Ignobel 2010

Ignobel 2010

Postby shran » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:12 am

Ignobel 2010, A prize invented as a counterpart to the Nobel prize for seemingly obscure research and sometimes dowright hilarious ideas, but with sometimes striking and potentially useful results. The winners usually make you laugh first, then think.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:52 pm

Worth quoting a few examples from this year's winners :

ENGINEERING PRIZE: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago, New Zealand, for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews, and Larry Taylor of the Industrial Health and Safety Office, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA, for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Mark » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:26 pm

:shock:
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Mikey » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:36 pm

#1 - why is whale snot that important?

#2 - don't microbes cling just as much to clean-shaven scientists... or bearded men in other careers?

#3 - why did oral sex among fruit bats need to be documented? I think what those folks discovered was something far more surprising: a fetish for which videos couldn't be found on the internet.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Foxfyre » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:58 am

Mikey wrote:#1 - why is whale snot that important?


Its not hence the award.

#2 - don't microbes cling just as much to clean-shaven scientists... or bearded men in other careers?


LOL agreed

#3 - why did oral sex among fruit bats need to be documented? I think what those folks discovered was something far more surprising: a fetish for which videos couldn't be found on the internet.


Ok seriously who in the hell funded this one? If they have that kind of money to waste then damn give me some of that cash.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:31 pm

Actually, like most things that sound silly on the surface the whale snot one has a sensible side to it. Whale snot is loaded with bacteria, and analysing it gives you a very good idea of the health status of the whale. As you can imagine, collecting whale snot is difficult; they use the helicopter to hover over the blowhole when the whale surfaces and blows, collecting snot particles. Using this method biologists can quite quickly assess the health of large numbers of whales without ever having to go anywhere near them in the field.

Which, when put like that, actually sounds like quite a useful little invention, does it not?
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Mikey » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:50 pm

Nope. The whales would be best served by us leaving them the hell alone, not playing with their mucus.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby stitch626 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:57 pm

Well, maybe not. This could be used to track down severely dangerous pollution, by analyzing the whales migration as well.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:02 pm

Bingo. And identifying endangered populations so they can be protected, etc.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Foxbat » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:13 am

And you know we'll need to keep the whales alive for another 500 years, just in case some whacked out whale song singing death probe might actually come to Earth to talk to it...

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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Tyyr » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:17 am

...or we could just make a recording.

Just saying.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Mikey » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:00 pm

Haven't they already genetically engineered themselves to take care of it?

stitch626 wrote:Well, maybe not. This could be used to track down severely dangerous pollution, by analyzing the whales migration as well.

GrahamKennedy wrote:Bingo. And identifying endangered populations so they can be protected, etc.


Well, we must already have had a way of identifying sick whales - otherwise, collecting their snot would be useless as we'd have no way of telling a control sample from an experimental one. More importantly, none of this will help protect whales from whaling - and outside of that, they've done OK for a very long time without updating their HMO's in order to visit human veterinarians.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:52 pm

Mikey wrote:Well, we must already have had a way of identifying sick whales - otherwise, collecting their snot would be useless as we'd have no way of telling a control sample from an experimental one.


Yes, but this does it without anybody having to swim up to the whale and fiddle about with it.


More importantly, none of this will help protect whales from whaling


So what? Just because we fish, doesn't mean we should be unconcerned with fish stocks. Quite the reverse.
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Re: Ignobel 2010

Postby Mikey » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:04 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:
Mikey wrote:More importantly, none of this will help protect whales from whaling


So what? Just because we fish, doesn't mean we should be unconcerned with fish stocks. Quite the reverse.


So what? Try reading the whole paragraph, without just quoting one bit out of context, to see the actual point I made instead of a different one to which you choose to respond.
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