Thesis the rest: honorable mentions
Proposal: A study to determine the gregariousness of cockroaches. Hypothesis: Since the species Blattella germanica is well known to emerge from hiding shortly after a home is visited by dinner guests . . .
Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Proposal: A study to determine the exothermic properties of U.S. currency. Hypothesis: It has been observed that the application of dollar bills to the thighs of professional ecdysiasts causes the subjects to shed excess clothing. Further study suggests that higher-denomination bills accelerate this effect. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
Objective: Measure the safety benefits of text messaging in high-risk environments. Background: Annual highway fatalities have dropped by 10,000 during the past five years, while extensive texting by drivers has increased exponentially. The research team proposes examining whether similar benefits could be found in hospital operating rooms and nuclear power plants. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Background: While many psychologists have studied the effect of money on happiness in the general population, there has been a lack of research of its effect directly on the population of scientists. Proposal: . . .
(Mark Pearson, Washington, a First Offender)
Proposal: A study to determine whether biologists are inadvertently causing species to become endangered. Hypothesis: Since many species on the endangered list have been given names such as “Furbish lousewort,” “shiny pigtoe” and “sensitive joint-vetch,” various plants and animals might be dying out from sheer embarrassment. (Megan Durham, Reston, Va.)
In our team’s preliminary studies, we have noticed that as ice cream sales increase at seaside resorts, so do shark attacks. We propose to examine why sharks are so attracted to ice cream ingested by humans, and determine how to reformulate the product to deter this effect. (Samuel Enriquez, Annapolis, Md.; Gregory Koch, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
Proposal: An examination of the correlation between societal success and olfactory level of human waste products, specifically the accuracy of the belief of individuals with graduate degrees, professional success, hot girlfriends, etc., that their bodily waste “don’t stink.” (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)
Hypothesis: Cellphones drain power from cars on the highway. Evidence: On Interstate 66, where most cars travel between 60 and 70 mph, a small but significant number of automobiles travel no faster than 40 mph. Preliminary research has determined that at least 90 percent of their drivers are using cellphones at the time. We also propose to study how phones’ magnetic waves cause the vehicles to wobble in and out of a lane. (Carroll Reed, Centreville, Va., a First Offender)
Still running — deadline Monday night — is our book-pairing contest: See wapo.st/inv971.
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at email@example.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.
Next week: Colt Following, or Replaying the Ponies