An hour of Improbable Research, in the crucible of Standards & Technology

Historic video:  An hour of improbable research, presented at the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] in 2014—with Marc Abrahams [founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony] and Theo Gray [2002 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize winner for inventing the 4-legged periodic table table.] Here’s the official NIST description of this event: Dung beetles finding […]

“Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls”

User interface issues are not glamorous — but they do matter. Many irksome problems linger for years or decades. Sam Byford reports, in The Verge, on a cleansing case: Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls The Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, a consortium of companies producing plumbing products including Toto, Panasonic, and […]

Shit and the Need for Data-Driven Standards

Feces, faeces, ordure, dung, manure, excreta, stool, stool-NOT-faeces, and stool-NOT-feces are the prime examples in a newly published study that examines the need for data-driven standards. The study is: “Laying a Community-Based Foundation for Data-Driven Semantic Standards in Environmental Health Sciences,” Carolyn J. Mattingly, Rebecca Boyles, Cindy P. Lawler, Astrid C. Haugen, Allen Dearry, and Melissa Haendel, Environmental […]

(Video of) A measure of improbability at NIST

Here’s video of the colloquium talk I did a few days ago at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Gaithersburg Maryland.  The official description: “A Measure of Improbable Research — haphazardly selected samples of Ig Nobel Prize-winning and other research that makes people LAUGH then THINK”. The talk was  broadcast live to NIST facilities in […]