Fun_People Archive
27 Apr
mini-AIR Bits April 2000

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 100 13:33:51 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: mini-AIR Bits April 2000

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: Marc Abrahams <>
Excerpted-from: mini-AIR April 2000 -- Favorite Srivastava, Nature & Nurture
mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
Issue Number 2000-04
April, 2000
A free newsletter of tidbits too tiny to fit in
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR),
the journal of inflated research and personalities


2000-04-04	SURVEY: Nature vs. Nurture

This month's Scientific Correctness Survey (#62) concerns nature and
nurture. Like all our Scientific Correctness Surveys, this one will
settle, once and for all, a burning scientific controversy.

Which determines an individual's personality:

1. Nature
2. Nurture
3. Neither

Please send your vote to <>

2000-04-05	Lost Planets

Our Lost & Found Department is maintaining a stock of lost and
found astronomical items. Details are at

2000-04-06	Pointing the Finger

A study by UC Berkeley prof. Marc Breedlove et al. measured the finger
lengths of "720 adults who were attending public street fairs in the San
Francisco area." This yielded what the authors call "some surprising
information." It also inspired us to survey 740 adults who were attending
public car washes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and amass the same kinds of
information as were obtained in the San Francisco study. Details and "some
surprising results" are at

2000-04-09	Light-Hearted Entertainment

Today we received a phone call from a "research firm" that is conducting
"A Survey on Entertainment and Laser Activity." We hung up on them, as we
do on everyone who asks us to answer a telephone survey.

However, now we are intrigued with the concept of "Entertainment and Laser
Activity." If you can enlighten us in 25 words or less as to its nature,
we would be pleased to hear from you at <>

2000-04-14	PLAY BY PLAY -- FatPhooeys vs. FiberFabs

Our series of thrilling reports from the sporting fields of science and
medicine continues. This month it's a spirited report about the No Fat,
High Fiber team and its archrival, the Yes Fat, Fi On Fiber gang. The latter
scored a pair of punishing wins this week in the New England Journal of
Medicine. For details see

2000-04-15	AIR VENTS: Deception, Symmetry

The world is full of unhappy people. Here are letters from three of them.

"Your report ("Is Theater Dead?," mini-AIR 2000-03) about the new play
about forensic entomologist Mark Benecke mentions that '...flies and
their maggots crawl in and on the flesh of the deceived.' I hope never
to be fooled again."
	--Rick Wood

"I just wanted to add my entry to the moniker reversal forum. I hope
it's not too late. If it is, sorry. My mom has the same problem; her
name: Lin-Lin Lin. People call her by her last name 'Lin.'
	--Beatrice Lin

I must correct the blatant error in your Project AIRhead 2000 report
regarding Chex Mix 2000. As Investigators Williams and Mukherji have
attested, the crunchy treat does come packaged in a lovely silver bag.
However, Chex Mix 2000 differs from unnumbered Chex Mix in a further
important way. The little pretzels are shaped like "2000" (except for
the broken ones, which either say OOO or 2O, mostly). Thus, the name
appears to be actually descriptive of the product inside -- not to
mention useful next year for discerning out-of-date stock.
	Michelle L. Imber

2000-04-16	Beauty Counts Contest

Our Beauty Counts Contest, announced last month, produced nothing but
winners. We sought to identify the loveliest mathematical entities. Here
are several.

I consider, that my teacher in analysis, matematician Ms. Vera Soos
(Mrs. Turan) was the most beautiful mathemtical entity in 1956-57 school
year.  But 43 years went since that.
--George Valas

To this gorgeous attempt to beautify an often ugly subject, I offer the
following contestant
	e ^(i*Pi) = -1
Beautiful in its simplicity, it needs no further comment.
--Ben Kemp

"I always took e^(i*pi)=-1 to be the most beautiful mathematical
equation, even in mangled ascii, binding as it does three of the most
characterful concepts into a simple relation. Of course, the most
beautiful may not be beautiful enough, and so I quit maths and moved to
brain science. I don't find things as beautiful any more, although if
I did I would know where I was feeling it."
--Dr Daniel Glaser

"I'd like to nominate the number '0', the most beautiful (clean and
symmetric) and also useful mathematical entity in the Universe."
--Markus Buchhorn

More next time.
(c) copyright 2000, Annals of Improbable Research

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