Sunday, October 07, 2007

And the IgNoble goes to ...

The Ig Noble awards are out! If you have never heard of them, where have you been? Here is the Wikipedia article on the awards.

Here are some of my favorites from this year's award winners (here is the story)

  • Brian Witcombe of Gloucester and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, for their report in the British Medical Journal, Sword Swallowing and its Side-Effects

  • Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanilla essence from cow dung

  • Juant Manuel Toro, Josep Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Barcelona University, for showing that rats cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards

  • The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research on a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other

To be fair, I think some of the research is useful - a previous awardee, for example, studied why woodpeckers don't get headaches. That could be a blockbuster drug of the future.

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