Jun 282016
university of southampton and sex

I currently have no proof that I have done it (the slippery skin thing) with an actual person. To the best of my knowledge, there are no videos, photographs or artist, court-room-like sketches of me doing “it”.

Unless you are caught in the act, take grainy pictures or are an exhibitionist and do it in front of a lecture theater full of people, there really is no actual proof that you have participated in the willy-in-fanny dance. Potentially, in an attempt to create an average looking baby for empirical evidence that they have “punched above their weight”, it may not be surprising that white heterosexual males are less likely to use a condom when doing it with an attractive female. Or, they may also want to absorb the attractiveness through skin on skin contact.

The 51 male participants were also asked to rate the attractiveness of 20 women on the basis of facial photographs, and estimate the likelihood that each woman had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d need a very specific photograph to determine the latter and this question surely only demonstrates white, heterosexual, South Hamptonite’s ability to make shit up based on facial photographs alone. After making shit up, the participants where asked to indicate their willingness to have sex with or without a condom with each woman.

The study, from the University of Southampton (4.3/5 stars on Facebook), includes contributions from the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation which may be overkill since the way most Englishmen do “it” is certainly not complex. Although, every good pork pie eating Brit will certainly have a “system” put together from many hours of lonely “research” and sock-based “investigation”.

Read more about the study here.


For Simon.

Jun 222016
Science and nature journals

The only thing harder than doing science is writing a peer reviewed paper that may end up in a journal that no-one has heard of, such as JOT, Journal fuer Oberflaechentechnik.

While enrolled as a PhD student, I had lots of feedback on my writing style. The feedback always included encouraging stuff like “strange”, “inconsistent” and “not an actual sentence”. Academic writing, just like wiping your bum, needs to be practiced before you get any good at it. The bad thing about academic writing however, is that your mum may not be able to take over half way through.

It’s important to practice your academic/technical writing skills so that the next time you need to write a heartfelt note in a card for someone at your workplace, you will be able to make it unambiguous and dry – just like the cakes they made and you had to pretend were moist. Here are Andy Matter’s top tips to ensure academic writing is as painless as possible:

  1. Start a blog. The artificially enhanced level of self-importance you will feel is the perfect catalyst for writing to a journal editor.
  2. Your writing style should intimidate the reader – keep the language dense and technical as if you are a beat poet reading from an instruction manual for a jet engine.
  3. Get constant feedback from supervisors and mentors about how you can improve. They’ll absolutely love tearing your writing apart in order to fill the hole in their heart from years of writing research grant applications.  Nothing feels quite like seeing the chapter you spent hours writing peering at you from behind a tangled mess of red pen. Don’t worry though, the feeling never changes but you’ll get used to it.
  4. Remember, even though the paper you’re writing means a lot to you and your feelings of self-worth, a surprisingly large number of articles are never cited (27% of natural science papers are not cited) and even when your pride and joy does get cited, it may be in the “insert generic reference here” category.

Good luck, and I am sure with practice you will do OK (insert generic reference here)

(post dedicated to Simon)



Jun 172016
Paul willis giving me the finger

This past Wednesday night saw eight, competition ready, academics and clever people debate for their chosen unsung hero of science – someone who deserved more recognition for their scientific career than they received.

The excellent event was organised by The Science Nation and held at RiAus in Adelaide.

The battle was fierce and saw discussion of the topics around LSD, weapons, rats, paleontology and wanking off a dolphin to make sure it concentrated during an experiment. I tried it myself and it just made me tried and sweaty.

I was championing the science and life of the bad arse computer scientist Dr Grace Brewster Murray Hopper and, on the night, I was crowned champion (without at actual crown) of the great debate. I love winning, even more than wanking off animals in the name of science.

I dedicate my win to Simon, my new biggest fan.

For those who like to read competition winning excellence, click below for my speech:

The Science Nation – Unsung Heros

Here are some photos of the event:


Jun 142016
periodic table and porn stars

Aging academics who are cruising to retirement are hoping to be drinking cocktails in Hawaii before they have to update their lecture notes to include the 4 newly discovered elements found by teams of researchers from the US, Russia, and Japan.

One secret insider said “I was busy looking at cruise options on the internet when I was told that I’d have to amend my lecture notes to account for the new elements. After careful consideration, I’d much rather not.” The announcement came shortly after the aging professor arrived into work at 11:36 am, spent 20 minutes talking about his golf handicap and then flirted with the admin lady for 10 minutes before getting food stuck in the corners of his mouth.

The bossy people at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), said that the new elements had to be named after these things:

  • A mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object)
  • A mineral, or similar substance
  • A place or geographical region
  • A property of the element
  • A scientist
  • A porn star

Unfortunately, RonJeremium (RJM) and JennaJamesonium (JJS) cannot be chosen because I made the last option up – but we can all agree that science would be more fun if it was included.  After the names have been chosen they go up for public debate for five months. Here, people with nothing else to do can complain and write shit on the internet until, eventually, their opinions are ignored and IUPAC return to making up rubbish naming rules that don’t include porn stars or Disney characters.

Check out proposed names here


[1] P.J. Karol, R.C. Barber, B.M. Sherrill, E. Vardaci, T. Yamazaki, Pure Appl. Chem. 88 (2016) 139; http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/pac-2015-0502
[2] P.J. Karol, R. C. Barber, B. M. Sherrill, E. Vardaci, T. Yamazaki, Pure Appl. Chem. 88 (2016) 155; http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/pac-2015-0501
[3] W.H. Koppenol, J. Corish, J. Garcia-Martinez, J. Meija, J. Reedijk, Pure Appl. Chem. 88 (2016) 401 ; online 21 Apr 2016; http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/pac-2015-0802