Wine Mis-estimation, by the Glass

Wine inspires many unexpected things, including this study: “Half Full or Empty: Cues That Lead Wine Drinkers to Unintentionally Overpour.” Doug Walker, Laura Smarandescu, and Brian Wansink, Substance Use and Misuse, epub September 12, 2013. (Thanks to Margo Seltzer for bringing this to our attention.) Co-author Brian Wansink was awarded the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize […]

Durian and paracetamol, mixed in rats

What happens when, for whatever reason, you feed both durian — the fruit with a smell that overpowers some people — and the painkiller paracetamol, mixed in rats, and from time to time take the rectal temperature of those rats? This study explores that question: “Hyperthermic effects of Durio zibethinus and its interaction with paracetamol,” […]

Judging and whining about the judging of wine

David Derbyshire, in The Observer, surveys research about the reliability of wine-tasting: The first experiment took place in 2005. The last was in Sacramento earlier this month. Hodgson’s findings have stunned the wine industry. Over the years he has shown again and again that even trained, professional palates are terrible at judging wine. “The results are disturbing,” says Hodgson from the Fieldbrook […]

An fMRI study of surrealistic advertising

  First, a quick look at (some of) the scientific works which have investigated how fMRI might help in the understanding of the human brain’s responses to Surrealism. [1] Matching reality in the arts: self-referential neural processing of naturalistic compared to surrealistic images. (Perception. 2012;41(5):569-76.)  (surrealistic pictures here) [2]The Neural Basis of Object-Context Relationships on […]

April issue of mini-AIR

The April issue of mini-AIR just went out. Topics include: Wine, With or Without Women, and Song Wine Swirling Limerick Competition Crumpled-Paper Poets Upcoming Show in Cambridge Mousy Smell in Wine and more Mel [pictured here] says, “It’s swell.” (mini-AIR is the simplest way to keep informed about Improbable and Ig Nobel news and events. […]

Alert: Coffee spill (and wine swirl) in Baltimore next Monday

If you’re in Baltimore on Monday, November 21, grab a cup of coffee and (carefully) stop by the American Physical Society meeting. The most exciting session is likely to be: Session H17: Geophysical Flows: General IV, Monday, November 21, 2011, 11:22 AM–11:35 AM, Room: 320 Chair: Keith Julien, University of Colorado Abstract: H17.00005 : Walking with […]

Wine, Women (and Men) and Song

The Bibliolore blog writes about an experiment that involved wine, about 125 women, a like number of men, and song: A smaller pilot study had determined the four types of music: “powerful and heavy” (“O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina burana) “subtle and refined” (“Вальс цветов” [Val’s cvetov/Waltz of the flowers] from Cajkovskij’s Щелкунчик [Ŝelkunčik/Nutcracker]) “zingy and refreshing” […]

Headlines: Wine, Drugs, and Soup

Today’s Headline of the Day is a two-fer. 1. “Red Wine Rivals Diabetes Drug in Lab Tests,” says a February 1 headline in Wine Spectator, going on to say, “Researchers working in biotechnology laboratories in Vienna have found that red wine contains favorable levels of a chemical [rosiglitazone, marketed under the name Avandia] currently used […]