For those of you who don't know, there are awards handed out every year to people who "do a service to humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool," lovingly named the Darwin Awards. Great stuff, if you want to get a good laugh at someone else's stupidity, but this is better.
Every October real nobel laureates give out "Ig Nobel" awards to the best scientific research that makes you "laugh, then think." Organized by the Annals of Improbable Research, the Ig Nobel prizes are given in the same fields as the Nobel prizes, plus a few extra which vary year to year. The winners' research is real, published research in the community - as you'll see, since I've linked to the actual abstracts/articles. This year's winners are a truly Ig Nobel bunch:
Archaeology: Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo and Jose Carlos Marcelino, for showing that armadillos can mix up the contents of an archaeological site.
Biology: Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert, and Michel Franc, for discovering that fleas that live on dogs jump higher than fleas that live on cats.
Chemistry: Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill, and Deborah Anderson, for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang for proving it is not.
Cognitive science: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Hiroyasu Yamada, Ryo Kobayashi, Atsushi Tero, Akio Ishiguro, and Agota Toth, for discovering that slime molds can solve puzzles.
Economics: Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tyber, and Brent Jordan, for discovering that exotic dancers earn more when at peak fertility.
Literature: David Sims, for his study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations".
Medicine: Dan Ariely for demonstrating that expensive counterfeit drugs are more effective than inexpensive counterfeit drugs.
Nutrition: Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence, for demonstrating that food tastes better when it sounds more appealing.
Peace: The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology and the citizens of Switzerland, for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.
Physics: Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith, for proving that heaps of string or hair will inevitably tangle.
I want to personally thank these dedicated professionals for their insights and contributions to scientific knowledge. Although, it is too bad that there is so much dissent on the spermicidal capability of Coca-Cola - there goes my method of birth control!
A New Year, A Look Back
4 days ago