749: Study

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Volunteers needed for a study on transmission of urushiol from digital contact with thin strips of fibrous cellulose pulp.
Title text: Volunteers needed for a study on transmission of urushiol from digital contact with thin strips of fibrous cellulose pulp.


This comic is about the ubiquitous study fliers that are placed around cities and especially college campuses.

This one obviously takes it to the absurd because it is a thinly-veiled attempt to get volunteers so that their kidneys can be "harvested" or stolen. Type O is a blood type that omits both A and B antigens so it won't cause reaction in blood types having anti-A or anti-B antibodies and thus people having this blood type are the most valuable for transplants (there are still other antigens that can cause reactions but these two are the most important).

Urushiol is an oily toxic irritant present in poison ivy and some related plants, digital contact means touching something with fingers and fibrous cellulose pulp is a scientific description of paper. This together suggests that the person who put up the flier soaked the strips with urushiol and is trying to see if it will cause irritation in anyone who will touch the strips with their fingers (and it will within ten minutes)[citation needed].


[A posted flier with nine tear-off strips at the bottom reads: "Volunteers Needed for a scientific study investigating whether people can distinguish between scientific studies and kidney-harvesting scams. (Healthy Type-O Adults Only) TAKE ONE" Five of the nine strips are torn off.]

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Perhaps the flyer itself IS the study? If many people picks the number then the result would be that people cannot distinguish the scams. ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Doesn't work though. Because of the paradox involved. If it is actually a study, it doesn't prove anything if people pick it, because it is not a kidney harvesting scam. And if it is a kidney harvesting scam, it is not a study and thus the result doesn't matter (Except for the people who lack kidneys now)

Actually, it’s hinted at very strongly that it IS a kidney harvesting scam. 00:56, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I thought it was supposed to be both when I read this one. -- 00:41, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

I wonder how this would work. Maybe some people get a kidney harvesting scam and some get a sugar pill. 19:06, 5 April 2023 (UTC)

I'm bothered by the description of paper as 'fibrous cellulose pulp'. To me that implies a liquid, whereas I'm fairly sure paper is a solid. 16:36, 8 June 2024 (UTC)

What part of that implies liquid? Fibrous: no. Cellulose: famously a fibre, if not compressed into a solid form. Pulp: squishy and damp, maybe, but often substantially more tangible and strainable than an actual full on liquid, even at its squishiest and dampest.