Fun_People Archive
23 Nov
mini-JIR: the first issue

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 20:22:41 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: mini-JIR: the first issue

Dear Fun_People,
    If you don't already know about the Mini-JIR (an email teaser for the
Journal of Irreproducible Results), then you'll be pleased to see this sample
copy containing instructions for subscribing.  If you don't already know what
the Journal of Irreproducible Results is, well, ... shame on you!
    The Mini-JIR doesn't allow excerpts to be distributed, so fun_people must
include all or nothing.  I intend to send out only this first issue (in its
entirety, of course) and I will assume that any Fun_Person interested in seeing
further issues of the Mini-JIR will subscribe directly.  BTW, the editor of the
Mini-JIR is a Fun_Person himself.
					- psl

The Mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results ("mini-JIR")
Issue Number 1993-01
November, 1993
ISSN 1072-7159
Key words:science humor,irreproducible results,Ig Nobel
The Official Electronic Mini-Organ of the Society for Basic
Irreproducible Research
Produced jointly by
The Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR) and
The MIT Museum


1993-01-01  Table of Contents
1993-01-02  Purpose of the Mini-Journal (*)
1993-01-03  Abstracts from JIR, vol. 38, no. 5, Sep/Oct 93
1993-01-04  List of 1993 Ig Nobel Prize Winners
1993-01-05  NAFTA Update
1993-01-06  JIR Recommends
1993-01-07  Upcoming Events at the MIT Museum and Elsewhere
1993-01-08  Calls for Papers and Nominations
1993-01-09  How to Submit Articles to JIR (*)
1993-01-10  How to Subscribe (*)
1993-01-11  Copyright Notice (*)

            Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

So many of you subscribed to mini-JIR that you rendered it,
very temporarily, irreproducible. We had planned to send out
this first issue early in the week of November 15. But with
this number of subscribers, that would have overwhelmed the
MIT computer system, and possibly slowed down other portions
of the net. Rather than do that, we made arrangements to
have a number of sites redistribute mini-JIR.

We apologize for the delay, and thank you for your patience.

1993-01-02  Purpose of the Mini-Journal (*)

The Mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results publishes news
about overly stimulating research and ideas. Specifically:

A) Haphazardly selected superficial (but advanced!) extracts
of research news and satire from the Journal of
Irreproducible Results (JIR).

B) News about the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Ig Nobel
Prizes honor "achievements that cannot or should not be
reproduced." A public ceremony is held at MIT, in Cambridge
Massachusetts, every autumn. The ceremony is sponsored
jointly by JIR and by the MIT Museum.

C) News about other science humor activities conducted by
the MIT Museum and JIR.

1993-01-03  Abstracts from JIR, vol. 38, no. 5, Sep/Oct 93

This section contains abstracts of articles that appear in
volume 38, number 5 (the September/October 1993 issue) of
The Journal of Irreproducible Results.

"Teeth Pulled by Peter the Great," by Rosamond Wolff Purcell
and Stephen J. Gould.
A photograph documents 24 teeth, all personally pulled by
Peter the Great of Russia, who fancied himself a dentist,
and who often would demand this sacrifice of a member of his
retinue or even of an idle passerby.

"Selecting a College: The Squirrel Index," by Bruce McAfee.
In recommending a college to attend, experts traditionally
rely on innacurate assumptions: that prospective students
can read, etc. The author proposes and tests a new approach
for selecting a college: examining the number and
friendliness of a college's resident squirrel population.

"What's in a Name? (Middle) Name-Dropping and Postwar
American Politics" by William J. Tompson
There is a marked trend toward shorter names for American
politicians and statesmen. This study uses a number of
highly sophisticated quantitative tests to draw a link
between this phenomenon and the influence of the Bolshevik
Revolution on American intellectual life.

"The Coffee Strength Gauge," by Stephen Drew.
A new wristwatch-shaped device assesses the quality of a cup
of coffee. It provides house guests and restaurant patrons
with a polite way to tell before drinking the coffee whether
it is too strong, too weak, or just right.

"A Phenomenon Caused by Excess Gravity," by J. William
Photographic evidence supports the author's theory of how
two wine glasses came to be of differing heights.

