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Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Ministerial Exploration: Ozone Up the Rectum in Brazil

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

The pandemic is inspiring a few individuals to new depths of innovation. The English translation of this headline is: “Minister of Health meets with supporters of ozone use in the rectum against covid-19“. The August 5, 2020 news report appears in the Brazilian magazine CartaCapital:

The article begins by saying: “The interim Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, met with defenders of the application of ozone in the anus as a way to fight the coronavirus, on Monday 3. The treatment model was suggested by the mayor of Itajaí , in Santa Catarina, Volnei Morastoni (MDB), to help prevent the disease.”

The article finishes up with a bit of recent history: “Although the practice has not been proven effective against covid-19, it is also defended for this purpose in a bill presented on April 1 by federal deputy Paula Belmonte (Cidadania-DF). The PL 1383/2020 authorizes the prescription of ozone therapy as a complementary medical treatment for the coronavirus. Another 2017 project asks for permission to prescribe ozone therapy across the country.”

(Thanks to Ruth Bellinghini for bringing this to our attention.)

Studying Men Who Send Out Pictures of Bits of Themself

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Scholars continue to study some of the many men who send out pictures of bits of themselves. A new study and a new book stand out. The book was written by a man who sends out copies of his book about studying men who send out pictures of bits of themselves.

A Study to Study

The study is: “I’ll Show You Mine so You’ll Show Me Yours: Motivations and Personality Variables in Photographic Exhibitionism,” Flora Oswald, Alex Lopes, Kaylee Skoda, Cassandra L. Hesse, and Cory L. Pedersen, Journal of Sex Research, vol. 57, no. 5, 2020, pp. 597-609. (Thanks to Sarah Larsen for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Pennsylvania State University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and The University of British Columbia, explain:

“The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in the motivations, personality aspects, and sexualities of men who send unsolicited genital images relative to men who do not send such images. Within our sample of 1,087 heterosexual males, 48% (n = 523) confirmed that they had engaged in sending unsolicited dick pics, suggesting that this behavior is common amongst heterosexual men…. [Our] findings are consistent with previous literature indicating that men often send such images in the hopes that the recipients will be turned on by the images and reciprocate the behavior.”

A Book to Look At

The book is: The Fine Art of Dick Pics and Selfies, Jeremy Bell, brotherhogarth [publishers], 2020, ISBN 099883422X

BONUS: The author will play a small but vital role in the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Penguin Pooing Pressure, Calculated Anew

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

The penguin pooing pressure calculation that won the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for fluid dynamics has been calculated anew by a different group of scientists.

The new study is: “Projectile Trajectory of Penguin’s Faeces and Rectal Pressure Revisited,” Hiroyuki Tajima [@HiroyukiTajima3] and Fumiya Fujisawa, arXiv 2007.00926v1, 2020. The authors, at Kochi University and at the Katsurahama Aquarium, Japan, report:

We discuss a trajectory of penguins’ faeces after the powerful shooting due to their strong rectal pressure…. We estimate the upper bound for the maximum flight distance by solving the Newton’s equation of motion…. In the presence of the viscous resistance, the grounding time and the flying distance of faeces can be expressed in terms of Lambert W function. Furthermore, we address the penguin’s rectal pressure within the hydrodynamical approximation combining Bernoulli’s theorem and Hagen-Poiseuille equation for viscosity corrections. We found that the calculated rectal pressure is larger than the estimation in the previous work….

In the pioneering work of Reference [2], it is reported that this actual pressure could range from 10 kPa for relevant values of the faeces viscosity and the radius of the the bottom hole.

The authors made a little video to explain their work:

And there’s general background info available for specialists. Here is one source:

A Look Back at the Pioneering Early Work, and at the Pioneer

That 2005 Ig Nobel Prize was awarded to Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany and the University of Oulu, Finland; and Jozsef Gal of Loránd Eötvös University, Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed in their report “Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh — Calculations on Avian Defaecation” (published in the journal Polar Biology, vol. 27, 2003, pp. 56-8). Here is a technical drawing from that original penguin poo pressure paper:

Meyer-Rochow has discussed why he undertook the question.

And by happy coincidence, this week the ICES Journal of Marine Science published his invited biographical essay “Ingredients to become a scientist: curiosity, enthusiasm, perseverance, opportunity, and a good pinch of luck.” The essay is filled with adventures, of which here is a tiny sample:

a personal highlight was the first (and only) Jamaican Antarctic Expedition with my assistant Walton Reid in 1993 (which led me to be introduced to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica). When asked by “The Queen” if it hadn’t been very cold in Antarctica and she inquired about how our work had benefitted society, I replied that, of course, it had been a little cold at times and regarding our results, they had made the “book of human knowledge” just a tiny bit thicker (I am not a believer that all research must immediately be seen to be applied).

