Scientists routinely get away with things that would brand anyone else a psychopath, such as vivisecting small animals, dissecting corpses, and -- if The Big Bang Theory is to be believed -- routinely shoving catchphrases down innocent bystanders' throats. Short of full-blown Charles Manson behavior, is there anything that wouldn't become immediately acceptable if it was done in the name of scientific discovery?
That is exactly what following luminaries have decided to find out. These scientific methods may one day have a positive impact in your life, but not before thoroughly traumatizing your sorry ass.
7Panda Costumes Make Scientists Look Like Serial Killers
Reuters via Time
Science's dedication to keeping the endangered panda bear alive despite every indication that the species would prefer to simply call it an existence is admirable. But some of the latest methods of preservation are ... what's the word? Oh, right: soul-haunting.
Ami Vitale New York Times
The most dangerous gang in the Clockwork Orange future.
The theory is that by dressing as the stars of a furry remake of Eyes Wide Shut, conservationists will prevent the animals from getting attached to humans instead of developing crucial survival skills. This is an offshoot of the theory that pandas are dumb and can't tell their own species apart from a bunch of creatures that are half their size and move and sound completely different. But whatever the researchers' intentions, it looks like they're taking over the life of a panda they've kidnapped.
Ami Vitale Nerdist
"Don't worry, Chuang Chuang. I'll take good care of Lin Hui."
Introducing animals to the concept of the uncanny valley is a long-standing scientific tradition. Here's the Invisible Man moonlighting as a polar bear to test how reindeer react to him compared how they react to a human in regular clothing:
"Now I have become the bear (that I saw in that dungeon once)."
The researchers drew the conclusion that reindeer can pick out specific characteristics of predatory species, because there's no other possible explanation for why animals would flee the man on the left quicker than the man on the right. And here's a man wearing a Dick Cheney mask to test if crows can recognize individual vice presidents of the United States:
John Marzluff via Live Science
Everyone knows Cheney only has control over lizards, not birds.
OK, fine, they were testing if crows could recognize individual humans in general, and for some reason, they decided to compare the birds' reaction to, amongst others, Dick Cheney and a caveman. Because what's the point of conducting a study if you can't make bystanders think that you're in a drug-fueled cult?
6 The Army Is Getting A Dummy That Really Bleeds
No amount of medical training can prepare you for the grim reality of working with the sick and wounded, especially if you're an army medic who has to stop the nub of someone's severed arm from spurting blood while gunfire is flying around you. So we fully understand the logic behind making a medical dummy that's as realistic as possible. But we can't help but note that the "bleeding mannequin" looks like a monster that would stalk you through Silent Hill.
Jim Gerhz/Star Tribune
Finally, army doctors will know how to deal with neck-bursting xenomorphs.
University of Minnesota biology graduate Cameron Johnson modeled the dummy after himself, and won Understatement of Forever by admitting that it's a "little creepy" to sit across from your own exposed trachea. But wait, it does more than desperately gasp for air in a way that reminds you of your own incredible frailty! Its skin has pores, its tongue is wet, its neck and jaws move, and its teeth give off a realistic clicking sound when it demands your flesh. And yes, it can bleed -- presumably out of its eyes when it's unhappy with your performance.
Jim Gerhz/Star Tribune
"To make sure it's always full, we've programmed the AI to seek out and consume human blood. No way this can backfire."
Its creators consulted a database of MRIs and tissue samples to make sure the body had all the right proportions and "feel" (quotes in the original, which is the creepiest part). The next stage of the project is mass production and the development of dummies with a wider variety of injuries, like bullet holes, embedded shrapnel, and scars from where the Spider Children of Xel'lotath buried deep to feed.
Over the long term, the team hopes to make the mannequin available for civilian purchase, and to produce specialized elderly, obese, and child models. They've reasoned that the benefit gained from helping med students practice outweighs the fact that at least one person is going to put a bunch of plastic people in their basement and do unspeakable things to those throat openings.