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Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Pennycook: Timing Matters When Correcting Fake News

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

Peace Prize winner Gordon Pennycook and colleagues did an experiment about how to disrupt the workings of genuinely faked news. They published a study about what they learned:

Timing Matters When Correcting Fake News,” Nadia M. Brashier, Gordon Pennycook, Adam J. Berinsky, and David G. Rand, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 118, no. 5, February 2, 2021, e2020043118.

The study explains: “Countering misinformation can reduce belief in the moment, but corrective messages quickly fade from memory. We tested whether the longer-term impact of fact-checks depends on when people receive them…. Providing fact-checks after headlines (debunking) improved subsequent truth discernment more than providing the same information during (labeling) or before (prebunking) exposure.”

Co-author Nadia Brashier says “Is there an optimal time to correct fake news? Yes! And it’s surprising. In a new paper in PNAS, we show that providing fact-checks *after* people read headlines is more effective than supplying the same information before or during exposure.”

Peace Prize Winner Pennycook

The 2016 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek Koehler, and Jonathan Fugelsang for their scholarly study called “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit”.

The full citation for that study: “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit,” Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler, and Jonathan A. Fugelsang, Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563.

Liars, Savored

That 2016 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony also presented the year’s prize in psychology to Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers.

REFERENCE: “From Junior to Senior Pinocchio: A Cross-Sectional Lifespan Investigation of Deception,” Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon D. Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, Acta Psychologica, vol. 160, 2015, pp. 58-68.

Ig Nobel Prizes in the Wall Street Journal Crossword Puzzle

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

The Ig Nobel Prizes have again wandered into a crossword puzzle, this time as a clue in the January 23, 2021 puzzle in the Wall Street Journal. The clue for one of the across words is:

123 Satiric prize for scientific research

By our lazy count, this is the third time the Ig Nobel Prizes have appeared in a major crossword puzzle (if there is such a thing as a major crossword puzzle). The Week used it in their puzzle on October 19, 2015. The New York Times used it in their puzzle on December 20, 2020.

The Igs have also been an answer on the Jeopardy! TV program eight times or so.

(Thanks to Steven Adelman for bringing this to our attention.)

British Governmental Action Inspired by Ancient Aliens from Outer Space

Friday, January 29th, 2021

Ig Nobel Literature Prize winner Erich von Däniken‘s books about alien visitors to earth is having a large, government-boosted economic and social impact on the greater-Manchester region, reports the Manchester Evening News:

A huge new theme park is opening an hour’s drive from Manchester – and it’s inspired by a book that says aliens have visited earth

… Blackpool Council is preparing to use compulsory purchase powers to secure land for a £300m entertainment complex.

It means land and property owners within the boundaries of land earmarked for the ‘Blackpool Central’ project can expect to be forced to sell up so redevelopment can start soon.

The main tenant of the redeveloped site will be the Chariots of the Gods Entertainment Park – an indoor theme and adventure park inspired by books from the 1960s and 70s by Swiss author Erich von Däniken.

The books explore a theory that alien visitations inspired ancient civilisations.

British Governmental Action Inspired by Ancient Aliens from Outer Space

BlackPool Council, a governmental agency, says this is “The biggest single investment in Blackpool for more than a century.”

The illustration reproduced here [above], showing spectators seated in a very large amusement park ride overlooking a giant pyramid in the sunset was supplied by Blackpool Council. The council also supplied this promotional video:

von Däniken’s Ig Nobel Prize

The  1991 Ig Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Erich von Däniken, visionary raconteur and author of Chariots of the Gods, for explaining how human civilization was influenced by ancient astronauts from outer space.


“Wombat research that’s not to be sniffed at”

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

“Wombat research that’s not to be sniffed at” is the headline on this Royal Society of Chemistry article about a new research study:

The findings – published today in our aptly named journal Soft Matter – could help develop new colon cancer diagnostics.

An international team of scientists have been able to replicate how a wombat produces square poo – and it could change the way geometric products are manufactured in future.

Research published today in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Soft Matter, expands on the discovery that wombat poo forms its distinctive shape within the wombat’s intestines, not at the point of exit as previously thought….

The team of Australian and US scientists were awarded an Ig Nobel prize for “research that makes you laugh then think” in 2019.

Inside (and also outside) Details of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Lavish and copious details about the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony dominate the special Ig Nobel issue (vol. 26, no. 6) of the magazine. (The issue contains other stuff, too!)

Here’s the front cover of the magazine issue:


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