"The Phantom Research Grant Phenomenon," by George
Englebretsen and Genevieve Boulet.
The authors contend that, just as victims of limb loss are
often forced phsychologically to continue to behave as if
their phantom limbs still exist, victims of research grant
loss are often forced to continue to behave as if their
grants still exist.

"The Therapeutic Value of Whimpering," by Roma Lark.
The author, a nursing student, finds that the length of a
hospital patient's stay can be predicted by the quality and
frequency of the patient's whimpering.

"Measuring Effects of Space Flight Without Space Flight," by
Mark Shelhamer.
A simple mathematical method predicts human physical
performance under weightless conditions. It is based on
measuring the difference in performance, under normal
gravity, between subjects weighing (for example) X and 2X.

Interview with Nobel Physics laureate (1979) Allan Cormack.
Cormack developed the mathematical and physical foundations
of  computerized axial tomography (CAT) imaging. In this
interview, he explains his secrets for staying awake during
a dull lecture, and suggests candidates for the Ig Nobel

"An Important but Neglected Function of Nitric Oxide (NO),"
by X. Perry Mental.
A historical context is given for the recent discovery,
published in the research journal "Science," that nitric
oxide (NO) may play a role in penile erections. A non-
seminal event was the 1965 discovery of the contraceptive
NO-acetol, the chemical structure of which has nitric oxide
(NO) in every position.

"Nitric Oxide (NO): Don't Confuse Cause With Effect," by
Benjamin J. Luberoff.
The author contends that recent research on nitric oxide
(NO) leaves it unclear whether: (a) NO conveys a message
that causes penile erection; or (b) the erection elicits the

"Comedic Cosmology," by Howard Zaharoff.
The publication of this article was made possible by a
generous donation from the author's family.

"A Cool Analysis of the Heat Pump," by Mark Lipsman.
The classical heat pump is analyzed in terms of the spaces
between molecules, Planck's constant, and moving trains.

"Elegant Results" (regular column) by Alice Shirell Kaswell.
Styles, trends, and tidbits, culled from leading research
journals. In this issue: findings from the research journals
"Skin Art Encyclopedia," " Outlaw Biker Review," and

"Scientific Gossip" (regular column) by Stephen Drew.
Contains 100% gossip from concentrate. In this issue:
Recycled House Wine; Disorder for Doctors; Patch People;
Fungus Factory; There's a Song in My Stomach; Gas for
interested Viewers; The Passing of Things Remembered;
Borderline Therapy; The Omni-Drug Revolution.

1993-01-04  List of 1993 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The winners of the 1993 Ig Nobel Prizes were announced in a
ceremony held on October 7 at MIT. The Prizes honor
individuals whose achievements cannot or should not be

Eleven Ig Nobel Prizes were given this year. The winners
come from 16 different countries: Australia; Belgium;
Canada; England; France; Germany; Ireland; Israel;
Luxembourg; the Netherlands; New Zealand; the Philippines;
Poland; Spain; Switzerland; and the United States.

A number of dignitaries participated in the ceremony,
including: Nobel Laureates William Lipscomb (chemistry,
1976), Sheldon Glashow (physics, 1979), Jerome Friedman
(physics, 1990), Mel Schwartz, (physics, 1985) and Dudley
Herschbach (chemistry, 1986); Russell Johnson, professor
emeritus from Gilligan's Island; Alan Lightman, author of
"Einstein's Dreams;" jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant, MIT
economist Paul Krugman; "New England Journal of Medicine"
executive editor Marcia Angell; past president of the
American Bar association John J. Curtin; and Tufts
University Dental School's Philip Molloy, who has performed
more than 10,000 root canal procedures.

The new winners:

John Mack of Harvard Medical School and David Jacobs of
Temple University, mental visionaries, for their leaping
conclusion that people who believe they were kidnapped by
aliens from outer space, probably were -- and especially for
their conclusion that, in Professor Jacobs's words, "the
focus of the abduction is the production of children."
[Both Mack and Jacobs have written and spoken extensively on
the subject. A good introduction is the book "Secret Life,"
by David Jacobs with an introduction by John Mack, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1992.]

