mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")

October 2017, issue number 2017-10. ISSN 1076-500X.

----------

  Research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK.

—————————

 

01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Strange Questions About to...

03 Chocolate and Tea Are Better Than Flouride, for Teeth?

04 Engineers Now Have Their Own Luxuriant Hair Club

05 Vampire-Bat-Bet-Hedging

06 Lullabies Winners

07 Ig Nobel in Europe

08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Creepiness, Slob, Pulsing

09 Social Grooming in the Common Vampire Bat

10 IMPROBABLE EVENTS

11 — Subscribe to the Actual Magazine! (*)

12 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

13 — Contact Info (*)

14 — Standard Gobbledegook (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

—————————

 

02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Strange Questions About to...

 

The special STRANGE QUESTIONS

issue of the magazine (vol 23, no. 5) will become available any day now.

 

The special CIGARETTE BUTTS, VEGEMITE, AND MARMITE issue (vol 23, no. 4) already awaits you, as do previous issues.

 

      MAGAZINE SINGLE ISSUES & SUBSCRIPTIONS:

      <https://gumroad.com/improbable>

 

      Tables of Contents:     <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

 

WARNING: The special STRANGE QUESTIONS issue is in prep.

 

 

—————————

03 Chocolate and Tea Are Better Than Flouride, for Teeth?

 

This month's research spotlight shines on tooth protection:

 

"Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices," Nakamoto Tetsuo, Falster Alexander U., and Simmons William B. Jr.. Journal of Caffeine Research, vol. 6, no. 1, February 2016, pp. 1-9. <https://is.gd/OsmiHB>

 

The authors, at  Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, Bethel, Maine, explain:

 

"During the process of studying caffeine's effects on developing teeth, a serendipitous discovery was made.... [We conducted studies in rats....] It is also well documented that young children who brush their teeth often ingest fluoride-containing dentifrices. Based upon our comparative study between fluoride and theobromine [a major consituent of chocolate, and also of tea], theobromine is a better alternative than fluoride. We believe that theobromine can be used as an ingredient of dentifrices and even if swallowed accidentally, there are no adverse effects."

 

 

—————————

04 Engineers Now Have Their Own Luxuriant Hair Club

 

We We are please to announce the birth of a new sibling club to the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), and to introduce the new club’s first member.

 

Jim Windgassen, of Northrup Grumman Undersea Systems, has joined the LFFFHCfE – The Luxuriant Flowing, Former, or Facial Hair Club for Engineers.

 

This is the sixth LFHCfS sibling, joining the The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), The Luxuriant Former Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), The Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), The Luxuriant Flowing, Former, or Facial Hair Club for Social Scientists (LFFFHCfSS), and The Luxuriant Flowing, Former, or Facial Hair Club for Science Journalists (LFFFHCfSJ).

 

See the inaugural member's hair, at <https://is.gd/34NAt3>

 

 

—————————

05 Vampire-Bat-Bet-Hedging

 

This month's RESEARCH LIMERICK challenge —

Devise a pleasing limerick that encapsulates this study:

 

"Social Bet-Hedging in Vampire Bats," Gerald G. Carter, Damien R. Farine, Gerald S. Wilkinson, Biology Letters, May 24, 2017. <https://is.gd/5QrFdw>

 

The authors, at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Konstanz, Germany, University of Konstanz, University of Oxford, UK, and University of Maryland, USA, explain:

 

"Why then should organisms invest in cooperative partnerships with nonkin, if kin relationships are available and more beneficial? One explanation is that a kin-limited support network is too small and risky.... Here, we provide evidence for social bet-hedging in food-sharing vampire bats. When we experimentally removed a key food-sharing partner, females that previously fed a greater number of unrelated females suffered a smaller reduction in food received. Females that invested in more nonkin bonds did not do better under normal conditions, but they coped better with partner loss. Hence, loss of a key partner revealed the importance of weaker nonkin bonds."

 

Submit your perfectly formed, delightfully enlightening limerick to:

 

      VAMPIRE-BAT-BET LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

 

 

—————————

06 Lullabies Winners

 

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Competition, which asked for a limerick to explain this study:

 

"The Limerick Lullaby Project: An Intervention to Relieve Prenatal Stress," Mary Carolan, Maebh Barry, Mary Gamble, and Kathleen Turner, Midwifery, vol. 28, 2012, pp. 173–180. <https://is.gd/u59uqq>

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR ALISTAIR MCCULLOCH, who wrote:

 

When Babe drives his Ma to distraction

She plainly must focus on action

  So humming a song

  Is not often wrong

And produces propitious reaction.

