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Q: Can a liver move in the fridge? ( Answered,   7 Comments )
Subject: Can a liver move in the fridge?
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: davida_uk-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 30 Jul 2006 12:45 PDT
Expires: 29 Aug 2006 12:45 PDT
Question ID: 750884
I have a recollection of the fact that if you leave liver in a fridge
then it will slowly make its way toward milk. I have no idea where I
heard it but I remember it being a pretty scientific source so I took
it as read. I would imagine that the bacteria, enzymes or somesuch
search out the bacteria in the milk?

I'm not 100% sure it was liver and not 100% sure it was milk, but it
was certainly a piece of meat of some kind and I'm pretty sure it made
its way toward something which was dairy.

I mentioned this to colleagues who now think I'm insane, but both my
wife and sister have a vague recollection too.

Can anyone pinpoint scientific proof and possibly an explanation? A
time-lapse video would be great.
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
Answered By: tisme-ga on 30 Jul 2006 16:19 PDT
Hello davida_uk,

At first, I thought the question was probably unique, but either it is
an urban myth or there is something behind it because it is documented
elsewhere on the internet.

Apparently you aren't the first person to come up with this idea. I
found another source of this here:
"22-11-2002 C Peate wrote: Perhaps you can help me and my friends with
a problem we are having at school.  Our science teacher told us that
liver is attracted to milk and that if we left a plate of liver on a
table and a carton of semi-skimmed cows milk at the other side of the
table, the liver would be drawn to the milk.  What makes the liver
move to the milk?  Also, is there a formula that we could learn to
help us understand? Class 11b."

Another (apparently humorous) response to this idea was posted here:

This sparked my interest and I set out to investigate! After extensive
searching, the best answer I could find came from the BBC website:

	"Surely you should know better, liver is (of course) quite inanimate
and is entirely incabable of self-locomotion. Making your public house
proposition highly preposterous and improbable. This is, however a
widely held misconception amongst certain people. It is, in fact, the
milk that is moving towards the liver.
	Milk is actually highly magnetic when placed in a glass container.
However, it usually takes an object high in complex organic iron
compounds to give this a noticable effect. The presence of these
molecules moves the valence electrons of the molecules in the milk
into a highly excited state causing them to emit photons (try putting
the milk under an object which is responsive to ultra-violet
lightinside a partial vacuum chamber, and you will note that the
object will emit a faint glow.
	This excited state creates highly unstable ions of strontium-91 which
then begin generate a highly charged electro-magnetic field which
increase pressure on the interior surface of the glass moving it
approximately 3.156277654x10e-12 millimeters per decaliter of liver
towards the liver's center of gravity (mitigated of course by the
friction coefficient of the table or other surface).
	Unfortunately in order to observe the Liver-Milk Magneto-Kinetic
Phenomena you will need to have some sort of highly precise optical
measuring device within the confines of a geologically stabilized
	Either that, or quite a lot of liver and milk."

Another source here concludes that the idea is complete rubbish (but
gives the magnetic idea some weight as well):
	?Well... if it were true, there are only two reasons I can think of
that could cause it. Either the liver is still alive and is able to
sense the presence of the milk and its cells are able to slowly creep
over to it (because liver has no muscles, I wonder how else it would
be capable of it?), like a plant slowly moves towards the light...
	OR the liver and milk have some sort of magnetic attraction... 
	but you know what, im pretty certain that this is completely rubbish.
for example, the liver might have a high concentration of iron, as
milk does, so that might be how some people might justify it, but
really, such low quantities of metallic content does not create a
significant net force to do anything whatsoever... and no other
natural force could be used to explain it... except perhaps an
	this is a myth. probably the same people who believe that rubbing
small magnets all over your body somehow will give you health, by...
err... aligning your atoms... (duuuh  ) or whatever
	or once i read about some cleansening clinics that recommended
putting your feet in a small bath with small electrodes that produced
a slight current through the water. then after a little while the
water would turn a brownish colour and thus, they argued, it cleansed
/detoxified your body... or feet... or whatever, because the brown is
the 'bad stuff' coming from your body. but what they didnt realize was
that the brownish water was actually a result of the rusting of the
metal on the electrodes.
	anyhow, my point is, dont take anything at face value, especially if
it seems weird. if it seems unlikely, then it probably is, and the
only way to know for sure is to try it yourself. but im fairly
confident that its not, so im not going to bother :p?

So perhaps there is some attraction and movement, but this would be so
minute and hard to measure that it is insignificant. It probably is
something biology/chemistry teachers use to get the interest of
students, and while technically correct (with the magnetic
interpretation), is not a ?testable? experiment. Also, there do not
seem to be any large scale experiments that have been performed
regarding this.

