Perception of Electric Toothbrushes

“The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perception of Electric Toothbrushes,” Massimiliano Zampini, S. Guest, and Charles Spence, Journal of Dental Research, vol. 82, no. 11, 2003, pp. 929–32. Zampini and Spence were awarded the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in nutrition for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person […]

Toilet Tragedy: Smoked Butt to Burned Butt

A cautionary report: “A Rare Form of Burn Injury Sustained During Defaecation,” O. Nahlieli,A.M. Baruchin, E. Eliava, and L. Rosenberg, Burns, vol. 25, no. 5, August 1999, pp. 463–4, DOI 10.1016/S0305-4179(99)00019-4. [AIR 16:2]. The authors explain: A 20-year-old painter, soon after concluding his work, poured residual thinner fluid into a toilet without flushing it. After […]

Paxton on Sea Monsters

“The Plural of ‘Anecdote’ Can Be ‘Data’: Statistical Analysis of Viewing Distances in Reports of Unidentified Giant Marine Animals, 1758–2000,” Charles G.M. Paxton, Journal of Zoology, vol. 279, no. 4, 2009, pp. 381–7. Paxton and three colleagues shared the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in biology for their report “Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under […]

The Case of the Bagel, the Bite, and the Ticking Clock

“A New, Occasional Instrument for Measuring Marital Quality: The Time Required to Make a Cream Cheese and Salmon Bagel Following Funnel-Web Spider Bite,” Gary Walter, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 171, nos. 11–12, December 6–20, 1999, pp. 674–5. [AIR 16:2] The author is a psychiatrist in Concord West, NSW, Australia. His firsthand account includes a […]

The Genes of Fabulous Financial Traders (2009)

Other researchers, too, are delving into the biomedical complexities of the individuals who make and lose fortunes by trading financial instruments. “Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk Taking,” Camelia M. Kuhnen and Joan Y. Chiao, PLoS ONE, vol. 4, no. 2, 2009, e4362. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0004362 ( 10.1371/journal.pone.0004362.) (Thanks to Ferran Mir for bringing this to our […]

Problems With Aging Equipment

“Vacuum Erection Device Use in Elderly Men: A Possible Severe Complication,” R.L. Bratton and H.D. Cassidy, Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, vol. 15, no. 6, November–December 2002, pp. 501–2. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Richard Wassersug for bringing this to our attention.) The authors are at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida. […]

Garbage and Fraudulent Financial Reporting

Garbage In/Garbage Out: A Critique of Fraudulent Financial Reporting: 1987–1997 (the COSO Report) and the SEC Accounting Regulatory Process,” Abraham J. Briloff, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, vol. 12, no. 2, April 2001, pp. 125–48 ( The author, at the City University of New York, reports: “According to traditional wisdom, the efficiency of a sanitation department […]