Welcome to The Week's "What Next?" contest, an invitation to test your powers of imagination with challenges inspired by current events.

Click here for the results of the previous contest: Tweets with TMI

Last week's question: The number of PhDs receiving food stamps and other public aid tripled to 34,000 over a recent, three-year period. We asked you to come up with the title of an arcane PhD thesis least likely to result in a job. 


THE WINNER: Modern Heraldry: Deconstructing the Seemingly Apolitical Lapel Pin's Post-Modernist Semiotic Signification
Carla Holtz, Stanardsville, VA 

SECOND PLACE: An Investigation into Why Human Resources Attracts Mentally Defective Interviewers
Eric Sibelius, Durango, CO 

THIRD PLACE: Urinary Tract Infections of the Common Earthworm: Implications for Organic Farming
Russell A. and Kathleen I. Joki, Meridian, ID


How the 8 Track Player Will Revolutionize the Music Industry
Paul Witte, New Hope, PA 

Going Postal: The Workplace Assassin as a Modern Day Hero
Andrew Pessin, Coventry RI 

Successful Strategies for Arbitrating Unjust Termination Involving Excessive Absenteeism
Tom Heider, Warners, NY

An Analysis of the Benefits of Higher Taxes on Large and Small Businesses Alike
Paul Binder, Bellevue, WA 

Elbows and Their Non-anatomical Uses
John J. Barnfather, Davisburg, MI

A Century of Progress: Technological Advances in the Development of the Buggy Whip, 1912-2012
Brian K. Cohen, Chicago, IL 

The Evolution of the Semicolon in Medieval Science Fiction
Michael S. Daiell, Brooklyn, NY

17th Century Albanian Literature and its Effect on the Ecosystem
Louis Kleinerman, Audubon, NJ

Donuts: Why the Hole?
Alicia Campbell, Milwaukee, WI

Southeastern Uzbekistan Paper Mache Miniatures from May, 1946 to February, 2002 Commemorating the Birth of Eddie Bracken
Paul Laincz, Reading, PA

The Evolution of Medieval Inkwells
Bob Wesley, Knoxville, TN 

A Statistical Analysis of the Societal Impact of Pop Culture Icon Milli Vanilli
Fred Shuback, West Bloomfield, MI 

Purpose-Driven Bonding: Al-Qaeda as a Model for Effective Labor Unions
Carol Fox, Louisville, KY  

Exploiting the Handshake: Optimizing the Use of Communicable Disease for Personal Advancement
Aaron Arndt, Norfolk, VA

The Effect of Comprehensive Studies on Comprehensive Studies
Nancy McCormick, Simpsonville, SC

Ways to improve Land Line Communication
Catherine Ronayne, Hollywood, FL

OMG R U 4 REL? : Contested and Conflicting Cultural Paradigms in the Tweet-Verse
Patricia Leslie, Richmond, CA

Rotary: The Benefits of Dial-Up
Martha Whitehouse, Corning, NY 

The Use of Periods in Ph.D. A Historical and Economic Evaluation
Eric E. Wallace, Boise, ID

Latin in the Modern Workplace
Paul Grimsley, Tulsa, OK 

Ripping Off the System with Credentials
Nick Armenante, Toms River, NJ 

The Future of Cursive Handwriting
John Ryan, Haverhill, MA

Taking Advantage of the Housing Boom
Barry Cutler, Palm Desert, CA

Handshake or High Five: A Qualitative Look at Celebratory Efficacy 
Robert Woody, Charleston SC

Why Reality TV Won't Last 
Ken Kellam, Dallas, TX