PLEASE FORWARD/POST AS APPROPRIATE

=========================================================

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

May 2010, issue number 2010-05. ISSN 1076-500X.

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

Monthly mini update/alert from the Annals of Improbable Research

     This issue is at

     <http://www.improbable.com/airchives/miniair/2010/mini2010-05.htm>

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

Twitter: ImprobResearch

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

=========================================================

 

2010-05-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2010-05-02 The Magazine: Geography & Teabagging

2010-05-03 Planetary Medical Stars

2010-05-04 Recruiting: Planetary Physics Stars

2010-05-05 Ig Tidbits: Bacteria and Evelyn Evelyn

2010-05-06 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Mask Wiggling: Don't

2010-05-07 Theatrical Germs Poet

2010-05-08 Dirty Word Usage Competition

2010-05-09 Readings Produced an Invention: "Reality-Based Improv"

2010-05-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Vodka, and the Bishop's Rectum

2010-05-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Jay's Words Unclean

2010-05-12 Improbable Research Events

2010-05-13 -- How to Subscribe to AIR (*)

2010-05-14 -- Our Address (*)

2010-05-15 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2010-05-16 -- 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

 

 

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

2010-05-02 The Magazine: Geography & Teabagging

 

The special Geography & Teabagging issue (vol 16, no 2) of the

magazine in now online at

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume16/v16i2/v16i2.html>.

 

Read many back issues (including the recent Ig Nobel special

issue) online, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper

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

 

 

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

2010-05-03 Planetary Medical Stars

 

Behold an all-star team of physicians with planetary family names

(thanks to investigator Adrianne Appel for suggesting the idea):

 

Joseph Venus, MD

Concord, New Hampshire, USA

http://www.concordimagingcenter.com/about/profiles.html#Venus

 

P.G. Earth, MD

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

<http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119583605/abstract>

 

Audrey Mars, MD

Flemington, New Jersey

http://www.hunterdonhealthcare.org/News/Gov-Autism-2010.asp

 

Jesse B. Jupiter, MD

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

http://www.orthojournalhms.org/volume5/mgh/index.asp

 

Selman Uranus, MD

Gratz, Austria

http://www.springerlink.com/content/krgcaakqam8ey1fr/

 

Wilfred B. Neptune, MD [recently deceased]

Newton, Massachusetts, USA

http://www.tributes.com/show/Wilford-Neptune-88251476

 

Luke A. Pluto, MD [subject to revision of Pluto's status]

Clarkston, Washington, USA

http://www.tristatehospital.org/sleep/sleep.html

 

NOTES:

 

1. The team is missing a Dr. Mercury and a Dr. Saturn.

 

2. Dr. Pluto is officially a team member - but the league has

placed unstated restrictions on him "pending clarification of his

status".

 

 

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

2010-05-04 Recruiting: Planetary Physics Stars

 

Next month we will feature an all-star team of physicists with

planetary family names. Please suggest your favorite planet-named

physics star for membership on the team.

 

Send suggestions (with the star's name, city, and a URL) to:

     Planetary Physicists

     c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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

2010-05-05 Ig Tidbits: Bacteria and Evelyn Evelyn

 

Bits of news about the upcoming Twentieth 1st Annual Ig Nobel

Prize Ceremony:

 

This year's theme will be BACTERIA.

(Audience theme delegations are requested - though by no means

required! - to consider basing their own themes on some

meritorious aspect of this plucky little life form).

 

EVELYN EVELYN (with their friends Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley)

will perform a special pre-ceremony concert. The twins and

friends also will assist in the ceremony itself. We dare you to

catch the twins, if you can, on their world tour between now and

then <http://www.evelynevelyn.com/>

 

The ceremony happens on Thursday night, September 30.

Tickets go on sale August 1.

<http://improbable.com/ig/2010/>

 

 

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

2010-05-06 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Mask Wiggling: Don't

 

This month's specially selected study:

 

"Mask Wiggling as a Potential Cause of Wound Contamination,"

Robert T. Schweizer, Lancet. vol. 2, no. 7995, November 20, 1976,

pp. 1129-30. <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(76)91101-6>.

The author, at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, reports:

 

"Some operating-theatre staff have a habit of wiggling their

surgical masks by moving their facial muscles. The field

contamination which can result from this practice was studied. A

firmly fitting, moulded, synthetic-fibre mask produced

significant bacterial contamination of culture plates held

beneath the mask, compared with that found on simultaneously

exposed control plates placed nearby. Softer fibreglass masks

produced less contamination when moved by facial muscles, and are

more suitable for mask wigglers."

 

 

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

2010-05-07 Theatrical Germs Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Theatrical Germs Limerick

Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study

"Artaud, Germ Theory, and the Theatre of Contagion," Stanton B.

