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The 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes

The 2011 Ig Nobel prizes were awarded last Thursday.  Most relevant to this blog was the Peace Prize, awarded to "Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, LITHUANIA, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank."
But the Iggys aren't what they used to be.  In the good old days, they were unrestrained ridicule of stupid research, described as "research that cannot, or should not, be reproduced."  These days, scientific standards have been watered down, and "irreproducible" is no longer regarded as synonymous with "crap."  (It still is crap, but it is no longer regarded as such.)  The Journal of Irreproducible Research has been renamed the Annals of Improbable Research(See comments.)

The Iggys themselves are no longer designations of ignobility.  The designation is now, "For achievements that first make people LAUGH, then make them THINK."

Update:  More info is available in this AP story by Mark Pratt.  Another winner is also relevant to this blog:

Driving while desperately needing to urinate isn't a crime, but maybe it should be.

Peter Snyder and his colleagues found that having a bladder at its bursting point reduced attention span and the ability to make decisions to the same degree expected with low levels of alcohol intoxication or 24 hours of sleep deprivation. The research earned them the 2011 Ig Nobel prize for medicine.

"When people reach a point when they are in so much pain they just can't stand it anymore, it was like being drunk," said Snyder, a professor of neurology at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Now, if you pull over to "go behind a bush," you might get cited, but this research indicates that not doing so might be worse.


The Journal of Irreproducible Results remains a separate and successful science humor magazine. Find us at www.jir.com.

Best wishes,
Norman Sperling, Editor
blog: everythingintheuniverse.com

Thank you for the correction. I am glad to hear it.

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