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

June 2010, issue number 2010-06. ISSN 1076-500X.

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Monthly mini update/alert from the Annals of Improbable Research

     This issue is at

     <http://www.improbable.com/airchives/miniair/2010/mini2010-06.htm>

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

Twitter: ImprobResearch

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

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2010-06-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2010-06-02 The Magazine: Orgy & Handwashing Issue

2010-06-02 World Cup's Mental Depths

2010-06-03 Planetary Medical Stars (2)

2010-06-04 Ig Nobel Tickets Will Go on Sale Aug 1

2010-06-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Cosmic Mothballs

2010-06-06 Dirty Word Usage Poet

2010-06-07 Active Nonsense-Mediated Competition

2010-06-08 Davian Behavior: A New Report

2010-06-09 Beyond Davian: Limerick-Inspired Technical Terms?

2010-06-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Pronouncing Uranus, Living Dead Rally

2010-06-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Phallus impudicus and Shoemaker

2010-06-12 Improbable Research Events

2010-06-13 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2010-06-14 -- Our Address (*)

2010-06-15 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2010-06-16 -- 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

 

 

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2010-06-02 The Magazine: Orgy & Handwashing Issue

 

The special Orgy & Handwashing issue (vol 16, no 3) of the

magazine is now online, at

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume16/v16i3/v16i3.html>

 

Highlights include:

 

"How to Cater a Roman Orgy", by Corky White

"Hand Sanitizing—Another Look", by John Trinkaus

"Handwashing Research Review", by Alice Shirell Kaswell

 

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/>.

 

 

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2010-06-02 World Cup's Mental Depths

 

The current World Cup tournament, like its predecessors, may

never be fully understood. A study about the 1990 tournament

demonstrates how a state of deep confusion can arise and persist:

 

"Scotland's Tartan Army in Italy: The Case for the

Carnivalesque," Richard Giulianotti, The Sociological Review,

vol. 39, no. 3, August 1991, pp. 503-27.

<http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119347933/abstract>

 

"This short paper seeks to explain the activities of Scottish

fans in Genoa and Turin, during the 1990 World Cup, by drawing on

some key concepts offered by contemporary writers in the field of

post-modernism and post-structuralism. These writers include

Foucault, Derrida, Barthes and Baudrillard. All emphasize a re-

empowerment of agency, evading more conventional forms of

domination: Foucault within the domain of enabling discourse,

Derrida on the open interpretation of the sign's apparent

meaning, Barthes on the 'nature' of jouissance and the body

principle, and Baudrillard on the public toying with their media

representation...."

 

 

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2010-06-03 Planetary Medical Stars (2)

 

Astronomers-of-a-sort sent some additional stars for the all-star

team of physicians with planetary family names (for the original

team, see last month's mini-AIR).

 

Enid Rose Neptune, MD, of Johns Hopkins <http://bit.ly/bD2DBX>

(Thanks to investigator Max Hailperin for bringing Dr. N to our

attention.)

 

Michael G. Mercury <http://bit.ly/bD2DBX>

(Thanks to investigator Norbert Hirschorn for bringing Dr. M to

our attention, and demonstrating that he is, at least according

to some documentation, an MD.)

 

 

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2010-06-04 Ig Nobel Tickets Will Go on Sale Aug 1

 

Tickets for the 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will go

on sale August 1. We expect they will sell out quickly this year

— so consider yourself warned.

 

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

 

 

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2010-06-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Cosmic Mothballs

 

This month's specially selected study is:

 

"Simple Linear Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Molecules and the

Infrared Emission Features - Mothballs in the Orion Ridge?"

Duley, W. W.; Jones, A. P., Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 -

Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 351, March 10, 1990, p. L49-L52.

<http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1990ApJ...351L..49D>

The authors report:

 

"It is shown that the IR emission spectrum in objects as the

Orion ridge is compatible with the presence of two- to five-ring

linear PAH species in amorphous carbons (specifically, the

derivatives of naphthalene, anthracene, tetracene, and perhaps

pentacene). An origin for these molecules in carbon dust is

indicated and is consistent with the structure of laboratory

hydrogenated amorphous carbons."

 

 

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2010-06-06 Dirty Word Usage Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Dirty Word Usage Limerick

Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "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 winner is INVESTIGATOR John Jermey who wrote:

 

I wrote a love letter to Brenda;

I phrased it in accents so tender.

