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The mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")

Issue number 2006-06

June 2006

ISSN 1076-500X

Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the

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A free newsletter of tidbits too tiny to fit in

the bi-monthly paper magazine

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

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2006-06-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2006-06-02 What's New in the Magazine

2006-06-03 World Cup Research Review

2006-06-04 European Bureau Opens; Hairy Chemists Romp

2006-06-05 Mili, Mili, Mili

2006-06-06 The Complete Professor-Professor Collection

2006-06-07 Geographic Disorientation Poet

2006-06-08 Geographic Disorientation Extras

2006-06-09 Cannibal Crickets Limerick Contest

2006-06-10 Murphy's Law -- New Book

2006-06-11 The Blossoming of LFHCfS

2006-06-12 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: All in a Whorl

2006-06-13 Bloglights and Columnlights

2006-06-14 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Bougie A Boule and Dead Reckoning

2006-06-15 Improbable Research Events

 

2006-06-16 How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2006-06-17 Our Address (*)

2006-06-18 Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2006-06-19 How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

        Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

        mini-AIR is

        a free monthly *e-supplement* to the print magazine

        Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2006-06-02 What's New in the Magazine

 

The Mar/Apr issue (vol. 12, no. 3) of the Annals of Improbable

Research is the annual special FISH & CHIPS issue (and also

contains a special section about Holy Grail research). The table

of contents is online at:

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume12/v12i3/v12i3.html>

 

Four of the articles also appear online:

 

"Improbable Medical Review," compiled by Bertha Vanatian.

 

"Hairball Trio," by Noel Raizman.

 

"Fish, Fish, Fish," by Alice Shirrell Kaswell.

 

"In Search of Astronomy's Holy Grail," by Steve Nadis.

 

 

To subscribe (6 paper issues per year) go to

<http://improbable.com/subscribe/>

or see Section 2006-06-17, below.

 

        ***   Thanks to everyone who suggested we make it

               easier to subscribe online.

               Finally, we have: <http://improbable.com/subscribe/>

 

 

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2006-06-03 World Cup Research Review

 

The World Cup produces heart-pounding scientific news, as well as

a few soccer games. Thanks to numerous investigators -- especially

Reto Schneider of weirdexperiments.com -- for alerting us to many

of the following studies.

 

WORLD CUP URTICARIA

"World Cup Urticaria," P. Merry, Journal of the Royal Society of

Medicine, vol. 80, no. 12, December 1987, p. 779. Dr. Merry

explains that "This is the first reported case of an urticarial

rash apparently caused by the frustration of watching England play

football."

See further detail about this and related studies at

<http://improbable.com/2006/05/31/guardian-column-17/>

 

SCORE SCARIFICATION

"Score-Celebration Injuries Among Soccer Players: A Report of 9

Cases," B. Zeren and H.H. Oztekin, American Journal of Sports

Medicine, August 2005, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 1237-40.

 

BRAZILIAN PSYCH

"The Psychological Profile of The Brazilian Soccer Players as

Related to Field Position," M.R.F Brand‹o and D.R. Andrade, in the

44th American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, 1997,

Denver. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Supplement,

1997. v. 29. p. 120-120. The authors reveal that "...the attacking

player presented higher level of the vigor factor [than the

goalkeeper]."

 

INNER ULTRA COMPLEXIFICATION

"Inside the Beautiful Game: Towards a Merleau-Pontian

Phenomenology of Soccer Play, John Hughson and David Inglis,

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 29, no. 1, April 2002.

 

 

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2006-06-04 European Bureau Opens; Hairy Chemists Romp

 

The opening of the Improbable Research European Bureau did occur,

in a bird-filled gala ceremony May 19 at the Natural History

Museum in Rotterdam. An overflow crowd of scientists, journalists

and children attended, some traveling from distant reaches of the

continent. Our thanks to all who participated.

 

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists' men-of-the-year Falk

Schuch, Andreas Linsner and Kai Jung -- German chemists all --

made their first appearance, ever, in Holland. The subsequent

fervor was such that the three were invited to appear on a Dutch

national television program the next day. There they made the

admiring acquaintance of a fairly royal personage. Photos can be

seen at

<http://improbable.com/2006/05/22/hairy-scientists-the-toast-of-holland/>

 

European Bureau Chief Kees Moeliker is preparing a photo-essay of

the Bureau opening gala. It will appear in a future issue of the

magazine.

