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

July 2010, issue number 2010-07. 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/mini2010-07.htm>

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

Twitter: ImprobResearch

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

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2010-07-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2010-07-02 Imminent Event

2010-07-03 The Magazine: Mathematics Issue

2010-07-04 Ig Nobel Tickets Will Go on Pre-Sale Aug 1

2010-07-05 Best of Miss Sweetie Poo

2010-07-06 Survey: Lab Assistants Named Igor

2010-07-07 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Wombats From Space

2010-07-08 Active Nonsense-Mediated Usage Poet

2010-07-09 Drug Snorting Fire-Eater Competition

2010-07-10 Manga (with an Iggy Protagonist)

2010-07-11 Inspired by Mothball Report

2010-07-12 MORE IMPROBABLE: Monkey Flossing, Whynot

2010-07-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Tales of the Wombat

2010-07-14 Improbable Research Events

2010-07-15 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2010-07-16 -- Our Address (*)

2010-07-17 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2010-07-18 -- 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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2010-07-02 Imminent Event

 

     Ig Nobel Tickets go on pre-sale — Sunday, August 1.

     (See below)

 

 

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2010-07-03 The Magazine: Mathematics Issue

 

The special Mathematics issue (vol 16, no 4) of the magazine has

just been mailed to subscribers

 

Highlights include:

 

<> "Horse Calculus," by Michael Berry

<http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume16/v16i4/Horse_calculus.pdf>

 

<> "Chernoff and the Face Value of Numbers," by Alice Shirrell

Kaswell

 

<> "Snow-Clearing from SUV Roofs and from Fire Hydrants: An

Informal Look," by John Trinkaus

 

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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2010-07-04 Ig Nobel Tickets Will Go on Pre-Sale Aug 1

 

Tickets for the Twentieth 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will

go on pre-sale SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2010, at NOON, from the Harvard

Box Office online (and later that week, from the ticket office at

Holyoke Center in Harvard Square).

 

We expect that this year's tickets will get snapped up very

quickly (for reasons that will become evident a bit later in

August, when we announce more info about who will be part of this

year's ceremony).

 

TICKETS

The Harvard Box Office: <http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/boxoffice/>

 

THE CEREMONY

The ceremony will happen at the usual place.

WHERE: Sanders Theatre, Harvard University

WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 7:30 pm.

This year's theme is BACTERIA.

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

 

DELEGATIONS

Info about how to be an official Audience Delegation is on the

ceremony web page.

 

     ----

 

EVENT INFO LIST

We created a new, separate mailing list to notify people about

upcoming Ig Nobel and Improbable Research events. Please add

yourself to it:

<http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/ig-nobel-events>

 

 

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2010-07-05 Best of Miss Sweetie Poo

 

By request, and maybe as a public service, here is a video

compilation of "The Best of Miss Sweetie Poo":

 

     <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAnVNXaa5oA>

 

Thanks to Miss Sweetie Poo, no one need ever again endure droning

speeches at public events. (That being said, we expect this

inertia/tradition-bound world will adopt the MSP technology all

too slowly.)

 

 

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2010-07-06 Survey: Lab Assistants Named Igor

 

By almost sacred tradition, scientist's lab assistants are named

Igor. Such is the tradition in horror movies, anyway.

 

Please help us compile a directory of real lab assistants who are

named Igor.

 

If you know of one, please send us the following set of info:

 

     1. Igor's full name

     2. Igor's job title

     3. The name and geographical location of Igor's lab

     4. A URL that points to a page on which one can see Igor.

 

Please send to:

 

     Lab Igors Directory

     c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2010-07-07 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Wombats From Space

 

This month's specially selected study is:

 

"Wombats Detected From Space," E. Lšffler and C. Margules, Remote

Sensing of Environment, vol. 9, no. 1, February 1980, pp. 47-56.

<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0034-4257(80)90046-2>. The authors, at

CSIRO, Canberra, report:

 

"The hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is a large

marsupial that occurs in great numbers on the Nullarbor Plain,

South Australia. Because of the animal's burrowing and mound

building, which creates areas of bare ground and freshly dug

soil, its approximate distribution can be mapped from digitally

enhanced color LANDSAT imagery and even to some degree from good

quality band-7 black and white imagery."

 

 

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2010-07-08 Active Nonsense-Mediated Usage Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Active Nonsense-Mediated

Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the

study "New Insights into the Formation of Active Nonsense-

Mediated Decay Complexes"

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

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR SAM PETUCHOWSKI who wrote:

 

When your codons get ripped at the Junction,

There's no reason for umbrage or unction.

