Elected, Algorithmically

The recent U.S. Presidential election is — indisputably — characterized by heavy-handed mathematical manipulation. Agorithmically speaking, the result was all too predictable. Investigator (and algorithm co-devisor) Eric Schulman, of Alexandria Virginia, triumphantly, if humbly, explains: Unlike the Redskins Algorithm (the incumbent political party wins the presidency of the United States if the Washington Redskins American […]

Cats in space

The video of a cat adjusting to zero gravity recalls the article “Does a Cat Always Land on Its Feet?” which was published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Improbable Research (and which was featured on the cover). (Thanks to Mark Dionne and Boing-Boing — which also spotlighted the Ig Nobel Prize-winning frog […]

World Toilet Summit

A reminder: next month the World Toilet Summit will convene in Beijing. It’s a three-day affari, on November 17-19, held under the auspices of the World Toilet Organization. Last year’s event proved to be photogenic. (You may want to start a toilet association in your area. If so, the WTO is willing and eager to […]

Welcome Back, Maggots!

This year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration welcomed back not just leeches, but also maggots. In January the FDA, in case number K033391, approved maggots for use as a medical device. (Thanks to John Bradley for bringing this to our attention.) AIR editorial board member Mark Benecke is a devotee of maggots. He has […]

The Murphying of Sod’s Law

British Gas, in trying hard to honor Murphy’s Law, has run afoul of it. A basic law of nature, Murphy’s Law is known by various names. British Gas favors the possibly-ancient, and probably-honorable, and almost-certainly British “Sod’s Law.” The company issued a press release which begins: 7 October 2004 The formula that proves that ‘Sod’s […]

The Further Adventures of S. Sandford

Today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine has a long, exciting report about the work of AIR editorial board member and author Scott Sandford and his colleagues. The report begins: September 26, 2004 The Genesis Project By CHARLES SIEBERT One morning, a little more than a year from now, a group of scientists, members of what […]