Archive for 'Arts and science'

Podcast 86: Walking on feet in the city (accompanied by a bongo drum)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

A scholarly study about the rhythm, rhythm, rhythm of walking, walking, walking in the city. That’s what you’ll hear about — and you’ll hear it accompanied by a bongo drum — in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

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This week, Marc Abrahams discusses a study about the rhythms of walking in cities, with fluid dynamicist Nicole Sharp, creator of FYFD, the internet’s most popular site about fluid dynamics. Sharp accompanies her dramatic readings from the study, here, with a bongo drum.

Here, inspired by the Wunderlich study, is an artistic composite image, created by Nan Swift starting with a photo from the Caltech archives, of city streets and bongo-playing physicist Richard Feynman, who is known to have walked many city streets:


The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

When are World Standards Day in 2016?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

This year, 2016, World Standards Day was on Friday, October 14. One of the competing official announcements says:

Each year on 14 October, the members of the IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate World Standards Day, which is a means of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards.

wsd-16This year the United States is celebrating World Standards Day on Thursday, October 27.

The U.S. celebration trumpets the year’s international official theme: “Standards Build Trust”. There will be a gala dinner in Washington, D.C., on World Standards Day, to celebrate the day and the theme.

Last year, 2015,  World Standards Day was on October 14. The United States celebrated the 2015 World Standards Day on September 28-October 2.

A journal for the confused or would-be-confused

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

IntegratedJournalOfBritishIf you are confused by academic journals, or want to be confused by academic journals, do not miss Integrated Journal of British.

This, in its own words, is what the Integrated Journal of British is all about: “The journal addresses the issues for the vertical and horizontal applications in their respective areas.”

[UPDATE October 18, 2016: The journal’s web site seems to have vanished. Indirect traces remain elsewhere, as in this listing in a directory of scholarly journals.]

This song, as sung by mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, exemplifies the spirit that perhaps animates readers of the journal:

For a very different use of that same tune, see the concluding act of “The Jargon Opera”, which had its debut as part of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Video of the peace prize winner discussing bullshit and people who crave bullshit

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

The 2016 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek Koehler, and Jonathan Fugelsang for their scholarly study called “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit”.

The study is: “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit,” Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler, and Jonathan A. Fugelsang, Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563. The authors were all at the University of Waterloo. Nathaniel Barr is now at at Sheridan College, Gordon Pennycook at Yale University.

Gordon Pennycook, Nathaniel Barr, Derek Koehler, and Jonathan Fugelsang attended the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University. Two days later, at the Ig Informal Lectures, at MIT, Nathaniel Barr gave this five-minute talk. The video here also includes his subsequent Q & A with the audience:

The Benefits of a Lending Library for Female Urinals

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Libraries can have many benefits. This paper outlines one:

The Benefits of a Lending Library for Female Urinals,” Julie Vickerman, Nursing Times, vol. 99, no. 44, 2002, pp. 56-57. The author is at the Chorley and South Ribble Primary Care Trust, Lancashire, UK.

Here’s detail from the paper: