10 October 2010

iggy pop

I will take a short break from banging my head on the table to bring you news from the 2010 Ignoble Prizes. My favourites?

Engineering

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.
I'd have to look at the abstract to determine whether the researchers even considered those preceding questions which automatically suggest themselves. These include, of course, why does anybody want to collect whale snot, closely followed by (b), what do you do with it once you've got it? And then, presumably, how much do you get in a typical collection...er, raid?

Peace

Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.REFERENCE: "Swearing as a Response to Pain," Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston, Neuroreport, vol. 20 , no.
12, 2009, pp. 1056-60.

If they need another control group to add weight to the hypothesis, I suggest they call around to my office during one the regular beating head on table episodes.

Economics

The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

Emphasis added, probably superfluously.

Biology (allegedly, this seems too good to be true...)

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.

Words fail me. The only good news is that if China is eventually going to take over the world, the means are going to be stupendously different to customary explanations such as shooting the Dalai Lama, artificially holding down the exchange rate or getting everybody hooked on Hainanese chicken rice.

I feel better now.

2 comments:

Marshall-Stacks said...

Whales spit-up some gunk from their stomachs called ambergris, and without it's use in perfume manufacture, there would be no 'expensive' scents, and they're expensive because the ambergris is hard to find.
Maybe whale-snot can be also used for something wonderful.
give the writers of the fruit-bat thesis a break will you? It must not be easy settling on an area which has not already been researched.
Just enjoy what the conversation in hallowed halls must be like when anybody asks them what their doctorate was on - "oh fruit-bat fell*tio, the hanging upside down makes it so easy for them".

you clearly have too much time on your hands.

phil said...

Ambergris I've heard off - someone found a great big hunk of it near Mt Isa, thus proving that whales...oh something anyway...

Hang on a sec...a whole Olympic-sized consortium of Chinese in the UK are researching 69 fruit bats and I'm the one with time on his hands?

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