Thursday, October 1, 2009

Silly Research that I Love

1) Do Dead Fish Think?
Researcher Craig Bennett and team recently did a very interesting study regarding the emotional and cognitive capacity of dead fish. The researchers took a dead pacific salmon and put it in an fMRI machine. They then proceeded to show the dead salmon photos of people in social situations with specific emotional outcomes. After allowing the dead fish to examine the photo for several seconds, the researchers asked it to determine what emotion the person in the photo was experiencing. The salmon didn't speak, of course, but thought processes were recorded on the fMRI. The researchers found that the fMRI did, in fact, light up several times when the dead fish was considering emotions (photo below). The conclusion to be made, however, is less about the thought processes and brain activity of dead salmon, and more about the limitations of fMRI research.

2) The Topography of Breakfast
Researcher Mark Fonstad and team also put together some interesting research recently. They set out to determine if Kansas really is--as many people assert--"flatter than a pancake". Researchers purchased a well-cooked pancake from a local IHOP and collected macro-pancake topography through digital image processing. They then measured a west-east profile across Kansas taken from merged 1:250,000 scale digital elevation model data from the United States Geological Survey. Upon comparison of the two topographies, it was clearly visible that, although both pancakes and Kansas are very flat, Kansas is most definitely the flatter of the two.


Troy said...

That research is absolutely amazing and I, for one, will be willing to donate money to help it continue.

That totally explains the funny look I got while kissing Laura in the seafood section at the store yesterday. I could've sworn the king salmon lying on that slab of ice disapproved...I suppose I shouldn't kiss Laura in grocery stores any more, particularly in front of dead fish. (I wonder what the lobsters thought!)

Jillian said...

Don't get me started on the emotional cycles of dead lobsters....god, they can be such drama queens!

Herbal Amanda said...

We actually can't define death so it's possible the salmon was still alive ;)