All the best,


Search Strategy: 

"liver" "attracted to milk"
"liver" "towards milk"
"liver" "towards milk" -thistle -production ?output
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: jackburton-ga on 30 Jul 2006 14:04 PDT
>I have a recollection of the fact that if you leave liver in a fridge
then it will slowly make its way toward milk
I don't 'be-liver' it!
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: myoarin-ga on 30 Jul 2006 14:54 PDT
The liver I have cringes at the sight or smell of beer. I haven't
noticed it moving towards or away from milk.
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: myoarin-ga on 30 Jul 2006 19:30 PDT
Great work Tisme!  Maybe if one puts the bottle of milk on its side ...
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: probonopublico-ga on 31 Jul 2006 00:17 PDT
Years ago I heard a story that was supposedly true about a piece of
liver that had been left on a plate (not in a fridge) that continually
moved off the plate however many times it was replaced.

The woman who kept finding the liver off the plate decided to watch it
and yes it slowly moved off the plate.

The story goes on to say that she took the liver somewhere for
examination and it was found to be cancerous.

I told this story over lunch one day to a friend of mine who was
having liver. He said that he didn't believe it and finished his meal
with enjoyment.

However, the woman at the next table (who wasn't having liver) pushed
away her plate and looked as though she was going to be sick. (Well
she shouldn't have been listening in, should she?)

Me? I never eat liver ... just in case!
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: ghost2006-ga on 31 Jul 2006 22:43 PDT
Hi jackburton.  I think there is only one thing you can do:
experiment.  Here is how I would proceed:

1) get a large piece of glass, say 3' x 2'.

2) put it on a wooden table, covered by a plastic tablecloth if you
want to spare the table from potential damage.  Make sure the table is
well away from any source of heat or magnetism or iron, or from any
animals or kids who may want to eat the liver or drink the milk (or
from any adult who may get tempted to move the liver).

3) build a wooden structure (about one foot high, the same size of the
glass) made of small square sticks of wood (2 x 2s?, making two 3' x
2' rectangles at top and bottom, and two smaller rectangles (2' x 1'
at the longer ends).  Glue and nail it well, it has to stand being
moved around by one person.  You may also want to nail cross-lines of
string on the sides, to help it keep its shape.
Finally, screw to the top (accross the farthest corners, to make an X)
two pieces of metal that can support the weight of a 1' plate on top
of it.

3a) Magic-glue a yougurt container (or some such) at the centre of the
back of a glass plate (about a foot in diameter).  Place the plate
(face down) at the centre of the metal X at the top of the structure.
Firmly tape the plate to the metal X with duck tape, where it touches
the X.

4) Get a large sheet of transparent plastic, such that it will drop
down the sides of the structure and some extra - not bigger than the
table though!  Put it on the structure, and nail it tight to the
structure's four top corners.  If done correctly, the plastic sheet
should be higher at the centre than at the sides of the top of the

5) Centered roughly in the middle of the glass, scratch on the top of
the glass (with a diamond?) 25 parallel lines 3 mm apart (mm =
millimiters), and about 1" or 2" long (2.5 to 5 mm). Try to make the
lines straight, and try, if you can, for the exact distance.

6) Scrathc a "1" under the first line to your left.  Scratch a visible
X below the 15th line, counting toward your right and starting with
line 1.

7) get:
   - a freshliver slice (freeze it for a day)
   - Two very cold  but not frozen carton of milk (4 liters or 1 jug,
even if it is plastic)
   - canola or safflour oil (light vegetable oil, not olive)
   - a plant mister (fill it with water, and make sure if sprays a
mist and not drops)

8) spread the oil all over the top of the glass, making especially
sure that the central area and all the lines are well greased (don't
skimp, but the oil is only a lubricant, I do not believe livers can
swim very well).

9) With a sharp knife, cut a sliver of the frozen liver on top of a
glass plate or cutting board or another small piece of glass).  Shape
it to be about 5 mm thick, 1.5 cm long and 1,5 cm wide.  Put the
frozen liver, and leftovers, back in the freeze (experimentation takes
a lot of attempts!)

10) place the sliver of liver (poetry does not hurt) flat along the
right side of the 15th line.  Make sure it is exactly right along it.

11) (courage, we are almost there!).  Scratch a line just to the right
and both below and above the right edge of the sliver, to mark the
sliver's end. If you happen to get just to the left of another of the
original lines at the right side of the sliver, mark it at its bottom
with a circle or something.

12) Place one of the cold jugs of milk to the left of line 1, just
touching it and lined up against it. The jug should not cover any of
the lines.

