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

MAY 2012, issue number 2012-05. 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/mini2012-05.htm>

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

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2012-05-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-05-02 Imminent Events

2012-05-03 The Magazine: Randomness versus Stupidity, Soon

2012-05-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Bang-Bang Control

2012-05-05 Dead Duck Day is Coming

2012-05-06 Spudcan-in-Clay Stiffness Limerick Competition

2012-05-07 Wine Swirling Poet

2012-05-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Non-author author / Overblown beans?

2012-05-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Re Flying Qubits via Bang-Bang Control

2012-05-10 Improbable Research Events

2012-05-11 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2012-05-12 -- Our Address (*)

2012-05-13 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-05-14 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-05-02 Imminent Events

 

      Johns Hopkins School of Medicine    — May 15, 2012

      "Science Friday" Program, NPR       — May 18, 2012

      Seoul Digital Forum, South Korea    — May 22, 2012

      Kolon, Seoul, South Korea           — May 24, 2012

      Langer Lab, MIT, Cambridge, MA      — Jun 1, 2012

      Dead Duck Day                       — Jun 5, 2012

      Raytheon BBN, Cambridge, MA         — Jun 6, 2012

      The Netherlands                     — Late June

 

 

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2012-05-03 The Magazine: Randomness versus Stupidity, Soon

 

The special "Randomness versus Stupidity" issue of the magazine will meander its way to the printer any day now, thence to subscribers.

 

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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2012-05-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Bang-Bang Control

 

This month's research spotlight focuses on what's necessary and sufficient for bang-bang control:

 

"Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Bang-Bang Control," H. Fujihira, Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, vol. 25, no. 4, August 1978, pp. 549-54. <http://bit.ly/Jv5Xwk> The author is at the University of Osaka, Japan.

 

 

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2012-05-05 Dead Duck Day is Coming

 

Don't forget that June 5 is Dead Duck Day, on which the duck-loving citizens of the city of Rotterdam gather outside the Natural History Museum to reenact the incident that led to the (ultimately Ig Nobel Prize-winning) first scientific report of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, after which they stroll to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a good duck dinner.

 

Here's a report about last year's Dead Duck Day:

<http://www.improbable.com/2011/06/06/scenes-from-dead-duck-day-2011/>

 

This year's Dead Duck Day will, as usual be celebrated at the Museum. You are invited. If you cannot get to Rotterdam, we urge you to hold your own reenactment (and then to send us photos).

 

 

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2012-05-06 Spudcan-in-Clay Stiffness Limerick Competition

 

An embedded spudcan in clay inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Elastic Stiffness Coefficients for an Embedded Spudcan in Clay," Youhu Zhang, Mark J. Cassidy and Britta Bienen, Computers and Geotechnics, vol. 42, May 2012, pp. 89–97. <http://bit.ly/KTPRL0> (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at University of Western Australia, report:

 

"The spudcan footings of mobile jack-up platforms have been known to embed several diameters during their installation in soft clay soils. During penetration soil can flow around the spudcan back filling the cavity above. This paper provides the elastic stiffness coefficients for surface to deeply embedded spudcan, as required for predicting the in situ load–displacement behaviour of a jack-up from the wind, wave and currents loading of a large storm."

 

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

 

      SPUDCAN-IN-CLAY STIFFNESS LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-05-07 Wine Swirling Poet

 

The judges have chosen co-winners in the Wine Swirling Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "'Oenodynamic': Hydrodynamic of Wine Swirling," Martino Reclari, Matthieu Dreyer, Stephanie Tissot, Danail Obreschkow, Florian Wurm, Mohamed Farha," <arXiv:1110.3369v1>, with video at <http://arxiv.org/src/1110.3369v1/anc/Oenodynamics_HQ.mpg>

 

Here is the winning limerick, from INVESTIGATOR PATRICK MCKEON:

 

In a lab during end of year crunch,

Thought a researcher needing a hunch:

   "This wine I do cherish,

   So (publish or perish!)

I'll send in a film of my lunch."

 

Here's the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

They use several metrics to show

The circular motion and flow

   Of wine as it swirls,

   As it whirls and it twirls,

Although why, I am too drunk to know.

 

 

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2012-05-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Non-author author / Overblown beans?

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> The lead author (of 976 co-authors) is not an author?

      <http://bit.ly/IHTLbN>

<> Deciding NOT to blow up a cow (officially)

      <http://bit.ly/JxuDfC>

<> Sub-fever-pitch for next pitch dropÕs imminent dropping

      <http://bit.ly/KKORrN>

<> Putting a price on prayer

      <http://bit.ly/J8zyuY>

... and many more at <http://improbable.com/>

 

IMPROBABLE NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> Fear of beans may be overblown

      <http://bit.ly/IPJHzu>

<> God-awful pollution of India's waters

      <http://bit.ly/Ku7Rje>

... and more at <http://improbable.com/category/newspaper-column>

 

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

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

 

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2012-05-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Re Flying Qubits via Bang-Bang Control

 

"Experimental Inhibition of Decoherence on Flying Qubits via Bang-Bang Control," S. Damodarakurup, M. Lucamarini, G. Di Giuseppe, D. Vitali, and P. Tombesi, arXiv:0811.2654v2, July 7, 2009. <http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.2654.pdf> The authors are at the University of Camerino, Italy.

 

And if you need a refresher on what bang-bang control is, see the action video called "Bang-Bang Control with Aeropendulum" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRXKQWuf6dI>

 

 

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2012-05-10 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine          — May 15, 2012

"Science Friday" Program, NPR             — May 18, 2012

Seoul Digital Forum, South Korea          — May 22, 2012

Kolon, Seoul, South Korea                 — May 24, 2012

Langer Lab, MIT, Cambridge, MA            — Jun 1, 2012

Dead Duck Day, Rotterdam, The Netherlands — Jun 5, 2012

Raytheon BBN, Cambridge, MA               — Jun 6, 2012

The Netherlands                           — Late Jun 2012

Publication Day: new Improbable Book      — Sep 16, 2012

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sep 20, 2012

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Sep 22, 2012

AAAS Annual Meeting, Boston, USA          — Feb 2013

Ig Nobel Tour of the UK                   — Mar 2013

Ig Nobel Tour of Scandinavia              — Mar 2013

 

 

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2012-05-11 -- 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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Send payment (US bank check, or international money order, or Visa, Mastercard or Discover info) to:

      Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

      PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

      617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927 <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-05-12 -- 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: subscription[email protected]

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

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

Twitter: ImprobResearch

 

 

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2012-05-13 -- 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 2012, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2012-05-14 -- 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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