Consumer Engineering
Ron Popeil, incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of
late night television, for redefining the industrial
revolution with such devices as the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket
Fisherman, the Cap Snaffler, Mr. Microphone, and the Inside-
the-Shell Egg Scrambler.

Paul Williams, Jr. of the Oregon State Health Division and
Kenneth W. Newell of the Liverpool School of Tropical
Medicine, bold biological detectives, for their pioneering
study, "Salmonella Excretion in Joy-Riding Pigs."  [The
study was published in "The American Journal of Public
Health," vol. 60, no. 5, May, 1970. Kenneth Newell died in
March, 1990.]

Ravi Batra of Southern Methodist University, shrewd
economist and best-selling author of "The Great Depression
of 1990" ($17.95) and "Surviving the Great Depression of
1990" ($18.95), for selling enough copies of his books to
single-handedly prevent worldwide economic collapse.

The Pepsi-Cola Company of the Phillipines, suppliers of
sugary hopes and dreams, for sponsoring a contest to create
a millionaire, and then announcing the wrong winning number,
thereby inciting and uniting 800,000 riotously expectant
winners, and bringing many warring factions together for the
first time in their nation's history.

Visionary Technology
Presented jointly to Jay Schiffman of Farmington Hills,
Michigan, crack inventor of AutoVision, an image projection
device that makes it possible to drive a car and watch
television at the same time, and to the Michigan state
legislature, for making it legal to do so.  [Michigan House
Bill 4530, Public Act #55 was signed into law by the
Governor on June 6, 1991.]

James Campbell and Gaines Campbell of Lookout Mountain,
Tennessee, dedicated deliverers of fragrance, for inventing
scent strips, the odious method by which perfume is applied
to magazine pages.  [Additional historical information about
the invention of scent strips can be obtained from the
Campbells' former colleague, Ronald Versic, President of the
Ronald P. Dodge Company in Dayton, OH.]

Awarded jointly to E. Topol, R. Califf, F. Van de Werf, P.
W. Armstrong, and their 972 co-authors, for publishing a
medical research paper which has one hundred times as many
authors as pages. [Source "An International Randomized Trial
Comparing Four Thrombolytic Strategies for Acute Myocardial
Infarction," "The New England Journal of Medicine," volume
329, number 10, September 2, 1993, pages 673-682.
The co-authors come from 15 different nations: Australia;
Belgium; Canada; England; France; Germany; Ireland; Israel;
Luxembourg; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Poland; Spain;
Switzerland; and the United States.]

Robert Faid of Greenville, South Carolina, farsighted and
faithful seer of statistics, for calculating the exact odds
(8,606,091,751,882:1) that Mikhail Gorbachev is the
Antichrist. [Faid's complete calculation is contained in the
book "Gorbachev! Has the Real Antichrist Come?" published by
Victory House, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The pertinent section of the
book was reprinted in the January, 1989 issue of Harper's

Louis Kervran of France, ardent admirer of alchemy, for his
conclusion that the calcium in chickens' eggshells is
created by a process of cold fusion. [For an English
language version of Kervran's research see the book
"Biological Transmutations, and their applications in
chemistry, physics, biology, ecology, medicine, nutrition,
agriculture, geology," by Louis Kervran, Swan House
Publishing Co., 1972.]

James F. Nolan, Thomas J. Stillwell, and John P. Sands, Jr.,
medical men of mercy, for their painstaking research report,
"Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis."  [Nolan is
Associate in Urology at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA.
Stillwell is in private practice at North Urology, Ltd., in
Robbinsdale, MN. Sands is Chairman of the Department of
Urology, Naval Hospital, San Diego, CA. Their report was
published in "The Journal of Emergency Medicine," vol. 8,

1993-01-05  NAFTA Update

Until very recently, the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) was the subject of fierce debate among economists.
The remarkable sudden arrival at concensus within the
profession was due largely to a concept articulated by Paul
Krugman. Krugman delivered his remarks on October 7 at the
Ig Noble Prize Ceremony, in the form of a Heisenberg
Certainty Lecture.

