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

January 2011, issue number 2011-01. 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/2011/mini2011-01.htm>

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

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

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2011-01-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2011-01-02 The Magazine: Missing Pieces

2011-01-03 Dr. Landsea on Land

2011-01-04 Dr. Landsea on Sea

2011-01-05 Dr. Sealand on Groundwater

2011-01-06 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Monology of Tetralogy of Fallot?

2011-01-07 Improbable AAAS Show in DC on Feb 19

2011-01-08 FAVOR NEEDED: Ig Nobel winner needs ride to AAAS in DC

2011-01-09 UK Tour Coalescing for March

2011-01-10 Tetralogy of Fallot Competition

2011-01-11 Stinkbugs-in-Cotton Detection Poet

2011-01-12 MORE IMPROBABLE: Cough, Twist, Fists, Henry Head

2011-01-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Squid Odor, Canned and Not

2011-01-14 Improbable Research Events

2011-01-15 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2011-01-16 -- Our Address (*)

2011-01-17 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2011-01-18 -- 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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2011-01-02 The Magazine: Missing Pieces

 

The special Missing Pieces issue of the magazine, chock full of research about missing pieces, will soon go to the printers. It should be making its way to subscribers about mid-Februaryish.

 

The special issue about the 2010 Ig Nobel Prizes is now online at <http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume16/v16i6/v16i6.html>

 

Read back issues online, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

 

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2011-01-03 Dr. Landsea on Land

 

Investigator Deb Oestreicher suggests we celebrate the work of CHRISTOPHER W. LANDSEA, whose research encompasses land and sea — and especially, the weather that straddles both realms.

 

Dr. Landsea's bibliography appears at <http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/landsea_bio.html>. He is based at the NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. Read an interview with him at <http://bit.ly/evkIIA>.

 

One of Dr. Landsea's land studies:

 

"Effect of El Ni–o on U.S. Landfalling Hurricanes, Revisited", M.C. Bove, J.B. Elsner, C.W. LANDSEA, X. Niu and J.J. O'Brien, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., vol. 79, 1998, pp. 2477-82. <http://bit.ly/hZ0ylA>

 

 

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2011-01-04 Dr. Landsea on Sea

 

One of Dr. Landsea's sea studies:

 

"Influences of the Atlantic Warm Pool on Western Hemisphere Summer Rainfall and Atlantic Hurricanes", C. Wang, D.B. Enfield, S. Lee, and C.W. LANDSEA, Journal of Climate, vol. 19, no. 12, 2006, pp. 3011-28. <http://bit.ly/fZvlyl>

 

 

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2011-01-05 Dr. Sealand on Groundwater

 

We also celebrate the career of Dr. O.M. Sealand, whose work includes the study:

 

"Assessment of the Effect of a Bentonite Seal on Groundwater Storage in Underlying Waste Disposal Trenches at Oak Ridge National Laboratory", Arora, H.S.; Huff, D.D.; Ward, D.S.; SEALAND, O.M., report ORNL/TM-7416; ESD-1560, March 1, 1981 <http://bit.ly/f5cMvS>

 

 

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2011-01-06 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Monology of Tetralogy of Fallot?

 

This month's spotlighted study is for medical-lingo-lovers:

 

"Tetralogy of Fallot: Underdevelopment of the Pulmonary Infundibulum and Its Sequelae," Richard van Praagh, Stella van Praagh, Robert A. Nebesar, Alexander J. Muster, Sachchida N. Sinha and Milton H. Pau, American Journal of Cardiology, 1970 Jul;26(1):25-33. <http://bit.ly/eo5Z8h> The authors, at Northwestern University and Harvard University, explain:

 

"It is proposed that the tetralogy of Fallot basically is a "monology", just 1 anomaly, namely, underdevelopment of the subpulmonary infundibulum and its sequelae."

 

 

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2011-01-07 Improbable AAAS Show in DC on Feb 19

 

If you're in or near Washington, DC on Feb. 19, come to the Improbable Research show at the AAAS Annual Meeting. And bring family and friends.

 

It's one of the few parts of the meeting that's open to the public, free. This year's show (more or less the 16th annual) will feature:

 

<> Kermit-the-frog-ian emcee MARC ABRAHAMS, editor of Annals of Improbable Research

 

<> MANUEL BARBEITO (Ig Nobel Prize winner for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists)

 

<> ERIC SCHULMAN ("The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less")

 

<> ROBERT FRIEDEL ("Pizza and Progress")

 

<> MARTIN EIGER, the limerick laureate, reading some of his greatest limericks that celebrate science citations

 

<> and perhaps others — possibly including Ig Nobel Prize winner Dr. ELENA BODNAR (inventor of [1] a brassiere that in an emergency can be quickly converted to a pair of protective facemasks and [2] a counterpart device designed to be worn by males)

 

WHEN: February 19, 2011, Saturday, 7:00 pm.

WHERE: Renaissance Downtown Hotel (999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC), in the Renaissance West AB room.

OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. FREE.

 

Details/links at <http://bit.ly/8m4zLa>

 

 

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2011-01-08 FAVOR NEEDED: Ig Nobel winner needs ride to AAAS in DC

 

We need a big favor — a ride for Ig Nobel Prize winner Manuel Barbeito to and from our Feb. 19 show at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. He lives in Frederick, Maryland.

