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

August 2011, issue number 2011-08. 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/mini2011-08.htm>

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

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2011-08-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2011-08-02 Imminent Events

2011-08-03 The Magazine: Professor Lipscomb Issue

2011-08-04 Ig Nobel 24/7 Speakers and Nobel Laureates

2011-08-05 Ferric Fang on Iron

2011-08-06 Delegations to the Ig

2011-08-07 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Trousersish Mustard Operation Baffle

2011-08-08 Caffeine Eyes-Open Limerick Competition

2011-08-09 Mapping Microwaved Chicken Fingers Poet

2011-08-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Bat on a Plane, Snake in an MRI Tube

2011-08-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Pasta Constraints in Space

2011-08-12 Improbable Research Events

2011-08-13 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2011-08-14 -- Our Address (*)

2011-08-15 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2011-08-16 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2011-08-02 Imminent Events

 

American Chemical Society, Denver, Colorado — SUN, AUG 28

      9:00 am, Colorado Convention Center, Four Seasons Ballroom 4.

      "Presidential Symposium: Empowering Tomorrow's

      Science Super Heroes", with Marc Abrahams et al.

      <http://bit.ly/ovH7Ad>

 

Switzerland (Geneva & Basel) — SEP 4 & 7

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and live webcast — SEP 29

 

      EVENT DETAILS: <http://bit.ly/8m4zLa>

 

 

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2011-08-03 The Magazine: Professor Lipscomb Issue

 

The special Professor Lipscomb issue of the magazine is now out. You can read it online at <http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume17/v17i4/v17i4.html>.

 

Read back issues online (including the special Bears & Mathematicians issue) and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

 

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2011-08-04 Ig Nobel 24/7 Speakers and Nobel Laureates

 

The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will happen on Thursday night, September 29, at Harvard University.

DETAILS: <http://improbable.com/ig/2011/>

 

TICKETS: A few tickets are still available, from the Harvard Box Office: <http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/cal/details.php?ID=42445>

Telephone: (+1) 617-496-2222.

 

THE WINNERS: Almost all of the ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners are coming, from several continents.

 

OTHER IGNITARIES: Here are some of the OTHER ceremony participants.

 

The 24/7 Lecturers, who will each explain a topic in 24 seconds, and then in seven words:

 

<> Susan Lindquist. TOPIC: Stress Reactions

<> Dudley Herschbach. TOPIC: Chemistry

<> Donna Nelson. TOPIC: TBA

<> Kate Clancy. TOPIC: VAGINAL pH

 

The Nobel laureates who will physically present the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new winners, and shake their hands:

 

<> Dudley Herschbach (chemistry, 1986)

<> Jack Szostak (physiology or medicine, 2009)

<> Melissa Fleming (official spokesperson UNHCR, peace 1954 & 1981)

<> Roy Glauber (physics, 2005)

<> Eric Maskin (economics, 2007)

<> Peter Diamond (economics, 2010)

<> Louis Ignarro, (physiology or medicine, 1998)

<> Others TBA

 

OPERA: A new opera, "Chemist in a Coffee Shop", will premiere as part of the ceremony. It will feature lots of coffee and lots of chemistry.

 

WEBCAST: The ceremony will be webcast live on YouTube.

If you're having a webcast-watching party, and want us to help publicize it, please get in touch with Ig Nobel Global Webcast Party Coordinator Neil Gussman <[email protected]>.

 

SUPPORTERS: The ceremony and webcast are made possible in part through the generosity of our supporters — Google, Microsoft Research, Optimal Systems Laboratory, Harvard University Extension School, Redbones, The (Boston) Science Museum, Toscanini's Ice Cream, Looped Logic, et al.

If you or your organization would like to help support the Ig, we'd love to work with you! Contact us at <[email protected]

 

 

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2011-08-05 Ferric Fang on Iron

 

This month's Great Names in Science turns its gaze, almost magnetically, to Ferric Fang, author of:

 

"The Role of Ferritins in the Physiology of Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium: A Unique Role for Ferritin B in Iron-Sulphur Cluster Repair and Virulence," Ferric C. Fang et al., Molecular Microbiology

Volume 63, Issue 5, March 2007 pages 1495–1507. <http://bit.ly/qESBG9>

 

Fang's lab: <http://depts.washington.edu/fanglab/>

 

Fang's Crusade About Retractions: <http://bit.ly/ocXLzZ>

 

 

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2011-08-06 Delegations to the Ig

 

If you have five (5) or more tickets to the Ig Nobel ceremony, your group can choose to be an Official Audience Delegation, and thus be officially celebrated during the event. To register as a Delegation,first obtain tickets from the Harvard Box Office. Then register with Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations Louise Sacco: (+1) 781-444-6757. The most colorful delegations will be selected to march gloriously into the theater.

