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

Issue number 2006-11

November 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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2006-11-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2006-11-02 What's New in the Magazine

2006-11-03 Heckman's Panache

2006-11-04 Murphy's List

2006-11-05 Chang Chang the Professor-Professor

2006-11-05 Image Management Poet

2006-11-06 Olfactory Eavesdropping Competition

2006-11-07 Additional Hairy Personages

2006-11-08 Ig Radio Highlights

2006-11-09 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: The Thought That Impedes

2006-11-10 BLOGLIGHTS: Gals, Enema, Bird, Head

2006-11-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Hole, Cork, Fork, Spider

2006-11-12 Improbable Research Events

 

2006-11-13 How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2006-11-14 Our Address (*)

2006-11-15 Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2006-11-16 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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2006-11-02 What's New in the Magazine

 

The Nov/Dec issue (vol. 12, no. 6) of the Annals of Improbable

Research is the special IG NOBEL issue. The issue will be arriving

at subscribers' doorsteps in mid-to-late December.

 

See a preview of the covers and table of contents at

<http://tinyurl.com/y59jfn>.

 

To subscribe (6 paper issues per year) go to

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

or see Section 2006-11-13, below.

 

As we would be quick to agree if someone were to suggest it, a

subscription would make a fine gift.

 

 

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2006-11-03 Heckman's Panache

 

An investigator from a southeastern European university writes about

authors who cite-cite-cite themselves:

 

               ***

SIR:

 

FOLLOWING THE CHALLENGE (IN AIR 12:4, P. 12) TO FIND A PUBLISHED

ACADEMIC STUDY THAT SURPASSES DR. W.-M. KULICKLE'S RECORD OF 23

SELF-REFERENCES, HERE IS AN ARTICLE RECENTLY PUBLISHED BY THE

ECONOMICS NOBEL PRIZE WIENER [sic] J.J. HECKMAN, IN WHICH I

COUNTED MORE THAN 30 SELF-REFERENCES.

 

ALTHOUGH I AM CONVINCED THAT THIS IS NOT A WORLD RECORD, I BELIEVE

IT SETS NEW STANDARDS IN THIS AREA.

 

WITH BEST REGARDS,

[NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST]

 

PS: PROFESSOR J.J. HECKMAN IS NOTORIOUS FOR HIS BAD TEMPER. SO,

PLEASE DO NOT REVEAL YOUR SOURCES ON THIS ONE.

               ***

 

THE ORIGINAL CHALLENGE:

Our article is at <http://tinyurl.com/y2oxkp>. It describes an

achievement by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner-Michael Kulicke of the

Institut fŸr Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie at the

University of Hamburg, Germany.

 

HECKMAN'S PANACHE:

A copy of Professor Heckman's self-reference-packed study is at

<http://tinyurl.com/wktz5>. One of the studies he cites is:

 

        "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error,"

        J.J. Heckman, Econometrica, vol. 47, no. 1, 1979,

        pp. 153Š62.

 

 

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2006-11-04 Murphy's List

 

We invite you to participate in a new project. Help us compile

Murphy's List.

 

Murphy's List will be a list of corporate leaders who had

memorable mishaps while -- and as a result of -- using their own

companies' products.

 

When sending items, please send, if possible, a URL that points to

documentary evidence. Send to:

 

        MURPHY'S LIST

        c/o <marca AT chem2.harvard.edu>

 

 

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2006-11-05 Chang Chang the Professor-Professor

 

The registry of professor-professors has another new entry:

 

CHANG CHANG

Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science &

Health Systems

Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

<http://www.biomed.drexel.edu/BioNano/Contents/Chang/>

(Thanks to investigator Adam Lorch for bringing this professor-

professor to our attention.)

 

The complete list (as we have it so far) of professor-professors,

with links, is at <http://improbable.com/2006/02/09/prof-profs/>

 

 

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2006-11-05 Image Management Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner for last month's "Image

Management: Image Management" Limerick Competition, which asked

for a limerick to honor the following study:

 

        "Rumors and Gossip in Radiology," S.B. Dowd and

        R. Davidhizar, Radiology Management, vol. 19,

        no. 6, November-December 1997, pp. 46-9.

 

The winner is investigator MARVIN KUERS, who produced this:

 

A probe of the X-ray profession

Found unseemly talk its obsession.

   And clearly they do

   Have the means to see through

Any gossip or rumor in question.

 

And here is the latest from Limerick Laureate Martin Eiger:

 

They say here that most hearsay, once said,

Will metastasize, mutate and spread.

   Radiologists' rumors

   Run rampant, like tumors,

In research reports best unread.

 

 

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2006-11-06 Olfactory Eavesdropping Competition

 

Peeping/sniffing-tom-ism, of the stingless variety, is the subject

of this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an

original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

        "Olfactory Eavesdropping by a Competitively Foraging

        Stingless Bee, Trigona spinipes," James C. Nieh,

        Lillian S. Barreto, Felipe A. L. Contrera, and Vera L.

