Improbable Research Collection #108

Here’s episode 108 (“Cake, wrap, calculate”) of the Improbable Research TV series. To see it, click on the image at right, and you will be whisked to YouTube (where you can subscribe, if you like, to the Improbable Research channel). These are three-minute videos about research that makes people laugh, then makes them think. For […]

When Deborah Met Salma

It’s not often that movie stars and pop singers are given the same celebrity as top scientists. The October 3, 2008 issue of the International Herald Tribune features a stunning conjunction of celebrities: Dr. Deborah J. Anderson of Boston University Medical School and Harvard Medical School, co-winner of the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry […]

Levitated and stirred, not shaken

Patent application US2007170798 is for a “Device of levitation of an item over an optimized base by means of permanent magnets. The equilibrium is stable along one or two axes by means of these permanent magnets, and along the one or two others by means of a combination of electromagnets of near zero consumption at […]

Do Copied Citations Create Renowned Papers?

Recently we discovered [see cond-mat/0212043] that the majority of citations in scientific papers are simply copied from the lists of references that appear in other papers. Here we show that a model, in which a scientist picks three random papers, cites them, and also copies a quarter of their references accounts quantitatively for empirically observed […]

Aurelien Mazurie joins LFHCfS

Aurelien Mazurie has joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. He says: Roughly speaking, my goal is to study the cell (and if possible, higher level of organisation like tissues, organisms, populations and … ecosystems) as a entangled set of interacting components, in order to find underlying logic and structures. Aurelien Mazurie, Ph.D., LFHCfS […]

The Ghoulish State of Necrophilia Law

John Troyer, a newly arrived scholar at the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society, dug up evidence of a little-unappreciated gap in the law. His study, called Abuse of a Corpse: A Brief History and Re-Theorisation of Necrophilia Laws in the USA, appears in the only-occasionally-ghoulish journal Mortality. Troyer spotlights an incident that […]

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize winners

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last night at the 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Click here to see a list of the winners. Recorded video is (or soon will be) posted for your viewing pleasure, displeasure or indifference. Related event: The new winners will try to explain what they did and […]

Ig winners—Where are they now?

Network World, gearing themselves to absorb tomorrow night’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and webcast,  prepared a grand look back (and forth) at several past Ig Nobel Prize winners. Click on the image below (taken from their report) to see details and lots of photos.