Your own RNA

Gets off on decay,

With no nonsense, our cells wouldn't function.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

By what pathway does mRNA,

When guided by nonsense, decay?

Many proteins are seen,

But of one, Y14,

There's a critical role it must play.

 

 

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2010-07-09 Drug Snorting Fire-Eater Competition

 

The lung adventure of a drug snorting fire-eater inspires this month's

limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that

illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Punk Rocker's Lung: Pulmonary Fibrosis in a Drug Snorting Fire-Eater,"

D.R. Buchanan, D. Lamb, and A. Seaton, British Medical Journal,

December 19-26, 1981, p. 1661.

<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1507464/>

The authors,e at several institutions in Edinburgh, say:

 

"We report on a patient who developed pulmonary fibrosis secondary to

'snorting' of drugs and inhalation of turpentine or paraffin."

 

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, unsnorted, hi-res PDF issue of the Annals of

Improbable Research. Send your limerick to:

 

     Drug Snorting Fire-Eater LIMERICK COMPETITION

     c/o <marca AT improbable.com>

 

 

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2010-07-10 Manga (with an Iggy Protagonist)

 

A character named Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel Prize

Ceremony, is the protagonist in a two-episode manga in Young Jump

magazine.

Several Ig Nobel Prize winners (most of whom are Japanese) also

figure prominently in the action, as does a feisty former British

government official.

 

Young Jump will publish this graphiliterary epic in their August

26 and September 2 issues.

 

 

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2010-07-11 Inspired by Mothball Report

 

Investigator Scott Sandford writes:

 

I noticed with amusement the MiniAIR piece on the "Mothballs"

paper ("Simple Linear Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Molecules

and the Infrared Emission Features — Mothballs in the Orion

Ridge?"). I like their title even though technically I think

mothballs only used to use naphthalene, not the longer linear PAH

chains (now they use something else).

 

There's a long history of paper titles like this. One of the

first was:

 

"Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and the unidentified infrared

emission bands: Auto exhaust along the Milky Way, "L.J.

Allamandola, A.G.G.M. Tielens and J.M. Barker, Journal of

Astrophysics, vol. 290, 1985, pp. L25-L28.

 

It compares the Raman spectrum of auto exhaust with the IR

emission spectrum of, you guessed it, the Orion Bar.

 

NOTE: SEE DETAILS AT <http://improbable.com/2010/07/23/auto-exhaust-along-the-milky-way/>

 

 

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2010-07-12 MORE IMPROBABLE: Monkey Flossing, Whynot

 

Things you may or may not have missed:

 

Newest members of the LF Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), etc:

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

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Whynot (or Whynott) Their Name

<> The pumpkin phloem that is secret

<> Sprouting Encouragement in Arizona

<> Dual-use: Anti-Bird, Pro-Avalanche

And many more...

 

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

<> Monkey Flossing

<> Math: An ideal 2nd cup of coffee

<> Threat assessment: robo cars & toasters

<> The helpful roar of the cinema crowd

 

twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2010-07-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Tales of the Wombat

 

UNINHIBITED BLADDER OF THE WOMBAT

"Observations on the Uninhibited Bladder of the Common Wombat,"

D. Johnson, British Journal of Urology, vol. 84, no. 4, April

1998, pp. 641-2.

<http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120700040/abstract>

 

MALE HAIRY-NOSED WOMBAT ACCESSORY

"Histology and Histochemistry of the Accessory Reproductive

Glands in the Male Hairy-Nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons),"

R.A. Barbour, Histochemistry, vol. 72, no. 1, 1981, pp. 133-48.

<http://www.springerlink.com/content/j3p2936440n56252/>

 

 

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2010-07-14 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Coolidge Corner Cinema, Brookline, MA    — Sep 6, 2010

 

Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston       — Sep 23, 2010

 

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

 

NASW 75th Anniv. Meeting, New Haven      — Nov 5, 2010

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                — Feb 2011

 

UK Tour                             — Mar 2011

 

Scandinavia Tour                         — Apr 2011

 

Cairo, Egypt                        — Jun 2011

 

 

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2010-07-15 -- 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:

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

Name:

Address:

Address:

City and State:               

Zip or postal code:

Country

Phone:         FAX:           E-mail:

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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

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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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2010-07-16 -- 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>

Blog: www.improbable.com

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2010-07-17 -- 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

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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2010-07-18 -- 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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