Upside-Down, and Diagnosis

The phrase “upside-down, into the void” sums up a report in the BMJ (vol. 328,January 17, 2004, p. 176): A 67 year old man presented with lower urinary tract symptoms and many episodes of near-acute urinary retention, which he found, by trial and error, he avoided by standing on his head for 5-10 minutes each […]

Murphy’s Law at Caltech

George Nichols, who helped give birth to Murphy’s Law, will make an exceedingly rare public appearance tomorrow night (Jan 27) at Caltech. He was head of the project at Edwards Air Force Base in California where, in 1949, he, Colonel John Paul Stapp, and Captain Edward A. Murphy, Jr. jointly, if disjointedly, gave rise to […]

Trinkaus and the Mammoth Cheese

“Ode on the Mammoth Cheese” gained new prominence when John W. Trinkaus accepted his Ig Nobel Literature Prize in 2003. Trinkaus was presented with a special framed copy of the famous 1884 cheese poem, a copy signed by four Nobel Laureates. Read about it in the Nov/Dec 2003 issue of the magazine, or read it […]

Further Filth-in-Food

Investigators Golson and LaVin express their feelings about Sidebottom’s classic ‘Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology: A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods’: INVESTIGATOR STEVE GOLSON Said Olsen, Sidebottom, and Knight, “Messy kitchens fill us with delight! All the insects and germs, And those lovely hookworms! Is our book about filth? Yes, that’s right!” […]

The Hair of Dr. Notkin

Dr. David Notkin and his fully robust beard have joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). You can see Dr. Notkin’s photograph and credentials at the LFHCfS home page. NOTICE: All LFHCfS member who will be in the Seattle area on Friday night, February 13, are invited to come to the Improbable Research […]


Filth-in-Foods Paeans

Here are two new Filth-in-Foods paeans. They were composed in tribute to Sidebottom’s classic ‘Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology: A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods.’ These paeans are part of an ongoing project that was introduced in mini-AIR 2004-01. INVESTIGATOR HEATHER HEWITT: Olsen, Sidebottom, and Knight Endeavor to help shine a light […]

Eric Lander’s Nano-Lecture

The most nanoscopically sweeping and comprensive — and according to some critics, the most impassioned — Nano-Lecture delivered at the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was by Eric Lander, on the topic THE GENOME. See it here. This is the fifth of the five Nano-Lectures weve posted. All five of the Nano-Lectures can be heard […]

Portfolio of a Genius

The new version of Portfolio of a Genius has just arrived. For the better part of a decade, we have been receiving the laboriously crafted, increasingly thick versions of this wondrous work. They arrive in our mailbox at the post office, always unanticipated, always surprising by their very existence. The author, James E. Shepherd, Jr. […]