 

This will be a historic occasion:

Manuel Barbeito's first-ever public lecture about the research he performed in the 1960s, at Fort Detrick's Industrial Health and Safety Office. That research is documented in the study

 

      "Microbiological Laboratory Hazard of Bearded Men,"

      Manuel S. Barbeito, Charles T. Mathews, and Larry A. Taylor,

      Applied Microbiology, vol. 15, no. 4, July 1967, pp. 899–906.

 

You can obtain a PDF copy at <http://bit.ly/7Zi4Fv>. The photos, you'll see, are especially worth savoring.

 

If you'd like to volunteer to give Mr. Barbeito a ride to and from the event, we would be most grateful — and you will have a most enjoyable and memorable time. Get in touch with <[email protected]>.

 

 

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2011-01-09 UK Tour Coalescing for March

 

The 9th annual Ig Nobel Tour of the UK, for National Science & Engineering Week, in March, is shaping up with events in Bristol, Liverpool, London, and Dundee (and maybe another event or two to be announced).

 

We'll be listing performers and topics soon, with other details/links, at <http://bit.ly/8m4zLa>

 

If your organization would like to host or sponsor an additional event on the tour, please get in touch with Katherine Meusey <[email protected]>

 

 

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2011-01-10 Tetralogy of Fallot Competition

 

Tetralogy of Fallot inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Tetralogy of Fallot," Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 175, no. 11, 1961, p. 944. <http://bit.ly/g8O9w7>. The article says:

 

"Of the 4 elements which constitute the tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary or infundibular stenosis and ventricular septal defect dominate its pathologic physiology, whereas hypertrophy of the right ventricle is secondary, and dextroposition of the aorta is functional rather than anatomic."

 

 

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 fourfold, hi-res PDF issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Send your limerick to:

 

      TETRALOGY-OF-FALLOT LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2011-01-11 Stinkbugs-in-Cotton Detection Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the stinkbugs-in-cotton detection Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Detecting Stink Bugs/Damage in Cotton Utilizing a Portable Electronic Nose," Will G. Henderson, Ahmad Khalilian, Young J. Han, Jeremy K. Greene and David C. Degenhardt, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, vol. 70, no. 1, 2010, pp. 157-62.

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR H. WARD SILVER, who wrote:

 

The aroma of stink bugs in cotton

Is something that can't be forgotten

   It'll ruin your clothes

   Lest a portable nose

Sniffs the bolls that the stinkers have got in.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

What technology do you suppose

Entomology researchers chose

   To find things that smell rotten,

   Like stinkbugs in cotton?

They used an electronic nose!

 

 

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2011-01-12 MORE IMPROBABLE: Cough, Twist, Fists, Henry Head

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> FiegelŐs Simulated-Cough Machine

<> The clever Twist (research publicist Mary-Ann Twist)

<> Aerodynamics of boomerangs and shuttlecocks

<> Professor W and the Restless Genitals

<> Inflatable doll warnings, past & present

And many more...

 

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

<> Henry Head, 150 years old, is celebrated in the journal Brain

<> Measuring the fogginess of someone's prose

<> Wacquant, furious-fisted sociologist

<> London to Edinburgh in 5 minutes, by train

 

      twitter: ImprobResearch

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

 

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2011-01-13 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Squid Odor, Canned and Not

 

THE SPECIFIC ODOUR COMPONENTS OF CANNED SQUID

"Study of the Specific Odour Components of Canned Squid" [article in Riussian], E.V. Yakush, N.V. Dolbnina, I.L. Zhuravleva and R.V. Golovnya, Pishchevaya i Pererabatyvayushchaya Promyshlennost, no. 4, September 1, 1987, pp. 52-4. <http://bit.ly/en4For> (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention)

 

IMPROVED SQUID MEAT+INK ODOR

"Improvement of 'kurozukuri ika-shiokara' (fermented squid meat with ink) odor with Staphylococcus nepalensis isolated from the fish sauce mush of frigate mackerel Auxis rochei," Y. Funatsu, K. Fukami, H. Kondo and S. Watabe, Bulletin of the Japanese Society of Scientific Fisheries, vol. 71, no. 4, July 2005, pp. 611-17.

<http://bit.ly/hNZtnS>

 

 

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2011-01-14 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                      — Feb 19, 2011

 

UK Tour                                   — Mar 2011

 

Edinburgh Science Festival                — TBA

 

Cambridge (MA) Science Festival           — May 2011

(3 events!)

 

NIH NICHD Retreat, Warrenton, VA          — May 17, 2011

 

Cairo, Egypt                              — Jun 2011

 

HUPO, Geneva, Switzerland                 — Sep 4, 2011

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sept 29, 2011

 

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Oct 1, 2011

 

Scandinavia Tour                          — Oct/Nov 2011

 

 

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2011-01-15 -- 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.)

 

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2011-01-16 -- 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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2011-01-17 -- 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, Stephen Drew

MAITRE DE COMPUTATION: Jerry Lotto

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon Glashow, William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts

 

(c) copyright 2011, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2011-01-18 -- 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.

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