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Podcast Episode #1072: “The Misery of Misophonia”

June 14th, 2021

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK.

In the Ig Informal Lectures, some days after the ceremony, the new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it.

In Podcast Episode #1072, Marc Abrahams presents the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize winner for Medicine Damiaan Denys. He and colleagues Nienke Vulink and Arnoud van Loonreceive won the prize for diagnosing a long-unrecognized medical condition: Misophonia, the distress at hearing other people make chewing sounds.

The study:

Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric Disorder,” Arjan Schroder, Nienke Vulink, and Damiaan Denys, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 1, 2013, e54706.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is Effective in Misophonia: An Open Trial,” Arjan E., Schröder, Nienke C. Vulink, Arnoud J. van Loon, and Damiaan A. Denys, Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 217, 2017, pp. 289-294.

Seth GliksmanProduction Assistant

Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Google Podcasts, AntennaPod, BeyondPod and elsewhere!

The Ups and Downs of Marine Chairs

June 14th, 2021

In the days when it was essential for marine navigators to be able to get a good visual fix on stars and other astronomical objects, many inventors tried to find ways of creating a ‘Marine Chair’ which would stay still while the ship rolled about in the middle of the ocean. Various national governments offered generous prizes for coming up with an invention which worked.

The illustration shows one of the first attempts – which unfortunately didn’t perform as well as was hoped. Le Cosmolabe by Jacques Besson, published in Paris in 1587. As professor Martin J Murphy PhD FAAPM from the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University, US explains :

“Similar devices were proposed later by Galileo, Neville Maskelyne, and others as a means of making astronomical measurements for the determination of longitude at sea. (They didn’t work.) “

For another short history of the not-so-successful development of marine chairs, see this essay from Dr Alexi Baker who was a postdoctoral fellow at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, UK, and is now collections manager at the Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum, Connecticut, US.

BONUS ASSIGNMENT [optional] Why didn’t marine chairs work?

Picture the Heat Stress on Poultry

June 10th, 2021

One picture is perhaps worth 1000 squawks. That picture is figure 3 (captioned “Schematic diagram showing an acid-base imbalance in poultry under heat stress”) in this study:

Impact of Heat Stress on Poultry Health and Performances, and Potential Mitigation Strategies,” Sanjeev Wasti, Nirvay Sah and Birendra Mishra, Animals, vol. 10, 2020, no. 1266. (Thanks to Berry Pinshow for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, explain:

High environmental temperature alters the poultry health and performances by causing heat stress. Heat stress elicits physiological, behavioral, and production changes in poultry. This review article summarizes these changes along with the strategies that have been used in the poultry industry to ameliorate the adverse effects of heat stress in poultry.

An Ig Nobel exercise from Madame Van Isterdael

June 8th, 2021

Madame Van Isterdael educates you, in this language-learning video which she calls, enchantingly, “2euro méthodo CE the IG Nobel Prizes“:


Logged logs

June 7th, 2021

Say, how many logs would a lumber-carrier-vessel captain’s log log if a lumber-carrier-vessel captain’s log logged logs?

The answer is not contained, nor is the question directly addressed, in Granite Geek’s article ” ‘Structural round timber’ sounds much better than ‘logs’ “.

Improbable Research