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

November 2017, issue number 2017-11. ISSN 1076-500X.

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  Research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK.

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01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Strange Who What Where When Why

03 Eye-ball Wink Elevation Elaboration

04 October Was Not November

05 The Winking Test

06 Vampire-Bat-Bet Winners

07 Ig Nobel on Radio & in England and & Germany

08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Farewell Trinkaus; Eaten by a Camel

09 Pace on Wink Time

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.

 

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02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Strange Who What Where When Why

 

The special STRANGE QUESTIONS issue of the magazine (vol 23, no. 5) finally made it into existence. The table of contents and several articles are online at <https://is.gd/anp3O0>

 

That and previous issues beckon you:

 

      MAGAZINE SINGLE ISSUES & SUBSCRIPTIONS:

      <https://gumroad.com/improbable>

 

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

 

 

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03 Eye-ball Wink Elevation Elaboration

 

This month's research spotlight shines on eyeballs:

 

"Elevation of the Eye-Balls on Winking," W.R. Miles, Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 14, no. 4, Aug 1931, pp. 311-332.

<http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1932-03076-001> The author, at Stanford University, reports:

 

"When spherical mirrors were attached to both lids and the eyes photographed during winking, it was found that the cornea moves upward from 10° to 15°. This movement takes about .05 sec. and the return downward about .11 sec. or more. The corneal movement seems faster than the complete lid movement. Renewal of fixation after winking is by a slow downward drift of the eye-ball and not by a saccadic corrective movement. The author holds that the function of the upward movement of the globe in winking is to avoid injury to the curve and shape of the cornea by tightly fitting tarsal edges of the lids. There is a review of previous observations starting with Sir Charles Bell in 1823."

 

 

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04 October Was Not November

 

Many keen-eyed readers pointed out to us, with various styles of tact, that last month's issue of mini-AIR — the October 2017 issue — purported to be the November issue.

 

Those readers are correct about that issue being incorrect. We again have suffered from the ailment that should (perhaps) be known as Calendrical Typographia.

 

 

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05 The Winking Test

 

This month's RESEARCH LIMERICK challenge —

Devise a pleasing limerick that encapsulates this study:

 

"The Winking Test," Charles E. Rider, Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society, vol. 5 , 1890, pp.  551-559. <https://is.gd/OxCPIT> The author explains:

 

"It is my object in this paper to show that a relation exists between the ease with which the lids of one eye are closed, independently of the other, and the relative visual acuteness of the two eyes. The writer believes that this relation has never been noticed heretofore."

 

Submit your perfectly formed, delightfully enlightening limerick to:

 

      WINKING TEST LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

 

 

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06 Vampire-Bat-Bet Winners

 

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Competition, which asked for a limerick to explain 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 winner is INVESTIGATOR JONATHAN ROSS, who wrote:

 

If a "widowed" bat shares food within

The whole group of girl bats she is in

By thus hedging her bet

She'll get more than she'd get

If she shared her food only with kin.

 

The word from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:

 

You and I aren't related, it's true.

Accordingly, what should I do?

  Bats show us why

  To play nice: kin can die.

So I'll share my food source with you.

 

 

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07 Ig Nobel on Radio & in England and & Germany

 

Several Ig Nobel events are about to happen:

 

 

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON, UK — Nov 22, Wednesday

Ig Nobel Prize winner David (urination duration) Hu will talk about "Elephant trunks, cat tongues, and the Ig Nobel Prize." <https://is.gd/KOZqIW>

 

"SCIENCE FRIDAY" RADIO PROGRAM (& web) — Nov 24, Friday

The specially edited radio version of this year's Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. <https://www.sciencefriday.com/>

 

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, UK — Nov 29, Wednesday

Ig Nobel show with Marc Abrahams and Ig Nobel Prize winners Andre Geim, Elizabeth Oberzaucher, and Kees Moeliker.

<https://is.gd/lOY4oV>

 

EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LAB (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany

                              — Dec 4, Tuesday

Marc Abrahams will talk about Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes. <https://is.gd/hgLzpQ>

 

 

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08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Farewell Trinkaus; Eaten by a Camel

 

Recent improbable research bits you may have missed...

 

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

 

 <> Ig Nobel winner ("Things that annoy him") Trinkaus died

 <> Research Hazard: Instrument Eaten By a Camel

 <> “Gross Appearance of Turkey Cloacae” [research study]

 

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

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

 

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

  TWITTER: @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

 

 

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09 Pace on Wink Time

 

"On the Time of Reflex Winking." E.A. Pace, Psychological Review, vol. 5, no. 1, 1898, pp. 35-47. <https://is.gd/BxhpUT> The author, at the University of Michigan, reports:

 

"The stimulus was a slight blow from a small spring hammer upon the face about an inch below and to the outer side of the outer canthus of the eye. The fall of the hammer broke an electrical circuit which was again broken, at the wink, by the separation of a wire from a piece of platinum foil fastened to the eyelid with sticking plaster but insulated by a rubber membrane."

 

 

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10 IMPROBABLE EVENTS

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Imperial College London, UK         — Nov 22, 2017

"Science Friday" radio broadcast    — Nov 24, 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

 

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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)

 

 

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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>

 

 

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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

 

 

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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

 

 

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