The Lovejoy Comet (Cock)Tail – a festive recipe

Improbable’s Call for Papers on “The nutritional value of comets” Mini-Annals of Improbable Research, Issue Number 1994-02, June, 1994, is still open. For inspiration with your submissions, what better time is there to prepare a Lovejoy Comet (Cock)Tail? Here is the recipe – inspired by chemical components that are all readily available on Comet Lovejoy […]

Effects of Red Wine on Pre-Hotdogs

Initial progress is reported on understanding what can happen if you add red wine to hot dogs before the hot dogs are fully hot dogs. This study explains: “Effects of adding red wine on the physicochemical properties and sensory characteristics of uncured frankfurter-type sausage,” Xi Feng [pictured here], Joseph G. Sebranek, Hyun Yong Lee, Dong […]

Strawberry scrotum, the doctors’ delight

Doctors are, sometimes, fascinated by scrotums and by strawberries. Studying scrotal symmetry – or its lack – yielded an Ig Nobel prize in 2002. As discussed on this blog previously, the strawberry is used extensively as an analogy in medical practice. The scrotum and strawberry have a lot in common, for example, their distinctive skins. The […]

Garlic — A Sensory Pleasure or a Social Nuisance? [podcast 75]

Whether garlic is a sensory delight or a social horror is the big question in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. SUBSCRIBE on Play.it, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by Yale/MIT/Harvard biomedical researcher Chris Cotsapas — tells about: Garlic —A Sensory Pleasure or a Social Nuisance?— “Garlic: A Sensory Pleasure or a […]

“If it smells like meat…” a ‘Rule of Thumb’ for dogs

Although you might think (as many have) that dogs have a strong preference for eating meat, things may not be quite so clearcut. Authors Anandarup Bhadra and Anindita Bhadra of The Dog Lab (doggedly observing dogs at the Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, India), propose instead that dogs’ […]

The Acoustics of Breaking Chopsticks

What are the acoustics of breaking a bamboo chopstick? According to a new paper by physicist Tzay-Ming Hong and his colleagues at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, it’s kind of like the acoustics of breaking a bundle spaghetti: they both apparently resemble the Gutenberg–Richter scaling law, which relates earthquake magnitude to the frequency of earthquakes with at […]

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