 

Your delegation can be about this year's topic — CHEMISTRY — or about anything else.

 

NOTE: Here are the official audience delegations at last year's (2010) ceremony, when the theme was BACTERIA:

 

Museum of Bad Art

Harvard's Microbial Sciences Initiative

University of Chicago Mutations of the Midway

Harvard Computer Society

Google Viral and Bacterial Advertising Team

Harvard School of Public Health TB Team

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

Harvard Society of Physics Students

Third East Traveling Animal Zoo Delegation 

Harvard Class of '78 (Honorary Carriers of MRSA)

Society for the Preservation of Slide-Rules

Societas pro Agnitio

Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association

Librarians Celebrating Bacteria's Freedom to Breed

 

 

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2011-08-07 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Trousersish Mustard Operation Baffle

 

This month's research spotlight reduced the bafflement over certain aspects of the Mustard operation:

 

"The Trousers-Shaped Baffle For Use in the Mustard Operation," J.M. Quaegebeur, A.G. Brom, Annals Thoracic Surgery, vol. 25, no. 3, March 1978, pp. 240-2. <http://bit.ly/qWjxyK> The authors are at University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.

 

 

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2011-08-08 Caffeine Eyes-Open Limerick Competition

 

Caffeine and eyes inspire this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Caffeine and Opening the Eyes Have Additive Effects on Resting Arousal Measures," R.J. Barry et al, Clinical Neurophysiology, published online ahead of print, April 2011. <http://bit.ly/oqNez6> The authors are at the University of Wallongong, Australia.

 

PRIZE: The winning poet will receive (if we manage to send it to the correct address) a free, non-caffeinated, hi-res PDF issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Send your limerick to:

 

      CAFFEINE EYES-OPEN LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2011-08-09 Mapping Microwaved Chicken Fingers Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Random Balinese-German Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Magnetic Resonance Temperature Mapping of Microwave-Fried Chicken Fingers," I. Barutcu, M.J. McCarthy, Y.S. Seo and S. Sahin, Journal of Food Science, vol. 74, no. 5, June 2009, pp. E234-40. <http://bit.ly/oM7E23>

 

Here's the winning limerick, by INVESTIGATOR DON DAVIS:

 

These fingers must be MRI'd

We're testing the way they were fried

   The next guy in there

   Will have Schmaltz in his hair

And will spend the day wondering why.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

Take some chicken and nuke it or fry.

Then apply MRI to espy

   The patterns of heat

   In the pieces of meat.

Why?  To gain understanding thereby.

 

 

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2011-08-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Bat on a Plane, Snake in an MRI Tube

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

      twitter: @ImprobResearch

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Bat on a plane, Snake in an MRI tube

<> Another new smell-trapping undie innovator

<> Hackers on milk, in Germany

<> Sceret: Sceret Scientist Song, sung

And many more...

 

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

<> Mozart dies yet another way: Darkness

<> How to disassemble a skyscraper (if you have the money)

<> Studies reveal: Water tastes like water

<> The Cheese and Salami Experiments

And more...

 

 

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2011-08-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Pasta Constraints in Space

 

PASTA CONSTRAINTS IN SPACE

"Constraints on Pasta Structure of Neutron Stars from Oscillations in Giant Flares," Hajime Sotani, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Epub August 16, 2011. <http://bit.ly/pIgIhy> (Thanks to Nick Wills-Johnson for bringing this to our attention.)

 

PASTA CONSTRAINTS IN A LONG SPACE

"A Barrel Structure for Supporting Long Pasta Through Dryers," patent application EP 0385088 A2, published on 05-Sep-1990 by Bertozzi Fausto et al. <http://ip.com/patapp/EP0385088A2>

 

 

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2011-08-12 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

 

ACS, Denver, Colorado                     — Aug 28, 2011

 

HUPO, Geneva, Switzerland                 — Sep 4, 2011

 

Life Science Network Basel, Switzerland   — Sep 7, 2011

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sep 29, 2011

 

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Oct 1, 2011

 

AAAS, Vancouver, Canada                   - Feb 2012

 

Ig Nobel UK Tour                          — Mar/Apr 2012

 

The Netherlands                           — Jun 2012

 

 

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2011-08-13 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year magazine. (It's much bigger, and maybe 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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2011-08-14 -- Our Address (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927

 

EDITORIAL: [email protected]

SUBSCRIPTIONS: [email protected]

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

Blog: <http://www.improbable.com>

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2011-08-15 -- 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, Stephen Drew

MAITRE DE COMPUTATION: Jerry Lotto

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

 

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

(c) copyright 2011, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2011-08-16 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

Mini-AIR is a (free!) tiny monthly *supplement* to the bi-monthly print magazine AIR.

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