July 13, 2010

Belly Buttons Linked to Running, Swimming Prowess: Black athletes dominate track and white athletes dominate swimming because of their belly-buttons, according to a study published in the International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics. "[W]hat matters is not total height but the position of the belly-button, or center of gravity," said lead researcher Andre Bejan of Duke University. "Locomotion is essentially a continual process of falling forward, and mass that falls from a higher altitude, falls faster."

posted by rcade to olympics at 02:46 PM - 9 comments

But Bejan said the study he conducted with Edward Jones, a professor at Howard University in Washington, and Duke graduate Jordan Charles, focused on the athletes' geographic origins and biology, not race, which the authors of the study call a "social construct."

That's funny because in the retelling West-African origin=black and European=white. Race is a social construct blah blah blah.

posted by bperk at 03:25 PM on July 13

Pseudoscience at it's finest! I sure hope our tax dollars didn't got into funding this piece of crap research.

posted by BikeNut at 03:52 PM on July 13

I don't get the pseudoscience crack. The argument is about centres of gravity, as indicated by the position of the belly button. It's something I hadn't thought of. I can't really dispute the whole idea of centres of gravity and locomotion. Sounds interesting. I'm not buying the brochure yet, but it's a new approach to me.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:39 PM on July 13

I would have to agree: blowing this off as nonsense right off the bat may be short sighted. It is a fact that running is essentially falling forward. Folks with a better center of gravity and balance have an advantage.

Of course, it could turn out to be complete BS; but it is an interesting hypothesis.

I also do no not think is necessarily racist to study physiological differences between races.

posted by Tigginator at 06:14 PM on July 13

Pseudoscience at it's finest!

The journal this study was published in is refereed and has several dozen academics from reputable institutions on its editorial board. The story about the research is from Agence France-Presse. It's hardly pseudoscience.

posted by rcade at 06:51 PM on July 13

How to get publicity for your research study, and for the journal it was published in:

Scientist: "I've done some work on centre of gravity of the human body and the effect on locomotion".

Publisher's Media Liaison: "Can you sex it up a bit? Where's the centre of gravity anyway?"

Scientist: "It's right here, near the belly button."

posted by owlhouse at 08:28 PM on July 13

Possibly related (but also funny):

If sports were reported like science.

posted by owlhouse at 10:39 PM on July 13

Are there pictures of hot female athletes and their belly buttons? If that's not part of the deal, I'm not clicking the link.

posted by JJ at 03:57 AM on July 14

Definitely funny.:

MICK IN SURBITON: I just don't see the relevance of this to everyday life. What difference does Mr Ancelotti's work make to the everyday taxpayer? Was this game funded by the government?

posted by billsaysthis at 05:03 PM on July 14

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