Doofus Of The Day #979

A tip o’ the hat to Diogenes’ Middle Finger for spotting this pseudo-scientific idiocy.

Playful urination practices – from seeing how high you can pee to games such as Peeball (where men compete using their urine to destroy a ball placed in a urinal) – may give boys an advantage over girls when it comes to physics.

. . .

Like many parents of small (and not-so-small) boys, two of us (KW and DL) have observed the great delight young males take in urination, a process by which they produce and direct a visible projectile arc.

The fact that boys (and men) play with their ability to projectile pee is hardly contentious. Boys are trained to pee into toilet bowls with floating targets, a huge variety of which can be bought on Amazon; Amsterdam Airport Schiphol famously cleaned up its urinals by encouraging men to hit flies etched next to the drain; and Peeball is now a worldwide phenomenon.

Meanwhile, YouTube videos explain how to write your name in the snow with your pee; and the post-match celebration peeing antics of sportsmen are widely reported in the media. Indeed, the very notion of a pissing contest – furthest, highest, most precisely aimed – is a deeply embedded part of some cultures. Alexander Pope includes a pissing contest in his narrative poem, the Dunciad. Our own children describe a stepped wall behind their primary school that’s used by male pupils for competitive target practice. And a colleague who grew up in the Canadian arctic describes boys competing to see who could perfect the trajectory so that what ascended as liquid fell as ice crystals.

All this is experienced up to five times a day, so by 14, boys have had the opportunity to play with projectile motion around 10,000 times. And 14 is when many children meet formalised physics in the form of projectile motion and Newton’s equations of motion for the first time.

This self-directed, hands-on, intrinsically (and sometimes extrinsically, and socially) rewarding activity must have a huge potential contribution to learning, resulting in a deep, embodied, material knowledge of projectile motion that’s simply not accessible to girls.

There’s more at the link.

It sounds all very high-falutin’ and pseudo-scientific . . . except that I know lots of men (including myself) who never had the slightest interest in exploring projectile motion via urination.  I never even wrote my name in the snow – admittedly, partly due to the fact that snow was non-existent in my experience until well after I grew up!  As for a “hands-on, intrinsically … rewarding activity” . . . that might have been better phrased, don’t you think?

I can’t for the life of me figure out how directional manipulation of a stream of urine can possibly translate to a “material knowledge of projectile motion”.  Of course, if it did, it’d be the ruination of urination . . .



  1. I think you learn more about "projectile motion" by throwing rocks, which is equally accessible to boys and girls.

  2. Clearly, girls and boys should take up target shooting, and graduate to hunting. Guns are remarkably effective at evening the playing field and offering hands-on, intrinsically rewarding experience with projectile motion!

    Especially if you explode a milk jug, target clays, watermelons, anything with tannerite inside…. and then graduate to getting to cook and eat what you shoot!

  3. Sounds like the lady researcher academics are admitting to penis envy. Very un-PC. One wonders how they keep their jobs in this day and age.

  4. Guess we need to give girls catheters with valves so they can join the fun and learn all about physics and eye/hand ah……urine coordination.

  5. @georges – when my wife was Working at a hospital in NYC back in the dark ages, there would be frequent handball games during lunch break on some courts by the East River. Usually about half a dozen guys and the same number of girls. After every game, the guys would walk over to the wall that had the river below it and practice ballistics. And being mostly New Yorkers, they were a bit obnoxious in their comments – a favorite thing was a distance contest. Well, after a few times of this, my wife had had enough. She hatched a plan whereby all the gals catheterized themselves and taped the catheter up out of the way. After the game, the guys did their normal distance thing, but after they were done, my wife and her mates walked over to the wall, stood with backs turned to the guys, fished out the catheters without the guys seeing them and proceeded to better the guys' distance by a fair bit. The guys never did their display again!!

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