CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

7 Schools Where Streaking Is An Organized Sport

Original image
Getty Images

At some schools, stripping down is a serious sport. Here are seven colleges that place streaking on par with other organized athletic endeavors.

1. Hamilton College

Hamilton College’s varsity streaking team, Streak to Win, is dedicated to destroying the competition with their athletic prowess and, of course, bare skin. Like any sports team, they have plenty of away games. During fall of 2008, the 18-person team launched their tour de force, streaking 12 peer institutions in a five-day span.

2. Dartmouth College

At Dartmouth, ambitious athletes complete the Ledyard Challenge – a brutal test of speed and physical conditioning. Athletes strip down, swim across the Connecticut River to Vermont, and then sprint across the bridge back to New Hampshire. Because streaking is illegal in New Hampshire, athletes have hidden out for hours on the Vermont side of the border — where streaking is a-ok — to avoid being apprehended by the Hanover Police.

3. Denison College

Denison has an entire week in February dedicated to streaking and other naked revelry. Each night of Naked Week has a different theme — formal night, animal night, war paint night, zombie night, etc. — and participants do their best to accessorize accordingly. Naked Week culminates in a frigid, clothes-less Ultimate Frisbee game on Saturday. Students meet on the quad and play until they’re tired or lose sensation in their limbs. Then they return to their rooms and try to figure out how they’re going to explain the embarrassing frostbite to their physicians.

4. Williams College

Williams College in Massachusetts has a large, loosely organized streaking team known as the Springstreakers. Each semester during finals period, team members quietly sneak into the library before going on a rampage, running naked through the stacks and screaming, “Study harder!” In recent years, the team has also streaked freshman orientation, a Psych 101 lecture, countless Super Bowl parties and a Fox News interview with former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift. The team has a few rules that it (mostly) follows: only streak while sober, never streak children, and only streak events worth being streaked/struck/stricken. (Grammar varies by region.)

5. Rice University

At 10 p.m. on the 13th and 31st of every month (or the 26th for months without 31 days), Rice students run around campus wearing nothing but shoes and shaving cream. Each run attracts between 2 and 196 adventurous athletes who streak the campus, fending off attackers armed with water balloons and hoses. The event happens year-round, but Halloween is the most popular — and the most dangerous. In 2008, a student shattered a window while attempting to stamp his buttocks on the pane and had to be rushed to the hospital. This past fall, another student broke the very same window during the Halloween streak.

6. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Like any other Tar Heels game, the bi-annual finals week run draws hundreds of onlookers. Streakers run down each floor of Davis Library, outside into the student union, and then across the courtyard and into the Undergraduate Library, where they sing the alma mater. But the tradition has recently come under fire from its founders, who are angry that the event seems to have lost its shock value. When a Facebook event was created to advertise the streaking, some of the originals left a note at the streakers’ meeting place condemning campus-endorsed streaking as an affront to everything streaking is supposed to be. The debate has raised an important question about the essential nature of the sport: is it really streaking without the element of surprise?

7. Reed College

At Reed College, streaking isn’t just a flippant display of youthful rebellion: it’s war. Each year during the school’s annual fair, a group of Reedies strips down and covers themselves in blue paint in homage to the Picts, a Celtic tribe who supposedly went into battle wearing nothing but blue paint. The Picters launch an attack on their mortal enemy, the Copters, a group of clothed students armed with squirt guns and orange paint. While the Copters pelt the Picters with orange paint, the Picters chase them down and attempt to give them wet, paint-filled hugs.

And two teams that died out . . .

Princeton University’s Nude Olympians

The Nude Olympics, a beloved Tiger tradition for almost a quarter century, used to take place following the first snowfall of each year. Two torch-bearers led the charge of 350 naked students running circles around the courtyard, screaming and cartwheeling and whooping for joy. Though there wasn’t any actual competition, it was still quite a spectacle and regularly drew crowds of 700 or more. Administrators likened the event to Pamplona’s running of the bulls. But after a particularly rowdy ceremony that sent 7 students to the hospital, the Board of Trustees voted to nix the event in 1999.

University of Vermont’s Naked Bikers

Each semester on the last day of classes, UVM students gathered at midnight for a clothes-less extravaganza. Participants rode around a lit, barricaded loop guarded by campus police and student volunteers. While the event was known as the “Naked Bike Ride,” only some of the participants cycled. Others rode skateboards, ran, or pushed shopping carts. But this year, UVM’s president pulled the plug on the event for safety reasons. He also pointed out that the money spent on the event — about $17,000 per semester, which came directly from school funds — could probably be put to better use.

arrow
Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
A Chinese Museum Is Offering Cash to Whoever Can Decipher These 3000-Year-Old Inscriptions

During the 19th century, farmers in China’s Henan Province began discovering oracle bones—engraved ox scapulae and tortoise shells used by Shang Dynasty leaders for record-keeping and divination purposes—while plowing their fields. More bones were excavated in subsequent years, and their inscriptions were revealed to be the earliest known form of systematic writing in East Asia. But over the decades, scholars still haven’t come close to cracking half of the mysterious script’s roughly 5000 characters—which is why one Chinese museum is asking member of the public for help, in exchange for a generous cash reward.

