The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams

The History of Parliament blog detects a connection between Ig Nobel Prize-winning roller-coaster/kidney stone research and, yes, the history of Britain’s parliament: The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams The link between the Ig Nobel Prize for improbable research and the 1640-1660 Section of the History of Parliament Trust is not immediately obvious; but the Ig Nobel […]

A shortest-possible walking tour through the pubs of the UK

A shortest-possible walking tour through the pubs of the United Kingdom — that’s an advanced form of the mathematicians’ favorite, The Traveling Salesman Problem. William Cook and colleagues at the University of Waterloo tackled this nastily complex problem: Nearly everyone in the UK knows by heart the best path to take them over to their favorite public house. […]

Button-down shirts, analyzed academically by Nathaniel Weiner

Subculture researcher Nathaniel Weiner, (PhD candidate in York University and Ryerson University’s joint PhD program in Communication and Culture) uses Roland Barthes’ notion of ‘fashion narrative’ to elucidate the close relationship between the button-down shirt and the ‘national imaginaries’ of the United States and Britain, in: Transatlantic Translations of the Button-down Shirt (in the journal […]

Decline of pubic lice linked to removal of pubic hair, again

Again researchers in the UK took the lead in pubic lice research. After Nicola Armstrong and Janet Wilson of the Department of Genitourinary Medicine, The General Infirmary at Leeds, posed the intriguing question ‘Did the Brazilian kill the pubic louse’ in 2006, many feared the rapid disappearance of the primary habitat – human pubic hair […]

Smelov’s investigation of HPV on toilet seats in international airports

Lead author Smelov and colleagues write, in this letter to a medical journal, about a careful investigation that may (and may not) have small or nonexistent implications: “Are human papillomavirus DNA prevalences providing high-flying estimates of infection? An international survey of HPV detection on environmental surfaces,” Vitaly Smelov [pictured here], Carina Eklund, Laila Sara Arroyo […]

From the mouths of babes: An existential statistic [British]

The UK’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey includes a variable called “resbby — Whether respondent is baby“. The July-September 2011 survey reports that the value of this variable is YES for 228 of the 105488 respondents. Here is the pertinent detail from that report: Here is that same detail, this time including the full graph: A year later, […]

Buttock and breast ogling: Britain vs. Argentina

Sex clearly drives Britain and Argentina as they vie to dominate islands of interest. The two great nations are rivals in producing academic studies of whether and how people stare at women’s breasts or buttocks. Britain fired the first shot in this war. In 2007, Adrian Furnham [pictured here] and Viren Swami of University College London published […]