The Jungle Book lied to me.

Apparently, to ‘dance like a monkey‘ actually means to run away until you find a nice quiet spot where you can suck your thumb and eat some peanuts in peace. Researchers at MIT and Harvard conducted studies showing that monkeys prefer silence to music, and if they had to choose a music they’d be more inclined to go with Enya over the New York Dolls. I know, I was devastated, too.

The end of the above-linked article contained a link to an online survey by MIT researchers dealing with humans’ preferences to certain sounds, chords, and music. Near the end I found it surprisingly difficult to decide on my own preferences; during the second section in which I was asked to choose whether a sound was “happy” or “sad,” I found that every sound ever made, if sustained for at least 3.5 seconds, sounds sad to me.


Special thanks to everyone who came to see Michael Shermer at Harvard last night. I met quite a few of you, and I’m pleased to report that thus far all studies appear to support the fact that my audience is smarter and funnier than the average. I’ll give another heads up the next time there’s any kind of gathering, and if you are planning to have a suitably skeptical get together in your area, you can let me know and I’ll promote it here. Also, be sure to check out the Skepchick forums for upcoming events.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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