As Atlas Obscura reports, the National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan Province has offered to pay citizen researchers about $15,000 for each unknown character translated, and $7500 if they provide a disputed character’s definitive meaning. Submissions must be supported with evidence, and reviewed by at least two language specialists.

The museum began farming out their oracle bone translation efforts in Fall 2016. The costly ongoing project has hit a stalemate, and scholars hope that the public’s collective smarts—combined with new advances in technology, including cloud computing and big data—will yield new information and save them research money.

As of today, more than 200,000 oracle bones have been discovered—around 50,000 of which bear text—so scholars still have a lot to learn about the Shang Dynasty. Many of the ancient script's characters are difficult to verify, as they represent places and people from long ago. However, decoding even just one character could lead to a substantial breakthrough, experts say: "If we interpret a noun or a verb, it can bring many scripts on oracle bones to life, and we can understand ancient history better,” Chinese history professor Zhu Yanmin told the South China Morning Post.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

arrow
language
6 Eponyms Named After the Wrong Person
Original image
Salmonella species growing on agar.

Having something named after you is the ultimate accomplishment for any inventor, mathematician, scientist, or researcher. Unfortunately, the credit for an invention or discovery does not always go to the correct person—senior colleagues sometimes snatch the glory, fakers pull the wool over people's eyes, or the fickle general public just latches onto the wrong name.

1. SALMONELLA (OR SMITHELLA?)

In 1885, while investigating common livestock diseases at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington, D.C., pathologist Theobald Smith first isolated the salmonella bacteria in pigs suffering from hog cholera. Smith’s research finally identified the bacteria responsible for one of the most common causes of food poisoning in humans. Unfortunately, Smith’s limelight-grabbing supervisor, Daniel E. Salmon, insisted on taking sole credit for the discovery. As a result, the bacteria was named after him. Don’t feel too sorry for Theobald Smith, though: He soon emerged from Salmon’s shadow, going on to make the important discovery that ticks could be a vector in the spread of disease, among other achievements.

2. AMERICA (OR COLUMBIANA?)

An etching of Amerigo Vespucci
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512) claimed to have made numerous voyages to the New World, the first in 1497, before Columbus. Textual evidence suggests Vespucci did take part in a number of expeditions across the Atlantic, but generally does not support the idea that he set eyes on the New World before Columbus. Nevertheless, Vespucci’s accounts of his voyages—which today read as far-fetched—were hugely popular and translated into many languages. As a result, when German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was drawing his map of the Novus Mundi (or New World) in 1507 he marked it with the name "America" in Vespucci’s honor. He later regretted the choice, omitting the name from future maps, but it was too late, and the name stuck.

3. BLOOMERS (OR MILLERS?)

A black and white image of young women wearing bloomers
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dress reform became a big issue in mid-19th century America, when women were restricted by long, heavy skirts that dragged in the mud and made any sort of physical activity difficult. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Miller was inspired by traditional Turkish dress to begin wearing loose trousers gathered at the ankle underneath a shorter skirt. Miller’s new outfit immediately caused a splash, with some decrying it as scandalous and others inspired to adopt the garb.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was editor of the women’s temperance journal The Lily, and she took to copying Miller’s style of dress. She was so impressed with the new freedom it gave her that she began promoting the “reform dress” in her magazine, printing patterns so others might make their own. Bloomer sported the dress when she spoke at events and soon the press began to associate the outfit with her, dubbing it “Bloomer’s costume.” The name stuck.

4. GUILLOTINE (OR LOUISETTE?)

Execution machines had been known prior to the French Revolution, but they were refined after Paris physician and politician Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin suggested they might be a more humane form of execution than the usual methods (hanging, burning alive, etc.). The first guillotine was actually designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and was known as a louisette. The quick and efficient machine was quickly adopted as the main method of execution in revolutionary France, and as the bodies piled up the public began to refer to it as la guillotine, for the man who first suggested its use. Guillotin was very distressed at the association, and when he died in 1814 his family asked the French government to change the name of the hated machine. The government refused and so the family changed their name instead to escape the dreadful association.

5. BECHDEL TEST (OR WALLACE TEST?)

Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

The Bechdel Test is a tool to highlight gender inequality in film, television, and fiction. The idea is that in order to pass the test, the movie, show, or book in question must include at least one scene in which two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man. The test was popularized by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and has since become known by her name. However, Bechdel asserts that the idea originated with her friend Lisa Wallace (and was also inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf), and she would prefer for it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test.

6. STIGLER’S LAW OF EPONYMY (OR MERTON’S LAW?)

Influential sociologist Robert K. Merton suggested the idea of the “Matthew Effect” in a 1968 paper noting that senior colleagues who are already famous tend to get the credit for their junior colleagues’ discoveries. (Merton named his phenomenon [PDF] after the parable of talents in the Gospel of Matthew, in which wise servants invest money their master has given them.)

Merton was a well-respected academic, and when he was due to retire in 1979, a book of essays celebrating his work was proposed. One person who contributed an essay was University of Chicago professor of statistics Stephen Stigler, who had corresponded with Merton about his ideas. Stigler decided to pen an essay that celebrated and proved Merton’s theory. As a result, he took Merton’s idea and created Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, which states that “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer”—the joke being that Stigler himself was taking Merton’s own theory and naming it after himself. To further prove the rule, the “new” law has been adopted by the academic community, and a number of papers and articles have since been written on "Stigler’s Law."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios