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Archive for 'Research News'

The special Children issue of the Improbable magazine

Friday, November 26th, 2021

The special Children issue (volume 27, number 5) 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 Child?

Whether you are a child or a non-child, you are likely to discover many surprising things about children, if you read the special Children issue, a likelihood that is large indeed if you assess such things considering matters that concern children, compared with what would be the size of you considered all possible subjects. The previous sentence is nearly incomprehensible, by the way.

Research about Children

The special Children issue includes these articles about children-related research (and includes other articles, too, about research about other things):

Pre-teen Werewolf
Big-Toe Curling
Saliva, Snot, and Sugar
Unusual Children
Children and Walking and Toes
What Children Dislike or Like
Children Chewing

The issue even includes an explanation of the image that appears on the magazine’s front cover. Also, there is an explanation, of sorts, about the image that appears on the back cover.

Air Flow In Trained Opera Singers

Monday, November 22nd, 2021

The airflow from a trained opera singer has been studied intensively. It led to this video, a year ago, and now to a published study (and a new video, too).

The study is “Tracking the Air Exhaled by an Opera Singer,” Philippe Bourrianne, Paul R. Kaneelil, Manouk Abkarian, and Howard A. Stone, Physical Review Fluids, vol. 6, no. 110503, 2021.

The researchers, at Princeton University and the University of Montpellier, report:

“We observed the air exhaled by a mezzosoprano singer during her performance of an Armenian lullaby “Oror.” We use a high-speed infrared camera (FLIR X6900SC) operating in the midwave range of the infrared spectrum (1.5–5 μm). The use of a filter in the absorption range of CO2 (4.2 μm) enables tracking the warm exhaled CO2. The opera singer sat beside a dark nonreflective curtain that provided a uniform background at the ambient temperature. As seen in the image sequence of Fig. 1, the infrared imaging captures the warm face of the singer and the warm exhaled CO2. The spatial extent of the exhaled CO2 can, thus, be estimated.”

There is an accompanying new video.

Canine Co-leadership Actorhood in Organizations [dog study]

Monday, November 22nd, 2021

“Dogs are mostly ignored by organization theory despite the existence of a rich literature on human–animal studies that helps theoretical extension in the direction of organization studies.”

Professor Miguel Pina e Cunha [pictured] along with colleagues Arménio Rego and Iain Munro show : “why and to what extent dogs are important actors in the lives of organizations and discuss reasons that explain such relevance in functional and symbolic terms” in the journal Human Relations, Volume: 72 issue: 4, page(s): 778-800.


“ In organizations, dogs are engaged in power plays and in the institutional functioning of organizations, gaining symbolic power and even co-leadership actorhood.”

A full copy of the paper may be found here.

BONUS If you’d like to view, appraise, or commission oil paintings of dogs in uniforms you could try Fabulous Masterpieces (London) which asks “Why is having your dog painted in uniform so in demand these days?”

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Listen to Your Tempura

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Fluid dynamics research useful in daily life:

The researchers who did the research: Akihito Kiyama, Utah State University Rafsan Rabbi, Utah State University Zhao Pan, University of Waterloo Som Dutta, Utah State University John Allen, University of Hawaii Manoa Tadd Truscott, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

(Thanks to Patricia Yang for bringing this to our attention.)

Upside-down Rhinos, and other Cornellian Ig Nobel Prize winners

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

Cornellians, the alumni magazine of Cornell University, celebrates some of the alumni who have been awarded Ig Nobel Prizes. The 2021 Ig Nobel Transportation Prize winners are just the latest:

“When you see a rhino hanging upside down, it’s a little bit comical,” he admits. “But it makes you wonder, and then you start to think—and I’m glad that it’s making people think, because our research is actually serious. Rhinos are highly endangered.”

Wait: upside-down rhinoceri?

Radcliffe and three colleagues (Vet College faculty Julia Felippe, PhD ’02, and Robin Gleed, and statistician Stephen Parry) won a 2021 Ig Nobel for their work in Namibia on methods of relocating black rhinos—which is often vital to protect the critically endangered species from poachers…..

Improbable Research