 

 

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2006-06-05 Mili, Mili, Mili

 

Our Multiplicity of Monikers collection (of studies done by

multiple authors who share a name) now includes a three-Mili item:

 

"Reusing Software: Issues and Research Directions,"

Afedh Mili, Fatma Mili and Ali Mili,

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 21, no. 6, 1995,

pp. 528-61. (Thanks to investigator Terry Rout for bringing this

to our attention.)

 

 

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2006-06-06 The Complete Professor-Professor Collection

 

The collection of Professor-Professors -- each of whose first name

is ABSOLUTELY identical to her or his last name -- appears to be

complete. Investigators have scoured the databases looking for

more, but to no avail. See the bunch at

<http://improbable.com/2006/02/09/prof-profs/>

 

However, if you should find others, please do send us the vital

info.

 

 

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2006-06-07 Geographic Disorientation Poet

 

Here is the winner of last month's limerick contest, which asked

for a limerick to honor the following study:

 

        "Geographic Disorientation: Approaching and Landing

        at the Wrong Airport," Melchor J. Antu–ano, Stanley R.

        Mohler, and John W. Gosbee, Aviation, Space & Environmental

        Medicine, vol. 60, no. 10, October 1989, pp. 996-1004.

 

The winner is investigator Steve Golson, who wrote:

 

When approaching an airport below,

There is one thing a pilot should know:

   "If you land in the wrong,

   Your career won't be long!"

Say Mohler, Gosbee, Antu–ano.

 

Martin Eiger, our Limerick Laureate, offers his take on the

subject:

 

This plane should be going to Austin.

Instead, we are flying toward Boston.

   The pilot's gone bonkers.

   We're circling Yonkers,

A place I don't want to get lost in.

 

 

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2006-06-08 Geographic Disorientation Extras

 

Investigator Glenn Knickerbocker  submitted a limerick that, though not

the competition-winner, comes with an illuminating tale:

 

An orientational skew

In approaching an airport like Stew-

  Art can cause errors such as

  Descending at Dutchess,

Of which I have seen quite a few!

 

"For a while when I lived in Wappingers Falls, about once a week I would

see a huge airliner -- once even a C5A transport! -- making a steep,

winding ascent after mistakenly approaching the tiny runway at Dutchess

County Airport. Apparently, apart from the scale, the appearance of the

runways is deceptively similar to that at Stewart International Airport

(formerly Stewart Air Force Base), and if you turn the wrong way from

the Hudson it's easy to mistake the Wappingers Creek for the Wallkill

and Lake Oniad for Beaver Dam Lake."

 

Dutchess County now offers a welcoming photograph for those who might

like to see the airport before they arrive (intentionally or otherwise)

there:

<http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Airport/ARamain.htm>

 

Additional limericks on the topic are on our blog at

<http://improbable.com/2006/06/12/geographic-disorientation-nearlies/>

 

 

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2006-06-09 Cannibal Crickets Limerick Contest

 

Geographic Disorientation is the subject of this month's limerick

competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that

illuminates the nature of this report (which was brought to our

attention by investigator Tom Gill:

 

"Cannibal Crickets On A Forced March for Protein and Salt,"

Stephen J. Simpson, Gregory A. Sword, Patrick D. Lorch and Iain D.

Couzin, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 103,

no. 11, March 14, 2006, pp. 4152-6.

 

RULES: Please make sure your rhymes actually do, and that your

poem adheres to classic limerick form.

 

PRIZE: The winning poet will receive a (if we manage to send it to

the correct address) a free, and probably cricket-free, issue of

the Annals of Improbable Research. Send entries (one entry per

entrant) to:

 

        Cannibal Crickets CONTEST

        c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2006-06-10 Murphy's Law -- New Book

 

Nick Spark has expanded his investigative history of Murphy's Law

into a book. To be more accurate: the book is a beautiful,

Rashomonic history of how The Law got its name.

 

The original version was published in the Annals of Improbable

Research. In addition to new material, the book also incorporates

a nifty flip-book-style movie of John Paul Stapp's famous rocket

sled deceleration.

 

(Note: Murphy shared a 2003 Ig Nobel Prize with Stapp and with

George Nichols.)

 

The book, ISNB 0978638891, is available at

<http://tinyurl.com/jt4aw>.