        Imperatriz-Fonseca, Proceedings of the Royal Society

        of London B, vol. 271, Aug. 7, 2004, pp. 1633-40.

 

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 possibly bee-stung, issue of the

Annals of Improbable Research. Send entries (one entry per

entrant) to:

 

        OLFACTORY EAVESDROPPING LIMERICK COMPETITION

        c/o <marca AT chem2.harvard.edu>

 

 

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2006-11-07 Additional Hairy Personages

 

There are quite a few new members in the Luxuriant Flowing Hair

Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). Admire them at

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

 

 

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2006-11-08 Ig Radio Highlights

 

The annual Ig Nobel highlights broadcast on NPR's "Science Friday"

has come and gone, and is about to come again, in archived form.

It will soon be (and perhaps, as you read this, is even now)

posted on the web at <http://tinyurl.com/v8l39>. The SciFri

producers again did a masterful job of boiling things down to a

mere hour. (One thing that fell victim to the time constraint: the

mini-opera "Inertia Makes the World Go Around.")

 

 

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2006-11-09 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: The Thought That Impedes

 

Each month we select for your special attention a research report

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

 

"Self-Evaluative Intrusive Thoughts Impede Successful Searching on

the Internet," Penny L. Yee, Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, Gregory R. Pierce,

Rebekah Grome and Lindsey Schantz, Computers in Human Behavior,

vol. 20, no. 1, January 2004, pp. 85-101. (Thanks to Kristine

Danowski for bringing this to our attention.) The authors note

that:

 

"Participants who experienced more self-evaluative intrusive

thoughts were also less satisfied with their search performance."

 

 

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2006-11-10 BLOGLIGHTS: Gals, Enema, Bird, Head

 

Here are some recent topics in our blog:

 

<> !!! gals

<> Dr. S.A. WilsonÕs Therapy Blend Enema Coffee

<> The Physics of Something Awful

<> The cricket sparrow has, indeed, flown again

<> Head included (an aside)

 

and some from the newspaper column in The Guardian:

 

<> Recognize what you chew

<> In purely economic terms, suicide can pay

<> Lost computer savings

<> The hottie professor

 

        ... and many others

 

Read the blog (and the columns) at <http://www.improbable.com>

 

 

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2006-11-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Hole, Cork, Fork, Spider

 

ON THE HOLE: UNRELIABLE

"Digital Rectal Examination of Sphincter Pressures in Chronic Anal

Fissure is Unreliable," O.M. Jones, et al., Diseases of the Colon

and Rectum, vol. 48, no. 2, February 2005, pp. 349-52. (Thanks to

Amit Bharath for bringing this to our attention.)

 

NEW YEAR'S BLACKOUT

"Champagne Cork Injury to the Eye," S.H. Sloan, Transactions of

the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, vol. 79,

no. 6, December 1975, pp. OP889-92. (Thanks to Reto Schneider for

bringing this to our attention.)

 

BOYS, A FORK, AND A SPIDER

"The Influence of a Tuning Fork on the Garden Spider," C.V. Boys,

Nature, vol. 23, 1880, p. 149.

 

 

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2006-11-12 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and updates see

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

 

 

AAAS ANNUAL MEETING, SAN FRANCISCO        -- FRI, FEB 16, 2007

 

LINDEN PONDS, HINGHAM, MA                      -- WED, FEB 28, 2007

 

SIEMENS "GET INSIDE" EVENT, LONDON        -- FRI, MAR 2, 2007

 

2007 IG NOBEL TOUR OF THE UK                 -- MAR, 2007

 

2007 IMPROBABLE RESEARCH EUROPEAN TOUR  -- MAY/JUN 2007

 

 

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2006-11-13 How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a paper magazine. (It's not

just the little bits of overflow material you've been reading in

this newsletter). Subscribe at <http://improbable.com/subscribe/>

or send in this form:

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Send payment (US bank check, or international money order, or

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2006-11-14 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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2006-11-15 Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

 

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

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

material comes from mini-AIR. B) You may NOT distribute mini-AIR

for commercial purposes.

 

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

EDITOR: Marc Abrahams

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

few at the last moment): Wendy Mattson

COMMUTATIVE EDITOR: Stanley Eigen

ASSOCIATIVE EDITOR: Mark Dionne

PSYCHOLOGY EDITOR: Robin Abrahams

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Gary Dryfoos, Ernest

Ersatz, S. Drew

MAITRE DE COMPUTATION: Jerry Lotto

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon

Glashow, William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts

 

(c) copyright 2006, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2006-11-16 How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

What you are reading right now is mini-AIR. Mini-AIR is a (free!)

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