The World’s Most Iffy Game, Maybe? Fifty-Fifty Trivia

The delightfully iffy game called “Fifty-Fifty Trivia” was created by Martin Eiger, who invents many concepts and games, using words and ideas as the main building material. Eiger is, among other things, our Limerick Laureate—you can see his limericks, in any issue of the magazine (Annals of Improbable Research, with each limerick describing something that […]

The effects of juiciness in an action RPG [new study]

“A juicy game element will bounce and wiggle and squirt and make a little noise when you touch it.” When it comes to ‘Juiciness’ in Role Playing (Computer) Games, too much, or too little, it seems, can be non-ideal. Professor Dominic Kao and colleagues at the Virtual Futures Lab, Purdue University, US, have experimentally investigated such […]

This is your brain on Scrabble™ : an fMRI study

It almost goes without saying that Improbable endeavours to keep our readers up-to-date with current fMRI research projects. In respect of which, may we recommend : ‘This is your brain on Scrabble: Neural correlates of visual word recognition in competitive Scrabble players as measured during task and resting-state’ published in the journal Cortex, Volume 75, […]

An analysis of CEO shirking (at the golf course)

CEOs of high-profile (e.g. S&P 1500) corporations are sometimes tempted to shirk their duties. One quite well-tried method of shirking is to leave the office for the day and play golf instead. Thus, as an observer, if you take the position that shirking might in general hamper business performance, an extrapolated question can be asked […]

A round-up of American hole-in-one jurisprudence

Of all the curious things one can get insurance cover for – the golfing fraternity’s ‘hole-in-one-insurance’ is surely one of the curiouser. Why would one want insurance against a hole-in-one? The answer lies in the substantial cash bonus prizes which (some) golf clubs offer to those players who manage to get one. From the club’s […]

Whack-an-E. coli with the Morbidostat

E. coli figure prominently and violently in this study: “Whack-an-E. coli with the Morbidostat,” Ofer Fridman, Amir Goldberg and Nathalie Q Balaban, Genome Biology, 2012 Jan 27;13(1):140. The caption to figure 1 of the paper reads: “The morbidostat, as a whack-a-mole game, maintaining constant evolutionary pressure despite the evolution of protective mechanisms. An Escherichia coli culture is […]

A Game of Life: Microorganism Billiards

The angle of incidence is strongly related to the angle of “reflection” in this new real-AND-SIMULTANEOUSLY-artificial game of the mathematical gods: “Microorganism Billiards,” Colin Wahl, Joseph Lukasik, Saverio E. Spagnolie, Jean-Luc Thiffeault, arXiv 1502.01478, February 5, 2015. (Thanks to Mason Porter for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Wisconsin, report: “Recent […]