(Welcome, Pharyngula readers! If you liked this post, click through to the front page and have a browse.)
Australian girls were warned Wednesday that playing the Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo could lead to infertility as a consequence of messing with “men’s business”. […]
The Victorian Aboriginal Education Association said instructing girls on how to play the instrument was an extreme cultural indiscretion and has called for the book to be pulped.
The section on the didgeridoo was “part of a general ignorance that mainstream Australia has about Aboriginal culture,” the association’s general manager Mark Rose told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“We know very clearly that there’s a range of consequences for a female touching a didgeridoo — infertility would be the start of it, ranging to other consequences,” he said, adding: “I won’t even let my daughter touch one.”
I can’t help wondering: how do they “know very clearly” that didgeridoos cause infertility? Was there a double-blinded controlled study? What did they use as a control – a piece of PVC pipe? And can I read the findings anywhere? Inquiring minds want to know!
Update: related, and hilarious in a nerdy way, is this paper from the BMJ: Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.
At the risk of spoilerage, here’s the “Results” section:
We were unable to identify any randomised controlled trials of parachute intervention.
(hat tip for the BMJ paper: Felix Salmon)