Not a mouse

"Thinking it was a mouse, I went to investigate the sound," Balick said Wednesday. "The sound was coming from under some papers which I lifted, expecting to see the mouse scamper away…. The next day Balick, 32, took it to Britain’s Natural History Museum, which identified the insect as a Scolopendra gigantea – the world’s […]

Dobson: easy-change

A reader writes about an under-reported scientific breakthough: I was curious about Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on Family organization given his prominent role in American politics.  I learned at his website that it is easier to change one’s sexual orientation than to overcome shyness.

How to attract attention?

How can you attract media attention to yourself? The question must nag at a few of the many, many, many, many, many people who have presumably labored long and hard at their chosen work despite the fact that the world as a whole has perhaps very, very, very, very, very unfairly declined or neglected to […]

Mr @

We raise  a salute to Ray Tomlinson (at BBN in Boston), who began the now-universal practice of using  the symbol @ in email. He turned apparent blasphemy into simple communication. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Michael Turvey for bringing this to our attention.)

Crime and punishment: Small twist

“He wanted to use the 100-hour punishment to read books about endangered species statutes and lobby Congress to change the law he violated, according to documents filed in the U.S. court,” says a Hearst Newspapers report, published July 31, 2005 in the Washington Examiner. He is Lawrence Small, who runs the Smithsonian Institution. The newspaper […]

Of Atkins we sing

"The company started by the late nutrition guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins to promote a low-carb lifestyle has filed for bankruptcy court protection, a further sign of the waning popularity of the diet." So says an August 1, 2005 report from the Associated Press. How to mark this day? Perhaps by singing songs (or watching […]

Seeing Troy in action

We’ve had many requests about film of Ig Nobel Prize winner Troy Hurtubise, the man who built and personally tested a suit of armor meant to be impervious to grizzly bears. The National Film Board of Canada has just prepared a DVD version of its feature film documentary Project Grizzly, which is all about Troy. […]

Flameproof head guys

When Maurice Ward began tinkering with chemicals in a ladies’ hairdressing salon he never dreamed he was on the way to revolutionizing the American space program. All the Middlesbrough hairdresser was trying to achieve was a flame retardant wig but it eventually led to the discovery of a plastic that can stop a nuclear blast. […]