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Apr. 01, 2015

Spot the REAL Hypothesis

by Annie Minoff

Click to enlarge images
Many news outlets will be trying to pull the wool over your eyes this April Fool’s Day, and we here at Science Friday are no exception. This Friday on the show, we’re talking to Zach Weinersmith, webcomic artist and founder of BAHFest, the annual festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (or “BAHs”). Held every October, this satirical festival brings together bona fide scientists and science groupies to present well-argued, thoroughly researched, but completely incorrect evolutionary hypotheses. How incorrect? Consider this hypothesis, presented by BAHFest 2014 winner Michael Anderson, which attempts to scientifically explain the existence of middle-aged men’s “spare-tires”:
 
 
Don’t quite buy Anderson’s argument? That’s a sign of a BS-detector in working order. But just how good are you at detecting Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses? We cooked up an April Fool’s Day quiz to put your BS-detecting abilities to the test.
 

The Quiz:
Each question below presents three possible evolutionary hypotheses. One of these is a REAL hypothesis that scientists are considering, and that we’ve covered here on Science Friday. The remaining two hypotheses are complete fictions made up by our SciFri staff.
 
Your Task: Spot the real hypothesis amid the BAHs.
 
Which of these is a REAL hypothesis scientists are considering?
 
(1) That long flap of skin that hangs off of a male turkey’s beak is called a “snood.” (Now you know!)
 
{"input":{"width":"250","photo":"turkey","row":"5103","table":"DOCUMENT"}}

 
The REAL Story: Hot for Turkey
 
 
(2) After two elephants mate, nearby elephants often make loud, rumbling calls as part of a phenomenon scientists call elephant “mating pandemonium.”
 
 
 
 
(3) This Australian “sequined spider” looks more like a disco ball to us.
 
{"input":{"width":"250","photo":"spider","row":"5103","table":"DOCUMENT"}}
 
 
 
Tune in this Friday at 3:20pm ET to hear how BAHFest winners come up with their Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses…and find the data to support it.

 

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is Science Friday’s SciArts producer. She's visited Olympic ski jumps and a nuclear reactor in the name of science.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.
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Code:
line 1: package tmpevalpackage;
line 2: sub doEval { 
line 3: 	my($parent);
line 4: 	
line 5: 	if($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'SEGMENT.nickname'}) {
line 6: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'SEGMENT.nickname'};
line 7: 	}
line 8: 	elsif($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'VIDEO.nickname'}) {
line 9: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'VIDEO.nickname'};
line 10: 	}
line 11: 	elsif($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'DOCUMENT.nickname'}) {
line 12: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'DOCUMENT.nickname'}
line 13: 	}
line 14: 	
line 15: 	if($parent) {
line 16: 		my(@books) = &Database::SelectClause('BOOK',"parent = $parent");
line 17: 		if(!@books) {
line 18: 			$parent = '';
line 19: 		}
line 20: 	}
line 21: 	
line 22: 	if(!$parent) {
line 23: 		my(@sel) = &Database::SelectClause('GLOBAL','record all ""');
line 24: 		if(@sel) {
line 25: 			$parent = 'GLOBAL.' . $sel[0];
line 26: 		}
line 27: 			$main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "FEATURED READING";
line 28: 	}
line 29: 	
line 30: 	 = '';
line 31: 	
line 32: 	if($parent) {
line 33: 		my(@books) = &Database::SelectClause('BOOK',"parent = $parent");
line 34: 		0 = 0;
line 35: 		my $dots;
line 36: 		foreach(@books) {
line 37: 			my(%data);
line 38: 			&Database::GetRow($_,'BOOK',\%data);
line 39: 			my($status,$title,$author,$url,$image,$width,$height) = &SciFri::Schema::getAmazonItem($data{'isbn'});
line 40: 			if($data{'title'}) {
line 41: 				$title = $data{'title'};
line 42: 			}
line 43: 			if($data{'author'}) {
line 44: 				$author = $data{'author'};
line 45: 			}
line 46: 			if($status eq 'ok') {
line 47: 				 .= "<div class=\"box-2x1-item box-slide\" data-href=\"$url\">";
line 48: 				 .= "	<div class=\"box-2x1-item-photo\">";
line 49: 				 .= "		<div class=\"image-wrapper\" data-jsclass=\"imageWrapper\" data-align=\"right\">";
line 50: 				 .= "			<img src=\"$image\" data-width=\"$width\" data-height=\"$height\">";
line 51: 				 .= "		</div>";
line 52: 				 .= "	</div>";
line 53: 				 .= "	<h4>$title</h4>";
line 54: 				if($author) {
line 55: 					 .= "	<p>by $author</p>";
line 56: 				}
line 57: 				 .= "	<div class=\"box-2x1-more-button\"><a href=\"$url\"><img src=\"/images/v1/icon_text_more_white.png\" width=47 height=15 border=0></a></div>";
line 58: 				 .= "</div>";
line 59: 				++0;
line 60: 			}
line 61: 		}
line 62: 	}
line 63: 	if($parent eq "GLOBAL.1") { $main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "FEATURED READING"; }
line 64: 	else { $main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "RELATED READING"; }
line 65:  };
line 66: &doEval();
line 67: 1;

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