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

September 2012, issue number 2012-09. 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/mini2012-09.htm>

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

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2012-09-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-09-02 Imminent Events

2012-09-03 Alcohol Consumption Issue (magazine)

2012-09-04 The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony & Broadcast (& Lectures)

2012-09-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Repetitious Recurrence: Ohno & Ohno

2012-09-06 Megaripples in Desert Sand Competion Limerick Competition

2012-09-07 Ig Nobel TV Program Premieres in France Sept 28

2012-09-08 Fire Ant / Carrion Fly Poet

2012-09-09 This Is Improbable, in Print and in the UK

2012-09-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Robot, Snakebite, Garbage, Cookies, Tank

2012-09-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Another Look at Tube Rot

2012-09-12 Improbable Research Events

2012-09-13 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2012-09-14 -- Our Address (*)

2012-09-15 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-09-16 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-09-02 Imminent Events

 

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

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

France 5 TV - Premiere of Ig Nobel Documentary  — Sep 28, 2012

Improbable Book Events in the UK                — Sep 28-Oct 9, 2012

 

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

 

 

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2012-09-03 Alcohol Consumption Issue (magazine)

 

The special "Alcohol Consumption" issue of the magazine will soon go to the printer, thence to subscribers.

 

Read back issues online, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

 

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2012-09-04 The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony & Broadcast (& Lectures)

 

The 2nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will happen on

THURSDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 20, at Harvard's Sanders Theater,

honoring achievements that make people laugh, then think.

This year's theme is: The Universe.

 

      ==> CEREMONY DETAILS: <www.improbable.com/ig/2012/>

 

Winners are coming from five continents.

Five Nobel Laureates are coming to hand out the prizes.

Eight past Ig Nobel winners are coming to take a bow and help honor the new winners.

The Keromin Orchestra is coming from Japan to do a pre-ceremony mini-concert using the frog/theramin hybrid instrument called a "keromin".

Four 24/7 Lecturers are coming to lecture for 24 seconds, and then summarize that in seven words.

A stellar opera cast is coming to perform the premier of the mini-opera "The Intelligent Designer and the Universe."

If you are coming, here are some suggestions about paper airplanes and other things: <http://goo.gl/X3AKs>

 

Tickets are sold out. But do not despair (unless you enjoy despairing).

 

You can watch the

 

      ==> LIVE INTERNET BROADCAST: <http://goo.gl/ykXdb>

 

If you are in Leiden, The Netherlands, or Paris, France, you can go to a gala overnight party to watch the broadcast and see special live performances (and there are parties in other cities, too):

 

      ==> LEIDEN: <http://goo.gl/HkUtf>

      ==> PARIS: <http://goo.gl/rM4aK>

 

And... on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, comes the companion event:

 

      ==> IG INFORMAL LECTURES, at MIT <http://goo.gl/0SWjC>

 

Twitter tag for all these events: #IgNobel

 

 

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2012-09-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Repetitious Recurrence: Ohno & Ohno

 

This month's research spotlight shows Ohno and Ohno agreeing about repetitious recurrence:

 

"The All Pervasive Principle of Repetitious Recurrence Governs Not Only Coding Sequence Construction But Also Human Endeavor in Musical Composition," Susumo Ohno and Midori Ohno, Immunogenetics, vol. 24, no. 2, August 1986, pp. 71-8. <http://goo.gl/VEMj3> The authors, at the Beckman Research Institute of The City of Hope, in California, explain that:

 

"Organisms which have evolved on this earth are governed by multitudes of periodicities; tomorrow is another today, and the next year is going to be much like this year. Accordingly, the principle of repetitious recurrence pervades every aspect of life on this earth. Thus, individual genes in the genome have been duplicated and triplicated often to the point of redundancy, and each coding sequence consists of numerous variously truncated as well as variously base-substituted copies of the original primordial building block base oligomers and their allies. This principle even appears to govern the manifestations of human intellect; musical compositions also rely on this principle of repetitious recurrence. Accordingly, coding base sequences can be transformed into musical scores using one set rule."

 

 

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2012-09-06 Megaripples in Desert Sand Competion Limerick Competition

 

Megaripples in desert sand inspire this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Evolution of Megaripples from a Flat Bed," Hezi Yizhaq, Itzhak Katra, Ori Isenberg, Haim Tsoar, Aeolian Research, vol. 6, October 2012, pp. 1-12. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) <http://goo.gl/wirIn> The authors report:

 

"Megaripples in Nahal Kasuy in the southern Negev desert of Israel are characterized by a mean wavelength of about 70 cm and by a bimodal distribution of coarse and fine particle sizes, the latter of which is necessary for megaripple formation. The goal of the following work was to explore long-term megaripple evolution and its dependence on wind power and directionality and to study the grain-size distribution... periods of megaripple construction are ended by destructive episodes due to strong storms, and the process repeats itself."

