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

June 2008, Issue number 2008-06. 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/mini2008-06.htm>

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

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

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2008-06-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2008-06-02 Imminent Events

2008-06-03 What's New in the Magazine

2008-06-04 Bald Scientists in Limbo

2008-06-05 Birth of Improbable Research TV

2008-06-06 Swedish Crisp Bread Salivation Poet

2008-06-07 Crisp Bread — Extra Slices

2008-06-08 Extra Crisp Bread, for Specialists

2008-06-09 Paxton's Big Fish Prediction

2008-06-10 Greek Hip Joint Limerick Competition

2008-06-11 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Temperance Test Tempered Answers

2008-06-12 BLOGLIGHTS: Joe Cocker, Fruit Pit, Bull

2008-06-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Fournier's Gangrene, Waffle

2008-06-14 Improbable Research Events

2008-06-15 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2008-06-16 -- Our Address (*)

2008-06-17 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2008-06-18 -- 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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2008-06-02 Imminent Events

 

     "QED," Central Sq. Theatre, Cambridge, MA — JULY 27, 2008

     For details <see http://tinyurl.com/k87xs>

 

     Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony Tickets Go On Sale - AUGUST 1

 

 

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2008-06-03 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 May/June 2008 issue (vol. 14, no. 2) is a special Terrorism

Research issue. Highlights include:

 

<> "Bombshell Research Review"

<> "April in Paris: A Striking Analysis"

<> "The Cingulate Cortex Does Everything"

 

It's all online at

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume14/v14i3/v14i3.html>

Many back issues are online, too, at

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

 

 

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2008-06-04 Bald Scientists in Limbo

 

Bald scientist have been clamoring — justifiably in our view —

for their own, un-hairy equivalent of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair

Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). (The LFHCfS web site is at

<http://improbable.com/projects/hair/>.

 

We will being the new club when — and if and only if — someone

suggests a truly good name for it.

 

If you have a gleamingly strong opinion about it, please vote for

one of the following:

 

     1. The Bald Scientists Club (BS Club)

 

     2. The Luxuriant Head Club (LHC)

 

     3. Neither. We still need to find a good name.

 

Send your vote to:

 

     BALD SCIENTIST CLUB NAME

     c/o <marca AT chem2.harvard.edu>

 

 

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2008-06-05 Birth of Improbable Research TV

 

We have just launched the Improbable Research TV series.

 

These are three-minute videos about research that makes people

laugh, then makes them think. The live on the web.

 

Each collection — each episode — is composed of bits and pieces

and people from the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, from

Ig Nobel Prize lectures and ceremonies and other live events, and

from many other sources. We have been collecting this material

for almost twenty years.

 

These episodes have a Creative Commons license (Attribution Non-

commercial No Derivatives). We encourage you to make and

distribute copies.

 

     The first episode:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95NETN0jaMw

 

     Our TV page, with FAQ:

     http://improbable.com/tv/

 

     Subscribe to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube.

     It's free:

     http://www.youtube.com/user/ImprobableResearch

 

We will release a new episode every two weeks. The next one will

arrive on July 3.

 

We are looking for organizations that would like to help sponsor

the production of new episodes. If your org might like to, please

get in touch with us!

 

Ps. A big thanks to BoingBoing for hosting the world premiere.

See the historic moment at: <http://tinyurl.com/5j6hhc>.

 

 

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2008-06-06 Swedish Crisp Bread Salivation Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner for last month's Swedish Crisp

Bread Salivation Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor

the study "Salivary Secretion in Response to Mastication of Crisp

Bread," Rose Marie Pangborn and Birgit Lundgren, Journal of

Texture Studies, vol. 8, 1977, pp. 463-72.

 

Here are the winner and his limerick.

 

Investigator Glenn Knickerbocker:

In response to complete mastication

Of crackers from this Nordic nation

Numbered one less than five, a

Half of the saliva

Secreted yields to quantitation.

 

Special mention, if not the top honor, goes to poet SVEN KULL,

who dwells, writes, and chews crisp bread in Falkenberg, Sweden.

(And thanks to investigator Sara Rrbecker for conveying it to

us):

En klurig konditor i Brcke

Vars dygnsrytm i stort sett helt vck-e

Vill inte lngre ha trta

Nr p fest han r borta

Och forskar ignobelt om Viagra och kncke

 

And here's the take from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

Mastication effects salivation.

What's eaten displays a relation

With just how much spit

And the content of it.

Quantitation provides confirmation.

 

 

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2008-06-07 Crisp Bread — Extra Slices

 

Many and, to some degree varied were the other crisp bread

submissions. Some were mere (except for their length) rants about

Swedish crisp bread. Here are two of the limericks, neither of

which is mere.

 

Investigator CANDY TAYLOR TUTT:

Sweden's pancakes are light, thin and sweet

But their crispbread is hard as concrete.

Said Sven, "We're not fooling,

That chomping and drooling

Makes lutefisk seem like a treat!"

 

Investigator MIKE TICE:

When subjects were fed knckebrd,

Saliva welled up as they chd.

With littler pieces,

The volume increases,

As Pangborn and Lundgren concld.

 

 

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2008-06-08 Extra Crisp Bread, for Specialists

 

We try to bear in mind, always that Swedish crispbread has a

place in the SNI Swedish Standard Industrial Classification; see

<http://tinyurl.com/6l6vsw>. Officially, it's listed as:

 

     15821 Manufacture of crispbread

 

We were inundated (in comparison to the number of citations on

this subject that we receive in other months) with citations

about the science and technology of Swedish crisp bread. If

forced to recommend two of them, we might choose these:

 

CRISP BREAD: LIGHT FILTH

"Improved Method for Extraction of Light Filth From 90% Rye Brain Crisp

Bread," R.R. Haynos, Journal of the Association of Official Analytical

Chemists, vol. 68, no. 1, January-February 1985, pp. 17-9. (Thanks to

Wanda Takayashi for bringing this to our attention.)

