When something feels off, but is not exactly life-threatening and not entirely weird, what is it? Creepy, according to researchers. They have just discovered the parameters for what makes someone likely to be seen as creepy. Strangely, I enjoy listening to the song Creep, especially the version of both Brian Justin Crum and Sarah Geronimo.

A study surveyed 1,341 people, who rated how creepy 44 different behaviors and habits were.

It appears that creepiness is felt when someone interacts with something that is not normal, like a person with idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, unusual physical characteristics or a tendency to over- or under-emote. The person doesn’t know if they should interpret the interaction as a threat, and thus is creeped out.

Behaviors considered creepy according to the survey were similar to the creepy uncle, like constantly licking their lips or bringing up the same topic (usually sex) over and over in conversation. The creepiest features were having greasy hair, unclean clothes and a peculiar smile.

The study also found that men are more likely to be considered creepy than women, and women more often associated sexual threat with creepiness. Unexpectedly being hit on or invasion on their personal space are such examples. Seventy-five percent of the study’s participants were women. Thus, the findings could possibly have been different if more men were involved.

The survey participants also mentioned what they felt were the creepiest jobs, and clowns were one of the top responses. Also included were taxidermists and funeral directors. The least creepy occupation was meteorologist.

Another study can likewise be called weird. A team of electrical and computer scientists have developed the next step in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) – a paper-like battery that’s activated by saliva.

They have developed a disposable, easy-to-use, and portable bio-battery that can generate power from bacterial metabolism. This battery is ready to operate saliva for on-demand power generation. The battery includes specialized bacterial cells called exo-electrogens, which have the ability to harvest electrons externally to the outside electrode. For long-term storage, the bacterial cells are freeze-dried until use.

Right now, the bacterial electricity produced is not close enough to power a phone. Testing of the device by the team demonstrated that it can achieve a power density of several microwatts per square centimeter, meaning that it can currently power an LED light using a single drop of spit.

They are improving the power to have more applications. Folding or stacking paper batteries will connect them in series or parallel for further power enhancement. This could allow the researchers to expand the power of the batteries from a few microwatts into hundreds, or even possibly more. By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail Feb. 6-12, 2023)