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

April 2008, Issue number 2008-04. ISSN 1076-500X.

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A free newsletter of tidbits too tiny to fit in

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

     This issue at

     <http://www.improbable.com/airchives/miniair/2008/mini2008-04.htm>

     Archive at <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

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

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2008-04-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2008-04-02 Imminent Events

2008-04-03 What's New in the Magazine

2008-04-04 Sentence-of-Death: Kluge's Masterpiece

2008-04-05 Great Research Kluges

2008-04-06 Journals for Your Life Cycle

2008-04-07 Plea for Incompetence

2008-04-08 Pithy Thought of the Month

2008-04-09 Why Bedouin Robes Are Not Gray, Perhaps

2008-04-10 Shuffling/Hitching/Scooting/Sliding Poet

2008-04-11 Peat-Bog Man's Intestines Competition

2008-04-12 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Music Response in a Mental Asylum

2008-04-13 BLOGLIGHTS: Promiscuous Streets, Clowns, Colors

2008-04-14 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Sexual Addiction and Overdenture

2008-04-15 Improbable Research Events

2008-04-16 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2008-04-17 -- Our Address (*)

2008-04-18 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2008-04-19 -- 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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2008-04-02 Imminent Events

 

     CAMBRIDGE, MA  Mon, Apr 21, 7 pm. Free.

     Skeptics in the Pub, at Asgard, 350 Mass Ave.

     http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/470373

 

     PHILADELPHIA   Wed, Apr 23, noon. Free.

     Chemical Heritage Foundation - Brown Bag Lecture

     315 Chestnut Street, 6th Floor Conference Room

 

 

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2008-04-03 What's New in the Magazine

 

The entire magazine -- the Annals of Improbable Research -- is

now online for free for all. Open access, open access, we repeat.

 

The March/April 2008 issue (vol. 14, no. 2) is a special Writing

Research issue. Highlights include:

 

<> "How to Write 85,000 (or maybe 200,000) Books"

<> "How to Write an Interdisciplinary Research Paper: Planning

for Retirement by Solving Time Travel Paradoxes Using Open Book

Management in Nearby Disk Galaxies," Eric Schulman, Eric

Schulman, Eric Schulman, and Eric Schulman

<> "Hard Looks at Doctors' Handwriting"

 

It and many back issues are online at

<http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

 

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2008-04-04 Sentence-of-Death: Kluge's Masterpiece

 

The Sentence-of-Death project grinds on. Investigator Blanton

Daves writes to remind us that it has been ten years since we

presented E. Kluge's classic sentence-of-death.

 

In tribute, we present it again. Investigator David Rind alerted

us to the study "Health Information, Privacy, Confidentiality and

Ethics," E.H. Kluge, International Journal of Bio-Medical

Computing, vol. 35, supplement 1, 1994, pp. 23-7. The study's

author, Eike-Henner Kluge, at the University of Victoria, Canada,

begins his abstract with this sentence-of-death:

 

"Electronic patient records are becoming tologically reified

entities that play the role of epistemic patient analogues in

information space."

 

 

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2008-04-05 Great Research Kluges

 

Here are pointers to some exploits by other great Kluges of the first

type:

 

"The mere fact that so distinguished a scholar as Professor Kluge could

edit a practically unaltered version of a Chaucer Grammar and

Prosody..." <http://tinyurl.com/3nq6kz>

 

"Professor Kluge has confidence in cladograms..."

<http://tinyurl.com/45wn3t>

 

<Professor Kluge has served as editor of the German literature journal

Monatshefte..." <http://tinyurl.com/45z3mc>

 

<Professor Kluge has written a beautifully written and insightful look

at the educational process at a small liberal arts college...>

<http://tinyurl.com/3v8cuc>

 

"Professor Kluge will visit MSL on Tuesday, 2 September, to discuss a

possible collaboration in the future accelerator project..."

<http://tinyurl.com/4om2vd>

 

"Professor Kluge prescribes a quantity of Epsom salts..."

<http://tinyurl.com/4bsx6f>

 

Kluge is of course not only a noble name, but also a noble, and perhaps

unrelated, word. One of the word's definitions, put (or perhaps

repeated?) into words by celebrity hacker Eric Raymond

<http://tinyurl.com/6gqclf>, is:

 

    "A clever programming trick

    intended to solve a particular nasty case

    in an expedient, if not clear, manner.

    Often used to repair bugs."

 

 

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2008-04-06 Journals for Your Life Cycle

 

Reto Schneider, author of the book Das Buch der Verrückten

Experimente, compiled a list of journals that follow you through

life:

 

«The Birth Gazette»

«Gifted Child Quarterly»

«Journal of Child Psychotherapy»

«Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology News»

«Journal of Adolescence»

«Journal of Drug Education»

«Journal of Marriage and Family»

«Journal of Happiness Studies»

«Journal of Marital and Family Therapy»

«Headache Quarterly»

«Journal of Worry Research»

«Journal of Divorce & Remarriage»

«Healthy Weight Journal»

«Ageing International»

«Contemporary Gerontology»

«Journal of Alzheimer's Disease»

«Archives of Suicide Research»

«Journal of Near-Death Studies»

«Death Studies»

 

More of Schneider's work is at

<http://www.verrueckte-experimente.de/>

 

 

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2008-04-07 Plea for Incompetence

 

You may have missed our plea for incompetence — specifically for

social scientists to reap and study the rare bounty that's

available right now. The entire tract is at

<http://improbable.com/2008/03/23/social-scientists-alert-gather-that-data/>.

 

 

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2008-04-08 Pithy Thought of the Month

 

"That we are smarter than algae is a given. Whether we are wiser

remains an open question."

 

—Robert Frenay, in the book Pulse, page 440.