 

CRISP BREAD: REGRESSION ANALYSIS

"Fracture Force, Hardness And Brittleness In Crisp Bread, With a

Generalized Regression Analysis Approach to Instrumental-Sensory

Comparisons," Yngve Andersson, Birger Drake, Arne Granquist, Lars

Halldin, Birgit Johansson, Rose Marie Pangborn and Cajke

kesson, Journal of Texture Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, April 1973,

pp. 119–144. Doi:10.1111/j.1745-4603.1973.tb00658.x. (Thanks to

Letta and Boris Elliott for bringing this to our attention.) The

authors, at the Swedish Institute for Food Preservation Research

in Gteborg, report that:

 

"The results showed that there was no 'best solution' but rather

a whole set of equally well or almost equally well fitting

equations."

 

 

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2008-06-09 Paxton's Big Fish Prediction

 

Charles Paxton has just completed the first scientific estimate

of how many species of large sea creatures (sea monsters among

them, perhaps) still await discovery.

 

Dr. Paxton, based at St. Andrews University in Scotland, co-won

the 2002 Ig Nobel Bioolgy Prize for the study "Courtship

Behaviour of Ostriches Under Farming Conditions in Britain."

 

He unveiled his sea monster discovery (so to speak) publicly at

the Improbable Research Cabaret that was part of the Cheltenham

Science Festival early this month.

 

See a press account in the June 19, 2008 Sydney Morning Herald,

called "Monsters of the deep still undiscovered."

<http://tinyurl.com/5e6byn>

 

 

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2008-06-10 Greek Hip Joint Limerick Competition

 

Greek hip joints is/are the subject of this month's limerick

competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that

illuminates the nature of this report:

 

               * * *

"Sexual Dimorphism of the Hip Joint in Greeks," Christos

Papaloucas, Aliki Fiska and Thespis Demetriou,

Forensic Science International, Volume 179, Issue 1, 18 July

2008, Pages 83.e1-83.e3. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this

to our attention.) <http://tinyurl.com/6zwd5a> The authors report

that:

 

"It was found that in males, in comparison to the females, the

distance from the pubic tubercle to the anterior rim of the

acetabulum was smaller while the acetabulum diameter and its

depth, the diameter of the femoral head and the ratio between

femoral head and the acetabulum diameter were larger."

               * * *

 

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 weight-bearing issue of the

Annals of Improbable Research. Send entries (one entry per

entrant) to:

 

     GREEK HIP JOINT LIMERICK COMPETITION

     c/o <marca AT chem2.harvard.edu>

 

 

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2008-06-11 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Temperance Test Tempered Answers

 

This month's specially selected study is:

 

"Paradoxical Increase of Positive Answers to the Cut-down,

Annoyed, Guilt, Eye-opener (CAGE) Questionnaire During a Period

of Decreasing Alcohol Consumption: Results from Two Population-

Based Surveys in le-de-France, 1991 and 2005."

 

Here are citation details: Antoine Messiah, Galle Encrenaz,

David Sapinho, Fabien Gilbert, Elodie Carmona, Viviane Kovess-

Masfty, Addiction, vol. 103, no. 4, 2008, pp. 598–603.

doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.02120.x. (Thanks to Michael J.

McBain_for bringing this to our attention.)

 

The authors, at Universit Bordeaux, surveyed adult residents of

Ile-de-France.

 

 

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2008-06-12 BLOGLIGHTS: Joe Cocker, Fruit Pit, Bull

 

Here are some recent topics in our blog:

 

<> Speech Recognition Challenge: Joe Cocker

<> The birth of a new branch of science

<> Study Finds U.S. Athiests Don't Not Believe in God

<> Math Lesson: 569,000,000,000,000

<> Valiant Fruit Pit

<> Super Security: A Salute to Agent CSA80

 

and some from the newspaper column in The Guardian:

 

<> Dr. Katz and the blue of insanity

<> Psychoanalyzing grandma

<> Why seeing red may be a load of bull

 

... and more

 

     Read the blog

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

 

 

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2008-06-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Fournier's Gangrene, Waffle

 

ICKY: POST-PIERCE PUBIC PROBLEM

"Fournier's Gangrene After Genital Piercing," L. Ekelius, H.

Bjrkman, M. Kalin and J. Fohlman, Scandinavian Journal of

Infectious Diseases, vol. 36, no. 8, 2008, pp, 610-2. (Thanks to

Lee Xun for bringing this to our attention.) The authors are at

Central Hospital, Vxj, Sweden.

 

SENSING WAFFLE (IN THE FRIED GEOMETRY)

"Sensing Waffle in the Fried Geometry," Michael D. Oliker,

Proceedings- SPIE the International Society for Optical

Engineering, vol. 3353, 1998, pp. 964-71.

doi:10.1117/12.321704.(Thanks to Skip Mendler for bringing this

to our attention.)

 

 

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2008-06-14 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

"QED," CENTRAL SQ. THEATRE, CAMBRIDGE, MA -- JUL 27, 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

 

GENOA SCIENCE FESTIVAL, ITALY       -- OCT 24, 2008

 

 

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2008-06-15 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

 

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

magazine. (It's bigger and better than the little bits of

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

online version is at <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

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

<http://improbable.com/subscribe/> or send in this form:

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

Visa, Mastercard or Discover info) to:

     Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

     PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

     617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927 <air AT improbable.com>

 

 

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2008-06-16 -- 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: subscriptions AT improbable.com

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

 

 

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2008-06-17 -- 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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2008-06-18 -- 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.

          ----------------------------

To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit

<http://chem.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/mini-air>

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