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.

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

It’s maybe not been the best year for humour, but here are the 10 jokes voted the funniest, by ranking.

1. ‘Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job – knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day’ – Adam Rowe

2. ‘I had a job drilling holes for water – it was well boring’ – Leo Kearse

3. ‘I took out a loan to pay for an exorcism. If I don’t pay it back, I’m going to get repossessed’ – Olaf Falafel

4. ‘In my last relationship, I hated being treated like a piece of meat. She was a vegan and refused to touch me’ – Daniel Audritt

5. ‘What do colour blind people do when they are told to eat their greens?’ – Flo and Joan

6. ‘I’ve got a new job collecting all the jumpers left in the park at the weekends, but it’s not easy. They keep moving the goalposts’ – Darren Walsh

7. ‘Trump said he’d build a wall but he hasn’t even picked up a brick. He’s just another edinburgh.jpegmiddle-aged man failing on a DIY project’ – Justin Moorhouse

8. (Equal) ‘I lost a friend after we had an argument about the Tardis. I thought it was a little thing, but it seemed much bigger once we got into it’ – Adele Cliff

8 (Equal) ‘Why are they calling it Brexit and not The Great British Break Off?’ – Alex Edelman

10. ‘I think love is like central heating. You turn it on before guests arrive and pretend it’s like this all the time’ – Laura Lexx.

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Moments in automotive history #150

automotive darwinism

The sudden ubiquity of selff-driving vehicules and stunning advances in AI resulted in the almost immediate appearance of “Automotive Darwinism,” with larger predatory vehicles destroying smaller, weaker examples for spare parts and hanging air fresheners.

People with issues #323

A disputed goal at the end of a match in the Greek Superleague between Paok-Salonica and AEK Athens led to a pitch invasion by one of the team owners, who appeared to be carrying a gun.

Fernando Varela scored with a header in the final minute of the game, putting the home team, Paok, ahead 1-0 and on course to close the gap between themselves in third spot and leaders AEK.

The referee signalled a goal but then changed his mind to rule the player offside, after appeals from AEK and referring to one of the linesmen.

Paok’s owner, the businessman Ivan Savvidis, came on the field twice and was accompanied by bodyguards. On the second occasion, without his overcoat , Savvidis appeared to be carrying a pistol (which was in its holster).

AEK officials claimed Savvidis threatened the referee during his first foray onto the pitch, before being pulled away.

The game was suspended and the crowd was told to disperse. Adding to the widespread confusion, there were claims that the referee, Giorgos Kominis, had allowed the goal.

Ivan Savvidis enters the pitch for a second time, carrying what appears to be a pistol.

Shooting from the hip?

The Superleague’s website recorded the match as a 0-0 draw and showed AEK still leading the table on 55 points, with Olympiacos in second on 53 points and Paok still in third on 50.

An official statement was expected from the league. In the meantime this guy would be a great addition to the NFL.