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

September 2010, issue number 2010-09. 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/mini2010-09.htm>

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

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

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2010-09-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2010-09-02 Imminent Events

2010-09-03 The Magazine: Skunk and Canyon Issue

2010-09-04 Ig Nobel Ceremony & Webcast — Thurs, Sept 30

2010-09-05 Ig Details

2010-09-06 Ig Nobel Lectures at MIT on Sat, Oct 2

2010-09-07 Dr. Bodner's Bra, and Her Male Counterpart Device

2010-09-08 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Confused Investors Conspicuously

2010-09-09 Medieval-Scenes-of-Ritual-Circumcision Poet

2010-09-10 Limerickian Pause for Breath

2010-09-11 MORE IMPROBABLE: Potto, Um, Plummeting Dead Mice

2010-09-12 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Of Bactria, Not Bacteria

2010-09-13 Improbable Research Events

2010-09-14 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2010-09-15 -- Our Address (*)

2010-09-16 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2010-09-17 -- 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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2010-09-02 Imminent Events

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony & webcast               THU, Sept 30

 

Ig Informal Lectures                            SAT, Oct 2

 

US Sci & Eng Fest, Washington, DC               SAT, Oct 23

 

 

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

 

 

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2010-09-03 The Magazine: Skunk and Canyon Issue

 

The special Skunk and Canyon issue of the magazine is ambling its way to the printer, thence to amble its way to subscribers.

 

Read back issues (including last year's Ig Nobel special issue) online, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

 

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2010-09-04 Ig Nobel Ceremony & Webcast — Thurs, Sept 30

 

The 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony is almost here.

It honors achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think.

 

This year it will be webcast live on YouTube.

 

Tickets to attend in person are sold out.

 

THE CEREMONY

WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 7:30 pm Boston USA time

WHERE: Sanders Theatre, Harvard University

This year's theme is BACTERIA.

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

 

LIVE WEBCAST

WHEN: Begins at 7:15 pm Boston USA time

WHERE: <http://www.youtube.com/improbableresearch>

OTHER INFO: <http://improbable.com/ig/2010/#webcastinfo>

 

 

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2010-09-05 Ig Details

 

Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners will be announced. Almost all will be at the ceremony. Several Nobel Laureates will hand them their Ig Nobel Prizes.

 

The ceremony will also include...

 

Keynote lecturer (for 60 seconds) RICH LOSICK.

 

24/7 Lecturers NEIL GAIMAN, TOSHIYUKI NAKAGAKI, MARY ELLEN DAVEY.

 

The premiere of "THE BACTERIAL OPERA", about the bacteria who live on a woman's front tooth, and about that woman. Features a cast of trillions.

 

Musicians EVELYN EVELYN, AMANDA PALMER, JASON WEBLEY, NICK CARSTOIU, and DEBORAH HENSON-CONANT.

 

Past Ig Nobel Prize winners TOSHIYUKI NAKAGAKI and ATSUSHI TERO (slime mold can solve puzzles); ELENA BODNAR (invention of a bra that converts into 2 protective face masks); DON FEATHERSTONE (creation of the plastic pink flamingo); KEES MOELIKER (homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck); and CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS (people can overlook anything - even a woman in a gorilla suit)

 

... and much more.

 

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

WHO'S WHO: <http://improbable.com/ig/2010/ignitaries/index.html>

OPERA CAST: <http://improbable.com/ig/2010/ignitaries/index.html>

 

 

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2010-09-06 Ig Nobel Lectures at MIT on Sat, Oct 2

 

The day after the day after the ceremony, the new winners (and several past winners, too) will give brief public lectures at MIT. This event is free. However, seating is limited (as, if you want to be technical about it, is every event held everywhere).

 

 

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1:00 pm Boston USA time

WHERE: MIT building 10, room 250

DETAILS: <http://improbable.com/ig/2010/#informallectures>

 

 

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2010-09-07 Dr. Bodner's Bra, and Her Male Counterpart Device

 

At a press conference at The MIT Museum this week, 2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar announced that her invention — a brassiere that in an emergency can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks — is now available to the public. The bra is manufactured at a factory in China and sold on Dr. Bodnar's web site <http://ebbra.com/>.

