Archive for 'Improbable TV'

Improbable TV: ‘Stirling Castle’ with Terry Jones

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Here’s a new episode — #McG-001, “Stirling Castle” with Terry Jones — of the Improbable Research TV series. It’s the first of many episodes featuring the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall.

William Topaz McGonagall, who died in 1902, is widely regarded as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. On March 19, 2011 his poem “Stirling Castle” had its first public performance in more than 100 years, in a ceremony at the University of Dundee, Scotland. In this video, Terry Jones, an original Monty Python, gives the poem its first public reading outside Scotland.

If you like, go to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube, where you can subscribe, free, to the series.

Improbable TV: The Coffee Diet

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Here’s a new episode — #131, “The Coffee Diet” — of the Improbable Research TV series.

“The Coffee Diet” is the concluding song from the mini-opera “The Atkins Diet Opera“. This video shows the debut performance, which was part of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony held in Sanders Theatre, Harvard University. The opera starred Jason McStoots (as Dr. Atkins), Margot Button, and Jane Tankersley, with pianist Greg Neil. The coffee kickline included: Nobel Laureates William Lipscomb, Dudley Herschbach and Rich Roberts; and several Ig Nobel Prize winners; and several of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony organizers; deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle; and Dr. Barry Sears, inventor of The Zone Diet. The libretto is by Marc Abrahams.

If you like, go to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube , where you can subscribe, free, to the series.

BONUS FACT: In the days after the live webcast of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, the pigtailed young lady in the pink frock and the coronet was said to be, at least briefly, the most downloaded woman on the Internet.

Video: Dynamics of Hula Hooping

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Ariel Kraakman demonstrates the dynamics of hula-hooping, on the day after she first took up the practice. In so doing, she unknowingly honors the research of scientists Ramesh Balasubramaniam and Michael Turvey, who were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in physics in 2004 for their study “Coordination Modes in the Multisegmental Dynamics of Hula Hooping” [Biological Cybernetics, vol. 90, no. 3, March 2004, pp. 176-90]. This is the new episode — #130, “The Dynamics of Hula Hooping” — of the Improbable Research TV series.

To see this episode, click on the image at right, and you will be whisked to YouTube (where you can subscribe, if you like, to the Improbable Research channel).

BONUS: News report about hula hooping in Tarrytown

Ig Nobel webcast will be live on YouTube

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Good news! The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube. Details are on the ceremony web page.

This should make it simple and easy for almost everyone to watch.

Video: The Best of Miss Sweetie Poo

Monday, July 26th, 2010


The organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony solved an ancient problem: How to keep speeches from droning on and on… The solution, called “Miss Sweetie Poo”, is an 8-year-old girl who tells long-winded speakers to “Please stop. I’m bored. Please stop. I’m bored…” Here are Miss Sweetie Poo highlights from several Ig ceremonies.

Click to continue reading “Video: The Best of Miss Sweetie Poo”

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