But now I'm in jail

And they've just refused bail,

'Cos profanity varies with gender.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

Which sex uses dirty words more?

Women? Men? Both the same? What's the score?

She says same. He says men.

Who is right? Then again,

Were it men, he'd have called her a whore.

 

 

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2010-06-07 Active Nonsense-Mediated Competition

 

Now-old new insights into nonsense inspire this month's limerick

competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that

illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"New Insights into the Formation of Active Nonsense-Mediated Decay

Complexes," Guramrit Singh and Jens Lykke-Andersen, Trends in

Biochemical Sciences, vol. 28, no. 9, September 2003, pp. 464-6.

<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0968-0004(03)00176-2> The authors are at

the University of Colorado at Boulder.

 

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 no, hinsensiclgh-res PDF issue of the

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

 

     ACTIVE NONSENSE-MEDIATED LIMERICK COMPETITION

     c/o <marca AT improbable.com>

 

 

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2010-06-08 Davian Behavior: A New Report

 

Davian behavior creeps yet again into the scientific literature:

 

"The Corpse Bride: a case of Davian Behaviour in the Green Ameiva

(Ameiva ameiva) in southeastern Brazil," Henrique Caldeira Costa,

Emanuel Teixeira da Silva, Pollyanna Silva Campos, Marina Paula

da Cunha Oliveira, André Valle Nunes and Patrícia da Silva

Santosm, Herpetology Notes, volume 3: 079-083 (2010). The

authors, at several institutions in Brazil, report:

 

"Herein, we report necrophilia (Davian behaviour) in the lizard

Ameiva ameiva in Brazilian Atlantic Forest Domain. A male A.

ameiva was found during a sunny day courting and trying to

copulate with a road-killed female. The presence of developed

ovarian follicles confirmed that the female was in breeding

condition. The female probably died while making a chemical trail

to attract reproductive males. Apparently the male's behaviour

was influenced by the high temperature of the female's body that

was warmed up by the heat of the sun. Although Davian behaviour

is not expected to occur frequently, a high number of dead

reproductive females in Brazilian roads could result in a high

frequency of necrophilia in A. ameiva."

 

The full report, including photos, at <http://bit.ly/c5fdHV>

 

 

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2010-06-09 Beyond Davian: Limerick-Inspired Technical Terms?

 

The curious term "Davian", which is now generally used in the

biological literature, originated in a limerick. Wikipedia gives

some of its history:

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davian_behavior>

 

Question:

Are there other, widely accepted, scientific terms that

originated in limericks? If you know of one, please send us

details.

 

BACKGROUND NOTE: Kees Moeliker, author of the first

scientifically recorded report of homosexual necrophilia in the

mallard duck <http://bit.ly/9NNN12>, became, maybe inevitably,

the central collecting point for reports on animal Davian

behavior.

 

 

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2010-06-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Pronouncing Uranus, Living Dead Rally

 

Things you may or may not have missed:

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Scientists Debate How to Pronounce "Uranus" (video)

<> India's living dead will rally on June 30

<> Ovulating Women Ogle Forgettable Men

<> Orthogonal judged interesting

And many more...

 

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

<> Parker's Tremendously Typical Timelines

<> Europe's walking washing machines

<> Effect of mobile phones on rabbit sex

<> How Movies Created the Financial Crisis

 

Newest Members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

(LFHCfS), etc:

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

 

twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2010-06-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Phallus impudicus and Shoemaker

 

VEGETATIVE AND FRUCTIFYING GROWTH IN PHALLUS IMPUDICUS

"Vegetative and Fructifying Growth in Phallus impudicus," John

Grainger, Transactions of the British Mycological Society, vol.

45, no. 1, March 1962, pp. 147-155.

<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0007-1536(62)80043-6>

 

SHOEMAKER'S GRASP ON HAND GRIPS

"Sex Differences in Forebrain and Cardiovagal Responses at the

Onset of Handgrip Strength & Dominant Behavior Isometric Handgrip

Exercise: A Retrospective fMRI study," Savio Wong, Derek

Kimmerly, Nicholas Massé, Ravi Menon, David Cechetto and J. Kevin

Shoemaker, Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 103, 2007, pp.

1402-11.

<http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/103/4/1402>

 

 

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2010-06-12 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

 

 

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2010-06-13 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

 

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:

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2010-06-14 -- 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

 

 

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2010-06-15 -- 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

 

 

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2010-06-16 -- 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.

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