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

June 2009, Issue number 2009-06. ISSN 1076-500X.

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Free monthly update/alert from the Annals of Improbable Research

      This issue is at

      <http://www.improbable.com/airchives/miniair/2009/mini2009-06.htm>

      Archive at <http://improbable.com/airchives/miniair/>

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

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2009-06-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2009-06-02 In the Magazine: Accounting, Accounting, Accounting

2009-06-03 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Pop-Eye Magnitude Detection

2009-06-04 RESEARCH PINLIGHT: Pop-Eye Phenomenon

2009-06-05 RESEARCH GASLIGHT: Namely, Oculodigital

2009-06-06 Where to Buy Plutonium

2009-06-07 Bands for Biomedical Researchers: Saliva

2009-06-08 Ig Nobel Delegations - advance word

2009-06-09 Apple Brain Poet

2009-06-10 Spent Mushroom Compost Odorous Component Competition

2009-06-11 MORE IMPROBABLE: Armed Birds, Dangling Doofus

2009-06-12 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Yippee (two types)

2009-06-13 Improbable Research Events

2009-06-14 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2009-06-15 -- Our Address (*)

2009-06-16 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2009-06-17 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

      mini-AIR is

      but a wee monthly *supplement*

      to the bi-monthly magazine Annals of Improbable Research

 

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2009-06-02 In the Magazine: Accounting, Accounting, Accounting

 

The special Accounting issue (vol. 15, no. 3) of the Annals of

Improbable Research is online at

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume15/v15i3/AIR15-3_LoRes-40dpi.pdf>.

Obtain it as you like:

 

A) Download the free low-res PDF; or

B) get a spiffy hi-res PDF; or

C) subscribe the tactile, comfy paper edition

 

Highlights include:

 

<> Great Adventures in Accounting

 

<> A Crusade Against the Quest for the Holy Grail

 

<> The Public Erection of G.S. Brindley

 

Many other back issues, too, are online at

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

 

 

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2009-06-03 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Pop-Eye Magnitude Detection

 

This month the spotlight is on an attempt to measure the

magnitude of pop-eyes, and to do so reliably and to a degree that

is useful and perhaps also interesting. The study is:

 

"Estimating Eyeball Protrusion From Body Height, Interpupillary

Distance, and Inter-Orbital Distance in Adults," L.K. Swan and

C.N. Stephan, Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 50, no. 4, July

2005, pp. 777-84. <http://tinyurl.com/mxhkkr>

 

The authors, at the University of Adelaide, Australia, report:

 

"Some authors have suggested that relationships between

exophthalmos, height, interpupillary distance, and interorbital

distance exist and it has been reported that these latter

variables can be used to estimate eyeball projection. However,

crucial tests are yet to be conducted. This study measures these

variables and tests the accuracy of exophthalmometry means, a

previously proposed prediction equation, and newly derived

regression equations to determine which methods provide the best

results."

 

 

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2009-06-04 RESEARCH PINLIGHT: Pop-Eye Phenomenon

 

Pop-eye enthusiasts have few published pop-eye-related reports

(other than the mostly unrelated literature devoted to the

cartoon character Popeye) to choose from. One can always begin

with:

 

"The Pop Eye Phenomenon: An Extreme Form of the Oculodigital

Phenomenon," A.M. Mansour and R.D. Reinecke, Journal of Clinical

Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol. 5, no. 4, December 1985, pp. 281-2.

 

 

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2009-06-05 RESEARCH GASLIGHT: Namely, Oculodigital

 

Pop-eye nomenclature skeptics with broader interest - broad to

the point of including all forms of oculodigital phenomena -

write reports, too. One of the earliest:

 

"The So-Called Oculodigital Phenomenon and a Few Other Motoric

Manifestations" [article in German], K. Muller, Monatsschrift fr

Kinderheilkunde, vol. 103, no. 4, April 1955, pp. 219-21.

 

 

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2009-06-06 Where to Buy Plutonium

 

Chemist Fiona Barclay visited a London shop that advertises

plutonium. This raises some questions. Details of the visit are

at <http://improbable.com/2009/06/16/guardian-column-161/>

 

The main question is whether that shop offers the best price

available for the casual consumer of plutonium.

 

If you find advertisement for a better deal, please send us the

details and we will publish them, perhaps, here next month.

 

 

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2009-06-07 Bands for Biomedical Researchers: Saliva

 

This month's featured band for biomedical researchers is Saliva.

The band is a favorite in some labs that do research on and with

saliva. It is not a favorite in other labs that do research on

and with saliva.

 

Other science-related tidbits about Saliva:

 

1. Their song "Click Click Boom" is a favorite in some labs (and

not just of the biomedical variety) that reliably produce a high

number of daily clicks, clicks, and booms.

 

2. The song was included in the adventure/extreme ski movie "Cold

Fusion."

