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

December 2013, issue number 2013-12. ISSN 1076-500X.

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Monthly mini update/alert from the Annals of Improbable Research

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

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2013-12-01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2013-12-02 Technical Note: mini-AIR's New Server

2013-12-03 Imminent Events

2013-12-04 In the Magazine: Ig Issue Imminent

2013-12-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Candy-Cover Crackling

2013-12-06 Drift Limerick Competition

2013-12-07 Ceramic Uvula Speaker Poet

2013-12-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Ice Cream Music, Depression, Lovers

2013-12-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Where and Why Drifters Die

2013-12-10 Improbable Research Events

2013-12-11 -- How to Get the Magazine (*)

2013-12-12 -- Our Address (*)

2013-12-13 -- Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2013-12-14 -- How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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2013-12-02 Technical Note: mini-AIR's New Server

 

The mini-AIR distribution list now resides on a new machine. The machine it lived on for the past eon is disintegrating. Apologies if there are glitches with this, the first issue spouting from the new machine!

 

ALSO: This is the first issue of mini-AIR in which we are including an image. Having advanced into the the 20th century, we contemplate sneaking some day into the 21st.

 

 

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2013-12-03 Imminent Events

 

ARISIA, Boston, MA, USA                   Jan [date TBA], 2014

Dramatic Improbable Research, read by aloud by notable persons.

 

AAAS Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, USA     Feb 15, 2014

 

UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden              Mar/Apr 2014

 

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

 

 

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2013-12-04 In the Magazine: Ig Issue Imminent

 

The special Ig Nobel issue (vol. 19, no. 6) of the Annals of Improbable Research is at the printer! The paper version will soon be mailed to subcribers. The e-book version (with identical content) will be in e-bookstores within a few weeks.

 

The special Tolstoys & Rifles issue (vol. 19, no. 5) is available as an e-book, and portions of it are online free at <http://goo.gl/qAuogp>:

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

      All issues of the magazine <http://www.improbable.com/magazine>

 

 

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2013-12-05 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Candy-Cover Crackling

 

This month's research spotlights the crackling sound of candy wrappers:

 

"Universal power law in the noise from a crumpled elastic sheet," Eric M. Kramer and Alexander E. Lobkovsky, Physical Review E, vol. 53, no. 2, 1996, pp. 1465 ff. (Thanks to Neil Judell for bringing this to our attention.) <http://goo.gl/vrRJ9y> The authors, at the University of Chicago, report:

 

"Physicists and laymen alike are familiar with the loud crackling noise produced when a crumpled cellophane candy wrapper is unwrapped. This noise is a generic product of thin, crumpled elastic sheets and is qualitatively different from the sounds that can be produced with a flat sheet. Despite its ubiquity and accessibility, to our knowledge there has been no experimental investigation of this sound.... Using high-resolution digital recordings, we study the crackling sound emitted from crumpled sheets of mylar as they are strained."

 

 

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2013-12-06 Drift Limerick Competition

 

Drift — in Dogs, Names, Pottery and Authors — inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this patent:

 

"Random Drift and Large Shifts in Popularity of Dog Breeds," Harold A. Herzog, R. Alexander Bentley and Matthew W. Hahn, Biology Letters, vol. 271, no. S5, August 7, 2004, pp. 353-6. <http://goo.gl/36A2Z5> (Thanks to Mikhail Simkin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors report that:

 

"This model predicts the frequency distributions of first names over the past century (Hahn & Bentley 2003), decorations on prehistoric pottery (Neiman 1995; Bentley & Shennan 2003) and journal citations of scientific authors (Simkin & Roychowdhury 2003).... In some cases, however, there are dramatic fluctuations in the popularities of individual breeds that do not fit this simple null hypothesis. For example, after the release of the 1985 version of the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians, new Dalmatian registrations increased 6.2-fold, from 6880 registrations in 1985 to 42 816 registrations in 1993, followed by a precipitous fall to 4652 registrations 6 years later."

 

Submit your limerick to:

 

      DRIFT LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <[email protected]probable.com>

 

 

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2013-12-07 Ceramic Uvula Speaker Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner for last month's Ceramic Uvula Speaker Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor this document:

 

"Ceramic Uvula Speaker," Canadian patent application 2733321A1, by Mira Yung, filed Feb 28, 2011. <http://goo.gl/rbHl2T>

 

The winning poet is TONY HARKER, who wrote:

Build a speaker that's mouth-like inside it,

Let a uvula partly divide it:

   Its ceramic surround

   Helps to transmit the sound,

So you'd better not sit right beside it.

 

From LIMERICK LAUREATE MARTIN EIGER:

A speaker of plastic or wood

Makes sounds that don't sound like they should.

   But results are dynamic

   With one that's ceramic.

The uvula makes it sound good.

 

 

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2013-12-08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Ice Cream Music, Depression, Lovers

 

Recent improbable bits you maybe missed:

 

IMPROBABLE BLOG:

<> Ice music and ice cream music, and a former rodeo rider

      <http://goo.gl/jYWfp3>

<> "Which placebo to cure depression?" [study]

      <http://goo.gl/GRKSma>

<> Press Release of the Week: "Reduced cognitive control in passionate lovers" <http://goo.gl/eCXPbN>

 

...and MORE, MORe, MOre, More, more at <http://improbable.com>

 

New LFHCfS (Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists) member:

Brenna Hassett: <http://goo.gl/rwO6sa>

 

NEWSPAPER COLUMN:

<> What, When, or How Do Students Complain? <http://goo.gl/5hmcAK>

 

twitter:    @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

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

book:       <http://goo.gl/rHMb3t>

 

 

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2013-12-09 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Where and Why Drifters Die

 

"Evaluating Where and Why Drifters Die," Rick Lumpkin, Nikolai Maximenko, and Mayra Pazos," Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Vol. 29, No. 2, February 2012: 300-308. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) <http://goo.gl/lsjZcd> The authors begin to explain:

 

"Global drifter array of ~1250 drifters requires deployment of ~1000 drifters per year. When planning these deployments, itŐs valuable to have an accurate assessment of where drifters are likely to die."

 

 

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2013-12-10 Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

ARISIA, Boston, USA                       — Jan, 2014

AAAS Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA         — Feb 15, 2014

Ig Nobel Tour of Denmark                 — Mar, 2014

Ig Nobel Tour of the UK                   — Mar, 2014

Stockholm, Sweden                        — Mar, 2014

Dublin, Ireland                           — Mar, 2014

USA Sci & Eng Fest, Washington, DC        — Apr 24, 2014

NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, USA               — Apr 25, 2014

Imperial College London Festival, UK      — May, 2014

ESOF, Copenhagen, Denmark                 — Jun, 2014

 

 

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2013-12-11 -- 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.

 

E-BOOKS:

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

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

 

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2013-12-12 -- Our Address (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

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

 

EDITORIAL: <[email protected]>

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

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

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2013-12-13 -- 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

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Kees Moeliker, Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Gary Dryfoos, Ernest Ersatz, Stephen Drew

PROOFREADER: Ambient Happenstance

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon Glashow, Richard Roberts

 

Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the

(c) copyright 2013, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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2013-12-14 -- 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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