WEDNESDAY Ig Nobel at Stockholm University, livestreamed

April 9th, 2019

Wednesday afternoon, the Ig Nobel EuroTour arrives at Stockholm University—featuring cookies, cannibalism, a-fly-in-wine, all sorts of other prize-winning things that make people LAUGH, then THINK. Also: 24/7 Lectures. Also: paper airplanes.

April 10, Wednesday, 3:00 pm—University of Stockholm, Sweden, in the Alba Nova—FREE ADMISSION, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—[PREVIEWPREVIEW]Marc Abrahams and

  • Ig Nobel Prize winner Len Fisher (the optimal way to dunk a biscuit)
  • Ig Nobel Prize winner James Cole (Nutritional value of human cannibalism)
  • Ig Nobel Prize winners Paul BecherErika WallinErik Hedenström, (detecting, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine)
  • The 24/7 Lectures by: Ragnhild LunnanJonas SellbergRezan GülerSara Strandberg
  • A human-endurance demonstration by Max Kesselberg

This event will be livestreamed on Stockholm University’s Facebook page.

Tour Subsequent Events

After that, the Ig Nobel EuroTour will move on to Norway, Germany, and Italy (again).

Ig Nobel—Tuesday afternoon at the Karolinska Institute

April 9th, 2019

Tuesday afternoon, the Ig Nobel EuroTour arrives in Stockholm, Sweden—featuring cookies, cannibalism, a-fly-in-wine, and all sorts of other prize-winning things that make people LAUGH, then THINK.

April 9, Tuesday, 3:00 pm—Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in the Biomedicum lecture hall—FREE ADMISSION, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—[PREVIEW]Marc Abrahams and

Tour Subsequent Events

After that, the Ig Nobel EuroTour will move on to Sweden (on Wednesday afternoon), then on to Norway, Germany, and Italy (again).

Willingness Toupee [new study]

April 8th, 2019

“Some things in life money can’t buy. Unfortunately, hair isn’t one of them.” – explain a research team from the Department of Economics at Appalachian State University, US. They also point out that : “Balding men are willing to pay considerable amounts of money for an improvement in coverage.” – raising the question : “What’s the average willingness to pay to move from a glistening cue ball to a luscious mane?”

Their research, entitled ‘Willingness Toupee’ [geddit?] is published in the March 2019 edition of the journal Economic Inquiry.

And the answer to the question is, apparently, “About $30,000”

A full version of the paper is available here



Economic Consequences of Restrictions on the Usage of Cookies

April 7th, 2019

The research project “Economic Consequences of Restrictions on the Usage of Cookies” has received funding to proceed.

The work is being done at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Berndt Skiera [pictured here]. The university explains:

So far, there exists very little empirical knowledge on the trade-off between user privacy and the economic value that website publishers, advertisers, and even users derive from cookies. As a result, policy makers have no way of telling whether their restrictions on cookies have the intended positive consequences for user privacy, or whether any benefits are outweighed by negative effects on the profits of companies—which policy makers also seek to nurture. The research project COOKIES (Economic Consequences of Restrictions on the Usage of Cookies) by Professor Bernd Skiera aims to close this gap. In the project, several data sets will be analysed, including a cookie dataset

(Thanks to Bob O’Hara for bringing this to our attention.)

Effect of swearing on strength and power performance (study)

April 4th, 2019

Dr Richard Stephens, of Keele University, UK, was a co-recipient of the 2010 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain. Since then, his work on swearing has continued, and he’s the lead author of a 2018 paper for the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise (Volume 35, March 2018, Pages 111-117) which examined the effect of swearing on strength and power performance. Experimental participants, who swore, performed better on an exercise bike and at a hand-grip strength test. It’s as yet unclear exactly why.

“Data demonstrate increased strength and power performance for swearing v. not swearing but the absence of cardiovascular or autonomic nervous system effects makes it unclear whether these results are due to an alteration of sympathovagal balance or an unknown mechanism.”

See: Effect of swearing on strength and power performance


[1] “WARNING: This paper contains language that some readers may find offensive.”

[2] Scope for further research : as yet, the experiments haven’t investigated whether some swearwords might work better than others.

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