Garner, Theatre Journal, Volume 58, Number 1, March 2006, pp. 1-

14. <http://bit.ly/btJRxo>

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR MIKE ADAMS who wrote a limerick that

digests TWO studies mentioned in last month's mini-AIR:

 

Descriptions of Theatre as Plague

Are obtuse, pretentious and vague.

But they aren't the worst crap;

Family Sciences' Knapp

Makes me reach for my bottle of Haig.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER, whose

limerick honors both Antonin Artaud and Louis Pasteur:

 

When science provides useful facts,

The theorist of drama extracts

Those conforming to taste.

Details are replaced.

Thus cruelty's explained, in two acts.

 

 

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

2010-05-08 Dirty Word Usage Competition

 

Theater and germs inspire this month's limerick competition. To

enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature

of this report:

 

"Sex Roles and Dirty Word Usage: A Review of the Literature and a Reply

to Haas," Timothy B. Jay, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 88, no. 3,

November 1980, pp. 614-21. <http://bit.ly/9BqtWU> The author, at North

Adams State College, explains:

 

"A. Haas found that little evidence exists to distinguish between

males' and females' use of dirty words. In contrast, the present

author's review found several empirical studies comparing the sexes. It

is argued that establishing whether differences exist does not

necessarily require recording colloquial speech, nor would the

phenomenon have to be studied entirely outside of the laboratory

setting."

 

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, perhaps expletive-enhanced, high-res PDF issue

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

entrant) to:

 

     DIRTY WORD USAGE LIMERICK COMPETITION

     c/o <marca AT improbable.com>

 

 

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

2010-05-09 Readings Produced an Invention: "Reality-Based Improv"

 

The day of Ig Nobel readings was a successful experiment. And it

gave birth to a slightly new form of theater.

 

On May 1, an improbable gathering of scientists, reporters and

actors did a series of public readings of extracts from studies

and books that won Ig Nobel Prizes.

 

By the end of the day, we had collectively come up with ways to

both simplify and enhance the readings.

 

We don't yet have a name for resulted. The phrase "Reality-Based

Improv" comes close. But the essence of what these readers did

was partly the opposite of traditional theater improv.

 

In theatrical improv, actors invent fictional "facts" or

explanations. But the May 1 readers worked brilliantly to STICK

WITH THE FACTS. They improvised clearer ways (pauses, gestures,

spoken asides, answers to audience questions, etc.) to get the

material across clearly, while scrupulously sticking to the

original material. They made clear the line between what they

themselves knew and what they did not.

 

Thanks to the 25 or so scientists, journalists, and actors who

did the readings. And thanks to the co-hosts for the experiment,

the beautiful new Cambridge Public Library and the Cambridge

(Massachusetts) Science Festival. Details at

<http://bit.ly/dvd4HP>

 

We plan to do more such events!

 

 

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

2010-05-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Vodka, and the Bishop's Rectum

 

Things you may or may not have missed:

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Vodka and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

<> Bearded ornithologists [a series]

<> Ignivomous, Ignivomous

<> Sandwich meat's green sheen

And many more...

 

NEWSPAPER <http://improbable.com/category/newspaper-column>

<> The repetitive physics of Om

<> They ate the silverware

<> Law schools: 'psychotic kindergartens'

<> Congealed, gelatinous cereal

<> The Bishop's rectum, in a museum

 

twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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

2010-05-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Jay's Words Unclean

 

"A Bibliography of Research on Dirty Word Usage," Timothy B. Jay,

JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, vol. 9, no. 7,

1979, p. 77. (Ms. No. 1957).

 

"Comprehending Dirty-Word Descriptions," Timothy B. Jay, Language

and Speech, vol. 24, part 1, 1981, pp. 29-38.

<http://bit.ly/d4OsMy>

 

 

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

2010-05-12 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Ig Nobel Prize ceremony                  - Sep 30, 2010

 

Ig Informal Lectures                - Oct 2, 2010

 

Genoa Science Festival                   - Oct, 2010

 

Agronomy, Crops, and Soil Science Societies International Annual

Meetings, Long Beach, CA            - Nov 3, 2010

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                - Feb 2011

 

UK Tour                             - Mar 2011

 

Scandinavia Tour                         - Apr 2011

 

Cairo, Egypt                        - Jun 2011

 

 

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

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

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

2010-05-13 -- 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).

 

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

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

..........................................................

Name:

Address:

Address:

City and State:               

Zip or postal code:

Country

Phone:         FAX:           E-mail:

.........................................................

SUBSCRIPTIONS (6 issues per year):

USA            1 yr/$37       2 yrs/$69

Canada/Mexico  1 yr/$46 US    2 yrs/$86 US

Overseas       1 yr/$59 US    2 yrs/$109 US

.........................................................

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>

 

 

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

2010-05-14 -- 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: subscriptions AT improbable.com

Web Site: <http://www.improbable.com>

Blog: www.improbable.com

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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

2010-05-15 -- 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

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Kees Moeliker, 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 2010, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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

2010-05-16 -- 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>

======================================================