 

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

 

      MEGARIPPLES IN DESERT SAND COMPETITION LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-09-07 Ig Nobel TV Program Premieres in France Sept 28

 

Quand la Science Fair Rire, a television program about the Ig Nobel Prizes and Ig Nobel Prize winners, premieres on the France 5 network, on Friday night, September 28.

 

Episode 1 features French, Dutch, Swedish and American Ig Nobel Prize winners in their natural habitats, and an Ig Nobel visit to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

 

INFO: <http://goo.gl/meppK> and <http://goo.gl/JmTRa>

 

 

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2012-09-08 Fire Ant / Carrion Fly Poet

 

The judges have crankily declared there to be no winner in last month's Fire Ant / Carrion Fly Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Exclusion of Forensically Important Flies Due to Burying Behavior by the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Southeast Texas" <http://goo.gl/GuoE3>.

 

The winner is the team of INVESTIGATORS PAUL BARNETT and JOHN GRANT, who write:

Each of us, after he dies,

If buried with ample supplies

   Of soil for adhesions

   To cover our lesions,

Gets ants in our pants, but no flies.

 

From LIMERIC LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

In Texas, researchers incise

A wound when they bury some guys.

   Industrious toil

   Of ants bearing soil

Frustrates the carrion flies.

 

 

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2012-09-09 This Is Improbable, in Print and in the UK

 

"This Is Improbable" my new book, was indeed published on September 6, in paper and as an ebook. <http://goo.gl/brcd8>

 

You can read a couple of chunks, one about racial cheese preference, the other about stage-managed lion-roaring contests, in Slate:

<http://goo.gl/jr3fV>

 

I'll be in the UK Sept 28-October 9, doing book related events in London, Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Oxford. Most of those shows will be Bunches-of-Science-and-Comedy-All-Stars-Performing-Dramatic-Readings-From-Bizarre-Research-Studies galas. The London show has so many performers that we might need to split it into two separate shows.

 

      ==> LONDON (9/30) — <http://goo.gl/9oDI8>

      ==> EDINBURGH: (10/2) — <http://goo.gl/UBuKB>

      ==> CAMBRIDGE: (10/3) — <http://goo.gl/PkPul>

      ==> OXFORD (10/5) — Details TBA

 

I'll also be on some radio programs: "Infinite Monkey Cage"; and "The Musuem of Curiosity". A fellow named Buzz Aldrin will be a fellow guest on MoC.

 

Full schedule is at <http://www.improbable.com/improbable-research-shows/complete-schedule/>, with more events to be added.

 

 

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2012-09-10 MORE IMPROBABLE: Robot, Snakebite, Garbage, Cookies, Tank

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> Eye Colour and (Dis)Agreeableness

      <http://goo.gl/fJlPb>

<> She Ponders On and In a Strapless Evening Gown

      <http://goo.gl/3pm1t>

<> Nice, Creepy Video of an All-Polymer Robot That Can Undulate

      <http://goo.gl/wyNq5>

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

 

IMPROBABLE NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> Snakebit, Electrified, and Doubly Surprised

      [NOTE: Dr. Gustafson will be appearing at both the

      Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and at the Ig Informal Lectures]

      < http://goo.gl/puuAs>

<> Graphene From Garbage & Girl Scout Cookies & Bugs

      <http://goo.gl/9Y8zi>

<> Russian tank invention: To lay waste upon the enemy

      <http://goo.gl/rq2lb>

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

 

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

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: "Improbable Research"

 

 

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2012-09-11 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Another Look at Tube Rot

 

"Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study," Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper, January 27, 2006. (Thanks to Robert Krock for bringing this to our attention.) <http://goo.gl/8X6T4>

 

 

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2012-09-12 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony                   — Sep 20, 2012

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Sep 22, 2012

France 5 TV — Premier of Ig Nobel Program — Sep 28, 2012

Events in the UK                    — Sep 28-Oct 9, 2012

Science Friday (NPR)                      — Oct TBA, 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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2012-09-13 -- 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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      Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

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2012-09-14 -- 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 and blog: <http://www.improbable.com>

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

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2012-09-15 -- 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 2012, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2012-09-16 -- 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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