Artificial Lion-Roaring Contests [Podcast 49]

February 3rd, 2016

Artificial lion-roaring contests overwhelm this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

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This week, Marc Abrahams  —with dramatic readings by Jean Berko Gleason — 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).

Five Japanese extensive interviews with Ig Nobel winners

February 2nd, 2016

The magazine Tech Notes is conducting a series of extensive interviews with Japanese Ig Nobel Prize winners. Here are links to the first five interviews. All are in Japanese [we present here machine translations of the headlines]:

The Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [1st] research and Kitazatodai Mabuchi Mr. skin of banana and think humor creative ideas of origin?


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [2nd] If you turn off the onion really reason for tears – discovered from where there is no doubt: House Foods Group Inc. Mr. Imai


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [3rd] to silence people talkative! Invention of speech jammer: Tsuda College Kurihara Mr.


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [4th] dog language translation machine “Bowlingual”, the development history of? : Matsumi Suzuki


[Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think 5th] Pigeons distinguish the picture of Picasso and Monet! ? Of human beings to learn from animal psychology: Shigeru Watanabe


Mike Coffey joins the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS)

February 2nd, 2016

Mike Coffey has joined the Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) and the Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). He says:

I am a lecturer in analytical chemistry at Nottingham Trent University, U.K. I last went to a barber at the age of 14; since then occasional trims remain times of tension in my marriage when my wife insists very hard. I grew my beard when my daughters started going through the “You are SO embarrassing” phase, just to prove a point. I wish to join before I need to apply for the “Luxuriant Former Hair” instead.

Mike Coffey, Ph.D, LFHCfS
Lecturer (Analytical Chemistry)
Chemistry & Forensics
Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham, UK


Nominative Determinism: Dr. Forrest on Trees

February 1st, 2016

Landscape-Trees-ShrubsThis book presents a horticultural overview of the main plant families of trees and shrubs from temperate regions that are cultivated in urban and rural landscape schemes. Most of the plants used come from a limited number of plant families and within these families, certain genera contribute very significantly. The largest chapter in the book describes 37 plant families according to their identification, functional use and management in landscape schemes. With this information readers will be able to assess the suitability of species and prepare planting designs for prevailing sites.”

Author: Dr. Mary Forrest, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.

“Imagine if the window were made of ants…”

January 31st, 2016

Ig Nobel Prize winner David Hu researches many questions that involve biology AND mathematics AND physics. And often, fluid dynamics. In this video, he confides, concisely, some of the biophysical ways that ants survive perilous, quickly-changing physical conditions:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang [USA and TAIWAN], David Hu [USA and TAIWAN], and Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo [USA], for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

REFERENCE: “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size,” Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 33, August 19, 2014, pp. 11932–11937.

NOTE: David Hu will be one of the stars of the London shows on the upcoming Ig Nobel Eurotour, in March 2016.

(Thanks to Maggie Lettvin for alerting us to the video.)