Heisenberg Certainty Lecture #4.
Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics, MIT.
"The MIT Economics Department has now solved the riddle of
world economic crisis. It turns out that if you add up last
year's reported imports and exports for all of the countries
in the world, world imports exceeded world exports by more
than one hundred billion dollars. You know what that means.
It means that we are running a huge global deficit in our
interplanetary trade. So Ross Perot has it wrong. That great
sucking sound isn't coming from Mexico -- it's coming from
outer space. Space aliens are stealing American jobs."

1993-01-06  JIR Recommends

Research reports that merit a trip to the library:

"Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in
Siam," by Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn
Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn,
Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, "The American Journal of
Surgery," 1983, no. 146, pp. 376-382. The report reads in
part: "It became fashionable in the decade after 1970 for
the humiliated Thai wife to wait until her [philandering]
husband fell asleep so that she could quickly sever his
penis with a kitchen knife. A traditional Thai home is
elevated on pilings and the windows are open to allow for
ventilation. The area under the house is the home of the
family pigs, chickens, and ducks. Thus, it is quite usual
that an amputated penis is tossed out of an open window,
where it may be captured by a duck."

"Protein, cDNA, and Genomic DNA Sequences of the Towel Gourd
Trypsin Inhibitor, A Squash Family Inhibitor," "The Journal
of Biological Chemistry," vol. 268, no. 2, January 15, 1993,
pp. 810-814. (Thanks to Thomas Michel for bringing this to
our attention.)

"Establishment of Cattle-Human Relationships," by X. Boivin,
P. Le Neindre, and J. M. Chupin, "Applied Animal Behavior
Science," vol. 32, 1992, pp. 325-335. (Thanks to Earle
Spamer for bringing this to our attention.)

1993-01-07  Upcoming Events at the MIT Museum and Elsewhere

::::: "Crazy After Calculus" :::::
An ongoing exhibition of extraordinary humor at MIT from
prehistoric times through the present day.
   The MIT Museum
   265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA  02139  USA
   (617) 253-4422   Internet address:

::::: Ig Nobel Prize ceremony on RADIO :::::
A recording of the 1993 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony is scheduled
to be broadcast on National Public Radio's "Talk of the
Nation Science Friday With Ira Flatow" on Friday afternoon,
November 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
   Internet address:

::::: Irreproducible Public Reading/Performance :::::
On Wednesday, January 12, 1994, 7-9 pm., The Bookcellar Cafe
[1971 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, (617) 864-9625]
is sponsoring a public reading/performance of classic JIR
research papers, including several papers that appear in the
new book "Sex As a Heap..."). JIR authors who wish to take
part should contact the editor ( as soon as

::::: North American Irreproducible Research Tour :::::
The publisher of the new JIR book (see section 1993-01-08
below) will be sponsoring a JIR readings/research tour of
North American cities, universities, and medical centers.
The tour is being planned now, and is tentatively scheduled
to happen in February and/or March. If you would like to
help organize a session in your area, please contact:
Lisa Bernstein, Workman Publishing, 708 Broadway, New York,
NY 10013    voice:(212) 614-7505    FAX:(212) 254-8098

::::: 1994 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony :::::
The next ceremony will be held on or about Thursday, October
6, 1994 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  You are
cordially invited to attend. The exact date will be
confirmed in a future issue of this newsletter.

1993-01-08  Calls for Papers and Nominations

CALL FOR PAPERS on the topic: "My Favorite Microbe."  Please
enclose photomicrographs.

CALL FOR PAPERS on the topic: "Alternatives to H2O."  Please
submit research results only, not speculative essays.

CALL FOR PAPERS analyzing the relationships between nations'
pollution levels and their (a) climate (especially average
seasonal temperatures) or (b) distance from the equator.
Please submit research results only, not speculative essays.

CALL FOR ESSAYS for JIR's "Worst Science Teacher
Competition." Essays must be 300 words or less, explaining
how and why, despite the competition, your nominee is the
world's worst science teacher. Please enclose any
photographs, diagrams, or other evidence that might bolster
your case. All entries become the property of JIR. The
winning essayist and the worst teacher will both be invited
to attend the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at their own
expense. [A stilted note for incurably serious readers: the
underlying purpose of this competition is to publicize the
importance of GOOD science teachers!]