 

Dr. Bodnar demonstrated the bra, with assistance from three bold volunteers.

 

Two of the many press accounts, with exciting photos:

      Boston Herald: <http://bit.ly/dqFVH3>

      Daily Mail: <http://bit.ly/9bzkVf>

 

Others: <http://improbable.com/airchives/press/>

 

      * * *

 

Curiously, few if any press accounts even mentioned Dr. Bodnar's second piece of news. She has a new invention — a counterpart device designed to be worn by men. This new invention is not yet in the manufacturing stage. Dr. Bodnar, assisted by MIT Museum director John Durant, demonstrated a prototype. It was met with surprised, if slightly shocked (at the cleverness of the design) delight. Perhaps some enterprising reporter will interview Dr. Bodnar for details.

 

 

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2010-09-08 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Confused Investors Conspicuously

 

This month's hand-selected research gem is:

 

Confused Investors Making Conspicuously Ignorant Choices

"Massively Confused Investors Making Conspicuously Ignorant Choices (MCI-MCIC)," Michael S. Rashes, Journal of Finance, vol. 56, no. 5, October 2001, pp. 1911-27. (Thanks to Hiroshi Gunji for bringing this to our attention.) <http://bit.ly/cVrPhk>

The authors explain:

 

"This paper examines the comovement of stocks with similar ticker symbols. [We found an] anomaly [that] allows the observation of noise traders and their effect on stock prices independent of changes in information and expectations."

 

 

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2010-09-09 Medieval-Scenes-of-Ritual-Circumcision Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Medieval-Scenes-of-Ritual-Circumcision Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Medieval Scenes of Ritual Circumcision as a Reflection of Sociopolitical Circumstances". <http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00120-004-0761-9>

 

The winner is ENGLISH-SPEAKING INVESTIGATOR KEN SHELDON who wrote:

 

I believed I would read quite a sermon

ŌBout a rite that would leave some boys squirminÕ.

What did they undergo?

I guess IÕll never know

Since the darned thing was written in German.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

German mores have, at times, been amiss.

But what is the reason for this?

Pust, et al, bear the news,

With regard to the Jews,

It began with the Antichrist's bris.

 

 

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2010-09-10 Limerickian Pause for Breath

 

There is no limerick contest this month as, per seasonally usual, we will be swamped with email and such at Ig time.

 

 

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2010-09-11 MORE IMPROBABLE: Potto, Um, Plummeting Dead Mice

 

Things you may or may not have missed:

 

Newest Members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), etc:

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

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Potto Week Celebrated

<> Um

<> The Logic of MŽnage ˆ Trois

And many more...

 

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

<> Paper or Plastic? Plummeting Dead Mice

<> Brain Damage Might Help Gamblers

<> How to Remove the Unmentionable

<> The Sexual Unification of Germany

 

      twitter: ImprobResearch

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

 

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2010-09-12 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Of Bactria, Not Bacteria

 

OF BACTRIA, NOT BACTERIA

"The Culture Sequence of Bactria," F. R. Allchin, Antiquity, vol.: 31, no.: 123, 1957, pp. 131–141.

<http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/031/Ant0310131.htm>

 

 

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2010-09-13 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

 

US Sci & Eng Fest, Washington, DC         — Oct 23, 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

 

Raytheon Employees Assn.                  — Nov 10, 2010

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                      — Feb 2011

 

UK Tour                                   — Mar 2011

 

Scandinavia Tour                          — Apr 2011

 

Cairo, Egypt                              — Jun 2011

 

 

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2010-09-14 -- 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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      617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927 <air AT improbable.com>

 

 

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2010-09-15 -- 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>

Blog: www.improbable.com

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2010-09-16 -- 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

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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2010-09-17 -- 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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