, […]

A better-rounded understanding of why wombat poo is cubic

Ian Sample reports, in The Guardian, a new discovery by Ig Nobel Prize winners, about wombat poo shape: Scientists unravel secret of cube-shaped wombat faeces Researchers investigate why excrement emerges in awkward-shaped blocks … “My curiosity got triggered when I realised that cubical feces exist,” said Patricia Yang pictured below], a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering […]

What the Frog’s Saliva Does for the Frog’s Tongue

Ig Nobel Prize winner David (“urination duration in mammals”) Hu and colleagues turned their intense gaze toward frog tongues and saliva. They published this study: “Frogs use a viscoelastic tongue and non-Newtonian saliva to catch prey,” Alexis C. Noel, Hao-Yuan Guo, Mark Mandica, David L. Hu, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2017, 14, 20160764. […]

The taste of electric currents (part 1 of 2)

It was sometime around 1752 that Johann Georg Sulzer decided (for reasons best known to himself) to put the tip of his tongue between two plates of (different) metal whose edges were in contact. The results were, quite literally, shocking. He’d not only inadvertently stumbled across one of the world’s first electrolytic batteries, but it […]

Tongue ID

[sometimes it seems as though] As soon a new biometric security technology is developed, someone will find a way to bypass it. (see, for example, Progress in Fake-Finger Thwarting Improbable Research, April 16th, 2010). Steps towards implementing so-called ‘liveness detection’ mechanisms, which detect inert fakes, have helped. But in an ideal world, biometricians would like […]