 

 

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2006-06-11 The Blossoming of LFHCfS

 

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) has

acquired many magnificent new members. Admire their hair at

<http://improbable.com/category/lfhcfs-hair-club>

 

 

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2006-06-12 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: All in a Whorl

 

Each month we select for your special attention a research report

that seems particularly worth a close read. This month's pick may,

in a sense, make your head spin:

 

"Association Between Scalp Hair-Whorl Direction and Hemispheric

Language Dominance," Bernd Weber, Christian Hoppe, Jennifer Faber,

Nikolai Axmacher, Klaus Fliessbach, Florian Mormann, Susanne Weis,

Jźrgen Ruhlmann, Christian E. Elger and GuillŽn Fern‡ndez,

Neuroimage, vol. 30, no. 2, April 2006, pp. 539-43. The authors

explain that:

 

"The scalp hair-whorl direction [is] either clockwise or anti-

clockwise. ... Here, we use an established fMRI [functional

Magnetic Resonance Imaging] paradigm to examine the association of

a solely biological marker of asymmetry, hair-whorl direction and

language lateralization."

 

 

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2006-06-13 Bloglights and Columnlights

 

Here are some recent topics in our blog:

 

<> The Chester Binge Drinking Conference

<> The monkey and: (a) the chimp; (b) the man

<> Journal of Spurious Correlations

<> What is reality (in the case of Barney)?

<> Chicken/egg: theory vs. experiment

 

and some from the newspaper column in The Guardian:

 

<> Crisp sounds

<> Band of Brooders

<> Aleyev, women and dolphins

 

        ... and many others

 

Read the blog at <http://www.improbable.com>

 

 

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2006-06-14 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Bougie A Boule and Dead Reckoning

 

DEAD RECKONING

"Increased Risk of Death in Patients With Do-Not-Resuscitate

Orders," L.B. Shepardson, S.J. Youngner, T. Speroff and G.E.

Rosenthal, Medical Care, vol. 37, no. 8, August 1999, pp. 727-37.

(Thanks to Nicole and V. Paul Doria-Rose for bringing this to our

attention.)

 

NO LONGER ON THE TIP OF ONE'S TONGUE

"A Comparison of the Effects of Added Saliva, Alpha-Amylase and

Water on Texture Perception in Semi-Solids," L. Engelen, R.A. De

Wijk, J.F. Prinz, A.M. Janssen, H. Weenen and F. Bosman,

Physiology and Behavior, vol. 78, 2003, pp. 805-11. The authors

point out that, in doing the tests: "saliva had previously been

collected from the subjects and each subject received his/her own

saliva."

 

BOUGIE A BOULE QUESTION

"What Does the Bougie a Boule Calibrate?" D.M. Gleason, M.R.

Bottaccini, and J.K. Lattimerr, Journal of Urology, vol. 101, no.

1, January 1969, pp. 114-6.

 

 

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2006-06-15 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and updates see

<http://improbable.com/improbable-research-shows/complete-schedule>

 

ALPBACH TECH FORUM, ALPBACH, AUSTRIA     -- AUG 24-26, 2006

Performance of the mini-Opera "Atom & Eve"

 

MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SOC (BERKSHIRES)  -- TUE, SEP 17, 2006

 

EMBEDDED SYSTEMS CONF., BOSTON, MA        -- TUE, SEP 26, 2006

 

2006 IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY                  -- THU, OCT 5, 2006

Sanders Theatre, Harvard University

Tickets go on sale in August

 

IG INFORMAL LECTURES                              -- SAT, OCT 7, 2006

MIT

 

UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, BECKMAN INSTITUTE     -- WED, OCT. 25

 

ASSOC OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY BIOLOGICAL EDUCATORS (ACUBE),

MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY, DECATUR, ILLINOIS  -- THU, OCT 26, 2006

 

 

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2006-06-16 How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

 

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2006-06-17 Our Address (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927

 

EDITORIAL: marca AT chem2.harvard.edu

SUBSCRIPTIONS: air AT improbable.com

WEB SITE: <http://www.improbable.com>

 

 

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2006-06-18 Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

 

Please distribute copies of mini-AIR (or excerpts!) wherever

appropriate. The only limitations are: A) Please indicate that the

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        ------------- mini-AIRheads -------------

EDITOR: Marc Abrahams

MINI-PROOFREADER AND PICKER OF NITS (before we introduce the last

few at the last moment): Wendy Mattson

WWW EDITOR/GLOBAL VILLAGE IDIOT: Amy Gorin

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AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon

Glashow, William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts

 

(c) copyright 2006, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2006-06-19 How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

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