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

October 2012, issue number 2012-10. 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/mini2012-10.htm>

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

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2012-10-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-10-02 Imminent Events

2012-10-03 Alcohol Consumption Research (magazine)

2012-10-04 The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

2012-10-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Moths and Chocolate

2012-10-06 The-Brain-in-Wrestlers Limerick Competition

2012-10-07 Daniel the Chemical TV Star

2012-10-08 Megaripples in Desert Sand Poet

2012-10-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Hair, Cats, Pumpkin-Carving Cadaver Arms

2012-10-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Moths and Vanilla

2012-10-11 Improbable Research Events

2012-10-12 -- How to Subscribe to the Magazine (*)

2012-10-13 -- Our Address (*)

2012-10-14 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-10-15 -- How to Receive mini-AIR, etc. (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-10-02 Imminent Events

 

Boston Book Festival                      — Oct 27, 2012

Museum of Curiosity (BBC)                 — Nov 5, 2012

Berkman Center, Harvard Law School        — Nov 13, 2012

Science Friday (NPR)                      — Nov 16, 2012

Ig Nobel on Science Friday (NPR)          — Nov 23, 2012

Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC)                — Nov 26, 2012

Congress of Science & Factual Producers   — Nov 28, 2012

Harvard SEAS                              — Dec 7, 2012

 

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

 

 

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2012-10-03 Alcohol Consumption Research(magazine)

 

The special "Alcohol Consumption" issue of the magazine is now online at <http://goo.gl/quhXO>.

 

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

 

 

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2012-10-04 The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

 

The 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes were awareded at the 22nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard's Sanders Theater. The winners are:

 

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan [THE NETHERLANDS] and Tulio Guadalupe [PERU, RUSSIA, and THE NETHERLANDS] for their study "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller"

REFERENCE: "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller: Posture-Modulated Estimation," Anita Eerland, Tulio M. Guadalupe and Rolf A. Zwaan, Psychological Science, vol. 22 no. 12, December 2011, pp. 1511-14.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Tulio Guadalupe. [NOTE: Two days after the ceremony, Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan married each other, in the Netherlands.]

 

PEACE PRIZE: The SKN Company [RUSSIA], for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Igor Petrov

 

ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

REFERENCE: "SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback", Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada, arxiv.org/abs/1202.6106. February 28, 2012.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada

 

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.

REFERENCE: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, poster, 15th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, San Francisco, CA, June 2009.

REFERENCE: "Neural Correlates of Interspecies Perspective Taking in the Post-Mortem Atlantic Salmon: An Argument For Multiple Comparisons Correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results, vol. 1, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1-5.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford

 

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Johan Pettersson [SWEDEN and RWANDA]. for solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslšv, Sweden, people's hair turned green.

ATTENDING THE THE CEREMONY: Johan Pettersson

 

LITERATURE PRIZE: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.

REFERENCE: "Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies," US Government General Accountability Office report GAO-12-480R, May 10, 2012.

 

PHYSICS PRIZE: Joseph Keller [USA], and Raymond Goldstein [USA and UK], Patrick Warren, and Robin Ball [UK], for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail.

REFERENCE: "Shape of a Ponytail and the Statistical Physics of Hair Fiber Bundles." Raymond E. Goldstein, Patrick B. Warren, and Robin C. Ball, Physical Review Letters, vol. 198, no. 7, 2012.

REFERENCE: "Ponytail Motion," Joseph B. Keller, SIAM [Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics] Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 70, no. 7, 2010, pp. 2667–72.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren, Robin Ball

 

FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE: Rouslan Krechetnikov [USA, RUSSIA, CANADA] and Hans Mayer [USA] for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.

REFERENCE: "Walking With Coffee: Why Does It Spill?" Hans C. Mayer and Rouslan Krechetnikov, Physical Review E, vol. 85, 2012.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Rouslan Krechetnikov

 

ANATOMY PRIZE: Frans de Waal [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.

REFERENCE: "Faces and Behinds: Chimpanzee Sex Perception" Frans B.M. de Waal and Jennifer J. Pokorny, Advanced Science Letters, vol. 1, 99–103, 2008.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny

 

MEDICINE PRIZE: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti [FRANCE] for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode.

REFERENCE: "Colonic Gas Explosion During Therapeutic Colonoscopy with Electrocautery," Spiros D Ladas, George Karamanolis, Emmanuel Ben-Soussan, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 13, no. 40, October 2007, pp. 5295–8.

REFERENCE: "Argon Plasma Coagulation in the Treatment of Hemorrhagic Radiation Proctitis is Efficient But Requires a Perfect Colonic Cleansing to Be Safe," E. Ben-Soussan, M. Antonietti, G. Savoye, S. Herve, P. DucrottŽ, and E. Lerebours, European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 16, no. 12, December 2004, pp 1315-8.

ATTENDING THE THE CEREMONY: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan

 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: We are now, in 2012, correcting an error we made in the year 1999, when we failed to include one winner's name. We now correct that, awarding a share of the 1999 physics prize to Joseph Keller. Professor Keller is also a co-winner of the 2012 Ig Nobel physics prize, making him a two-time Ig Nobel winner.

The corrected citation is: 1999 PHYSICS PRIZE: Len Fisher [UK and Australia] for calculating the optimal way to dunk a biscuit, and Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck [UK and Belgium] and Joseph Keller [USA], for calculating how to make a teapot spout that does not drip.

REFERENCE: "Physics Takes the Biscuit", Len Fisher, Nature, vol. 397, no. 6719, February 11, 1999, p. 469.

REFERENCE: "Pouring Flows," Jean-Marc Vanden‐Broeck and Joseph B. Keller, Physics of Fluids, vol. 29, no. 12, 1986, pp. 3958-61.

 

==> ALL WINNERS, 1991-2012 (with links): <http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/>

 

==> CEREMONY DETAILS (with video): <www.improbable.com/ig/2012/>

 

 

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2012-10-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Moths and Chocolate

 

This month's research spotlight aims at the combination of chocolate and moths:

 

"Electrophysiological and Behavioral Responses to Chocolate Volatiles in Both Sexes of the Pyralid Moths, Ephestia cautella and Plodia interpunctella," P.-O. Christian Olsson, Olle Anderbrant, Christer Lofstedt, Anna-Karin Borg-Karlson and Ilme Liblikas, Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol. 31, no. 12, December 2005, pp. 2947-61. <http://goo.gl/2JFIq> (Thanks to Daniel Sher for bringing this to our attention.) The authors describe a multi-part investigation, culminating in this:

 

"A final experiment revealed that a blend of the three volatiles was required to induce landing in the flight tunnel bioassay, and that the landing rate was dependent on dose."

 

 

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2012-10-06 The-Brain-in-Wrestlers Limerick Competition

 

Changes in the functional asymmetry of the brain in wrestlers inspire this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

 

"Changes in the Functional Asymmetry of the Brain in Wrestlers," S.V. Afanas'ev, M. M. Mikheev, O.P. Trachenko and N.N. Nikolaenko, Doklady Biological Sciences, vol. 375, nos. 1-6, November 2000, pp. 580–2. <http://goo.gl/KyeEc> The authors, at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, report:

 

"The changes in the functional asymmetry of the brain influenced by the wrestler's position, a late acquired automatism, are analyzed in this work."

 

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

 

      THE-BRAIN-IN-WRESTLERS COMPETITION LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-10-07 Daniel the Chemical TV Star

 

Daniel Rosenberg, the Ig Nobel ceremony's chief performing chemist (and in the past two ceremonies, budding opera singer), who also prepares and performs most of the chemical demonstrations for Harvard's science classes, is becoming a TV star. Catch his first appearance on Discovery Channel's Daily Planet program <http://goo.gl/t9fiE>, in the segment called "Oxygen Fire."

 

 

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2012-10-08 Megaripples in Desert Sand Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Megaripples in Desert Sand Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Evolution of Megaripples from a Flat Bed" <http://goo.gl/wirIn>.

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR PATRICK MCKEON, who writes:

 

I must say this study quite triples

My knowledge of sand megaripples,

   Though I grumbled and cursed

   Since I misread at first

And expected frat bed meganipples.

 

From LIMERIC LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

Middle Easterners fighting for land

Have a new thing to misunderstand.

   With particles drifting

   And winds always shifting,

Where to draw lines in the sand?

 

 

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2012-10-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Hair, Cats, Pumpkin-Carving Cadaver Arms

 

Recent improbable bits you may or may not have missed:

 

NEW MEMBERS of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS):

<> Dack Stuart <http://goo.gl/zDyLm>

<> Diane McCarthy <http://goo.gl/b4CxM>

<> Adam Perzynski <http://goo.gl/pPzKj>

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> Nasal Topsy-Turvyism Examined

      <http://goo.gl/B0ZfV>

<> Kitiporn: A New Way to Use Durians

      <http://goo.gl/Veo8v>

<> Dropping and Bouncing Cats (A Collection)

      <http://goo.gl/Yk0LJ>

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

 

IMPROBABLE NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> [Cadaver] Hands-On Experiment: The Safety of Pumpkin Carving Tools

      <http://goo.gl/gC65J>

<> Economists' Advice for Bank Robbers

      <http://goo.gl/iqT1d>

<> Most Bad Singers Aren't Tone Deaf

      <http://goo.gl/Hp4od>

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

 

NEW BOOK: "This Is Improbable" <http://goo.gl/brcd8>

 

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

      twitter: @ImprobResearch, @IgNobel

      facebook: <http://www.facebook.com/improbableresearch>

 

 

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2012-10-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Moths and Vanilla

 

"Attraction and Oviposition of Ephestia kuehniella Induced by Volatiles Identified from Chocolate Products," P.-O. Christian Olsson, Olle Anderbrant, Christer Lšfstedt, Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, vol. 119, no. 2, May 2006, pp. 137–44. <http://goo.gl/FKIoq> The authors report:

 

"...In addition, vanillin and ethyl vanillin were electrophysiologically active on male antennae."

 

 

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2012-10-11 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Boston Book Festival                      — Oct 27, 2012

Museum of Curiosity (BBC)                 — Nov 5, 2012

Berkman Center, Harvard Law School        — Nov 13, 2012

Science Friday (NPR)                      — Nov 16, 2012

Ig Nobel on Science Friday (NPR)          — Nov 23, 2012

Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC)                — Nov 26, 2012

Congress of Science & Factual Producers   — Nov 28, 2012

Harvard SEAS                              — Dec 7, 2012

ARISIA, Boston                            — Jan 19, 2013

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

British Festival of Neuroscience, London  — Apr 7, 2013

2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, Harvard     — Sep 12, 2013

Ig Informal Lectures, MIT                 — Sep 14, 2013

 

 

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2012-10-12 -- 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.)

 

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2012-10-13 -- 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 and blog: <http://www.improbable.com>

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

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2012-10-14 -- 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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2012-10-15 -- 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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