Stress is bad for your health? Women find facial hair more attractive? Ah, science.
Sometimes, research benefits science and mankind. Other times, they have us scratching our heads. It seems some members of Congress have similar sentiments.
House Republican Lamar Smith is preparing a bill that aims to tighten spending on grants from the National Science Foundation, in part by making sure that the research projects they fund advance national interests and are in some way "groundbreaking."
Here are some studies that might not have made the cut under such stringent requirements.
1. Bras are not as useful as we think.
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A French scientist's study of 330 women found that bras weaken the muscles that are supposed to hold up breasts, and actually make them saggier than those of women who do not wear bras.
2. Fish can have a Napoleon complex.
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Studies in the UK and the US found that more aggressive fish, regardless of size, often won out in contests for food even against larger opponents.
3. Lefty or righty? Handedness in quadruped marsupials is dependent on gender.
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Researchers from Saint Petersburg State University in Russia found that male grey short-tailed opossums and sugar gliders preferred their right forelimbs, while the females tended to be lefties.
4. The color your cup can affect how you taste a beverage.
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Hot chocolate, for example, tastes better when served in an orange cup than a white, cream, or red one, Spanish researcher Betina Piqueras-Fiszman found.
5. Constant stress from work can raise your risk of heart disease.
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A study of more than 10,000 British workers found that work-related stress can have more biological effects than we previously thought.
6. Men with heavy stubble are more attractive to women than clean-shaven men.
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Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia also found that women preferred the heavy 10-day stubble to a lighter five-day stubble. Men with bigger beards are perceived as better fathers, they wrote.
7. Having a flexible work schedule is good for your health.
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This could be because a flexible schedule allows more time to exercise and sleep, the Wake Forest researcher behind the study speculated.
8. Kids are more active when there is "portable play equipment," such as balls and jump ropes, available.
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They also play harder when their childcare center provides "physical activity training and education for staff and students," researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health found.
9. National Hockey League draftees born between July and December are more likely to have successful hockey careers than those born between January and March.
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The study, conducted by Grand Valley State University researchers, focuses on Canadian players. The results suggested that players born in the later part of each year are not being selected early enough in the draft by NHL teams.