February mini-AIR

The February issue of mini-AIR just went out. Read it here. Contents include, among other things: / Baby in a Box / Beauty and Truth: The Results / Filth Question / Hellish Mathematician Wanted / The Flow of Knowledge / Bovine Indecision Poets / Ig Nobel Tour of Britain / Survey: Astronomers vs. Moons / […]

Sex Apology

We apologize to Dr. Sakae Inouye for changing his sex. The week-before-last-week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian described Dr. Inouye’s well-articulated theory about how the SARS virus might be spread by people speaking one, rather than another, language. (See that column here.) Dr. Inouye subsequently sent us this note: Thank you for your introducing […]

Man of Letter

An errant letter has transformed an eminent scientist into a loaf of bread. Investigator Alain Le Faou of the Laboratoire Central de Virologie at the Centre hospitalier et Universitaire de Nancy writes: I feel honored to have received my official Improbable Researcher Card, but I would have been far more honored if I were not […]

Bovine Runners-Up

The Bovine Indecision Limerick Contest has produced a vast herd of runners-up. Here is a tiny selection. (The contest was announced in mini-AIR 2004-01. The winners will be announced in mini-AIR 2004-02) INVESTIGATOR B. ROBSON: Cows are not easily moved By questions of “slotted or grooved?” They’ll think you a bore If you ponder the […]

Hollow Research Bunnies

There are few peer-reviewed papers on the subject of designing and testing an improved packaging for hollow chocolate bunnies. Of these articles, the most bouncily thorough is one called “Designing and Testing an Improved Packaging for Large Hollow Chocolate Bunnies.” So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian. Read it here.

Bureaucratic Hand

“The bureaucratic hand meets with the Bureacracy Club.” So saying, a wishes-to-be-unnamed member of the latter has sent a link to a photograph of the former. See the photo here. The Bureaucracy Club’s home page is, as always, here.


Bureaucracy Club’s New Red Tape

The Bureaucracy Club is abuzz at the discovery of a new red tape taskforce. Investigator Tim Churches sends word of the existence of the GP Red Tape Task Force. A perfectly bureaucratic Task Force PDF can be accessed here. The Bureaucracy Club now hopes to find web pages for additional official Red Tape Task Forces, […]


Numbers Mirror Smoke Hazard

How dangerous is marijuana? Thanks to Dr Peter Maguire and his careful use of basic mathematics, now we know. Details are in a January 21, 2004 news report from Reuters (read the full report here): “Cannabis is a drug that can kill,” Dr Peter Maguire, deputy chairman of the BMA’s board of science told Reuters. […]