Fun_People Archive
30 Oct
mini-AIR Bits Oct 2000 -- Ig Winners

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Date: Mon, 30 Oct 100 02:59:27 -0800
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Subject: mini-AIR Bits Oct 2000 -- Ig Winners

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: mini-AIR Oct 2000 -- Ig Winners, Kafka Nightmare, Dorf
From: Marc Abrahams <>

mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
Issue Number 2000-10
October, 2000
ISSN 1076-500X
Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the
A free newsletter of tidbits too tiny to fit in the
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR),
the journal of inflated research and personalities

	mini-AIR is
	a free monthly *e-supplement* to AIR, the print magazine

2000-10-04	The 2000 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The 2000 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded in a gala ceremony at Harvard
University on Thursday, October 5. You can see video of the ceremony by
going to the AIR web site  <>

Here are the winners:

PSYCHOLOGY. David Dunning of Cornell University and Justin Kreuger of the
University of Illinois, for their modest report, "Unskilled and Unaware of
It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated
Self-Assessments." [Published in the Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, vol. 77, no. 6, December 1999, pp. 1121-34.]

LITERATURE. Jasmuheen (formerly known as Ellen Greve) of Australia, first
lady of Breatharianism, for her book "Living on Light," which explains that
although some people do eat food, they don't ever really need to.

BIOLOGY. Richard Wassersug of Dalhousie University, for his first- hand
report, "On the Comparative Palatability of Some Dry-Season Tadpoles from
Costa Rica." [Published in The American Midland Naturalist, vol. 86, no.
1, July 1971, pp. 101-9.]

PHYSICS. Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and
Sir Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK), for using magnets to levitate
a frog and a sumo wrestler. [REFERENCE:  "Of Flying Frogs and Levitrons"
by M.V. Berry and A.K. Geim, European Journal of Physics, v. 18, 1997, p.

CHEMISTRY. Donatella Marazziti, Alessandra Rossi, and Giovanni B.  Cassano
of the University of Pisa, and Hagop S. Akiskal of the University of
California (San Diego), for their discovery that, biochemically, romantic
love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive
disorder.  [REFERENCE: "Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter
in romantic love," Marazziti D, Akiskal HS, Rossi A, Cassano GB,
Psychological Medicine, 1999 May;29(3):741-5.]

ECONOMICS. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, for bringing efficiency and steady
growth to the mass-marriage industry, with, according to his reports, a
36-couple wedding in 1960, a 430-couple wedding in 1968, an 1800-couple
wedding in 1975, a 6000-couple wedding in 1982, a 30,000-couple wedding in
1992, a 360,000-couple wedding in 1995, and a 36,000,000-couple wedding in

MEDICINE. Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, Pek van Andel, and Eduard Mooyaart
of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Ida Sabelis of Amsterdam, for their
illuminating report, "Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals
During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal." [Published in British Medical
Journal, vol. 319, 1999, pp 1596- 1600.]

COMPUTER SCIENCE. Chris Niswander of Tucson, Arizona, for inventing
PawSense, software that detects when a cat is walking across your computer

PEACE. The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live
cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!"

PUBLIC HEALTH. Jonathan Wyatt, Gordon McNaughton, and William Tullet of
Glasgow, for their alarming report, "The Collapse of Toilets in Glasgow."
[Published in the Scottish Medical Journal, vol. 38, 1993, p. 185.]

For further details (with lotsa links) see

Complete details, complete with photos, will be published in the
Jan/Feb 2001 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

2000-10-05	Dutch Ig Questions

Investigator Hans Klamer writes (from The Netherlands):

	Browsing through the list of Ig Nobel 2000 award winners, I noticed
	that the relatively small Dutch scientific community makes a
	valuable contribution to Improbable Research. Of the 10 fields of
	science, Dutch researchers claim Physics and Medicine, with three
	Dutch universities contributing (Groningen, Nijmegen and Amsterdam).
	Some questions: how come? and: does it mean anything?

If you, dear reader, have a convincing answer to these questions, please
send it to <>

2000-10-06	AIRhead Halloween Research Review

Here is a cursory, cursed review of scientific research that
pertains to the Halloween season.

"Lycanthropy in Depression: Two Case Reports,"
K. Rao, B.N. Gangadhar, and N. Janakiramiah, Psychopathology, vol.  32,
no. 4, July/August 1999, pp. 169-72. (Thanks to Jody Tannen for bringing
this to our attention.) The authors  are at the National Institute of Mental
Health and Neurosciences Bangalore, India.

