The incident of the Suspected-Soviet-Sub, the Swedish Navy, and the Farting Herring

“Fishes caused Sweden to be afraid of being attacked by Soviet submarines in 1982” is a report by VN Express (in Vietnamese) about the secret incident that years later produced the 2004 Ig Nobel Biology Prize. The central figures in the story: farting herring. It is an open question, biologically speaking, whether the herring do […]

Robots make things funnier

Can robots do stand-up? Or, more specifically, can a robot make manzai (Japanese stand-up comedy) seem funnier? Dr. Jonas Sjöbergh, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Knowledge Media Laboratory of Hokkaido University, Japan, has been working on the question since 2008. And, in association with colleague professor Kenji Araki, a paper was produced for LNAI 5447, […]

Fish farts, Russian submarines, the Swedish Foreign Minister

Maggie Koerth-Baker of Boing-Boing interviewed several journalists at the AAAS Annual Meeting last week in Vancouver, about what they had learned at the meeting. Here’s me, blabbing on about a new little chapter in the story of how fish farts almost caused a diplomatic crisis between Russia and Sweden, and might cause a new little kerfuffle […]

Farts in folktales

It was mid winter when Till Eulenspiegel arrived at Ascherleben. Times were hard, but finally he found a furrier who was willing to take on an apprentice, and he was put to work sewing pelts. Not being accustomed to the smell of the curing hides, he said, “Pew! Pew! You are as white as chalk, […]