mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")

March 2015, issue number 2015-03. ISSN 1076-500X.


The monthly wee little tiny mini update/alert from Improbable Research

      Archive at <>





2015-03-02 Imminent Events

2015-03-03 In the Magazine: Teeth, Teeth, Teeth, Teeth, Teeth

2015-03-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Recipe for a Sort of Hash

2015-03-05 Improbable Research Podcast #1: The Duck, of Course

2015-03-06 Ig Nobel Eurotour (March 2015) Details

2015-03-07 Hash on Not-Very-Spicy Vegetable Limerick Competition

2015-03-08 Orange Juice Fraud Spectroscopy Poet

2015-03-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Sound of flavor; Sheep; Comparison.

2015-03-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Hash for Defeating Downy Mildew

2015-03-12 — Improbable Research Events

2015-03-13 — How to Get the Magazine (*)

2015-03-14 — Our Address (*)

2015-03-15 — Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

2015-03-16 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)


      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.




2015-03-02 Imminent Events


Premiere of Improbable Research weekly podcast      — Mar 5, 2015

UK, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden                        — Mar 12-30, 2015


      DETAILS: <>




2015-03-03 In the Magazine: Teeth, Teeth, Teeth, Teeth, Teeth


The special TEETH issue is out.


Read three of its articles online, at <>:

Journeys of Toothbrushes

Improbable Research Review

Improbable Sex


      Download a FREE E-BOOK ISSUE <>

      Links to all issues: <>




2015-03-04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Recipe for a Sort of Hash


This month's spotlight shines on a sort of Hash:


"Hash Sort: A Linear Time Complexity Mulitiple-Dimensional Sort Algorithm Originally Entitled 'Making a Hash of Sorts' " William F. Gilreath, arXiv preprint cs/0408040 (2004).  <>




2015-03-05 Improbable Research Podcast #1: The Duck, of Course


The weekly IMPROBABLE RESEARCH PODCAST premiered on Wednesday, March 4.


It's all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — research about anything and everything, from everywhere — research that's good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless.


CBS is distributing the Improbable Research podcast, both on the new CBS web site, and on iTunes.


      LISTEN: <>

      iTunes: <>


Podcast #1 delves into these things:

Homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck

The karaoke pandemic

Artists' suicides (especially Kurt Cobain's) as economic boons

Wascally wabbit wrapping

Dr. Alias, the hair man

The mind of the waiter

Combing through the hair data


EXTRA INFO/LINKS for each week's podcast: <>




2015-03-06 Ig Nobel Eurotour (March 2015) Details


Please join us on the Ig Nobel Eurotour.

Details and links: <>


Here's the schedule:


     Thursday, March 12      LONDON, Brunel Univ

     Monday, March 16        PORTSMOUTH: Univ of Portsmouth

     Wednesday, March 18     NOTTINGHAM: Nottingham Trent Univ

     Friday, March 20        LONDON, Imperial College London (*)

     Monday, March 23        BRUSSELS, Free Univ of Brussels

     Wednesday, March 25     AARHUS: University of Aarhus (*)

     Thursday, March 26      AARHUS. University of Aarhus (*)

     Friday, March 26        COPENHAGEN, Copenhagen University (*)

     Monday, March 30        STOCKHOLM: Karolinska Institute (*)

     Monday, March 30        STOCKHOLM: Boulevardteatern (*)


Events marked with a star (*) will include an appearance by Dr. NakaMats. Here's a profile of Dr. NakaMats: <>


Among the participants (in various shows):


MARC ABRAHAMS (editor of the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, father of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony) [Marc will be master of ceremonies at all the tour events.]

MINNA LYONS (Ig winner — Relation between night owls & psychopathy)

DR. NAKAMATS (Ig winner — photographing every meal he's consumed)

HYNEK BURDA, SABINE BEGALL and PASCAL MALKEMPER (Ig winners — when dogs defecate and urinate, they prefer to align their body axis with Earths north-south geomagnetic field lines)

JAROSLAV FLEGR (Ig winner — Is it mentally hazardous for a human to own a cat?)