"Does garlic protect against vampires?," H. Sandvik and A.  Baerheim,
Tidsskr Nor Loegeforen, vol. 114, 1994, pp. 3585-6.  (Thanks to Alex Hillar
and others from bringing this to  our attention.] The authors report:
	Garlic has been regarded as an effective prophylactic against
	vampires. We wanted to explore this alleged effect experimentally.
	Owing to the lack of vampires, we used leeches instead....
[Note: the authors won a 1996 Ig Nobel Prize for their classic report,
"Effect of Ale, Garlic, and Soured Cream on the Appetite of Leeches."]

On October 27, and on October 30, we will post more extensive
lists. Get thee those days to the AIR web site

2000-10-08	Election Winner, at Last

There is a winner -- finally -- of the "Favorite Katti" election.
The election will NOT be re-run again.

As explained in excruciating detail in recent mini-AIRs, we originally
asked, "Which is YOUR favorite Katti?"
     (1) R.K. Katti
     (2) R.K. Katti
     (3) D.R. Katti

These Katties, we explained, were co-authors of the book:
     "Influence of Gravity On Granular Soil Mechanics",
     R.K. Katti, R.K. Katti, and D.R. Katti, Balkema
     (Publishers), Rotterdam, 2000.

However (and characteristically), we mangled a Katti. Also, we received a
plaintive note from the possibly famous M. Katti of Arizona State
University's Center for Environmental Studies. M.  Katti asked that we add
his favorite Katti -- himself -- to the ballot. We took his hint. Thus,
the final ballot offered a choice of:

  (a) A.R. Katti;
  (b) D.R. Katti;
  (c) R.K. Katti; or
  (d) M. Katti

The results are now in, the ballots have been examined spectroscopically,
and the winner has been certified. The vote broke down as follows:

  (a) A.R. Katti -- 10%
  (b) D.R. Katti -- 12%
  (c) R.K. Katti -- 05%
  (d) M. Katti   -- 73%

The winner is M. Katti. Congratulations to him.

2000-10-09	Katti Comments

Many voters also sent comments. Here are a very few of them:

My vote is for R. K. Katti. If this Katti was good enough to be mentioned
twice the first time, he or she must be the best Katti available.
	--Kate Wightman

I'm sorry but I can't vote: you should better add to the list the name of
"Michele Catti", professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy; if
you can't add it to the list, perhaps I may vote the (d) solution, as I
think that "Catti" in Italian is pronounced as "Katti", and the name initial
is the same.
	--Francesca (one of Michele Catti's students!)

I vote for the Estonian statistician Katti who is at
	--Tim Poston

I submit that we do not have a complete list of Kattis (Kattae?) from which
to select our favorite. Therefore, I'll mark my ballot "none of the above."
	--Debbie Decker

2000-10-10	Catty Katti Comments

A further selection:

I vote for M. Katti, who clearly understands that the alternative to
"Publish or Perish" is "Publicize or Perish."
	--Nik Hughes

Although my initial inclination was to vote for M. Katti, because of the
good-natured manner in which he pointed out the omission of his name from
the list, in the end I was more impressed by the stoic way in which A.R.
Katti bore this same indignity. Nobody loves a whiner.
	--Peter van der Linden

I vote for Dr. Katti -- not D.R. Katti, but of course Dr. M. Katti.
	--John R. Hutchinson

M. Katti, by raising such a stink about not being mentioned, must be some
kind of egomaniac, playing the victim. Note the "look at me"
tradition-breaking single initial -- a pathetic cry for attention. To
nominate oneself is the height of arrogance.  Hence M. Katti is
disqualified. D.R. Katti, must be my favorite.
	JoAnne Schmitz

2000-10-19	Our Address (*)

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)	
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617-491-4437 FAX:617-661-0927



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	------------- mini-AIRheads -------------
EDITOR: Marc Abrahams (
MINI-PROOFREADER AND PICKER OF NITS (before we introduce the last
few at the last moment): Wendy Mattson <>
CO-CONSPIRATORS: Gary Dryfoos, Ernest Ersatz, Craig Haggart, Nicki
AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon
Glashow, William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts

(c) copyright 2000, Annals of Improbable Research

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