The 7 Most Hilariously Creepy Science Experiments Ever
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.
Panda Costumes Make Scientists Look Like Serial Killers
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.
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.
"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:
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?
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.
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.
"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.
A Woman Collects Strangers' DNA, Prints And Mounts Their Faces
Transdisciplinary (and trans-"traditional definitions of sane") artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has been scouring the streets and bathrooms of New York City in search of hair, fingernails, chewing gum, cigarette butts, and anything else that might contain DNA. What, is she planning to clone people? Ha, of course not. She's merely "cloning" their faces.
"We've learned that living in New York turns you into a dead-eyed husk, but everybody knows that already."
By focusing on specific genomes and doing a bunch of science-y stuff, Dewey-Hagborg-Dahmer is able to recreate a model of the unknowing donor's face. Then she 3D prints a sculpture of the model and hangs it in a gallery like a murderous aristocrat's hunting trophy, because nothing in this life is sacred.
It's not a perfect recreation, though. She has no way of discerning a person's age, leaving every subject looking like they're 25. Yeah, why just look into a disembodied recreation of your face when you could look also be reminded of your lost youth in the most haunting way imaginable? To make it even creepier for anyone who happens to run into themselves in an art gallery, the exhibits also include the original object that was dropped and a photo of the place where she found it.
She buys the plastic containers from the same store as Dexter.
The goal of "Stranger Visions" is to show viewers that all of us (not just public masturbators) constantly leave our genetic material behind, and that we live in an age in which technology can do extraordinary things with it. "The question really is what are we going to do with that," the artist asks, while doing the most horrifying thing with it imaginable. To be fair, she's also used her work to assist in a cold case by recreating the face of an unknown murder victim. So that's pretty cool, assuming everyone the police questions doesn't run away screaming as soon as they pull the dead-eyed face out.
Someone Made A Fear-Controlled Swing
Imagine an amusement park ride that adapts to your emotional state like an understanding parent -- settling down if you're panicking too much or kicking things up a notch if you're getting bored. That would be cool, right? Adrenaline junkies, nervous Nellies, and teenagers sick of cleaning up vomit would all appreciate such an invention.
Well, this entry is about the opposite of that.
And it looks like something Bane uses to get in touch with his inner child.
A team at the University of Nottingham in the UK decided to create a swing that goes out of control right along with you. The fun house torture device measures your breathing. If you keep calm, then the ride stays smooth, but if your rasping starts to turn erratic, it will do its damnedest to go wild and get you off. So it's like having sex, complete with the overwhelming sense of dread and the part where your whole life flashes before your eyes. Alternatively, you can use this invention in "Voyeur" mode, which means watching someone else freak out on the swing as you control it with your breathing from a safe distance.
Just kidding. No one is safe. Ever.
The goal is to turn every ride into an underwear-ruining experience, no matter how tough you think you are. "The emotional value we're interested in here is fear," said one of its unsettling creators, presumably in his best Vincent Price voice. Regardless of their motivation, major theme parks have already expressed interest in the technology. So look forward to teacups that spin faster as you get more nauseous, swinging ships that swing higher when you get dizzy, and haunted houses that actually murder you if you so much as make a noise.
Scientists Create Olfactory Death Boxes
Hey, have you ever wondered what JFK was smelling at the exact moment of his death? Or Princess Di? Or, uh, Whitney Houston? Sure you have. And if you haven't, fuck you, because there's now a way for you to find out anyway. And all it takes is letting some Dutch scientists trap you in a dark coffin for a few minutes.
"Eh, better a Dutch coffin than a Dutch oven."
Visitors at the Netherlands' Museum of Image can choose which beloved celebrity whose death they'd like to experience, with the twin deaths of their innocence and good taste thrown in as a free bonus. Houston, for example, accidentally drowned in a hotel bathtub from a combination of cocaine, heart disease, and the lifestyle that came with being Whitney Houston. So if you pick her snuff box, you get the scent of cleaner and the olive oil she liked to add to her bath, followed by the odor of cocaine and the sound of rushing water, followed by silence, followed by your own sounds of nausea and disgust.
"I don't smell anything different."
"Yeah, you chose the dude who died here the other day."
"Smell is rarely used in communication and we wanted to explore its uses," said one of the creators of the travelling exhibition, before adding "Who doesn't want to buy a loaf after catching a whiff of fresh bread?" as if that completely explains their motivation. "And who doesn't want to experience the final sad moments of a woman driven to addiction by the pressures of celebrity culture and her own inner demons while enjoying that tasty bread?" he didn't add, because the answer was obvious.
A Virtual Woman Made From Cutting A Corpse Like Deli Ham
This one sounds grim, but while medical science can get grisly, it's surely not as bad as--
"Ooo, I'll take that slice. That's got some good marbling."
OK, done puking. Scientists took the body of an anonymous woman who died 20 years ago and sliced her into 5,000 pieces a third of a millimeter thick. Here, for example, is a slice of her feet and ... and ... goddammit, give us another minute, would you?
People with terrible posture always creep us out.
Whew! Oh boy. We may never cleanse the taste of bile from our mouths. Anyhoo, the project's goal is to provide an incredibly detailed model for educational purposes and virtual experiments, like pretend brain surgery. Brains, incidentally, are an especially popular organ to slice up at the old science deli. A similar project spent five years building a 3D brain model based on a brain researchers had chopped up into 7,404 slices. So the next time someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson tells you that modern science is a beautiful field of wonders, remember that scientists are clearly trying to give us all fear-induced heart attacks so that they can acquire another cadaver for their monstrous experiments.
Of course, these are tremendous accomplishments that are going to be of incredible use to doctors around the planet. That's why it's odd that the people responsible are going out of their way to scuttle any good will they might have built up by using phrases like "Digital Frankenstein," calling slicing and dicing a fellow human being "a labor of love," and likening the process to "throwing a sliced loaf of bread from a building and then reassembling the scattered pieces into a perfectly-aligned whole." Why is bread your go-to analogy for disgusting death-related feats, science? Was the "bloated corpse smashing to the pavement" analogy not going over well?
Scientists Make Transparent Mice To Study Their Anatomy
Slicing someone into thousands of tiny pieces like a med-school Ed Gein is a great way to study human anatomy. But such a crude and archaic method would obviously be insufficient for a creature as complex and mysterious as the borderline mythical "mouse." So scientists came up with a solution that is admirable in its simplicity and terrifying in its everything else: making mice see-through.
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky: Scream in endless horror."
Oh Jesus. They're dead, yet look like they're still suffering. And we're sure it's only a matter of time before you can pick a live one up at the pet store and traumatize your Facebook friends with pictures of your beloved pets, Whiskers and Vertebrae. The euthanized mice are skinned, then pumped full of chemicals that make their organs transparent. It's the same way we want to go out one day, so that we can be mounted in the office to keep the next generation of Cracked employees in a state of constant obedient terror.
The realistic version of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak would have been slightly more haunting.
The intent, besides making it impossible to look at an adorable little mouse again without gagging, is to give scientists the ability to study their anatomy in detail and see how, for example, cancer has spread through its little mousy body. So no, they're not repeating the process with other animals ... for now, anyway. First they make the mice transparent, then they come for your cats and dogs, and the next thing you know, grandma's having an open casket, transparent corpse funeral. "She gave her body to science," the eulogist will say, "and now she gives it to your nightmares."
You can read more from Mark at his website.
Not convinced that there's nothing but mad scientists out there? Then check out The 6 Cruelest Science Experiments Ever (Were Done On Kids) and The 5 Scientific Experiments Most Likely To End The World.
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