The title of this study doesn’t say it all. But it says enough to make any thoughtful person want to take a look, and see what’s what: “Too Much Excitement under Highway 87,” D.E. Hook, R.L. Volpe, and C. Chamness, in Pipelines 2006: Service to the Owner, 2006, pp. 1-9. The authors begin their summing […]
A Complex Analysis of the Unfolding Folding Chair Situation
Sit down, if you can, and read this study about what it takes to get a folding plastic chair to the point where you can sit in it: “A study of design demand of applying quality function deployment in plastic folding chairs,” Chun Tung Chen, Applied Mechanics and Materials, vol. 284, pp. 3632-3636. The author, […]
A New Engineering Opera, in the Ig
The theme of the 2021 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, evinced in the opera and other bits, is ENGINEERING. The ceremony will include the premiere of a new mini-opera called “A Bridge Between People”. The crude drawing you see here summarizes the opera’s plot.
Protecting Large Hollow Chocolate Bunnies
“Protecting Large Hollow Chocolate Bunnies” is a featured article in the special Chocolate issue (volume 27, number 1) of the Annals of Improbable Research. This article is free to download: The article begins: “There are few peer-reviewed papers on the subject of designing and testing an improved packaging for large hollow chocolate bunnies. Of these, […]
Are you bothered by ambient creep? If so, you are not alone. Here’s one of many research studies on the topic: “The effect of anodic polarization on the ambient creep of brass,” B.GuW.-Y.ChuW.ChuL.-J.QiaoC.-M.Hsiao, Corrosion Science, vol. 36, no. 8, August 1994, pp. 1437-1445. The authors are at the University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China.
Engineering Challenge: Design a bicycle for a flea
This month’s Engineering Challenge competition: Design a bicycle for a flea. Please send your completed design, with test results (include a clear, undoctored video please) to: Improbable Engineering Challenge: Flea Cycle ℅ Annals of Improbable Research
A high concept design for a killer roller coaster
Different engineers have different ways of having fun. This is one way: The design engineer, Julijonas Urbonas, gives it a simple description: “Euthanasia Coaster is a hypothetic death machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being.”
Fat Relocation Research (and other Disgusting Research)
“Fat Relocation Research—Re-engineering with natural materials” is one of the articles in the special Disgusting Research issue (volume 25, number 4) of the Annals of Improbable Research. Subscribe, if you dare, to the magazine!
A nice appreciation (what could go wrong?) of Murphy and Stapp
The Today I Found Out blog has a nice appreciation of two—really three—people who shared an Ig Nobel Prize for (probably) giving Murphy’s Law it’s name. The appreciation is called “WHO WAS ‘MURPHY’ IN ‘MURPHY’S LAW’ AND THE AMAZING DR. JOHN PAUL STAPP WHO GAVE US THE EXPRESSION.” The 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for engineering […]
Thievery and the power of engineering: It’s not just glitter
Mark Rober engineered a device to surprise people who steal packages from his front porch. His video explaining the device, and showing what happened, is satisfying to watch: UPDATE (December 20, 2018): Not all was as it seemed. Some of the robbers were not genuine robbers, says Rober. BONUS: The special Miscreant Trapping issue of […]