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

AUGUST 2012, issue number 2012-08. 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/2012/mini2012-08.htm>

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

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2012-08-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-08-02 Imminent Events

2012-08-03 Projectiles (magazine)

2012-08-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Blink?

2012-08-05 Ig Nobel Ceremony — Sept 20

2012-08-06 Fire Ant / Carrion Fly Competion Limerick Competition

2012-08-07 No Guar Gum Fermentation Poet

2012-08-08 Soon the Book

2012-08-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: String, Graphene/Garbage, Snoozing

2012-08-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Smile, Smile

2012-08-11 Improbable Research Events

2012-08-12 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2012-08-13 -- Our Address (*)

2012-08-14 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-08-15 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-08-02 Imminent Events

 

Publication Day: the new Improbable Book        — Sep 6, 2012

Science Friday (NPR)                            — Sep 7, 2012

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (@Harvard + webcast)    — Sep 20, 2012

Ig Informal Lectures (@MIT)                     — Sep 22, 2012

Events in the UK                                — Sep 28-Oct, 2012

 

      Full schedule at <http://goo.gl/tzwJt>

 

 

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2012-08-03 Projectiles (magazine)

 

The special "Projectiles" issue of the magazine has whizzed (and for many places outside the US is still whizzing) its way to subscribers.

 

Read a low-res version at <http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume18/v18i4/v18i4.html>. Read other back issues online, too, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

 

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2012-08-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Blink?

 

This month's research spotlight shows an unblinking search for blinks:

 

"Automatic Recognition of Eye Blinking in Spontaneously Occurring Behavior," Tsuyoshi Moriyama, Takeo Kanade, Jeffrey F. Cohn, Jing Xiao, Zara Ambadar, Jiang Gao and Hiroki Imamura, Behavoral Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, vol. 35, no. 3, August 2003, pp. 420-8. <http://goo.gl/k8qbd>

 

 

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2012-08-05 Ig Nobel Ceremony — Sept 20

 

The Twenty-Second 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will happen on THURSDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 20, at Sanders Theater.

This year's theme: The Universe.

Details: <www.improbable.com/ig/2012/>

 

Only a few tickets remain. The Harvard Box Office has them:

<https://www.boxoffice.harvard.edu/Online/>

 

The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Internet. People are organizing Ig-watching parties. The biggest is the gala overnight Ig Nobel Night event in Leiden, The Netherlands: <http://www.ignobelnight.nl/>

 

A NOTE ABOUT PAPER AIRPLANES:

If you are coming to the ceremony itself, we suggest you dress colorfully — and that you bring plenty of paper-airplane-making materials. Safe paper airplane manufacture-and-throwing is the key, and aerial plentitude the goal.

 

 

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2012-08-06 Fire Ant / Carrion Fly Competion Limerick Competition

 

The traditional rivalry between fire ants and carrion flies inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Exclusion of Forensically Important Flies Due to Burying Behavior by the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Southeast Texas," Natalie K. Lindgren, Sibyl Bucheli, Alan Archambeault, Joan Bytheway <http://goo.gl/YsJ5D>, Forensic Sciences International, vol. 204, nos 1-3, January 2011, pp. e1-3. <http://goo.gl/GuoE3> The authors report:

 

"the remains of an adult male were partially buried at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility at the Center for Biological Field Studies, Sam Houston State University, Texas. The individual was buried except for a small portion of the left abdominal region. A postmortem incised wound was created in the exposed area with the intention of attracting carrion flies. Worker ants of a colony of Solenopsis invicta Buren 1972 (red imported fire ant) filled in the wound with soil, thereby monopolizing the exposed area of the corpse and excluding expected carrion insects from the wound."

 

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

 

      FIRE ANT / CARRION FLY COMPETITION LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-08-07 No Guar Gum Fermentation Poet

 

The judges have crankily declared there to be no winner in last month's Guar Gum Fermentation Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Faecal Fermentation of Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum" <http://goo.gl/XPJWY>.

 

Here, in stark solitude, is the offering from LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

The gastrointestinal tract,

In its top part, leaves guar gum intact.

   To the colon it spews.

   Fermentation ensues.

With real-time PCR, this is tracked.

 

 

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2012-08-08 Soon the Book

 

"This Is Improbable" my new book, will be published on September 6. Here's the cover (which carries kind words from Terry Jones, Richard Wiseman, Dan Ariely, and Mary Roach), and a bitsy video: <http://goo.gl/brcd8>

 

I'll be on NPR's "Science Friday" on Sept 7 talking about it.

 

We're organizing book-celebratory events. The biggest, likely, will be the all-star Dramatic-Readings-From-Bizarre-Research gala in London on September 30: <http://conwayhall.org.uk/this-is-improbable>

 

If you're in the UK and your institution would like to host an event between September 28 and October 7 (that's when I will be visiting), please get in touch with our possibly-superhuman organizer, the Amazing Sid: <[email protected]>

 

If you'd like to host an event in North America any time over the next few months, get in touch with me at the usual place.

 

 

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2012-08-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: String, Graphene/Garbage, Snoozing

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> The 'Animal Elimination Problem'

      <http://goo.gl/1AFzr>

<> Raymer Untangles String-Tangling for You

      <http://goo.gl/NHTl1>

<> Likely the Most Improbable Event in Human History

      <http://goo.gl/k8Ix7>

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

 

IMPROBABLE NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> Graphene From Garbage (and Girl Scout cookies and bugs)

      <http://www.improbable.com/2012/08/28/guardian-column-294/>

<> Faint Laughter – A New Study

      <http://www.improbable.com/2012/08/07/guardian-column-291/>

<> The Judge Who Fell Asleep [study]

      <http://www.improbable.com/2012/07/31/guardian-column-289/>

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

 

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

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

 

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2012-08-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Smile, Smile

 

"All Smiles are Not Created Equal: Morphology and Timing of Smiles Perceived as Amused, Polite, and Embarrassed/Nervous," Zara Ambadar, Jeffrey F. Cohn, and Lawrence Ian Reed, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, vol. 33, no. 1, March 1, 2009, pp. 17-34. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701206/>

 

"Intensity of Smiling and Attractiveness as Facial Signals of Trustworthiness in Women," K. Schmidt, R. Levenstein and Z. Ambadar, Perceptual and Motor Skills, vol. 114, no. 3, June 2012, pp. 964-78. <http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/07.09.21.PMS.114.3.964-978>

 

 

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2012-08-11 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Publication Day: the new Improbable Book  — Sep 6, 2012

Science Friday (NPR)                      — Sep 7, 2012

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sep 20, 2012

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Sep 22, 2012

Events in the UK                    — Sep 28-Oct 7, 2012

Boston Book Festival                      — Oct 27, 2012

Berkman Center, Harvard Law School        — Nov 13, 2012

AAAS Annual Meeting, Boston, USA          — Feb 16, 2013

Ig Nobel Tour of the UK                   — Mar 2013

Ig Nobel Tour of Scandinavia              — Mar 2013

Events in France                          — Apr 2013

 

 

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2012-08-12 -- 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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2012-08-13 -- 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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2012-08-14 -- 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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2012-08-15 -- 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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To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit <http://chem.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/mini-air>

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