Importance Sometimes Eclipses Amusement: Dung Beetles & the Milky Way

When people first encounter something surprising, it can seem laughable and thought-provoking. Later, if enough people come to decide the discovery is important, people then treat it with reverence and awe. The discovery has become too important, apparently, to describe with amusement. The public reaction has changed—but it’s the same discovery! Here is , perhaps, […]

The function of evil laughter in popular culture (new study)

One of the very few (perhaps the only) peer-reviewed scholarly studies devoted to investigating the function of evil laughter in popular culture has been recently been penned by Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, who is a doctoral researcher at the School of Communication and Culture, Department of English of Aarhus University, Denmark. In his new paper for The Journal […]

Comedy, laughter, kissing and psychosomatics

As can be seen, the video above features comedy, laughter and kissing (not necessarily in that order). Now for an Improbable question: ‘How might a psychosomaticist view such things?’ Those looking for answers might be well advised to examine the pages of The Journal of Psychosomatic Research. “[…] a multidisciplinary research journal covering all aspects […]

Tax demands – the funny side (he makes ’em LAUGH, then PAY)

John Morreall (pronounced Mor-el), is not only professor of religion and department chair at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, US, he also runs Humorworks, which, amongst other things, conducts corporate seminars on the subject of humor, with clients such as the Internal Revenue Service, The World Bank, and Ernst & Young. Thus […]

A man — Mikhailovich — obsessed, computationally, with laughter

Suslov Igor Mikhailovich, Doctor of Science, who is Head Scientist at the P.L. Kapitza Institute for Physical Problems, has been working steadily towards a goal: creating a computer with a sense of humor. The photo below shows Mikhailovich projecting his thoughts. Here are four of his research papers on the matter: 1. arXiv:0711.3197 [pdf, ps, other] How to realize […]

They collect laughs

Laughter aggregated: “ILHAIRE Laughter Database,” Gary McKeown [pictured here], Roddy Cowie, Will Curran, Willibald Ruch, Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Eighth international conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC) Istanbul, Turkey, 2012. The authors, at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK and the University of Zürich, Switzerland, explain: “The ILHAIRE project seeks to scientifically analyse laughter in sufficient detail to […]