 

The word from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:

 

Do lullabies lessen the stress

During pregnancies?  Research says yes.

  But my mother, well, she

  Didn't sing them to me.

She read limericks instead.  I'm a mess.

 

 

—————————

07 Ig Nobel in Europe

 

There will be a grand Ig Nobel show at the University of Manchester, UK, on November 29, with dead ducks, magnet-levitated frogs, and 888-sons-paternity.

 

Then: An Ig Nobel lecture at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, on December 4

 

The Spring 2018 Ig Nobel Tour, in March and April, will include shows in the UK, NORWAY, DENMARK, SWEDEN, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, and THE NETHERLANDS.

 

If your institution would like to host a show,

please get in touch with us soon!

 

 

—————————

08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Creepiness, Slob, Pulsing

 

Recent improbable research bits you may have missed...

 

The blog <http://www.improbable.com/>:

 

 <> On the Nature of Creepiness [research study]

 <> Commentary on Slob

 <> The Seasonal Pulsing in Size of Skulls and Penises

 

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) and its sibling clubs — New Members:

 <> Clare Jasmine Din

 <> Amir Hetsroni

 <> Jim Windgassen

 <> Philipp Weisser

<https://www.improbable.com/category/lfhcfs-hair-club/>

 

  FACEBOOK: <http://www.facebook.com/improbableresearch>

  TWITTER: @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

 

 

—————————

09 Social Grooming in the Common Vampire Bat

 

"Social Grooming in the Common Vampire Bat, Desmodus rotundus," Gerald S. Wilkinson Animal Behaviour, vol. 34, no. 6, 1986, pp. 1880–1889. <https://is.gd/RVkPvO>

 

The authors, at the University of Colorado, exlain:

 

"Since social grooming occurred more often than expected before a regurgitation and correlated with regurgitation frequency, it is suggested that this behaviour facilitates identification of food sharing partners by enabling a grooming bat to monitor other animals' potential for giving or receiving blood."

 

 

—————————

10 IMPROBABLE EVENTS

 

For details and additional events, see

<http://www.improbable.com/improbable-research-shows/complete-schedule/>

 

Genoa Science Festival, Italy       — Nov 4, 2017

Second Step, Newton, MA             — Nov 4, 2017

U Manchester, UK                    — Nov 29, 2017

EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany           — Dec 4, 2017

ARISIA, Boston, MA                  — Jan 12, 2018

Princeton U, USA                    — Jan 21, 2018

SLAS Conference, San Diego          — Feb 7, 2018

Salk Institute, La Jolla            — Feb 9, 2018

AAAS Annual Meeting, Austin, TX     — Feb 17, 2018

Ig Nobel EuroTour                   — Mar-Apr 2018

Northwest Rheumatism Society,

      Portland, OR                  — Apr 26, 2018

28th First Annual Ig Nobel Ceremony — Sep, 2018

Ig Informal Lectures                — Sep, 2018

Japan                               — Oct, 2018

 

—————————

—————————

11 — Subscribe to the Actual Magazine! (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year magazine, published in PDF form. It's packed with research that makes people laugh, then think. (mini-AIR, the thing you are reading at this moment, is but a tiny, free-floating appendix to the actual magazine.)

 

      <www.improbable.com/magazine/>

      SUBSCRIPTIONS     ($25, for six issues)

      SINGLE ISSUES     ($5 each)

 

 

—————————

12 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

 

This newsletter, Mini-AIR, is just a (free!) tiny monthly *supplement* to the big, bold six-times-a-year magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

 

   To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE to mini-AIR:

   <http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/mini-air>

 

   ARCHIVES: <http://improbable.com/airchives/miniair>

 

 

—————————

13— CONTACT INFO (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

<www.improbable.com>

EDITORIAL: <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS: <subscriptions AT improbable.com>

Cambridge, MA 02138 USA, (+1) 617-491-4437

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

—————————

14 — Standard Gobbledegook (*)

 

EDITOR: Marc Abrahams

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Kees Moeliker, Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Gary Dryfoos, Ernest Ersatz, Stephen Drew

PROOFREADER: Ambient Happenstance

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon Glashow, Richard Roberts

 

Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the

(c) copyright 2017, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

—————————