Tuesday, October 11, 2005

DOG'S TESTICLES, PENGUIN POO AND EXPLODING TROUSERS

Last night at Harvard University a ceremony was held amongst the scientific community.

It's purpose to give out "Ig Nobel" prizes which honour research which makes people laugh and then makes them think.

It's sure made me think:

How much funding has been diverted into this crap at the expense of viable, life enhancing or even life saving research?

The winners

Physics:

John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland, for an experiment that began in the year 1927, in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly dripping through a funnel at a rate of around one drop every nine years.

(a new take on "watching paint dry" I suppose)

Medicine:

Greg A Miller of Missouri for inventing Neuticles - artificial replacement testicles for dogs

(this, apparently is a replacement for neutered dogs, to make them look "normal again"- only in America)

Literature:
The internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for using email to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters, each of whom requires just a small amount of money so as to obtain access to the great wealth they will share with you.

(yes, we've all had these, maybe they deserve a prize for persistence and stupidity. I wonder if anyone ever fell for it?)

Peace:
Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University for electrically monitoring the activity of a locust's brain cell while it was watching selected highlights from the film Star Wars.

(Claire and Peter, try sex, it's much more exciting)

Biology:
An international team of scientists and perfumiers for smelling and cataloguing the peculiar odours produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.

(Now I know why I hate Calvin Klein perfume)

Economics:
Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, thus ensuring that people get out of bed, theoretically adding many productive hours to the work day.

(Nice try, but I can sleep through mine, but I would like one please, for the entertainment value)

Nutrition:
Yoshiro Nakamats of Tokyo for photographing and then analysing every meal he has eaten over 34 years.

(A True Anorak, hopefully photographed before digestion took place)


Chemistry:
Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for settling the scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water?

(Does it matter?)

Agricultural history:
James Watson of Massey University, New Zealand, for his scholarly study, The Significance of Mr Richard Buckley's Exploding Trousers.

(Mr Buckley must be a good candidate to try out the artificial testicles)


Fluid dynamics:

Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany, and the University of Oulu, Finland; and Jozsef Gal of Lorand Eotvos University, Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed in their report Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh - Calculations on Avian Defecation.

(I cannot begin to imagine)

Kats

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