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Slippery banana study wins Ig Nobel:


Slippery banana study wins Ig Nobel:

Research that investigated why bananas are slippery when you step on them has won one of this year's Ig Nobel prizes.

The spoof awards that have become almost as famous as the real Nobels were handed out at their annual ceremony at Harvard University, US. Kiyoshi Mabuchi's Japanese team measured the friction of banana skin in the lab, and showed why apple and orange peel are not quite so hazardous.

Another winner this year was the study that examined the brains of people who see the face of Jesus and other figures in slices of toast. The work won the neuroscience Ig Nobel.

Kang Lee, from the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues showed their subjects pictures of "noise" - like the random speckles you used to get on old, out-of-tune TVs - to see what patterns the volunteers would identify. This tendency to see order in randomness - like a face in the charred areas of a piece of bread - is a well-established phenomenon called pareidolia.

The full list of winners this year:

PHYSICS: Kiyoshi Mabuchi, of Kitasato University, Japan, and colleagues, for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that's on the floor.

NEUROSCIENCE: Kang Lee, of the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues for trying to understand what happens in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.

PSYCHOLOGY: Peter Jonason, of the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and colleagues for amassing evidence that people who habitually stay up late are, on average, more self-admiring, more manipulative, and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early in the morning.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Jaroslav Flegr, of Charles University, Czech Republic, and colleagues for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat.

BIOLOGY: Vlastimil Hart, of the Czech University of Life Sciences, and colleagues for carefully documenting that when dogs defecate and urinate, they prefer to align their body axis with Earth's north-south geomagnetic field lines.
ART: Marina de Tommaso, of the University of Bari, Italy, and colleagues 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.

ECONOMICS: The Italian government's National Institute of Statistics, for proudly 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.

MEDICINE: Ian Humphreys, of Michigan State University, US, and colleagues, for treating "uncontrollable" nosebleeds, using the method of nasal-packing-with-strips-of-cured-pork.

ARCTIC SCIENCE: Eigil Reimers, of the University of Oslo, Norway, and colleagues, for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears.

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{Ah [sign in to see URL] must be wonderful to be involved in such important research. Years ago I read about a government study somewhere or the other to see who stays the longest in the bathroom men or women. Turned out women [sign in to see URL] a shock! The study cost somewhere around $[sign in to see URL] bucks and most of us could have told them the right answer for the price of a cup of coffee. It would be interesting to find out why the government needed the answer to such a question?

I think my favorite of the above is this one....

ART: Marina de Tommaso, of the University of Bari, Italy, and colleagues 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.

I bet volunteers were lined up around the block to participate in that one!

Governments and institutions of higher learning seem to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of what their people are up do. I'm a very curious person by nature so of course I love reading such studies and polls as well. Seems there are studies about everything under the sun. Ever notice how a cat will stare at you intently for the longest time? What's it up to? Is it plotting to kill you? Could be. Look here:

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"libido sciendi"..... the passion to know.
9/19/2014, 5:01 pm Link to this post PM Noserose
 


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