Ig winners lauded for Ideas-of-the-Year

YearInIdeasTwo of this year’s crop of Ig Nobel Prize winners are among the “noteworthy notions of 2009” celebrated in the New York Times Magazine‘s “Year in Ideas” feature. Here’s how The Times describes them:

Cows With Names Make More Milk
“The naming,” says Catherine Douglas, the Newcastle University animal behaviorist behind the research, “reflects the humans’ attitudes toward the cows, and therefore how they behave around them.” Named cows are more often treated nicely, and well-treated, calm and happy cows make more milk….

Empty Beer Bottles Make Better Weapons
Other scientists had already calculated how much energy it takes to crack the human skull — between 14 and 70 joules, depending on the location — so all Bolliger needed to do was to take the same measurements on a beer bottle. “If the bottle is more sturdy than the skull,” he says, “then the bottle will win, and the skull will break.” Simple as that….