I’ve had “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo in my head since Sunday, and now that I’m done with this comic, I’ll be glad to put this terrible chapter of my life behind me. 

Since first appearing on Strip Search, my beard has garnered a fair amount of fan attention—perhaps even more than myself. Always one to play along, I have since drawn a few comics* related to my distinctive facial hair. Now I’m done playing, and I’m dropping the learn hammer on you. Ah, well, not really. These are all still pretty fun. Shall we?

Microbiological Laboratory Hazard of Bearded Men by Manuel S. Barbeito, Charles T. Mathews, and Larry A. Taylor. This paper, while almost half a century old, is well worth the read for the images alone.

Beards Augment Perceptions of Men’s Age, Social Status, and Aggressiveness, but Not Attractiveness by Barnaby J. Dixson and Paul L. Vasey. This article jumped out at me not for the subject matter, but for it’s co-author, Paul Vasey. He’s a behavioral neuroscientist who along with studying beards, conducted some fascinating research in the Samoas. In Samoan culture, there are three genders: male, female, and a group called Fa’afafine (“In the manner of a woman”). They are boys who are recognized at an early age as being different and brought up as girls with a specific role in assisting their siblings in child rearing. In this WSF video, Vasey describes how homosexual genes are passed on through kin selection rather than direct reproduction.

The Role of Facial Hair in Women’s Perceptions of Men’s Attractiveness, Health, Masculinity and Parenting Abilities by Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks. Who comes up with these titles? You probably saw this article in the news recently. Dixson and Brooks discovered that women and men across the board found men with heavy stubble more attractive than men with full beards or no beards. But what most sources didn’t report was that men with beards achieved higher scores in masculinity and perceived parenting ability.

Dosimetric Investigation of the Solar Erythemal UV Radiation Protection Provided by Beards and Moustaches by A.V. Parisi, D. J. Turnbull, N. Downs, and D. Smith. The conclusion is simple. Beards block UV light from hitting your face. The researchers placed mannequin heads out in the hot Australian sun and measured their UV exposure. For the sake of your skin, I recommend growing a beard immediately.

If you hate beards and would rather get skin cancer, know that the most exposed area was found to be the upper lip, so you could always just get a math teacher mustache or something.

But just in case you’re not convinced. I’ll leave you with The Beards, who have something important to tell you.



Hello new people! The other day both the Richard Dawkins Foundation and I Fucking Love Science shared the Red Flags of Quackery comic I drew way back. While there is one admittedly problematic panel in the piece, I’ve never seen so many people who fucking love science get their jimmies rustled when their pet belief was confronted. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn a comic directly related to skepticism, so it felt really good to get angry letters from chiropractors again. All I have to say is, “U mad?

Many thanks to Sean and Elise respectively. Particularly Sean, who was super cool in the face of my initial ire over not being properly credited on the piece. Mea culpa.

If you liked the Red Flags and want to help promote promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics where they are needed most, the Secular Student Alliance is celebrating the hard work of student organizations across the US this week. The SSA is a non-profit that works in schools to help non-theistic students set up clubs and support groups. They also work to defend the rights of these groups in cases where they are met with resistance. To learn more about SSA week, and how you can help out. Click the image below. Thanks!

Secular Student Alliance Week - April 29 to May 6



TONIGHT! A bunch of NYC Strip Search fans are meeting at Peculier Pub in an impromptu meetup of sorts. Come on down if you can. The shindig starts at 7, and I will probably be there a little later depending on work. I’ve gathered up a bunch of Pineapple Maki drink recipes that people have concocted, and I plan to try as many as I can before I die of alcohol poisoning. See you there!



*Not that this is the first time beards have made an appearance here. A while back, Nadir presented a cautionary tale of sorts.