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

November 2011, issue number 2011-11. 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/mini2011-11.htm>

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

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2011-11-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2011-11-02 Imminent Event

2011-11-03 The Magazine: Ig Nobel Issue A-coming

2011-11-04 Annual SciFri Broadcast

2011-11-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Oh, Yes, Ohno Praises Peptide P-dromes

2011-11-06 Double (2!) Stare/Walk Experiment Competition

2011-11-07 Incompleteness & Unsolvable Halting Poet

2011-11-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Why Nairobi Needs Traffic Jams

2011-11-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Wanker on Drugs

2011-11-10 Improbable Research Events

2011-11-11 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2011-11-12 -- Our Address (*)

2011-11-13 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2011-11-14 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2011-11-02 Imminent Event

 

      NPR's "Science Friday" Ig Nobel broadcast — Fri, Nov 25

 

 

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2011-11-03 The Magazine: Ig Nobel Issue A-coming

 

The special Ig Nobel issue of the magazine will soon be meandering its way to the printer, thence to speed onwards to subscribers here, there, and other places.

 

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

 

 

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2011-11-04 Annual SciFri Broadcast

 

Gather the family (or flee from it, if that's appropriate) and listen to the annual day-after-Thanksgiving broadcast — a specially edited version of the year's Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. It will be the first hour of the two-hour "Science Friday" program. In most — but not all! — American cities this will be from 2:00-3:00 p.m. (Some NPR stations schedule it at other times.)

 

No matter where you are, if you've an Internet connection you can listen in. Many radio stations stream the broadcast online: <http://www.sciencefriday.com/about/listen/>

 

 

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2011-11-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Oh, Yes, Ohno Praises Peptide P-dromes

 

This month's research spotlight focuses on peptides:

 

"A Song in Praise of Peptide Palindromes," Susumo Ohno, Leukemia, vol. 7, supplement 2, August 1993, pp. S157-9. <http://bit.ly/vIaPTN> The author, at Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California, writes:

 

"Peptide palindromes are invariably found in all proteins, and long palindromes exceeding 10 residues in length are not rare. They are particularly abundant in DNA-binding proteins such as H1 histone.... The simultaneous musical transformation of both strands of mouse H1 histone variety-1 DNA enable us to appreciate the symmetrical beauty of successive palindromes appearing in both H1 histone and its complementary protein."

 

BONUS: Bye, Bye, Ohno: <http://lat.ms/s12L1P>

 

 

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2011-11-06 Double Stare/Walk Experiment Competition

 

Walking and staring inspire this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose a COUPLED-PAIR OF ORIGINAL LIMERICKS that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Effects of Facial Expression and Stare Duration on Walking Speed: Two Field Experiments," D. Elman, D.C. Schulte, and A. Bukoff, Environmental Psychology and Nonverbal Behavior, vol. 2, 1977, pp. 93–99. <http://bit.ly/u8hFPs> The authors, at Kent State University, explain:

 

"Experiment 1, conducted at a traffic intersection, failed to replicate a previous finding that being stared at leads to faster walking speed.... In Experiment 2, conducted at a library elevator, duration of staring was systematically varied — either 2 seconds or more than 15 seconds.... subjects increased walking speed after a long stare but decreased it after a short stare. In both experiments a smile coupled with a stare appeared to neutralize the effects of a stare alone."

 

      ==> NOTE: Yes, to enter this competition, prepare TWO limericks.

 

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

 

      DOUBLE STARE/WALK EXPERIMENT LIMERICKS COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2011-11-07 Incompleteness & Unsolvable Halting Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Incompleteness & Unsolvable Halting Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "What Does the Incompleteness Theorem Add to the Unsolvability of the Halting Problem?" Torkel Franzen, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 3988, 2006, p. 198. <http://bit.ly/oeoTDw>

 

Here's the winning limerick, by INVESTIGATOR WARD SILVER:

 

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

In a limerick's incomplete ends

One can see it unsolvably bends

   Turing's logical works

   With Godelian quirks

...

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

Some statements are true, even though

They're unprovable, things we can't show.

   Did Godel, assuring

   Us so, impact Turing?

And how might we know this is so?

 

 

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2011-11-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Why Nairobi Needs Traffic Jams

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Innovative Traffic Jam Research in Nairobi

<> An Axolotl Song

<> "So-called Spontaneous Human Combustion"

And many more...

 

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

<> The Physics of Skulking and Falling Cats

<> What Happens When the Brain Encounters Naughtiness?

<> Scientists Gain Insights into and with Cereal Flakes

And more...

 

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

Father and son George Kissil and Joseph Kissil have both joined the Luxuriant Former Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). Behold their radiant upper glory.

 

 

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2011-11-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Wanker on Drugs

 

"Social Causes of Drug Consumption of Adolescents" [Article in German], K.L. Taschner and K. Wanker, Psychiatrie, Neurologie, und Medizinische Psychologie, vol. 25, no. 4, April 1973, pp. 208-15. <http://bit.ly/t2xxTa> (Thanks to Norbert Hirschhorn for bringing this to our attention.)

 

 

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2011-11-10 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

NPR's "Science Friday" Ig Nobel broadcast — Nov 25, 2011

 

ARISIA, Boston, MA, USA                   — Jan 15, 2012

 

AAAS, Vancouver, Canada                   - Feb 18, 2012

 

Ig Nobel UK Tour                          — Mar/Apr 2012

 

The Netherlands                           — Jun 2012

 

 

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2011-11-11 -- 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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2011-11-12 -- 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: subscriptions@improbable.[email protected]

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

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

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2011-11-13 -- 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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2011-11-14 -- 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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