5 Insane Scientific Charts You Won't Believe Actually Exist
Everything needs to measured: Even things you don't want to touch, smell, look at, think about or even exist on the same physical plane as. Because sometimes, you just have to know what precise category of vomit you'd be covered in if you ate too much Subway, or got drunk and played on the merry-go-rounds (Scattershot Olive, is the answer).
Therefore, in some office somewhere, a person is looking at a chart displaying...
The Bristol Stool Scale
What Does it Measure?
It ain't bar chairs. The average person may not be too discerning about their poop, but healthcare professionals, much to their chagrin, need to know a lot about the human body's various excretions. Thus the Bristol Stool Scale was created. You've heard of taking a number two, but it turns out you can actually take a number one through seven.
Thanks for ruining another of life's little pleasures, Science.
And now that you've seen that graphic, you can handily describe all of your poops--from rabbit to flash food--to your horrified, regretful conversational partners. The chart was designed by the University of Bristol and the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, and the only thing that the chart makes clearer is that there is very little to do in Scandinavia and we don't ever want to go to Bristol.
There's a reason that water is brown.
It's like they're actively trying to be gross. Seriously, read the description for number three again. "Like a sausage, but with cracks." Just really savor those words put together in that order.
Dang. We really liked sausage, too.
What Does it Measure?
The Kinsey Scale measures exactly how gay or straight you are. You may think this seems a bit counter-intuitive at first: either you do dudes or you do not do dudes (Dr. Seuss would be proud). Ah, but if you believe that, you're precisely the type of person who needs the scale.
After all, a quick look at Craigslist will turn up half a dozen ads reading something along the lines of "come over and jerk off on my pecs, but no gay stuff." Obviously, it's not quite so straight-forward.
In fact, "straight" is less than 15 percent of the story.
The scale goes from zero (so heterosexual you can impregnate women over the phone) to six (The Literal Gay Lord, savage emperor of the Gays). A bisexual who is equally attracted to either sex is known as a three, or more colloquially as a "drunk college girl."
We've got no clue where to put Devine.
Alfred Kinsey wasn't winging it when he developed his scale either. It might look like he just slapped numbers on some bathroom signs and called it a day, he did quite a bit of, ahem, grunt work. Kinsey developed his scale not only through interviews, but also observation and active participation in sexual activities, both hetero and homosexual. He even went so far as to film sexual acts between co-workers in his attic.
...for science. Totally for science. Yes. And now science wants you to dress up like a school teacher and show Dr. Kinsey how bad he's been.
Sperm Motility Grade
What Does it Measure?
In courting a new potential mate, there comes a point at every date where you simply have nothing more to talk about. If you're a man, rather than sitting there in uncomfortable silence, now you can impress her with your in-depth knowledge of the Sperm Motility Grade scale!
It not only rates how effective your littlest troops are, but describes in specific detail exactly how they're going to storm her beaches. And if you're a woman, try quizzing him on his semen! Trust us: Asking a dude how well his littlest gentlemen get to work is a sure fire turn on.
"...And they each have a diamond-tipped drilling apparatus and NOS afterburners."
It's fairly straight forward: At the top of the class you have the eye-on-the-prize straight-line swimmers, somewhere in the middle are the drunk drivers, while at the bottom you have one slacker, a midget and a Sharktopus.
But perhaps even more strangely, according to the Sperm Motility Grade scale, the guys on Grade 2 may actually move backwards. It's one thing to not make the commute--we understand and sympathize with laziness--but when your sperm are actively fleeing the vagina, perhaps it's time for drastic measures. There's no shame in bringing your own funnel, gentlemen.
Or your own turkey baster.
Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale
What Does it Measure?
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale measures how much pain the subject is in at the time of testing. And there's nothing inherently wrong with rating the level of discomfort a patient is feeling; that's an important diagnostic tool. Probably. It seems to us like pain, by its very nature, is a subjective thing that varies from person to person and by definition defies objective measurement. But, hey, we cry on waterslides and call our moms when we get sunburned; we're not exactly experts.
The thing that's so bizarre about the Wong-Baker scale is the execution. No Pain guy is spot on:
He's doing good. But then you have Mild Pain guy, who seems fairly stoked about his own suffering.
That expression doesn't say, "mild pain" to us. That says, "Hey, this episode of Burn Notice is actually pretty OK." Then there's the Moderate Pain twins, one of whom is waiting patiently for you to finish your anecdote about your cat and the other has just discovered he's out of Cheerios.
Severe Pain is only a bit sad, like he's just hit play on the TiVo a split second too soon and caught the end of that Sarah McLachlan commercial about homeless dogs...
...and Worst Pain Possible just watched Terms of Endearment alone with nobody to judge him.
Ostensibly, this scale is visual to overcome the language barrier, but if you've never seen this chart before and don't speak the language, you're going to be wondering why the doctor is asking you to indicate how much of a morning person you are while you've got this two by four lodged in your anus.
Life Change Units
What Does it Measure?
Life is such a grand concept, so amorphous and variegated (thanks, Word of the Day Toilet Paper!) you'd think it'd be impossible, absurd even, to create a scale that measures all the changes a person could possibly go through. You might even say that it's ill conceived, pointless, overly ambitious or just plain stupid to "graph" all of life, but don't tell that to Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. They created the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, which lists all the major tragedies and life-altering changes a person undergoes in a given year, ranking them according to how much stress they would cause.
The scale works like this: The higher an event ranks, the more "Life Change Units" it's worth. Going to jail, for instance, is 63 Life Change Units. But hey, at least going to prison for murdering your wife spared you a divorce, which would have net you 73 Life Change Units. Whew, dodged a bullet there! (Too bad she didn't.)
25 Life Change Units.
Your man-plumbing being on the fritz may actually be a blessing in disguise ("sexual difficulties" is rated at 39 units) since at least you'll be avoiding any pregnancies in the near future (40 units). That's right: Carrying a child around in your belly for nine months is only one point more stressful than experiencing a single malfunctioning boner.
43 Life Change Units.
And obsessively compiling your stresses isn't just for adults: There's a version for you youngsters out there too!
But what do you get for accumulating these Life Change Units? If you collect enough, do you level up into enlightenment? Nope: You win death. According to the Holmes and Rahe, those who rack up over 300 life change units in a year are at serious risk of illness. But hey, it's still a high score, so go for it. Nothing beats the satisfaction of that "enter your initials" screen.
NEW HIGH SCORE!
JD Niemand is best known for his astounding and deep-rooted window onto the human condition/crappy stick figure webcomic Stickman and Cube.Nathan Birch has also spent an immeasurable amount of time creating the webcomic Zoology.
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For more articles, check out more strange stuff Science is studying, in 6 Sex Myths as Explained by Science and 5 Widely Believed Dating Myths (Science Says Aren't True).
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