by Alex King
Hello and welcome to Penn Mythbusters! Where we take the most commonly held urban legends, myths and old wives’ tales and put them to the test! Using our trained research team, we employ the scientific method to determine if myths are BUSTED, PLAUSIBLE, or CONFIRMED!
Work Hard Party Hard
Source of Myth: “Yes, yes, I’ve found the spirit here at the White House just like that of my alma mater: WORK HARD, PARTY HARD!”
– William Henry Harrison, 9th President of US, Class of 1791
Hypothesis: Penn students work hard and, somewhat paradoxically, also party hard
Experiment #1: Statistical
First, we’re going to try to crack this myth by using old reliable statistics by polling students at a party, and then at an ECON 052 exam the following day.
Step 1 – Poll how many people at a party are Penn students. Result – 90%
Step 2 – Poll how many at exam are Penn students. Result – 100%
Findings: Deemed inconclusive. Sample size was inexact
Experiment #2: Subject Observation
Our problem in the previous experiment was the inexactitude of the sample size. To rectify this, we decided to observe just a single test subject.
Step 1 – After canvassing the library, a student who wished to remain anonymous, was observed “Working hard.” Subject was found in a carrel, with at least three books, typing furiously on an IBM Thinkpad.
Step 2 – Later, student was followed to a party in a fraternity of which he was a member, or in subject’s parlance, “a brother.” (NOTE: though no genealogical tests were performed, members believed to not be actual brothers).
Step 3 – Subject was observed playing beer pong with his “bros.”
Step 4 – That’s all he did, he just played beer pong all night.
Findings: Playing beer pong deemed not “partying hard.” No hookers, cocaine or thai children were observed.
Stepping on the Compass will make you fail your midterms, if you are a freshman
Source of Myth: “Dear mom, I failed my midterms- but it totally isn’t because I didn’t study! I accidentally stepped on the compass!! Did you ever do this when you were a freshman here?? I’m so upset!!”
– Letter home from Blair Steinstien, College Freshman.
Hypothesis: Stepping on the compass will not result in failure of midterms.
Experiment #1: Testing
This myth, we decided, will be easily disproved by getting a freshman to walk over the compass, and then measuring their results in a midterm later that semester.
Step 1 – Our research team grabbed a Freshman, and began to drag him towards the compass. He screamed in fear, tore at the researchers, and fled.
Step 2 – Our research team grabbed a smaller Freshman, and began to drag him across the compass. Despite his tearful pleas for release, researchers succeeded in bringing him across the compass.
Step 3 – Subject Freshman was then observed during taking of midterm; no Compass related poltergeists or ghosts were observed harassing the subject. Subject was prodded several times to check responsiveness. Was deemed responsive.
Step 4 – When midterms were returned a week and a half later, our researches snatched the midterm out of the subject’s hands and recorded his grade. He had failed, confirming the myth.
Step 5 – Subject Freshman filed a complaint with Student Services that he was repeatedly assaulted and harassed by members of research team prior to and during the taking of his midterm, resulting in a failing grade due to distraction and stress. When Student Services learned he had walked across the Compass, the case was dropped, as reason for his failure was clear.
Sex Under the Button
Source of Myth: “Dude I totally just banged this chick under the button man, like right there, I totally banged her, oh man, whammy!”
– Anonymous Penn student diary entry, from 1912
Hypothesis: People do not have sex under the button.
Experiment #1: Observation
This time around we wanted to employ empirical observations to prove or disprove this myth.
Step 1: We stayed up all night, looking for people having sex under the button.
Step 2: No one had sex under the button.
Findings: No one was observed having sex under the button.
Experiment #2: Testing
Although no couples, heterosexual or unnatural, were observed copulating under the button in our empirical test, we wanted to test if sex under the button was even possible.
Step 1: Two members of the research team, one male and the other not male, were volunteered for the test.
Step 2: The two researchers were instructed to engage in sexual relations, beneath the button
Step 3: The male researcher complained about performing while being watched by the merciless glare of the rest of the research team, constantly taking notes and leering emotionlessly.
Step 4: Several minutes later, the distressed female researcher “Dammit, I can’t fucking do this!”, forcibly removed the male researcher, and stormed off weeping.
Step 5: Further experimentation cancelled due to loss of sole female research team member.
Findings: Inconclusive, but proof of concept obtained.
Join us again next week, when we put the myth of “Muggers Exist” to the test! Only on UTV 13!