Archive for 'Arts and science'

An answer to the duck-quack-doesn’t-echo conjecture

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Certain persons at the University of Salford decided it was necessary to answer an old supposition:

duck_santa_hat_medwe proved that a duck’s quack does echo

(Thanks to investigator Dany Adams for bringing this to our attention.)

Hugging — What Does It Mean? [podcast 77]

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

A scientifical Swedish attempt to get a mental grasp on hugging — that’s the central thing in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free.

This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by Harvard chemist Daniel Rosenberg — tells about:

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).

BONUS: “How to get Ötzi’s look“, in Science News:


What’s new in the Ig Nobel Prize-winning world of Spam

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

“Some 250,000 cans clicking along every day, six days a week.” That’s most of what’s new in the world of Spam, as detailed in a Bloomberg report by Kyle Stock, with the mildly contrary headline “Beyond Spam.”

The 1992 Ig Nobel Prize for nutrition was awarded to the utilizers of Spam, courageous consumers of canned comestibles, for 54 years of undiscriminating digestion. That time period has now, of course, stretched to 76 years.



Video problems: Grrrr! Bear with us…

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

We are, as they say, “experiencing” problems in displaying videos on the Improbable Research blog. The problem occurs only with certain browsers (notably Chrome, on Macintoshes). On  some other browsers, on some other kinds of computer, there is no problem at all. You can see the problem, or not see it, in our blog item about “Many, many kinds of infinity“.

In case you’re curious about the technical details: The WordPress plug-in we have been using for many years is — suddenly — not working properly. Our crack technical team (who is named Julia) is relentlessly, ruthlessly, doggedly seeking out a good way to solve the problem.

Bear with us, please, as Julia does glorious battle with this glitch!

Many, many kinds of infinity

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Vi Hart, in this video, explains and plays with many kinds of infinity:

BONUS QUESTION (for mathematicians): Are there infinitely many kinds of infinity?