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

December 2012, issue number 2012-12. 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/mini2012-12.htm>

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

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2012-12-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2012-12-02 Imminent Events

2012-12-03 Improbable Research Transformed: E-books!

2012-12-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: The Nexus of Moral Maxims

2012-12-05 Shoulder Sampling Limerick Competition

2012-12-06 Digested Domestic Sludge Poet

2012-12-07 MORE IMPROBABLE: Dominoes, a Cat, and Margaret Thatcher

2012-12-08 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Experiences of a Reluctant Rat-Catcher

2012-12-09 Improbable Research Events

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

2012-12-11 -- Our Address (*)

2012-12-12 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2012-12-13 -- How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2012-12-02 Imminent Events

 

      Science Friday (NPR)                — Dec 14, 2012

 

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

 

 

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2012-12-03 Improbable Research Transformed: E-books!

 

We now publish each issue of our magazine — the Annals of Improbable Research — as an e-book, as well as on paper.

 

To do that, we had to — and did — invent a simple way to make magazine issues into e-books that are comfy to read on tiny screens, as well as big screens. We believe this wee, little innovation is a big deal. It will be useful to many publishers of richly formatted material.

 

FREE E-BOOK ISSUE: <http://goo.gl/BMzMw>

 

Get other e-book issues, and/or subscribe to the fully tangible paper version, at: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>.

 

Background details: <http://goo.gl/tZRX5>

 

 

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2012-12-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: The Nexus of Moral Maxims

 

This month's research spotlight aims at compacted wisdom:

 

"Perspicacity into the Nexus of Moral Maxims: Teaching Etiquette and Its Bearing on the Nub of education," Mindaralew Zewdie, Ethiopian Journal of Quality and Relevant Higher Education and Training, vol. 1, no. 2, May 2012.

<http://rvuc.net76.net/Research/Second%20Journal.pdf#page=14>

The abstract — which we suggest you declaim in an ever-loudening voice — begins:

 

"While being girded by predicaments from almost all walks of challenges, to be able to exact oneÕs bounden duty and shoulder one's professional responsibility raises the actors to the status of the ascetic taking sanctuary not in a non-secular teguments but in the pulsating core of the secular world itself. That in its own throws unto us a challenge that sounds at first glance something of a self-defeating essence: The ascetic style of life in a world that is built every step of its way from secular bricks. That is exactly the case with teachers who keep on paddling the canoe of education across the sea of life defined by a relentlessly soaring storm of inflation, a skyrocketing price of food stuff, an exponentially shuttling house rent, clothing and everything that is sine qua non for keeping one's existential unit. The bevy of these plethora problems staring him/her stark in the eye notwithstanding, the teacher has been and still is noted for delivering as per the expectations of the very professionÕs etiquette. The point worth scrutinizing at this juncture is one of the secret behind this commendable performance when everything at hand and nearby can only admit of a life of a convent or of a religious  sanctuary."

 

BONUS: The author also wrote a book called The Conundrum Calling for Deciphering: Cultural Riddles in Ethiopia. <http://goo.gl/9DwGu> The book's publisher says: "Mindaralew has plumbed the depths of puzzling layers surrounding cultural riddles that are associated with the month of May."

 

 

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2012-12-05 Shoulder Sampling Limerick Competition

 

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

 

"Should Styrene be Sampled on the Left or Right Shoulder? — An Important Question in Employee Self-Assessment," Kare Eriksson, Ingrid Liljelind, Jessica Fahlˇn and Erik Lampa, Annals of Occupational Hygiene, vol. 49, no. 6, 2005, pp. 529-33. <http://goo.gl/pqLVI> (Thanks to investigator Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The authors report:

 

"Employers and employees have raised the question of whether a different estimate of the air concentration is likely to be obtained depending on whether the sampler is fastened at the left or the right shoulder.... We observed no statistically significant difference in the determined air concentration of styrene between the left and right shoulder."

 

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

 

      SHOULDER SAMPLING LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]>

 

 

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2012-12-06 Digested Domestic Sludge Poet

 

The judges have chosen co-winners for last month's Digested Domestic Sludge Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor the study "Experimental Program For Unwatering Digested Domestic Sewage Sludge Under Plant Conditions," M. Tamas, Hidrologiai Kozlony, vol. 52, no. 11, November 1972, pp. 489-95. <http://goo.gl/jfLKS>

 

The winners are INVESTIGATOR RUTH GREENWOOD, who writes:

 

Sewage sludge is a fudge-y brown goo.

Yes, that which once came out of you

   Must fetch big bucks if dry,

   Otherwise, why

Would M. Tamas dehydrate your pooh?

 

and INVESTIGATOR JEFFERY EWENER, who writes:

 

You might call this kind of work drudge –

Digesting the family sludge.

   But we're learning the trick,

   And progress is quick.

We'll soon have it tasting like fudge.

 

From LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

 

How much water is mixed in with your

Collection of sludge?  Are you sure?

   Can you tell?  No, you can't.

   But a processing plant

Can ensure that your sewage is pure.

 

 

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2012-12-07 MORE IMPROBABLE: Dominoes, a Cat, and Margaret Thatcher

 

Recent improbable bits you maybe missed:

 

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

<> David Jones <http://goo.gl/baIE1>

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> Domino-stacking in quasi-parallel sheets, with a cat

      <http://goo.gl/FefRO>

<> Blue dye turns patient blue

      <http://goo.gl/I8Ur3>

<> Santa: fetishism, ambivalence and narcissism

      <http://goo.gl/ok26X>

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

 

IMPROBABLE NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> Why was Mrs Thatcher interrupted so often in interviews?

      <http://goo.gl/W8DUZ>

<> "Tables and chairs on the highway"

      <http://goo.gl/ZoUDx>

<> A look back at ThailandÕs epidemic of penile amputations

      <http://goo.gl/82ZkP>

... 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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2012-12-08 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Experiences of a Reluctant Rat-Catcher

 

"Experiences of a Reluctant Rat-Catcher — The Common Norway Rat-Friend or Enemy?" Curt P. Richter, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 112, no. 6, Dec. 9, 1968, pp. 403-15. <http://goo.gl/JZgJv>

 

 

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2012-12-09 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Science Friday (NPR)                      — Dec 14, 2012

ARISIA, Boston                            — Jan 19, 2013

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

Ig Nobel Tour of Scandinavia              — Mar 2013

Ig Nobel Tour of the UK                   — 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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2012-12-10 -- How to Get the Magazine (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year magazine. (It's much bigger and better than the little bits in this newsletter.)

We produce each issue as an e-book, as well as on traditional paper.

 

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2012-12-11 -- Our Address (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

(+1) 617-491-4437, FAX: (+1) 617-661-0927

 

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2012-12-12 -- 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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2012-12-13 -- How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

 

Mini-AIR is a (free!) teeny-tiny monthly *supplement* to the actual six-times-a-year magazine AIR.

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