Become a patron

Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

The dead are rising up against their national leaders

Monday, December 30th, 2019

Led by Ig Nobel Prize winner Lal Bihari, the dead are rising up against their national leaders. Here’s a look back at notable happenings in 2019. The Times of India reported, on January 19, 2019:

In Varanasi, ‘living dead’ to contest against PM Modi

If Prime Minister Narendra Modi decides to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections again from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, apart from the opposition he will also have to face challenge from a ‘living dead’. And PM Modi is not alone, a similar test awaits Congress president Rahul Gandhi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati.

Mritak Sangh, an association of living people declared dead in revenue records either fraudulently or by mistake, has decided to field candidates against Modi and other top political leaders like Rahul, Akhilesh and Mayawati.

“We will field our members against these leaders to highlight the plight of the ‘living dead’ people,” Mritak Sangh president Lal Bihari ‘Mritak’ told reporters at the Rajghat cremation ground in Azamgarh on Friday….

Background: Lal Bihari’s Ig Nobel Prize

The 2003 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Lal Bihari, of Uttar Pradesh, India, for a triple accomplishment: First, for leading an active life even though he has been declared legally dead; Second, for waging a lively posthumous campaign against bureaucratic inertia and greedy relatives; and Third, for creating the Association of Dead People.

Lal Bihari overcame the handicap of being dead, and managed to obtain a passport from the Indian government so that he could travel to Harvard to accept his Prize. However, the U.S. government refused to allow him into the country. His friend Madhu Kapoor therefore came to the Ig Nobel Ceremony and accepted the Prize on behalf of Lal Bihari. Several weeks later, the Prize was presented to Lal Bihari himself in a special ceremony in India.

“Whirligig of Time” Tested on the Streets of Cambridge

Monday, December 30th, 2019

The pile of props and artifacts from past Ig Nobel Prize Ceremonies has grown into a remarkable collection (several people have remarked on it). Some items sit on a shelf, but others must be worn and used, if they are to be meaningful. For instance, audiences who tuned in early to the 2016 ceremony, saw our Majordomo sitting quietly on stage, reading a book, and wearing a special “Whirlygig of Time” hat.

The whirligig of time, on display moments prior to the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Photo: Alexey Eliseev / Improbable Research.

As “Ignitaries” came on stage, they paused to spin the propeller. When all had taken their turn it was time for the ceremony itself to begin, so the Ig Safety Announcer (who happens to be the Boston globe’s “Miss Conduct”) entered and recited these Shakespeare-Whirlygig lines before spinning the propeller that was mounted atop the Majordomo:

‘Tis almost the appointed hour! Why then methinks ’tis time to smile again. Does the clock upbraid us with the waste of time? No, it is the whirligig of time. The whirligig of time!   (from Twelfth Night)

What to do with the hat after the ceremony? Ceremony co-producer David Kessler decided to test whether it would function outside of a theater. He chose to test it on the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the way to a meeting the day after the ceremony. Here is his report:

On the 20 minute walk to our meeting the whirligig was clunky, didn’t sit securely on my head. It shifted too much and was very clunky. On the walk back I found a much better position for the chin straps, making it more stable and easier to wear. This meant I could stand straighter and walk more easily. That was when things started to happen.

Various people started making eye contact, while others avoided eye contact just as strenuously. A guy in a truck pumped his fist and said, “Vote Trump!” (When I replied, “Yeah, right” he laughed out loud and, with a big smile on his face, said, “Ha! Liberals!”). A group of school kids, maybe 5 years old, came around the corner, being led on a rope. They each wanted to spin the propeller (and I obliged).

…Then I saw the statue of Saint Peter and instantly knew I had to take a photo with it. The results are below. I call them “1 Whirlygig” and “2 Whirlygigs” respectively.

"One whirligig" (photo by D. Kessler)

“One whirligig”

"Two whirligigs" (photo by D. Kessler)

“Two whirligigs”

“How Did Bulgaria Get to the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony?”

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

The Bulgarian bTV network asks and answers the question “How Did Bulgaria Get to the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony?” Their November 28, 2019 report profiles Ig Nobel Prize winner Herbert Crepaz.

The report begins with the statement “The winner of the Ig Nobel Prize in Biology is an Austrian who lives in our country.”

Magnetic Cockroaches, Dead Versus Alive

The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize for biology was awarded to Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, and Tomasz Paterek, for discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches.

Their prize-winning research is documented in the study “In-Vivo Biomagnetic Characterisation of the American Cockroach,” Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, Tomasz Paterek, Scientific Reports, vol. 8, no. 1, 2018: 5140.

Magnetic Cockroaches on the Ig Nobel EuroTour 2020

You can see—and talk with—Herbert Crepaz when he, along with many other Ig Nobel Prize winners, takes part in the next Ig Nobel EuroTour, in March and April 2020.

BONUS (from Slovakia): “The Parodic Ig Nobel Prizes Did Not Disappoint Again This Year

The Coffee Diet, in song and in the news

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

News reports suggest that coffee can help a person lose weight—something we anticipated in “The Coffee Diet Song,” in 2004. The song was the thrilling conclusion to “The Atkins Diet Opera.” The opera premiered as part of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, at Harvard University.

Here’s video of that 2004 song, and video of a December 2019 news report about coffee.

BONUS: A 2017 news report: “The coffee diet is every caffeine fiend’s wildest dream

BONUS: “The Croissant Diet

A Romanian Literary Review: Radu Remembers the Igs

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019

The Ig Nobel prizes are popping up in even the most literary worlds. The Cotidianul site invites you to [here we machine translated from Romanian into English]: “read excerpts from the work of Gheorghe SchwartzZu Island, published by Tracus Arte Publishing House in 2016″:

Radu remembers – when was that? – a discussion on a terrace on Constitution Street, a discussion about the Ig Nobel prizes and useless research. The need for useless ideas and objects also making the difference between human and animal, at least that’s how he heard a talk on television, a discussion that often came to mind. Even in the most unexpected moments.

Cotidianul presents this action photo of author Gheorghe Schwartz:

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!