EIGEL REIMERS (Ig winner — How reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears)

ANDREA RAPISARDA (Ig winner — organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random)

RAY GOLDSTEIN (Ig winner — physics of ponytails)

DAVID DUNSTAN (effectiveness of throwing snails over garden walls)

RICHARD STEPHENS (Ig winner — swearing as a response to pain)

JAMES HARKIN, DAN SCHREIBER and STEVYN COLGAN (researchers who dig up info for QI, Museum of Curiosity, and No Such Thing As a Fish)

ANDREW GEORGE (scholar of the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall)

A tribute to JOHN HOYLAND, father of Nominative Determinism

ALEX DYSON (Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists Man-of-the-Year)

CHRIS McMANUS (Ig winner — Scrotal asymmetry in Sculpture & man)




2015-03-07 Hash on Not-Very-Spicy Vegetable Limerick Competition


Not-very-spicy vegetable recipes inspire this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that clarifies the nature of this study:


"Why Vegetable Recipes are Not Very Spicy," Paul W. Sherman, and Geoffrey A. Hash, Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 22, no. 3, 2001, pp. 147-163. <> The authors write:


"A critical prediction of the antimicrobial hypothesis is that spices should be used less in preparing vegetables than meat dishes. This is because cells of dead plants are better protected physically and chemically against bacteria and fungi than cells of dead animals (whose immune system ceased functioning at death), so fewer spices would be necessary to make vegetables safe for consumption. We tested this corollary by compiling information on 2129 vegetable-only recipes from 107 traditional cookbooks of 36 countries."


Submit your perfectly formed limerick to:



      c/o <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>




2015-03-08 Orange Juice Fraud Spectroscopy Poet


The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Orange Juice Fraud Spectroscopy Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor this study:


"Detection of Orange Juice Frauds Using Front-Face Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Independent Components Analysis," Food Chemistry, vol. 168, February 1, 2015, pp. 211–217. <>




Suspect that your OJ's not pure?

There's a test that will show you for sure.

   Front-face fluorescence

   Reveals if the essence

Is orange, or something obscure.


Here's the offering from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:


The authors report, with conviction,

Their methods for citrus depiction.

   Fluorescent light's glow

   Helps the analyst know

If a sample exhibits pulp fiction.




2015-03-09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Sound of flavor; Sheep; Comparison.


Recent improbable bits you maybe missed:


"The sound of flavor" <>

"Demo of physics of sheep through a bottleneck" <>

"New penis survey follows in footsteps of Ig Nobel Prize-winning study"<>


New members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Clubs for Scientists (LFHCfS) and Social Scientists (LFFFHfSS):

Lincoln Carr <>

Amelie Stuart <>

Mario Ettore Giardini <>

Halfdan Skjerning <>

Stephen Goss <>



      [blog]      <>

      [twitter]   @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

      [facebook]  <>

      [podcast]   <>




2015-03-10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Hash for Defeating Downy Mildew


"Defeating Downy Mildew," Wendy A. Breese, C. Tom Hash, Arun Sharma, and John R. Witcombe, 2000. <>




2015-03-11 — Improbable Research Events


For details and additional events, see



Premiere of Improb Res weekly podcast     — March 5, 2015

Ig Nobel Tour of Europe                   — Mar 12-30, 2015

San Antonio, TX                           — Apr 27, 2015

Ig Nobel Events in Japan                  — Jun, 2015

25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony — Sep 17, 2015

Ig Informal Lectures                      — Sep 19, 2015




2015-03-12 — How to Get the Magazine (*)


The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year magazine. (It's much bigger and better than the little bits in this newsletter.)

We produce each issue as an e-book, as well as on traditional paper.







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2015-03-13 — Our Address (*)


Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

(+1) 617-491-4437




Web Site and blog: <>

Twitter: @ImprobResearch




2015-03-14 — Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)


Please distribute copies of mini-AIR (or excerpts!) wherever appropriate. The only limitations are: A) Please indicate that the material comes from mini-AIR. B) You may NOT distribute mini-AIR for commercial purposes.


      ------------- mini-AIRheads -------------

EDITOR: Marc Abrahams

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Kees Moeliker, Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Gary Dryfoos, Ernest Ersatz, Stephen Drew

PROOFREADER: Ambient Happenstance

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon Glashow, Richard Roberts


Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the

(c) copyright 2015, Annals of Improbable Research




2015-03-15 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)


Mini-AIR is a (free!) teeny-tiny monthly *supplement* to the actual six-times-a-year magazine AIR.


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