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cryonics storage - please don't eat the tissue samples!
cryogenic storage chamber
(exterior view)

The Visible Barbie Project

Funded in part by grants from

The Foundation for Unnatural Research,

The National Association for the Advancement of Women Whose Individual Breasts are Not Bigger than their Waistlines,


a pretty decent clearance sale at a nearby Toy and Hobby store

main cryonics storage chamber interior
cryogenic chamber
(interior view)

The Visible Barbie Project is part of the Foundation for Unnatural Research's long-range plan for advancing the state of human knowlege of things that no normal person would ever think to wonder about.

The project began with the acquisition of a suitable marked-down subject at a nearby toy store and ended approximately six hours later, not including the time required to pick out the bits of hair that got stuck in the bandsaw.

The cause of the subject's markdown was unknown, but we didn't care; all that mattered was that the gross physical anatomy of the body was intact.

barbie biohazard prevention
biohazard and other safety equipment

State-of-the-art biohazard equipment is an absolute necessity for experiments involving tissue of any kind, both for the safety of the researcher and to prevent possible contamination of the material being studied.

Though no verified cases of disease transmission between plastic dolls and humans have been reported in the literature, the possibility of certain plastiform viruses or virus-like particles infecting humans has not been entirely eliminated.

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Also in this issue of the Unnatural Enquirer:
Decorate your
Evil Lair on a Budget

build your own Furby Supercomputer
the story of
Johnny Highwaycone
Isn't it time you upgraded to

prepped for sectioning
subject is prepped for sectioning
(note that warranty does not mention power tools)

We had no way of knowing (since, obviously, a standard autopsy could not be performed without causing irreparable damage to the subject) whether the doll had been marked down as a result of BSE (Barbie Simplygone Encephalopathy). Some researchers have hypothesized that BSE has already jumped the species barrier to computers and, thence, possibly, to computer programmers and hardware designers.

The most compelling evidence for BSE transmission from doll to computer to programmers/designers is the increasing frequency of incidents of empty-headed computer program designs and the peculiar fascination computer designers have had lately with developing colorful plastic colors and fashions with which to adorn new computer designs, rather than making products that work better or, in some cases, at all.

barbie band ready
sectioning equipment used
(Grand Rapids Industrial Products 3/4 horsepower horizontal bandsaw)

While the possibility of doll-to-human disease transmission may seem tenuous, even if passed through an intermediate computer vector, grant-writers just eat up this kind of stuff and, as such, any possibility--no matter how slight--should be brought up repeatedly, at least until you get a couple of good papers published about it.

let 'er rip!
activating the main power switch

But, enough preamble. The subject was in place, the bandsaw was plugged in and ready to go, and none of the neighbors were watching, so we were ready to begin.

is this going to mess up my hair?
(Yes, I am using the editorial "we" here, even though it's just me--this should not be taken as evidence that I have developed multiple personality disorder or any other mental disease that I'd want to talk about right now.)
it's hollow!
surprisingly, the interior of the cranium was empty

According to Pink's Anatomy, I should be cutting across the central plane of the cerebrum right now. As you can see, however, the subject's cranium is entirely empty except for a whole bunch of ingrown hair folicles. This subject may, indeed, have succumbed to an advanced case of BSE.

Or Barbie may just be an airhead; it's hard to be sure about these things.

side cut
the sectioning process continues
(Note the use of a GFCI-outlet for added safety.)

The bandsaw jammed when sawing off the head, as several large wads of Barbie hair were drawn into the drive system. After enough of the hair was cleared out to restart the bandsaw, the subject was moved to a more stable position for the remainder of the sectioning process.

(For those of you who wish to repeat this experiment at home, remember to shave your Barbies first; it's much easier on the bandsaw. Trust me on this one.)

sectioning complete
sectioning completed
(full subject)

The original plan had been to construct a three-dimensional representation of Barbie's interior anatomy through the creation of a complete series of transverse sections at one-millimeter intervals. The spacing between the sections was increased because the bandsaw would have scattered anything that small all over creation and made even more of a mess.

The completed results, viewed in cross-sectional orientation, are shown below, next to a longitudinal representation of the unsliced Barbie.

For those interested, the device used for positioning the sections is an old silver sugar cube server.

(Yes, I will wash it off before I put it back in the sugar cube bowl.)


barbie head section 1 barbie head section 2
barbie head section 3 barbie shoulder section 1
barbie shoulder section 2 barbie wrist section 1
barbie torso section 1 barbie torso section 2
barbie torso section 3 barbie torso section 4
barbie torso section 5 barbie pelvis section 1
barbie thigh section 1 barbie thigh section 2
barbie shin section 1 barbie shin section 2
barbie ankle section 1 barbie foot section 1

(Next week's Mad Science Fair Project:
the Barbie-Cue )
the Unnatural Enquirer
the base of the tree
For information about the real Visible Human Project, see the National Library of Medicine's website at [ ]

Barbie® is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc., which is not affiliated with or responsible for any of the contents of this webpage.

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