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Archive for 'Research News'

If you really love numbers, and love surprises…

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

Yes, if you really love numbers—and love surprises—savor this video review of the book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates:


The Wasted Chewing Gum Bacteriome and the Emperors

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

Improbable Research: Wasted Gum, Imperiled Emperors, Hair-worn Steel” is one of the non-Ig-Nobel columns in the special Ig Nobel issue (vol. 26, no. 6) of the magazine. Highlights of that column in this issue: The Wasted Chewing Gum Bacteriome, and Statistical Reliability Analysis for a Most Dangerous Occupation: Roman Emperor.

Here’s the front cover of the magazine issue:


“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:


Right-wing authoritarians aren’t very funny [study]

Monday, January 25th, 2021

“Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) has well-known links with humor appreciation, such as enjoying jokes that target deviant groups, but less is known about RWA and creative humor production – coming up with funny ideas oneself.”

To test the ground, a research team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Pennsylvania, US, devised a set of experiments. 186 participants (students) were shown cartoons* and asked to suggest a caption. They were also shown jokes without punchlines, which they were invited to provide.  Example :

The set of participants were also rated with regard to their RWA attitudes :

“RWA was measured with Zakrisson’s (2005) scale, which assesses authoritarian beliefs without referring to specific social groups.”

Results :

“Taken together, the findings suggest that people high in RWA just aren’t very funny.”

See : Right-wing authoritarians aren’t very funny: RWA, personality, and creative humor production  in Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 170, 15 February 2021, 110421

*Note: For copyright reasons, the cartoons are not shown here – nevertheless, they are available for viewing.

Research research by Martin Gardiner

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