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Archive for 'Research News'

Passionate Kissing and National Income Inequality [Ig Informal Lecture]

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Here is the Ig Informal Lecture by the winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Economics Prize.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK. In the Ig Informal Lectures, some days after the ceremony, the new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it. [In non-pandemic years, the lectures happen at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two days after the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. But in the pandemic year 2020, it’s all happening online.]

The 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Christopher Watkins, Juan David Leongómez, Jeanne Bovet, Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz, Max Korbmacher, Marco Antônio Corrêa Varella, Ana Maria Fernandez, Danielle Wagstaff, and Samuela Bolgan, for trying to quantify the relationship between different countries’ national income inequality and the average amount of mouth-to-mouth kissing.

They documented that research, in the study “National Income Inequality Predicts Cultural Variation in Mouth to Mouth Kissing,” Christopher D. Watkins, Juan David Leongómez, Jeanne Bovet, Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz, Max Korbmacher, Marco Antônio Corrêa Varella, Ana Maria Fernandez, Danielle Wagstaff, and Samuela Bolgan, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, article no. 6698, 2019.

Is This the Most Important Psychology Article Published This Year?

Friday, November 20th, 2020

No one has yet (as of this writing) disputed that this is the most important psychology research study published this year:

I’ll Read That!: What Title Elements Attract Readers to an Article?Robert M. Hallock and Tara N. Bennett, Teaching of Psychology, epub 2020.The authors are at Purdue University.

Here’s some detail from the study—from a part other than the title:

Upside down glass of water experiment revisited [study]

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Dr Johan Lindén who is a lecturer at the Faculty of Science, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, has investigated the (famous) upside down glass of water experiment.

But with a crucial variation – the card has a hole cut in it. Nevertheless, the water still stays in the glass – providing that the hole is small enough. The question arises – what size hole is too big?

A set of quasistatic numerical simulations based on hydrostatic pressure and surface tension of water showed the maximum diameter of the hole to be 15.25mm. Subsequent practical experiments put the figure at 15.1mm.

Here is a video, done by a different experimenter, who has a classic teachable-moment smiley-teacher demeanor, about the classic upside-down experiment:

See: Upside down glass of water experiment revisited Physics Education, Volume 55, Number 5

Note: Dr Lindén has also investigated the Mechanical resonance in the rear wheels of a shopping trolley

Research research by Martin Gardiner

“Frozen Meat Against COVID-19 Misinformation”

Friday, November 13th, 2020

Scholars begin to try to make sense of the vexed year 2020, in this study:

Frozen Meat Against COVID-19 Misinformation: An Analysis of Steak-Umm and Positive Expectancy Violations,” Ekaterina Bogomoletc, Nicole M. Lee, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, epub 2020. (Thanks to Faye Flam for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at North Carolina State University and Arizona State University, explain:

“COVID-19 has forced many businesses to adjust their communication strategies to fit a new reality. One surprising example of this strategy adjustment came from the company Steak-umm, maker of frozen sliced beef. Instead of finding new ways to promote its products, the company shifted its focus to the public’s urgent needs, breaking down possible approaches to navigating information flow during the pandemic. This resulted in overwhelming praise on social and news media, including almost 60,000 new Twitter followers within a week. Drawing on expectancy violation theory, this case study examines Steak-umm’s strategy, the content of social media responses, and why the approach was successful.”

The Pee Tape: How Mammals Pee So Expeditiously

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

David Hu, head of the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize-winning urination-duration-research team, has a new animated video explaining that research:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang, David Hu, Jonathan Pham, and Jerome Choo, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

They explain that research in detail, in the study “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size,” Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 33, August 19, 2014, pp. 11932–11937.

Patricia Yang and David Hu, together with additional colleagues, were awarded a second Ig Nobel Prize four years later. The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang, Alexander Lee, Miles Chan, Alynn Martin, Ashley Edwards, Scott Carver, and David Hu, for studying how, and why, wombats make cube-shaped poo.

They explain that research in detail, in the study “How Do Wombats Make Cubed Poo?” Patricia J. Yang, Miles Chan, Scott Carver, and David L. Hu, paper presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Abstract: E19.0000, November 18–20, 2018.

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