Musical Coordination in a Large Group Without Plans or Leaders

An experiment looked at whether harmony, in its many meanings, might emerge from a tossing together of musicians. This study tells what happened: “Musical Coordination in a Large Group Without Plans Nor Leaders,” Louise Goupil, Pierre Saint-Germier, Gaëlle Rouvier, Diemo Schwarz, and Clément Canonne, Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 20377, 2020. (Thanks to Tony Tweedale […]

A Million Random Digits [research study, with implied drama]

The book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates is appreciated in the article “A Million Random Digits,” which is one of the articles in the special Numbers issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, which is one of the 142 issues published so far! The original, digit-laden study was published by the Rand Corporation in […]

A randomness as to which of a scientist’s publications will have the most oomph

Despite common belief (and some earlier research on the question) that success tends to come early for scientists, a scientist’s single most successful publication is likely to occur at any point in the sequence of papers that she or he publishes. That’s the gist of a new study. The study explains that people in general tend to produce […]

How Iceland is a very Ig Nobel nation, and why that’s good

Iceland, though a small, physically isolated country, can boast of great Ig Nobelity. Ig Nobel Prizes, of course, are awarded for achievements that make people laugh, then think. Iceland displayed panache in its Ig Nobellian displays of economics, and then government. BANKS. The 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to the directors, executives, and […]

A washing machine filled with Legos and applied mathematics

Colin Lecher writes in Popular Science: “Random Structures from Lego Bricks and Analog Monte Carlo Procedures” is… about throwing Legos in a washing machine. And it is wonderful. Ingo Althöfer of Friedrich-Schiller University in Germany is the author of the minor masterpiece. From the introduction to the paper, allow Dr. Althöfer to explain: Within a larger experimental series we […]

They simulated the stock picking abilities of ten million monkeys

Random accumulation and simulated monkeys figure quite deliberately in this two-part study (it parallels the recent findings of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning team who won their Ig for showing that promoting people at random can produce better results than promoting by other methods): “An evaluation of alternative equity indices. Part 1: Heuristic and optimised weighting […]

Long-term results: Should You Trade Stocks Randomly?

The Ig Nobel Prize-winning Italian researchers who demonstrated the benefits, for organizations, of promoting people at random have turned their analytical weapons on a new target. Their new study examines what happens over the long term if one randomly, rather than systematically, chooses stocks: “Are random trading strategies more successful than technical ones?” A.E. Biondo, […]