13) Without touching the piece of liver, place the wooden structure on
top of the glass, covering the outmost edges of the glass.  The
transparent plastic should surround the wooden structure and the glass

13) Lift the plastic sheet from one of the smaller sides, and spray
the inside with the mister, aiming at the sides and the top of the
plasticc sheet.  Put down the plastic side, an repeat from the other
side.  This is to avoid the sliver of liver to dry up and shrink. 
However, we want to avoid any condensation to form drops that will
fall on the liver or on its (hoped for) path.  This is the reason for
the plate and yougurt container at the top.

14) Sit (far away, you are also a source of magnetism etc.) and watch,
and / or rent a time-lapse video camera, so you can leave.  However,
If I were you I would ensure security (hide the video camera, lock
doors and windows with new locks, don't tell anybody, etc etc)
(remember the temptation!).

15) check every 1/2 hour to start with, and during hot days, to ensure that:
   - the liver does not dry up
   - the milk remains reasonably cold (replace it with the spare jug
when this happens, and put the original kug back into the fridge)

16) See what happens.  I would wait until the worms start crawling
around (that may make the liver move faster!)

17)  As any good researcher, if it does work, repeat it exactly with
one witness ( and stay tied to him / her for all the time it takes. 
Security again).  Then you can publish, I would guess.

18)  If it does not work, don't dispare.  Change parameters (one at
the time, and whenever you change another parameter, put everything
else back in the same spot or way):
   - distance of the milk
   - size of the sliver of liver
   - shape of the sliver of liver
   - unfrozen liver
   - old liver (first frozen, then unfrozen),
   - etc etc.

19)  when you have finished changing one parameter, try changing two
at the same time (keeping one always the same, and changing the other
one at the time).  Etcetera.  Please make sure you write down
everything you do, both for the sake of repeatibility, publishing, and
pehaps helping you not to get too confused or to go crazy.

20)  Keep a Web / e-mail diary, and let us know where to look for it. 
It will probably provide a lot of interest to all of us.

21) I personally am looking forward to the results of your experiments
(or of anybody else's who cares about science's advancement), and I'd
like to know how they are progressing.



Have fun!
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: myoarin-ga on 01 Aug 2006 04:11 PDT
Excellent presentation, Ghost2006!

It inspired me, however, to suggest improving my suggestion.
Since it seems likely that the magnetic attraction could be more
easily demonstrated by letting the milk move, don't use a milkbottle
but rather a more perfectly round container, not metal, maybe plastic
absorbs less if the magnatism than glass would.
Obviously, one needs a perfectly level surface that offeres as little
friction as possible.
Recalling a science class demonstration of gravity, I assume that a
larger mass of liver would enhance the likelihood of its causing the
container of milk to move, which may also have an optimum size, i.e.,
a trade off between more active molecules and too much mass.
Maybe there is also an optimum temperature at which the molecules in
the milk are active.
Of course, isolation of the experiment from outside influences are necessary.
Subject: Re: Can a liver move in the fridge?
From: ghost2006-ga on 01 Aug 2006 06:36 PDT
Well mayoarin, you lived up to your name! Great! 
1) If there is an attraction, I would expect that the smaller item
would move, regardeless of what attracts what. It seemed simpler to
use the liver first for that.  But be my guest, go with the milk
first.  And when you have exausted all permutations of factors, start
with the liver.  Let me know how it goes (if I live that long!).

2) Yeah, I thought david_uk (or whomsoever else who will do this)
should by a (used and functional) refrigerator truck, park it in
his/hers backyard, and use it for his experimental environment. 
Easier to keep locked, under control, and at a stable temperature. 
And it would have no windows.  Maybe cover it with a large tarpan on
poles against the sun (woudl be cheaper, I think.

3) This is really fun.  I am almost tempted to do this myself! Or
perhaps we could gather enough people willing to try a few different
permutations each, and then we all test the one(s) that work.  Just
like the work on the human genome, or the search for new planets,
stars, and comets!  We would be making a great contribution to
science, I am sure, and we may surprise a heck of a lot of people!

Anyway, I leave it all to you guys for now, but I volunteer to
organize a liver-that-moves posse of scientists if there is enough
interest (and enough used refrigerator trucks around) to do it. 
Cheers, and good luck

ghost2006  P.S.  Sorry david_uk and jackburton, I meant to address my
first comment to david_uk.  Stiff upper chin, david, we'll get this
thing done!  Of course, there is never a negative proof, so it may
take centuries before we can be reasonably (statistically) sure that
thay do not move.  But I am a believer!  We may have proof in our
lifetimes.  Go for it.  Ciao


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