 

3. The band was not named for E.A. Asen's 1978 monograph

"Phosphorylation of Proline-Rich, Double Band, Acidic and Post-Pb

Proteins of Human Saliva" (which was published in Archives of

Oral Biology, vol. 23, no. 12.)

 

4. The band was also not named for G. Todorov and V. Nedeva's

1993 study "Changes in Electrolyte Excretion in the Saliva of

8th-Grade Students of a Music School in Sofia" (which was

published, in Bulgarian, in Problemi na Khigienata, vol. 18).

 

(Thanks to investigator Neil Gussman for bringing Saliva to our

attention.)

 

 

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2009-06-08 Ig Nobel Delegations - advance word

 

At the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, some audience members choose to

come in slightly, quasi-organized theme delegations. Each

delegation register with us ahead of time is officially

introduced during the ceremony.

 

The members of the Glorious Texan Delegation, who will be

journeying from Text to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the October

1 ceremony, are looking for additional Texans or honorary Texans

to become part of their delegation.

 

If you would like to join that delegation, or would like help in

coordinating your own theme delegation (on whatever theme you

like), please get in touch with us.

 

Tickets for the ceremony will go on sale August 1.

This year's theme: RISK.

 

The ceremony web page is: <http://improbable.com/ig/2009/>

 

 

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2009-06-09 Apple Brain Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Apple Braining Limerick

Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study

"Automatic Effects of Brand Exposure on Motivated Behavior: How

Apple Makes You 'Think Different,'" Grinne M. Fitzsimons, Tanya

l. Chartrand, Gavan j. Fitzsimons, Journal of Consumer Behavior,

vol. 35, no. 1, June 2008, pp. 21-35. <http://tinyurl.com/pvw38y>

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR TIM POSTON, who wrote:

 

"I thought of an Apple," said Eve,

"And now I no longer believe

   In following orders

   Or staying in borders --

So throw wide the Gates, and let's leave."

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

These limericks drove me to drink.

I wrote on PCs, and they stink.

   But now, though, my crap'll,

   Composed on an Apple,

Be better. Like this one. Ya think?

 

 

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2009-06-10 Spent Mushroom Compost Odorous Component Competition

 

Odorous components in spent mushroom compost and the amelioration

thereof is the subject of this month's limerick competition. To

enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature

of this report:

 

"Amelioration of Odorous Components in Spent Mushroom Compost,"

Russell Bazemore, et al., Journal of Agricultural and Food

Chemistry, vol. 48, no. 8, 2000, pp. 3694-697.

<http://tinyurl.com/mtdbuy> The authors are at the Monell

Chemical Senses Center and at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

RULES: Please make sure that: (1) your rhymes actually do; and

(2) your poem is in classic, trills-off-the-tongue limerick form.

 

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

the correct address) a free, possibly mushroomy, high-res PDF

issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Send entries (one

entry per entrant) to:

 

      SPENT MUSHROOM COMPOST ODOR LIMERICK COMPETITION

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

 

 

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2009-06-11 MORE IMPROBABLE: Armed Birds, Dangling Doofus

 

New Improbable Video:

<> "Powdered Mummy" <http://improbable.com/tv/>

 

Blog items <http://improbable.com/>

<> Sex is main cause of population growth

<> Gazprom: Ig Nobel winner reveals corporate anthem

<> Armed bird photos

<> Neuticles news: more sizes

<> Escher design tattoos

<> Engineering report - Angel, the dangling doofus

And many more...

 

Newspaper columns <http://tinyurl.com/6o348d>

<> Cat food, dog food, and thou

<> Go Suck (Tasty) Eggs

<> England, birthplace of the sick joke

 

New LFHCfS (Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists) members:

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

<> Anna Barrett

<> Olivia Guest

<> Spouse-prompted withdrawal

<> Amanda Wibley-Brown and Heather Alger

 

 

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2009-06-12 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Yippee (two types)

 

YIPPEE 1

"A Multidisciplinary Study of the 'Yips' Phenomenon in Golf: An

exploratory Analysis," A.M. Smith, et al., Sports Medicine, vol.

30, no. 6, December 2000, pp. 423-37. <http://tinyurl.com/nydwx5>

 

YIPPEE 2

"Measuring the Psychosocial Impact of Urinary Incontinence: the

York Incontinence Perceptions Scale (YIPS)," P.S. Lee, et al.,

Journal of the American Geriatric Society, vol. 43, no. 11,

November 1995, pp. 1275-8.

<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cger.2004.04.009>

 

 

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2009-06-13 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Ig Nobel Ceremony Tickets go on sale     - Aug 1, 2009

 

Temple Israel, Boston                        - Aug 24, 2009

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, Harvard Univ    - Oct 1, 2009

 

Ig Informal Lectures, MIT                   - Oct 3, 2009

 

Genoa Science Festival                       - Oct 24, 2009

 

 

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2009-06-14 -- 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

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2009-06-15 -- 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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2009-06-16 -- 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 2009, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2009-06-17 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

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

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