Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Dead Duck Day, June 5th, honoring homosexual necrophilia in the mallard

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

DeadDuckDay-logoSunday, June 5th, 2016 is the 21st edition of Dead Duck Day, arriving precisely one year after last year’s Dead Duck Day. At exactly 17:55 h [Rotterdam time] we will honor the mallard duck that became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize.

Dead Duck Day also commemorates the billions of other birds that die from colliding with glass buildings, and challenges people to find solutions to this global problem.

Please join the free, short open-air ceremony next to the new wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (the Netherlands), right below the new Dead Duck Memorial Plaque— the very spot where that duck (now museum specimen NMR 9989-00232) met his dramatic end.

Sarah Forbes

Sarah Forbes

This is what will happen:

  • The traditional Ten Seconds of Silence.
  • Review of this year’s necrophilia news: two new clear cases in birds became known to science, and the first case in a Dutch mammal (!) will be revealed.
  • The reading of the special ‘Dead Duck Day Message’. This years message is send in by Sarah Forbes, former curator of the Museum of Sex (MoS) in New York and author of the book ‘Sex in the Museum’.
  • The announcement of the second performance of ‘The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera’ in London, on sacred grounds, June 24th, 2016.
  • The first-ever Dead Duck Day Fashion Show. The first batch of t-shirts, designed by Mark Prinsen, will be for sale.
  • A six-course duck dinner, after the ceremony.

The traditional six-course (dead) duck dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant is also open to the public (at your own expense).  Reserve you seat by e-mailing to: info [at]


BONUS: More on the history of Dead Duck Day on the official Dead Duck Day website:

BONUS: Here is Kees Moeliker’s TED Talk about the dead duck:

The further future adventures of Troy Hurtubise and a grizzly bear

Friday, May 20th, 2016

proxyTroy Hurtubise, who was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 1998 in the field of safety engineering — for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears — is again hard at work pursuing a better way to pursue a better meeting with a grizzly bear.

The Hamilton Spectator reports:

Troy Hurtubise wants Project Grizzly to roar one more time with better armour and a new movie

Quixotic inventor Troy Hurtubise is rebooting his Project Grizzly, a curious crusade to build a RoboCop-looking protective suit to stand up to an angry bear.

The 52-year-old former Hamiltonian wants to take one more try at his lifetime goal, to go mano a grizzo in self-designed armour, and live to talk about it. He’s been working away in his North Bay workshop on an eighth version of a suit and he is also in discussions with a filmmaker to produce a sequel to the 1996 National Film Board cult classic “Project Grizzly.” …

Troy is crowdfunding this project, seeking $700,000. This promotional video explains:

And as Troy follows his calling, you can follow Troy’s tweeting, on Twitter.

LITERARY BONUS: In this video, Troy reads from his new book, Shards of Time:

TACTICAL BONUS: Here’s video of Troy with one of his recent inventions, which he calls the “Apache Long Arm”, which he optimizes for SWAT teams:

ELECTROMAGNETICAL BONUS: Here’s video of Troy and another of his recent inventions, which he calls the “EMR pod”:

Further adventures in dung-beetle-navigation research

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Rachel Feltman chronicles, in the Washington Post, some further adventures of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning dung beetle navigation researchers:

The humble dung beetle has a fantastic way of navigating the world


If you’re a dung beetle, you spend a good portion of your life dancing around on top of a ball made of poop – a ball of poop that, with any luck, will eventually become dinner. But the researchers who’ve devoted their lives to studying these coprophagic critters say the insects have a surprising adaptation: According to a study published Thursday in Current Biology, dung beetles can take “snapshots” of their surroundings and use them to navigate.

First, a dung beetle factoid you might not know: Scientists believe that they navigate at night using the visible portion of the Milky Way – that gorgeous strip of stars and dust that appears in a sky sans light pollution. Unsurprisingly, the finding that dung beetles stare at the stars was honored with an Ig Nobel Award

Mooning the Ig

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

In the year 2000, the Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, for bringing efficiency and steady growth to the mass-marriage industry, with, according to his reports, a 36-couple wedding in 1960, a 430-couple wedding in 1968, an 1800-couple wedding in 1975, a 6000-couple wedding in 1982, a 30,000-couple wedding in 1992, a 360,000-couple wedding in 1995, and a 36,000,000-couple wedding in 1997. Here’s video of the 1992 wedding:

life_bio_Nixon_MoonReverend Moon (pictured on the right, in this photo) also created a business, in the shape of a newspaper, called the Washington Times.

Today, May 10, 2016, the Washington Times celebrated the Ig Nobel Prizes in a partial-fact-filled article headlined “Feds pay researcher to have bee sting his penis.” That Washington Times article — perhaps from modesty, perhaps because of a typographical error — does not mention that Reverend Moon was himself an Ig Nobel Prize winner.

Another spirited new book about the Ig Nobel Prizes

Monday, May 9th, 2016

There’s another spirited new book about the Ig Nobel Prizes.

krohPhysicists Aleksandra Kroh [pictured here] and Madeleine Veyssié gave a good, long, gimlet gaze at fourteen (of the 250) Ig Nobel Prize winners, and then served up their deepest professional and personal opinions as to the merits and implications of each of those fourteen. They call the book Le Top 14 des découvertes scientifiques qui n’ont servi à rien. It’s published by Flammarion.

In Le Monde, Hervé Morin reviews the book:

Voici un credo réjouissant : « Faire rire d’abord, réfléchir ensuite. » C’est celui de Marc Abrahams, créateur des Ig Nobel, qui récompensent chaque année à Harvard des travaux de ­recherche improbables, et des annales qui les compilent. Si cette manifestation remplit parfaitement le premier volet de sa proposition, les physiciennes Aleksandra Kroh et Madeleine Veyssié estiment qu’elle ne donne pas suffisamment matière à penser. Aussi ont-elles sélectionné 14 prix Ig Nobel, pour raconter comment la science se fait et ­quelles personnalités peuvent s’y révéler.

Précisons d’emblée que le titre de leur ouvrage, Le Top 14 des découvertes scientifiques qui n’ont servi à rien, ne correspond pas totalement à son contenu….

On RFI, Caroline Lachowski interviews co-author Madeleine Veyssié: “Quelles sont les découvertes les plus improbables?