 

 

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2008-04-09 Why Bedouin Robes Are Not Gray, Perhaps

 

Investigator Mike Adams writes, about the report "Why Do Bedouins

Wear Black Robes":

 

     ***

Many years ago I heard Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, famous for his work

on adaptations to desert conditions, talk about this. He said

that he finally asked the Bedouin why they used black wool. Their

answer was 'all of our goats are black'. So, if the story is

true, they didn't see the decision as one of choice.

     ***

 

Note: He was referring to:

<http://improbable.com/2006/08/17/guardian-column-27/>

 

 

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2008-04-10 Shuffling/Hitching/Scooting/Sliding Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner for last month's

Shuffling/Hitching/Scooting/Sliding Limerick Competition, which

asked for a limerick to honor the study "Shuffling, Hitching,

Scooting or Sliding: Some Observations in 30 Otherwise Normal

Children," R. Robson, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology,

vol. 12, 1970, pp. 608–17.

 

The winner and her limerick are:

 

INVESTIGATOR ALANNA COCTOKIN:

Their normal behavior aside,

They scoot and they shuffle or slide.

   Whenever they swerved,

   Doc Robson observed

Who moved, and with what kind of stride.

 

AND HERE IS THE ASSESSMENT FROM LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

The kids in this short publication

Are normal, save one aberration.

   They shuffle and hitch,

   Scoot and slide, all of which

Subjects them to some observation.

 

 

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2008-04-11 Peat-Bog Man's Intestines Competition

 

Peat-Bog Man's intestines are the subject of this month's

limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that

illuminates the nature of this report:

 

               * * *

 

"The Intestines of a More Than 2000 Years Old Peat-Bog Man:

Microscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and 14C-dating," Hans

StŅdkilde-JŅrgensena, Niels Otto Jacobsenb, Esbern Warnckec and

Jan Heinemeierd, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 35, no.

3, March 2008, pp. 530-4.

<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2007.05.010>

(Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The

authors, at Aarhus University, report:

 

"The intestines of Grauballe Man, who is a 2400-old late Iron Age

body found in a raised bog in the central part of Jutland,

Denmark, was examined by microscopy and magnetic resonance

imaging. Plant roots found in the tissue were radiocarbon dated

by AMS.... The low signal spots observed by MRI turned out to be

formed by plant roots penetrating the tissue. AMS 14C-dating of

these indicated that penetration appeared not more than 200 years

after the body was laid in the bog."

 

               * * *

 

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

poem is in classic, trips-off-the-tongue limerick form.

 

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

the correct address) a free, possibly peaty issue of the Annals

of Improbable Research. Send entries (one entry per entrant) to:

 

     PEAT-BOG MAN'S INTESTINE LIMERICK COMPETITION

     c/o <marca AT chem2.harvard.edu>

 

 

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2008-04-12 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Music Response in a Mental Asylum

 

This month's specially selected study is:

 

"A Comparison of the Effects of Hard Rock and Easy Listening on

the Frequency of Observed Inappropriate Behaviors: Control of

Environmental Antecedents in a Large Public Area," Clarke S.

Harris, Richard J. Bradley and Sharon K. Titus, Journal of Music

Therapy, vol. 29,  no. 1, Spring 1992, pp. 6-17. (Thanks to Jim

Cowdery for bringing this to our attention.) The authors explain

that their report:

 

"Compares the inappropriate behavior of clients in an open

courtyard at a state mental hospital when hard rock and rap music

were played (21 days), followed by easy listening and country

music (21 days).... More inappropriate behavior was observed when

hard rock and rap music were played than when easy listening and

country western music were played."

 

 

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2008-04-13 BLOGLIGHTS: Promiscuous Streets, Clowns, Colors

 

Here are some recent topics in our blog:

 

<> The promiscuous streets of Edinburgh

<> Discarded underwear + paper production = literacy

<> Judgment on clowns

<> The truth behind the Bozo Van

<> Calculator for the incalculatable

 

and some from the newspaper column in The Guardian:

 

<> The Colours of Indian Bureaucracy

<> The promiscuous streets of Edinburgh

<> Wassersuggiana (parts 1 and 2)

 

     ... and others

 

     Read the blog

     every day at <http://www.improbable.com>

 

 

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2008-04-14 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Sexual Addiction and Overdenture

 

LOVE YOUR WORK

"It's a Wonderful Profession: What the Journal Contributes,"

David L. Delmonico, Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, vol. 10,

no. 4, October-December 2003, pp. 223-4.

 

HUM ON SPARK-EROSION OVERDENTURE

"Implants and the Maxillary Spark-Erosion Overdenture," S.K. Hum,

Oral Health, vol. 84, no. 11, November 1994, pp. 9-12.

 

 

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2008-04-15 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

SKEPTICS IN THE PUB, CAMBRIDGE, MA  -- APR 21, 2008

 

CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION, PHILADELPHIA    -APR 23, 2008

 

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MASS SPECTROMETRY (ASMS) ANNUAL CONFERENCE,

DENVER                         -- JUN 1, 2008

 

CHELTENHAM SCIENCE FESTIVAL, UK     -- JUN 7, 2008

 

ALPBACH TECHNOLOGY FORUM, AUSTRIA   -- AUG 21-23, 2008

 

IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY             -- OCT 2, 2008

 

IG INFORMAL LECTURES           -- OCT 4, 2008

 

AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY, DAYTON, OHIO  OCT 10, 2008

 

 

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2008-04-16 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year

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overflow material you've been reading in this newsletter). The

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To subscribe to the paper-and-ink version, go to

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2008-04-17 -- 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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2008-04-18 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

 

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

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

the 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 2008, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2008-04-19 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

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

tiny monthly *supplement* to the bi-monthly print magazine.

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