Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

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] hetnatuurhistorisch.nl

Dead_Duck_Day-Anjes_Gesink-2014a

BONUS: More on the history of Dead Duck Day on the official Dead Duck Day website: www.deadduckday.com

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

A round-up of American hole-in-one jurisprudence

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Of all the curious things one can get insurance cover for – the golfing fraternity’s ‘hole-in-one-insurance’ is surely one of the curiouser. Why would one want insurance against a hole-in-one? The answer lies in the substantial cash bonus prizes which (some) golf clubs offer to those players who manage to get one. From the club’s point of view, it can be costly, and that’s something that they want to insure against. Details are provided in a 2004 paper for the Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems (10/01/2004) entitled : A GOOD PIECE OF PAPER SPOILED:1 AN EIGHTEEN-HOLE ROUND-UP OF AMERICAN HOLE-IN-ONE JURISPRUDENCE by Parker B. Potter Jr.. The author puts the odds of holes-in-one [or should that be hole-in-ones?] at 1:40,000, and goes into substantial detail regarding the perplexing legal aspects. Citing, as an example, a legal case from 1992.

“Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. (hereinafter ‘Crawford’) had ‘agreed to provide a new vehicle to any participant who scored a hole-in-one on a certain hole during the tournament.’ The specified hole was number nine. After Don Zamora ‘scored a hole-in-one on physical hole #9, but on his second time around the course,’ he claimed the prize, which Crawford delivered. Crawford, in turn, made a claim on its hole-in-one insurance carrier, the now-familiar National Hole-in-One Association (‘Hole-in-One’), the potential victim on hole number five and the defendant on hole number six.”

The author also offers advice for insurers :

“When advising clients who offer hole-in-one insurance, tell them to write policies that contemplate every conceivable possibility, or get ready to write a check. In a world where the term ‘shots’ can be considered ambiguous, as in Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. v. National Hole-in-One Ass’n, only the most precise and detailed policy language will protect an insurer from paying when a golfer has scored a hole-in-one in a covered event.”

If you’d like to take out hole-in-one insurance, there are a number of firms worldwide who will cover you – e.g. United States, Australia, United Kingdom.

Note 1: The paper’s title pays tribute to Mark Twain, who some say is said to have said : “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Also see (Insurance related) Calculations: Insurance for clowns
Also see (golf related) 2012 Yearly Golfball Patents: A look back

Breaking(ish) News: ‘Golf is no longer a crime, decrees China’s Communist party’ The Guardian, (14th April)

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”:

Happy words from painful insect stings [podcast 64]

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Justin Schmidt, an emotional fellow, took notes when he was notably stung by a different species of ant, bee, or wasp. Schmidt then turned those notes and emotions into little almost-poems, each just 15 or 20 words long. Those sting-pain notes and emotions, read aloud by QI elves, overflow this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

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

This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by James Harkin, Dan Schreiber, Anne Miller, Steve Colgan, and Alex Bell (elves from QI, the Museum of Curiosity, No Such Thing As a Fish, and No Such Thing As the News) — tells about:

  • Justin Schmidt‘s book, which includes the Schmidt Sting Pain Index with the poetical descriptions — The Sting of the Wild, by Justin O. Schmidt, Johns Hopkins Press, 2016. ISBN: 9781421419282.sting-wild-420pix
  • A short video, by his university, about Justin Schmidt:
  • A fan video, by the San Diego Natural History Museum, about Justin Schmidt and the Schmidt Sting Pain Index:

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 Play.it web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

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

dung-beetle

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