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The Sunday Ramble: The alternative Nobel prizes


Bike on Tipton Canal

It’s Tipton canal and community festival this weekend. I haven’t heard how it’s going, but I’ll try and take photos of it this afternoon. It should be just down the canal from where this picture was taken; I think boats are mooring overnight at the rear of the health centre. I have new readers today, so I’ll make an effort.

I’ve been looking at the ig Nobel awards, which are an alternative to the real Nobel prizes. The awards, which are run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

The Japanese won an award for research into why banana skins are more slippery than the skins of other fruit. Apparently this research has a serious application, because we need the ends of our bones to be slippery. If I wiggly my toes they make a a noise, I wonder if eating bananas would help?

The Canadians researched pattern recognition. For example, you burn your toast and according to the results of the research you might see Jesus if you’re a Christian or Buddha if you’re a Buddhist. If you’re an atheist, I suppose you see nothing, because you don’t believe in toast… Muslims don’t see anything either, because they don’t have post alcohol delusions while eating breakfast…

The prize for psychology goes to Australia who found out that people who stay up late and get up late have psychopathic tendencies,  are narcissistic  and show little empathy for their fellow humans. People like me that are early to bed and early to rise are so much nicer. I wonder what time Iain Duncan Smith goes to bed, he should go to bed earlier. All that staying up late scheming against benefit claimants isn’t good for him…

The prize for public health research goes to the Czech Republic that found owning a cat is mentally hazardous to your health. I know, they drive you nuts…

The Czech Republic also won the prize for biology for carefully documenting that when dogs defecate and urinate, they prefer to align their body axis with Earth’s north-south geomagnetic field lines. By a weird coincidence, my bathroom faces magnetic north. I face magnetic north when I pee, but the opposite direction for number two’s. Women always face the opposite direction too; or so I’m told…

The Art prize goes to Italy for measuring the relative pain people suffer while looking at an ugly painting, rather than a pretty painting, while being shot [in the hand] by a powerful laser beam. By a weird coincidence, I tend to feel less pain when looking at beautiful naked women than I do when I look at bleedin’ ugly women. I have only tried it with pictures, I really need to do research with live models…

The economics prize goes to Italy too for  taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants. How do they measure all that illegal activity? Do they ask the Mafioso how much drug dealing they have done this year. I suppose it’s easy in Italy, with the Mafioso controlling all that stuff, but we are more multicultural in the UK.

The prize for medicine goes to the USA for some fascinating research involving treating “uncontrollable” nosebleeds, using the method of nasal-packing-with-strips-of-cured-pork. Cured pork? That’s ham and bacon. Is that raw bacon or cooked? Shoving bacon up your bleedin’ nose? Can’t be right…

Arctic science goes to Norway for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears. They react badly when they see men with white beards dressed in red too.

Nutrition went to Spain for their study titled “Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Faeces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages.” I thought about this while I was in the bathroom, facing magnetic north. It seems they use all sorts of bacteria for making fermented sausages, including staphylococcus.  That bacteria can be quite dangerous as in Methicillin Resistant Staphylococus Aureusis (MRSA) which is often found in nasal passages. I suppose they have to get the bacteria from somewhere, but nasal passages and infant faeces? Why can’t they just use some live yoghurt? I’ve really gone off sausages now.

Last year’s research was more useful.

2013 Physics Prize: Joseph Keller (US), Raymond Goldstein (US/UK), Patrick Warren and Robin Ball (UK) for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. Knowing how a pony tail will move is useful if you’re a photographer.

Someone should do some research into spiders, they’re everywhere. My runner beans are covered in big spider’s webs. I’ll try to photograph them later. I don’t mind spiders though, at least they keep the flies down.

The weather forecast for today is quite good. I’m hoping it will warm up this afternoon for my photographic outing.

Finally, this film looks interesting. Seems to remind me of something…

They look like rather nasty types…

If you have something to say, please use the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter. Don’t worry, I didn’t go to bleedin’ Oxford or Cambridge…

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One response

  1. Pingback: The Review: Does art need to reach out? | Mike10613's Blog

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