The entomologist who seduced malaria mosquitoes with cheese

November 12th, 2019

“Bart Knols, the entomologist who seduced the mosquito mosquito with cheese” says the headline of this Telemetro [Panama] profile of Ig Nobel Prize winner Bart Knols and his innovations against malaria.

The 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for biology was awarded to Bart Knols (of Wageningen Agricultural University, in Wageningen, the Netherlands; and of the National Institute for Medical Research, in Ifakara Centre, Tanzania, and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna Austria) and Ruurd de Jong (of Wageningen Agricultural University and of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Italy) for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.

Their Ig-winning research is documented in several publications:

REFERENCE: “On Human Odour, Malaria Mosquitoes, and Limburger Cheese,” Bart. G.J. Knols, The Lancet, vol. 348 , November 9, 1996, p. 1322.

REFERENCE: “Behavioural and electrophysiological responses of the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: Culicidae) to Limburger cheese volatiles,” Bulletin of Entomological Research, B.G.J. Knols, J.J.A. van Loon, A. Cork, R.D. Robinson, et al., vol. 87, 1997, pp. 151-159.

REFERENCE: “Limburger Cheese as an Attractant for the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae s.s.,” B.G,J. Knols and R. De Jong, Parasitology Today, yd. 12, no. 4, 1996, pp. 159-61.

REFERENCE: “Selection of Biting Sites on Man by Two Malaria Mosquito Species,” R. De Jong and B.G.J. Knols, Experientia, vol. 51, 1995, pp. 80–84.

Laboratory News looks at almost 30 years of Ig Nobel stuff

November 11th, 2019

There’s lots of quasi-juicy Ig Nobel history in this profile, in the British publication Laboratory News, by Jonathan Chadwick:


Umbilical cord storage doll and set thereof [new patent]

November 11th, 2019

A newly issued US patent, awarded to inventor Hyunkap Park, of Siheung-si, South Korea, details an ‘umbilical cord storage doll and set thereof’.

“The umbilical cord naturally falls off a baby’s navel after a predetermine period has elapsed since the birth of the baby. Meanwhile, the umbilical cord has a special meaning in that it is a lifeline which has connected a mother and a baby for 10 months.

Furthermore, from the past, it has been said that the umbilical cord is a token of luck and fortune comes when the umbilical cord is possessed. In some homes, the umbilical cord was kept deep in a wardrobe. When a person experienced a difficult situation, he or she carried the umbilical cord as a charm.

As described above, as a conventional technology for the storage of the umbilical cord, patent document 1 discloses a seal capable of storing the umbilical cord, the seal including: a cylindrical seal body part configured such that a hole is formed through a side surface thereof and a longitudinal section surface is open; a transparent resin part configured to be inserted into the seal body part and to store the umbilical cord; and an engraving member configured such that a name is engraved on one longitudinal section surface thereof and another longitudinal section surface is inserted into the open longitudinal section surface of the seal body part; wherein the umbilical cord stored in the resin part can be viewed through the hole of the side surface of the seal body part.”

See: US patent 10,449,464 B2, October 22, 2019, Umbilical cord storage doll and set thereof

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Kwan-Liu Ma joins the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS)

November 9th, 2019

Kwan-Liu Ma has joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™ (LFHCfS). He says:

I grew up in Taiwan, where—in the seventies—long hair was banned for students. Naturally, I started growing my hair once I moved to the US for graduate school. I have worn my hair long ever since, barring a brief short-haired period in my job hunting days in an attempt to look professional. I work on transforming data into visual representations for discovery and communication of insights. Though it lies in the field of computer science, my work involves a significant component of design and artistic expression. While I consider myself a designer by profession, people who meet me for the first time probably consider me a designer by hair. Over the years, I trust my visualizations (due to their aesthetics) have become as recognizable as my hair has at conferences. I am delighted to be a member of the LFHCfS—it is nice to be recognized for both my computer science work and my long flowing hair in the same membership.

Kwan-Liu Ma, PhD., LFHCfS
Distinguished Professor, Computer Science
University of California at Davis
Davis, California, USA

The dynamics of hula-hooping

November 8th, 2019
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