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

January 2012, issue number 2012-01. 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/2012/mini2012-01.htm>

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

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2012-01-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-01-02 Imminent Events

2012-01-03 The Magazine: Special Body Parts Issue

2012-01-04 Front-Brain & Rear-Brain Learners

2012-01-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Chewing Sounds

2012-01-06 Crawler Sandwich Damping Competition

2012-01-07 Salt-On-Salt Poet

2012-01-08 Mark the Calendar: This Year's Ig Nobel Ceremony

2012-01-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Eye on the spider, and vice versa

2012-01-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Crispy,Crunchy, Crackly

2012-01-11 Improbable Research Events

2012-01-12 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2012-01-13 -- Our Address (*)

2012-01-14 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-01-15 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-01-02 Imminent Events

 

      ARISIA, Boston          Jan 14, 2012

 

      AAAS, Vancouver         Feb 18, 2012

 

      UK Tour                 Mar, 2012

      BITS, Pilani, India     Mar, 2012

      Scandinavia Tour        Mar, 2012

 

 

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2012-01-03 The Magazine: Special Body Parts Issue

 

The special Body Parts issue of the magazine Is in preparation now, soon to be going off to visit the printer.

 

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

 

 

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2012-01-04 Front-Brain & Rear-Brain Learners

 

Some professional educators go on about "left-brain" learners and "right-brain" learners. See, for example, <http://bit.ly/wdVoyV>. (Thanks to Mo Costandi for bringing it to our attention.)

 

There is controversy about the notion of left-brain learners and right-brain learners. Much of that controversy is between — on the one hand (the left, or maybe the right) — people who have spent much of their time studying brains and learning, and — on the other hand — people who have spent much of their time talking about right-brain learners and left-brain learners. Those on one of the hands tend to think the idea is nonsense. Those on the other hand like to like the idea.

 

We propose a new controversy. Henceforth let us all speak confidently, arbitrarily, about a new concept:

 

      Some people are FRONT-BRAIN LEARNERS.

      Other people are REAR-BRAIN LEARNERS.

 

Please help us spread this confounding notion.

 

This is one more in our series of Cogno-Intellectual activities.

For Cogno-Intellectual background, see <http://bit.ly/xVTVIk>

 

 

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2012-01-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Chewing Sounds

 

This month's research spotlight focuses on chewing sounds as heard by W.E. Lee III and various colleagues of W.E. Lee III at the University of South Florida:

 

"Analysis of Food Crushing Sounds During Mastication: Frequency-Time Studies," W.E. Lee III, A.E. Deibel, C.T. Glembin and E.G. Munday, Journal of Texture Studies, vol. 19, vol. 1, 1988, pp. 27–38. <http://bit.ly/ed1yzB>

 

"Analysis of Food Crushing Sound During Mastication: Total Sound Level Studies," W.E. Lee III, M.A. Schweitzer, G.M. Morgan and D.C. Shepherd, Journal of Texture Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, 1990, pp. 165–78. <http://bit.ly/zzocpW> The researchers report:

 

"The total sound level of airborne noise was measured continuously during consecutive chews of fresh and stale samples of potato chips and tortilla chips.... Samples were evaluated using both an open mouth and a closed mouth procedure. Analysis showed that the total sound level decreased as chewing progressed. Significant differences were observed between open mouth and closed mouth chewing, with the former displaying higher sound levels."

 

 

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2012-01-06 Crawler Sandwich Damping Competition

 

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

 

"Optimization for Sandwich Damping Composite Structure: Used in Sprockets of Crawler Vehicles," Dagang Sun, Xin Zhang, Yong Song, and Bijuan Yan, Journal of Sandwich Structures and Materials, epub December 11, 2011. (Thanks to Sheila Stone for bringing this to our attention.) <http://bit.ly/uuTToc> The authors, at Xian University of Technology and Taiyuan University of Science and Technology, China, report:

 

"A parametric study of dynamic optimization is carried out for a vibration absorber which consists of sandwich composites with a tube configuration and be used in the sprocket of crawler vehicles.... the testing data show good agreement with the optimized theoretical results."

 

 

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

 

      Crawler Sandwich Damping LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-01-07 Salt-On-Salt Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in the Salt-On-Salt Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Genetic and physiological basis of adaptive salt tolerance divergence between coastal and inland Mimulus guttatus," David B. Lowry, Megan C. Hall, David E. Salt and John H. Willis, New Phytologist, vol. 183, no. 3, August 2009, pp. 776–88. <http://bit.ly/uDvfAi>

 

This was an unusual competition. Competitors were required to write not just one, but a COUPLED-PAIR of original limericks.

 

Here's the winning limerick, by INVESTIGATOR TONY VILA:

 

Take a monkeyflow'r plant and its daughter —

One from inland and one from the water.

   If they're hit with salt spray,

  One will wither away,

Just like you'd think that it oughter.

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

Some are inland, and some, on the coast.

David Salt et al. wonder how most

   Monkey flowers adjust

   To the salt, as they must,

Because any that fail to are toast.

 

 

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2012-01-08 Mark the Calendar: This Year's Ig Nobel Ceremony

 

This year's Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on

THURSDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012, at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University. (Tickets for the ceremony will go on sale in early August.)

 

The Ig Informal Lectures will happen on

Saturday afternoon, September 22, 2012, at MIT.

 

This will be a week earlier than we usually do it, because of some calendar quirks,

 

 

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2012-01-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Eye on the spider, and vice versa

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

BLOG <http://improbable.com/>

<> Keep your eye on the spider, and the spider off your eye

<> TroxelÕs Cow pieology – The study of cow pie

<> Humming in Academia

And many more...

 

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

<> The ergonomics of wok-flipping

<> "And his hair turned white overnight" — Well,...

<> A Comprehensive Look at Dandruff in PakistanÕs Army

And more...

 

HAIR CLUBS: Video of ambidextrous, luxuriant-flowing-haired Professor Kumar, LFHCfS <http://bit.ly/w1Goiu>

 

 

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2012-01-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Crispy,Crunchy, Crackly

 

"Spectral Composition of Eating Sounds Generated by Crispy, Crunchy and Crackly Foods," C. Dacremont, Journal of Texture Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, February 1995, pp. 27–43, The author is at the Universitˇ de Bourgogne. <http://bit.ly/zmec2F>

 

 

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2012-01-11 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

ARISIA, Boston, MA, USA                   — Jan 14, 2012

 

AAAS, Vancouver, Canada                   - Feb 18, 2012

 

Ig Nobel UK Tour                          — Mar 8-17, 2012

 

BITS, Pilani, India                       — Mar 18, 2012

 

Ig Nobel Tour of Scandinavia              — Mar 22-28, 2012

 

The Netherlands                           — Jun 2012

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sep 20, 2012

 

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Sep 22, 2012

 

 

 

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2012-01-12 -- 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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2012-01-13 -- 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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2012-01-14 -- 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 2012, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2012-01-15 -- 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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