The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

It’s “that time of year again,” when heroic investigators from around the world are recognised for their contribution to the world of logic and reason that seems so under threat in a world which prizes “selfies” over science. The 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the “28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony” (sic), on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

MEDICINE PRIZE [USA] — Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.

REFERENCE: “Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster,” Marc A. Mitchell, David D. Wartinger, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 116, October 2016, pp. 647-652.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Dave Wartinger

ANTHROPOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, ROMANIA, DENMARK, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, UK, INDONESIA, ITALY] — Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.

REFERENCE: “Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors,” Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, Primates, vol. 59, no. 1, January 2018, pp 19–29.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc

BIOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, COLOMBIA, GERMANY, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND] — Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.

REFERENCE: “The Scent of the Fly,” Paul G. Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika A. Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, bioRxiv, no. 20637, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Peter Witzgall

CHEMISTRY PRIZE [PORTUGAL] — Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.

REFERENCE: “Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces,” by Paula M. S. Romão, Adília M. Alarcão and César A.N. Viana, Studies in Conservation, vol. 35, 1990, pp. 153-155.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video.

MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.”

REFERENCE: “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope,” Akira Horiuchi and Yoshiko Nakayama, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, vol. 63, No. 1, 2006, pp. 119-20.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Akira Horiuchi

LITERATURE PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, EL SALVADOR, UK] — Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, for documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual.

REFERENCE: “Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products,” Alethea L. Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, Interacting With Computers, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp. 27-46.

NUTRITION PRIZE [ZIMBABWE, TANZANIA, UK] — James Cole, for calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.

REFERENCE: “Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic,” James Cole, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 44707, April 7, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: James Cole

PEACE PRIZE [SPAIN, COLOMBIA] — Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar, for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.

REFERENCE: “Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment,” Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge and Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, vol. 1, no. 12017, pp. 1-7.

REFERENCE: “La Justicia en el Tráfico: Conocimiento y Valoración de la Población Española” [“Justice in Traffic: Knowledge and Valuation of the Spanish Population”)], F. Alonso, J. Sanmartín, C. Calatayud, C. Esteban, B. Alamar, and M. L. Ballestar, Cuadernos de Reflexión Attitudes, 2005.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Francisco Alonso

REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE PRIZE [USA, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, INDIA, BANGLADESH] — John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau, for using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly—as described in their study “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps.”

REFERENCE: “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps,” John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michael Boileau, Urology, vol. 15, 1980, pp. 171-172.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michel Boileau2018IgPoster-Sm

ECONOMICS PRIZE [CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, USA] — Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.

REFERENCE: “Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice,” Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping

 

All of the above courtesy of https://www.improbable.com – helping to keep the world safe from threats as diverse as “social media influencers”to MAGA.

 

Advertisements

Oh, the horror….

The Mummy, Fifty Shades Darker and the latest Transformers movie, The Last Knight, are the leading contenders for Hollywood’s annual worst films list, the Golden Raspberry awards – AKA the Razzies.

All three principal actors of the revival of the 1930s monster pic The Mummy have been nominated: Tom Cruise for worst actor, and Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella for worst supporting actor and actress. The Mummy has seven nominations, including one for worst remake, ripoff or sequel.

Transformers: The Last Knight has nine, however, including worst screen combo. Mark Wahlberg does double duty with worst actor nominations for Transformers and Daddy’s Home 2, while Anthony Hopkins picked up two worst supporting actor nominations. The other major contender is Fifty Shades Darker, with eight nominations, including worst actor and actress for Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.While The Book of Henry, The Snowman and The Dark Tower were ignored, there was a surprise inclusion for Mother!, which earned Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Darren Aronofsky nominations for worst actress, supporting actor and director, respectively.

The awards’ worst screen combo section contains its quirkiest nominations, with the most notable being Johnny Depp for his “worn-out drunk routine”, which gets a nod for what the Razzies refer to as Pirates of the Caribbean XIII: Dead Careers Tell No Tales. Transformers is also referred to throughout as Transformers XVII: Last Knight, despite it being the fifth in the series.

The Razzies will be held on 3 March, the day before the Oscars.

