A report on reports on reports; The physics of ponytails; Why people spill coffee when they walk; and The pleasures —yes pleasures — of reading textbooks — yes, textbooks— all these all turn up in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.
Click on the “Venetian blinds” icon — at the lower right corner here — to select whichever week’s episode you want to hear:
This week, Marc Abrahams tells about:
- Some more (following on from last week) of the things that won Ig Nobel Prizes in 2012. (“Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies,” US Government General Accountability Office report GAO-12-480R, May 10, 2012./ “Shape of a Ponytail and the Statistical Physics of Hair Fiber Bundles,” Raymond E. Goldstein, Patrick B. Warren, and Robin C. Ball, Physical Review Letters, vol. 198, no. 7, 2012. / “Ponytail Motion,” Joseph B. Keller, SIAM [Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics] Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 70, no. 7, 2010, pp. 2667–72. Featuring dramatic readings by Daniel Rosenberg.) Here’s a graphic image from the “Shape of a Ponytail” study:
- List of everything that won an Ig Nobel Prize in 2012.
- The Pleasure of Reading Textbooks (“The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading Comprehension,” Vicki Silvers and David Kreiner, Reading Research and Instruction, vol. 36, 1997, pp. 217-23. Featuring dramatic readings by Sue Wellington.)
The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.
The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, both on the new CBS Play.it web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).