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS for the Ig Nobel Prize.  The Prize is
given for achievements that cannot or should not be

1993-01-09  How to Submit Articles to JIR (*)

Since 1955, The Journal of Irreproducible Results has been
the publication of record for overly stimulating research
and ideas. JIR publishes original articles, news of
particularly egregious scientific results, and short notices
of satiric and humorous intent. The editors look forward to
receiving your manuscripts, photographs, X-rays, drawings,
etc. Please do not send biological samples.

The entire manuscript should be typed double-spaced on
standard white bond paper, with generous margins all around,
and submitted with a photocopy.

Because of the volume of submissions, we are unable to
acknowledge receipt of manuscripts unless they are

Before you submit an article to The Journal of
Irreproducible Results, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE skim through
a recent issue to see the typical length and format of JIR
articles.  At the same time, please read the "Information
for Contributors" notice in any issue of JIR. Articles may
be submitted to:
   Marc Abrahams, editor
   The Journal of Irreproducible Results
   c/o Wisdom Simulators
   P.O. Box 380853
   Cambridge, MA  02238  USA
   Telephone number for editorial matters: (617) 491-4437

A list of arbitrary suggestions for authors can be obtained
the same address.

E-mail address for editorial questions:

1993-01-10 How to Subscribe (*)

The Mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results is an electronic
publication, available over the Internet, free of charge. It
is distributed as a LISTSERV application.  We expect to
publish 6-12 issues per year.
To subscribe, send a brief E-mail message to either one of
these addresses:
The body of your message should contain ONLY the words
"SUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR" followed by your name.
Here are two examples:
       SUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Irene Curie Joliet
       SUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Nicholas Lobachevsky

To stop subscribing, send an unsubscribe message to the same
address. Here are two examples:
       UNSUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Irene Curie Joliet
       UNSUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Nicholas Lobachevsky

If you have questions about how to subscribe, or if you
would like to redistribute mini-JIR from your site, please
send e-mail to:

Back issues of mini-JIR will be available via LISTSERV and
on various gophers. Details will be published in future

The Journal of Irreproducible Results is a print publication
published six times per year. JIR is written by scientists
from around the world, and read by subscribers in 41
   Rates for a year's subscription:
   U.S. ------------ individuals: $21 ---- libraries: $40
   Canada, Mexico -- individuals $27.50 -- libraries: $46
   Elsewhere ------- individuals $43 ----- libraries: $62
   Special group subscriptions please call for details.
To subscribe, send payment to:
   The Journal of Irreproducible Results
   c/o Wisdom Simulators, P.O. Box 380853
   Cambridge, MA  02238  USA            Fax: (617) 876-7022
   Telephone: (800) 759-6102 or (617) 876-7000

A new collection of outstanding JIR research has just been
published in book form:
   "Sex As a Heap of Malfunctioning Rubble (and further
   improbabilities)," Marc Abrahams, editor,
   Workman Publishing, New York, 1993.
Previous collections are available in many libraries:
   A) "The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results,"
   George H. Scherr, editor, Workman Publishing,
   New York, 1983.
   B) "Journal der Unwiederholbaren Experimente," George H.
   Scherr, editor, Kruger Verlag, Frankfurt, 1986
   C) "Journal der Unwiederholbaren Experimente II," George
   H. Scherr, editor, Kruger Verlag, Frankfurt, 1989

1993-01-11  Copyright Notice (*)

Please forward this document to anyone who might be

The only limitations are:
A) You must copy this document IN ITS ENTIRETY, WITHOUT
MODIFICATIONS. You do NOT have permission to change the
contents or to make extracts.
B) You do NOT have permission to copy this document for
commercial purposes.

The contents of this document are copyright (c) 1993 by the
Journal of Irreproducible Results.

The Mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results ("mini-JIR")
     Editor: Marc Abrahams (
     Technical Brains: Marilyn Geller (

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []