Monday, October 10, 2005

Ig Nobel Prize

I highly recommend you check out the winners of the Ig Nobel Prize. According to the site, "The winners have all done things that first make people LAUGH, then make them THINK." And, not surprisingly, these studies really do both of those things

Examples include:

  • "The first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck"

  • The "irresistible report 'An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces'"

  • The report "investigating the scientific validity of the Five-Second Rule about whether it's safe to eat food that's been dropped on the floor"

  • The guy who patented the wheel in 2001

  • The "discovery that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder"

  • "The Kansas State Board of Education and the Colorado State Board of Education, for mandating that children should not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution any more than they believe in Newton's theory of gravitation, Faraday's and Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, or Pasteur's theory that germs cause disease."

  • "The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout 'Bang!'" (this one has got to be one of my favorites because it invokes one of the most amusing mental pictures!).

  • and the one that always plagues me:

  • the "partial solution to the question of why shower curtains billow inwards" (what, only a partial solution?!).

The article about this year's winners is here.


Guess who :) said...

I can explain the curtians! Hot air has lower density than cold air. The air inside the shower is heated by the water, but the air outside the shower is still cold. Usually there is a gap above the shower curtain allowing the hot air from the inside to "spill" all over the ceiling. Similarly, the curtian is hung from above with the bottom loose, allowing it to push in/out. The hot air evacuates the shower and causes a vacuum -- happily filled by the cold air outside the shower spilling inwards by the foor. This inward flow pushes the curtian! It's basically a Stirling engine.

Anonymous said...

I must say the one about love and OCD is quite funny. If you really think about it though....they are quite similar. I would so share that with the psych dept. if I was still there. Good stuff! -llama