Posts by Marc Abrahams:

Repeat Read Repeat

A typical adult knows almost nothing about the psychology of repetitive reading. That is not surprising. Research psychologists, as a group, know little about the subject. Human beings can be induced to read repetitively. In one experiment, a scientist named Borgovsky… So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian. Read it here.

SCIENTISTS NOW KNOW: Survivors Survive

ITHACA, N.Y. — Heart attack victims who make it to the hospital in time to receive medical attention are four to five times more likely to survive compared with those who don’t make it to a hospital promptly, according to a new Cornell University study. So begins a press release issued by Cornell University. Read […]

Bovine-Related Nit-Picking

Investigator Julie Rabine picks a nit. She writes: In the interest of the accuracy so beloved of scientists everywhere (even if they don’t agree that truth is beautiful), this former English major feels the necessity of correcting a grammatical error in one of your prize-winning BOVINE INDECISION LIMERICKS [that was presented in mini-AIR 2004-02]: INVESTIGATOR […]

Maggot Man

His colleagues and friends call him “Maggot Man.” He is one of the world’s foremost forensic entomologists, and even in that darkly cheery profession, he stands out for his sense of humor and encyclopedic curiosity. He is of course an editorial board member of the Annals of Improbable Research. He is a much-published author. He […]

When Astronomy Hits Home

A Mrs. Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, is reported to be the first human being directly struck by a falling meteorite. Her story, is told in part here. Mrs. Hodges’s first name has been variously reported to be either “Hulitt” or “Ann.” Thanks to investigator Benjy Berglas for bringing this to our attention. Investigator Berglas also […]

Love’s Problem

The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a scientist? A juicy problem to solve. We recommend: “Love’s Problem,” Janet M. Becker and Michael Bevis, Geophysical Journal International, vol. 156, no. 2, February 2004, p. 171. The authors, who are at the University of Hawaii, explain that: “Explicit expressions for the displacements generated in a non-gravitating, homogeneous, […]

Improbable Show in Seattle Feb 13

If you’re in or near Seattle tomorrow night, Feb 13, come to the free Improbable Research show. Here are details: AAAS ANNUAL MEETING, SEATTLE — FRI, FEBRUARY 13, 2004 SHERATON HOTEL, METROPOLITAN BALLROOM The annual Improbable Research show, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). FREE — OPEN […]

Getting Carded in Philadelphia

Scientists often forget to carry their credentials with them. Investigator Earle Spamer, of Philadelphia, sends this first-hand account, which shows the value of carrying proper credentials: On a recent visit to the airport, I was asked to show identification. Upon producing a photographic driver’s license and my official Improbable Research Investigator card, I was immediately […]

Mystery of the Yellow Cake

What is the yellow cake, and what makes it yellow rather than merely cake? “The Yellow Cake” is the title of an article by Andrzej Roslanowski and Saharon Shelah, published in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society… So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian. Read it here.