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Archive for 'Arts and Science'

National Funeral Directors Association Leadership Conference at Walt Disney World

Monday, October 11th, 2021

“So here’s the thing. Flight, taxes, death – they’re all connected to this event”

explains the cheery video for the National Funeral Directors Association Leadership Conference 2021.

The bad news is that the deadline to attend the event has now expired. The good news is that there’s still time to book for the 2022 event – which will be held on July 10-13, 2022 at Walt Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, Florida.

“This event will leave you inspired, invigorated, and ready to take on the issues of the day!“

The special Ducks issue of the Improbable magazine

Friday, October 8th, 2021

The special Ducks issue (volume 27, number 4) of the magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, has flown its way to subscribers. This special issue, like many other special issues of the magazine, is also available for purchase. All the issues are in the form of downloadable PDFs.

Are you a Duck?

Unless you yourself are a duck, and an unusual duck at that, you are likely to discover many surprising things about ducks, if you read the issue, an activity which, the educational system being what it is in 2021, is probably more likely if you are not a duck than if you are a duck. The previous sentence was a long, multi-part sentence.

Research About Ducks

The special Ducks issue includes these articles about duck research (and includes many other articles, about research about other things):

Uranium for Ducks, Please
Ducks and Walking
Steaming and Dabbling
Ducks and Water
May We Recommend: Duck Death by Spaghetti
The Turducken Experiment
Duck or Not Duck?
Ducks’ Body Parts
Duck Droppings

Walk Like a Duck?

The special Ducks issue begins, as some of our issues do, with an article called “Ways to Use This Magazine“. One of those ways is to write a limerick about one of the cited studies. To get you started, the article assaults you with this limerick about the study “Higher Heritabilities for Gait Components than for Overall Gait Scores May Improve Mobility in Ducks,” which is featured in the magazine:


A Boost for Recycling USED Disposable Diapers

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

The future is increasingly shiny for used disposable diapers, suggests this November 5, 2020 press release from the Nippon Shokubai company of Fukuoka, Japan. It says:

“The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) [is] aiming to establish a guideline for the acceptance of used disposable diapers into the sewage system based on the New Sewerage Vision Acceleration Strategy. Recycling of used disposable diapers, the amount of which continues to increase, is thus expected to be promoted.”

(Thanks to Ryoma Komiyama for bringing this to our attention.)

Robotic Barbery on the Lawn: Hedghogs

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Peace has yet to be attained between robotics, lawn care specialists, and hedgehogs. This study wades into the vexatious arena:

Wildlife Conservation at a Garden Level: The Effect of Robotic Lawn Mowers on European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus),” Sophie Lund Rasmussen, Ane Elise Schrøder, Ronja Mathiesen, Jeppe Lund Nielsen, Cino Pertoldi, and David W. Macdonald, Animals, vol. 11, no. 119, 2021. (Thanks to Jesper Milan for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Oxford, UK, and three institutions in Denmark— Aalborg University, University of Copenhagen, Fossil and Moclay Museum, Nykøbing Mors, and Agilent Technologies Denmark—report:

this study aimed to describe and quantify the effects of robotic lawn mowers on hedgehogs, and we tested 18 robotic lawn mowers in collision with dead hedgehogs. Some models caused extensive damage to the dead hedgehogs, but there were noteworthy differences in the degree of harm inflicted, with some consistently causing no damage. None of the robotic lawn mowers tested was able to detect the presence of dead, dependent juvenile hedgehogs, and no models could detect the hedgehog cadavers without physical interaction.

Tongue-Tripping Title of the Month

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

This month’s Tongue-Tripping Title of the Month comes from a study published almost a decade ago:

Time displacement rotational echo double resonance: heteronuclear dipolar recoupling with suppression of homonuclear interaction under fast magic-angle spinning,” Tim W.T. Tsai, Yun Mou, and Jerry C.C. Chan, Journal of Magnetic Resonance, vol. 214, no. 1. January 2012, pp. 315-8. (Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.) The authors are at National Taiwan University.


Improbable Research