Scientists have way too much time and money

Did you know that there is an alternative Nobel prize?  That’s right.  It’s the Ig Nobel prize awards, conducted by Improbable.

Its aim is to do research that makes people laugh and then people think.  It’s full of weird, interesting and down-right pointless research.

It’s been running for about 10 years now and below are my top ten favourite prizes.

  1. 2007 Linguistics prize to Juan Toro, Josep Trobalon & Núria Sebastián-Gallés for discovering that rats sometimescannot differentiate between a human speaking Japanese backwards and speaking Dutch backwards
  2. 2010 Peace prize to Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston for confirming that swearing helps you deal with pain
  3. 2003 Biology prize to CW Moeliker for documenting the first recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck
  4. 2004 Medicine prize to Steven Stack and James Gundlach for their report of the effect of Country music on Suicide
  5. 2009 Veterinary Medicine prize to Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson for showing that cows that have names give more milk than cows that do not
  6. 2008 Biology prize to Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert, and  Michel Franc for finding out that dog fleas jump higher than cat fleas
  7. 2008 Economics prize to Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur & Brent Jordan who discovered that lap dancers earn higher tips when they are ovulating
  8. 2007 Physics prize to E. Cerda and L. Mahadevan who explored how sheets become wrinkled
  9. 2003 Physics prize to Jack Harvey, John Culverton, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart and Robyn Williams for their report on what it takes to drag sheep across various surfaces
  10. 2002 Interdisciplinary research prize to Karl Kruszelnicki for his study of human belly button fluff – who gets it, when, what colour and how much

Absolutely brilliant – looking forward to next year’s results!


Is this the new trend in music videos?

Animatronics have been cropping up in a couple of music videos I’ve seen.  It all takes me back to the glory days of film making and characters like Jabba the Hut and E.T. (favourite movie of all time incidentally).  The relationships of both MGMT and the woman in the Yeasayer videos do remind me very much of the E.T. /Elliot relationship.

Great stories and great videos.  The music ain’t bad either!

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