Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm gonna get me a Nobel prize!

Turn's out there's an alternative to the real Nobel Laureates called the 'Ig Nobel Prizes' that are given out for marking achievements that 'first make people laugh, and then make them think.'

The Ig Nobel prizes were created by AIR (Annals of Improbable Research), and are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative, and spur peoples interest in science, medicine and technology. (I'm not sure if they spur my interest in the sciences and suchlike but they most certainly spur my sense of humour. They are superb.)
..... and some of the winners of this years awards are:

The Ig Nobel peace prize which went to the US Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Ohio for its 1994 plan to develop a weapon that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistable to one another, an idea later dubbed the "gay bomb". (This is great as they can all have a 'love in' instead of blowing each other's heads off.)

The Ig Nobel aviation prize was given out for a study showing that a hamster-sized dose of Viagra can help the rodents recover from jet-lag. (Very useful i think when travellling with one's hamster to far off places - as one generally does of course!)

The Ig Nobel prize in medicine went to Brian Witcombe, a radiologist at Gloucestershire Royal NHS Trust for his study of sword swallowing and its side effects. The most common problem for sword swallowers he found is "sword throat," a soreness that develops when they are learning the trick. But Witcombe and Meyer could find no documented fatalities caused by swallowing swords – excluding internet reports of people who swallowed neon tubes, spear guns, or jackhammers. "The big question is why the hell they do it," Witcombe says.
- "Absolutely Sunshine - If you could find out WHY they did it, you could probably earn yourself another award!"

The Chemistry Prize went to Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan for producing synthetic vanilla from cow dung. (- must remember to pass that one onto all farming friends of mine and get them out there picking up that valuable dung, ditch the dairy business and get into vanilla processing.)

Linguistics – This Ig Nobel prize went to Juan Toro, Josep Trobalon, and Núria Sebastián-Gallés of the University of Barcelona for a paper titled "Effects of backward speech and speaker variability in language discrimination by rats". They found that rats could recognize the rhythmic differences between Dutch and Japanese sentences, but not if the words were replayed backwards! ....... (No, really!!! ........ Note in diary: Must remember to play all linguistic tapes to rats forwards so as not to confuse them.)

Biology – Johanna van Bronswijk of the Eindhoven University of Technology earned the Ig Nobel biology prize by vacuuming up insects, mites, spiders, crustaceans, bacteria, and fern spores from Dutch mattresses, to survey all the tiny beasties lurking in the average bed. - Now that really sounds like good fun! Get the hoovers out girls - finally a use for them at last!

So now i've run through what a bunch of supposedly sensible people out there get up to of an evening, it's my turn.........

Thinking of submitting the following:

Medicine: Research into the longest time a 2 year old can play with a piece of lego without getting it stuck up their nose.
Linguistics: Teach Golden Retriever and Rottweiler some new words besides 'Woof, Woof and of course Woof!', and study which one of them has the best English accent.

Peace: Give everyone in Kenya 1 and a half oranges and a banana and teach them all how to make fruit salad rather than throwing them at each other! This will give them all a chance to have a banana for the PNU, an orange for ODM and an orange and a half for ODM Kenya - these being the symbols for the 3 main parties vying for the Presidential elections here in Kenya.

1 comment:

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