The PIZZA & POPCORN issue of the Annals of Improbable Research

The special Pizza & Popcorn Questions issue (vol. 24, no. 1) of the Annals of Improbable Research is now available. The issue’s table of contents is online. And you can obtain, for a pittance, the full issue. The magazine is in splendid PDF form, packed with info yet lighter by far than a feather or a popcorn kernel. “The Evolution of Popcorn” […]

Eating Popcorn in Front of a Mirror May Induce Some People to Eat More Popcorn

Eating popcorn in front of a mirror is a provocative act — provoking the urge to eat more popcorn — suggests this study: “The ‘Social’ Facilitation of Eating Without the Presence of Others: Self-reflection on Eating Makes Food Taste Better and People Eat More,” Ryuzaburo Nakata and Nobuyuki Kawai, Physiology and Behavior, epub 2017. The […]

“Why does popcorn jump when it bursts?”

Emmanuel Virot explains, carefully, why he believes popcorn bursts when it jumps: Details, in writing, burst from the pages of the study “​Popcorn: critical temperature, jump and sound,”  by E. Virot and A. Ponomarenko, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface [12, 20141247 (2015)]. Virot  contemplates popcorn at the Hydrodynamics Laboratory at École Polytechnique. The […]

Analyzing Why Bearcats Smell Like Popcorn

A new study adds to our knowledge of why some animals sometimes smell like buttered popcorn. The study is: “Reproductive Endocrine Patterns and Volatile Urinary Compounds of Arctictis binturong: Discovering Why Bearcats Smell Like Popcorn,” Lydia K. Greene [pictured below], Timothy W. Wallen, Anneke Moresco, Thomas E. Goodwin, Christine M. Drea, The Science of Nature,  […]

Physics of Low Pressure Popcorn Popping

There’s news, though a few years old, about low-pressure popcorn popping: “The Effects of Popping Popcorn Under Reduced Pressure,” Paul Quinn [pictured here] and Amanda Cooper, Bulletin of the American Physical Society, Volume 53, Number 2 (poster at the 2008 APS March Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana). The authors, at Kutztown University, report: “In our experiments, we […]

Pop psychology: Skinner and Redenbacher

Two psychology tidbits, both involving Skinner and Redenbacher: First: Robin Abrahams, our psychology editor, notes that behaviorism psychologist B.F. Skinner and popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher resembled each other [see photos here]. [NOTE: Can pigeons can be trained to distinguish photographs of one from photographs of the other? The experiment has not yet been done.] Second: A […]

Roasting Faith Popcorn

“Burned Popcorn and Broken Crystal Balls: Beware of False Prophets Bearing Food,” Ed Chung, Hiroshi Nakamura and Amy Spielbauer, in Proceedings: Marketing Management Association Spring Conference 1999. R. Green, D.Varble and G. Wunder, eds.. Chicago, 1999 . The authors, at St. Norbert College, Wisconsin, report: “In the late 1980’s, Faith Popcorn forecasted the trends of […]