Full list of nominations

Worst picture
Baywatch
The Emoji Movie
Fifty Shades Darker
The Mummy
Transformers XVII: The Last Knight

Worst actress
Katherine Heigl (Unforgettable)
Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades Darker)
Jennifer Lawrence (Mother!)
Tyler Perry (BOO! 2: A Madea Halloween)
Emma Watson (The Circle)

Worst actor
Tom Cruise (The Mummy)
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean XIII: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Darker)
Zac Efron (Baywatch)
Mark Wahlberg (Daddy’s Home 2 and Transformers XVII: The Last Knight)

Worst supporting actor
Javier Bardem (Mother! and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Russell Crowe (The Mummy)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers XVII: The Last Knight)
Mel Gibson (Daddy’s Home 2)
Anthony Hopkins (Collide and Transformers XVII: The Last Knight)

Worst supporting actress
Kim Basinger (Fifty Shades Darker)
Sofia Boutella (The Mummy)
Laura Haddock (Transformers XVII: Last Knight)
Goldie Hawn (Snatched)
Susan Sarandon (A Bad Moms Christmas)

Worst screen combo
Any Combination of Two Characters, Two Sex Toys or Two Sexual Positions – Fifty Shades Darker
Any Combination of Two Humans, Two Robots or Two Explosions – Transformers XVII: Last Knight
Any Two Obnoxious Emojis – The Emoji Movie
Johnny Depp and His Worn Out Drunk Routine – Pirates of the Caribbean XIII: Dead Careers Tell No Tales
Tyler Perry and Either the Ratty Old Dress or Worn Out Wig – BOO! 2: A Madea Halloween

Worst remake, ripoff or sequel
Baywatch
BOO! 2: A Madea Halloween
Fifty Shades Darker
The Mummy
Transformers XVII: Last Knight

Worst director
Darren Aronofsky (Mother!)
Michael Bay (Transformers XVII: The Last Knight)
James Foley (Fifty Shades Darker)
Alex Kurtzman (The Mummy)
Anthony (Tony) Leonidis (The Emoji Movie)

I can’t wait…

View from a Rhino House: 2013 Ig Nobel awards

It’s that time of year again, & once more the Ig Nobel prizes have been dolled out to the great, the good & the slightly unhinged in the scientific community. I’ve set-out some of the highlights for any of you who missed this glittering event.

Covered by ThursdayAgain some months ago a joint Ig Nobel prize (in biology & astronomy) went to South Africans Marcus Byrne & Clarke Scholtz & Marie Dacke, Emily Baird & Eric Warrant of Sweden, for their discovery that dung beetles use the Milky Way to orient themselves at night.

The Ig Nobel for physics went to Alberto Minetti & his colleagues Yuri Ivanenko, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici & Francesco Lacquaniti for demonstrating that people could run on water in lunar gravity. His group scaled up a mathematical model of a lizard running on water to human dimensions & the model showed that a person running on water on Earth would need superhuman strength (& feet a square metre each in size). In lunar gravity, however a person wearing diving fins on their feet might manage it. To test this, the group set up a hoist over a pool that bore most of the weight of a fin-equipped runner. Four of the six volunteers were able to run for 10 seconds at simulated lunar gravity (presumably the others drowned).

The Ig Nobel prize in medicine went to Tokyo medical researchers Masateru Uchiyama, Xiangyuan Jin, Qi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Bashuda & Masanori Niimi. Curious to see if music could reduce the immune response that leads to transplant rejection, they transplanted hearts from one strain of mice to another, which normally causes lethal rejection. They report that mice with mismatched hearts who listened to the Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (playing Verdi’s La Traviata) for 7 days lived two to three times longer than those that listened to pure tones or “new age” music. The effects of heavy metal, techno & hip hop have yet to be determined. With tickets to the ROH running at about €200 for the good seats, this is only likely to be available as a treatment for Russian billionaire rats or those with very good medical insurance.

The “beer goggles” effect is well known for making drinkers think that other people are more attractive than they might otherwise appear. The Ig Nobel prize in psychology was handed to researchers who showed the effect extends to making people who are drunk (or think they are drunk) consider themselves more attractive. American Brad Bushman & colleagues Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra & Medhi Ourabah, all in France, gave half of a group of French students drinks containing enough alcohol to make them slightly inebriated, & gave the rest non-alcoholic drinks. They told half of each group the truth about what they had consumed & lied to the sober half. Then they filmed each participant delivering a speech & asked them to rate how attractive they looked in the footage. The students who had drunk alcohol, or who had been told they had drunk alcohol but actually had not, both rated themselves as more attractive than did the group of people who were sober & knew it. The researchers reported their findings in a paper titled “ ’Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’. Of course French students all believe they are beautiful anyway, it comes from years of being lied to by their grandmothers.

Finally & most spectacularly, the Ig Nobel peace prize went to Alexander Lukashenko, the well known game fisherman & president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, & to the Belarus state police, who arrested a one-armed man for applauding. The 2011 law was aimed not at those clapping the president’s opponents, but to protesters who clapped ironically during his own speeches. When hundreds of these were rounded up by police &appeared in court, they included an innocent bystander, Konstantin Kaplin, who was convicted of “applauding in public” despite the fact that he has only one arm.

You have to admit, it makes the Oscars look pretty tame by comparison.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.....

It seemed like a good idea at the time…..