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We did it, humans. We finally know the answer to the ultimate question: Are cats a liquid or a solid?

Though it seems like the answer would be straightforward, it most definitely isn't. And whoever figured it out just won a major prize. No, not the Nobel Prize — the Ig Nobel Prize.

Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have honored 10 of the most imaginative, thought-provoking, and frankly oddball pieces of research each year. Past prizes have been awarded to polyester rat pants, the economic value of pet rocks, and answering the age-old question, can frogs levitate? (Yes.)


On Sept. 14, this year's winners were announced. The lucky writers, scientists, and artists were invited to Harvard University, where they were greeted by contests, a bespoke mini-opera, and an awards ceremony. (This year's theme? Uncertainty. When asked why they chose this theme, founder Marc Abrahams replied: "I'm not sure.")

Among the winners was research into how touching a live crocodile affects people's willingness to gamble.

[rebelmouse-image 19529301 dam="1" original_size="750x505" caption="Two men hold a crocodile in Australia in 2003. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images." expand=1]Two men hold a crocodile in Australia in 2003. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images.

It all depends on whether crocodile-touching excites you, according to Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer from Central Queensland University. Scaredy-cats tended to become more cautious while playing video poker immediately after holding a meter-long saltwater crocodile. Croc buffs, on the other hand, bet more.

Playing the didgeridoo might help with sleep apnea and snoring.

David Little plays the didgeridoo in Sydney, Australia, in 2006. Photo by Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images.

According to a study in the British Medical Journal, regular training for a couple months might help strengthen the airways.

And, of course, can a cat be both a solid and a liquid? Yes, it can.

In a feat that was part science, part philosophy, and all feline, researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin argued that cats should technically be considered liquids. After all, if the definition of a liquid is "takes the form of any container they're in," well, we've got photographic proof of that.

[rebelmouse-image 19529303 dam="1" original_size="750x561" caption="Photo via Jim/Flickr. (I don't know how Jim knew the internet needed this picture, but I'm glad it's here.)" expand=1]Photo via Jim/Flickr. (I don't know how Jim knew the internet needed this picture, but I'm glad it's here.)

Other winners included answering questions such as can identical twins tell themselves apart in old family photos? (no); why do some people hate cheese? (it's in their brains); and why do old men have such big ears? (gravity pulls them down over time).

The full list of winners is available on the contest's website.

In the end, it's not about who's the most groundbreaking or clever or weird. Instead, the contest is about making people laugh and then think.

We take things very seriously most of the time, but the truth is that good, important, life-changing work can be funny. And bad, terrible work can be funny too. The contest invites people to look deeper and make up their minds on their own.

"Your quick opinion about something might change — drastically — if you look at the details. Then again, it might not," Abrahams says.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the 4th of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

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This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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