You have really got to keep your eyes open and retain a childish curiosity (curiosity may kill the cat, but for a scientist it is an essential ingredient: another piece of advice) and, when I saw (and photographed) pooping penguins, I immediately wondered about the pressure that these not exactly tall birds generate to propel their faeces up to 50 cm away from their nest’s edge. The research on this immensely important aspect of penguin biology, conducted with my research assistant Dr Joseph Gal, led to an Ig- Nobel prize from Harvard University, which quite honestly was very helpful to me in Japan and many other countries (as I, erroneously, was often announced to the audience as a “Nobel prize winner”—well, of sorts).

Meyer-Rochow Comments on the New Paper

UPDATE [July 6, 2020] We asked Benno Meyer-Rochow, co-author of the original paper, to read this new one and comment on it. Here is what he wrote:

I read the paper and am very pleased that other researchers have taken up our ideas to look into penguin pooping. In hindsight  we can say that it is great to read that others are inspired by our pioneering paper and refined the original estimate / model. They reinterpret the distance in the model, the motion in the air and they even considered the effect of contraction in their calculations. Nice refinement of our original simplified model. Although in value of estimated pressure there is not that much of a difference is obtained compared with our result (same order of magnitude), but it is a good practical result that dmax = 1.34m  based on the trade-off of angle and distance dependency functions came out from their model. It is also a nice result that the paper can be used for didactic purposes in future physics teaching. Although we never saw any Adelie penguin ‘shoot’ their faeces in a slightly upward-directed arc, it is of course possible that either we missed that or that these penguins sometimes do that when they stand on an uneven rock and/or  bend forward more than what we had observed. So, the calculations of the authors do make sense and I would accept the article for publication as is.

The effects of juiciness in an action RPG [new study]

Monday, June 1st, 2020

“A juicy game element will bounce and wiggle and squirt and make a little noise when you touch it.”

When it comes to ‘Juiciness’ in Role Playing (Computer) Games, too much, or too little, it seems, can be non-ideal. Professor Dominic Kao and colleagues at the Virtual Futures Lab, Purdue University, US, have experimentally investigated such things – noting that :

“This is, to the best of our knowledge, the largest study to date on juiciness.”


“We created four versions of the same identical action RPG game*, but with differing levels of visual/audio effects: No Juiciness, Medium Juiciness, High Juiciness, and Extreme Juiciness. Overall, both Medium Juiciness and High Juiciness outperform No Juiciness and Extreme Juiciness across all measures.”

See: The effects of juiciness in an action RPG in Entertainment Computing, Volume 34, May 2020. (Also available in PDF format*)

* Note: The paper sports a number of examples of a linguistic construction called RAS syndrome* ( i.e. Redundant Acronym Syndrome, Syndrome ) with three references to “RPG game”* (i.e. ‘Role Playing Game, Game’).

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Deep Learning to Help People Know Your Shit

Monday, April 6th, 2020

A new, distinct form of backend processing— a very distant relative of potty training, for computers—is presented in this new study:

A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta,” Seung-min Park, Daeyoun D. Won, Brian J. Lee, Diego Escobedo, Andre Esteva, Amin Aalipour, T. Jessie Ge, Jung Ha Kim, Susie Suh, Elliot H. Choi, Alexander X. Lozano, Chengyang Yao, Sunil Bodapati, Friso B. Achterberg, Jeesu Kim, Hwan Park, Youngjae Choi, Woo Jin Kim, Jung Ho Yu, Alexander M. Bhatt, Jong Kyun Lee, Ryan Spitler, Shan X. Wang, and Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2020. (Thanks to Abhishek Nagaraj for bringing this to our attention.)

The authors, at institutions in the USA, South Korea, Canada, and The Netherlands, explain:

Here, we describe easily deployable hardware and software for the long-term analysis of a user’s excreta through data collection and models of human health. The ‘smart’ toilet, which is self-contained and operates autonomously by leveraging pressure and motion sensors, analyses the user’s urine using a standard-of-care colorimetric assay that traces red–green–blue values from images of urinalysis strips, calculates the flow rate and volume of urine using computer vision as a uroflowmeter, and classifies stool according to the Bristol stool form scale using deep learning, with performance that is comparable to the performance of trained medical personnel. Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm, and the data are securely stored and analysed in an encrypted cloud server.

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