Applause-banning Ig Nobel Winner Lukashenko and his publicly naked citizens

June 29th, 2016

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, who was awarded the 2013 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for forbidding his citizens to applaud in public, has now induced many of his citizens to publicly display themselves — naked — as they engage in their daily work. The web site reports [the text here is auto-translated into English]:

Undress and work”: Belarusians literally embraced President Council

The phrase “undress and work” has spawned a flashmob on the Internet: Belarusians have started to come to the offices of the nude photos and share on social networks….

It all started during the speech of Alexander Lukashenko at the fifth All-Belarusian People’s Assembly. “Innovation, IT-technologies, privatization – all of this is clear  – the president said . We’ve already mastered. But all our life, simple: it is necessary to undress and work up a sweat. “


This photo shows two of the many obedient, hard-working naked citizens of Belarus:


The Guardian presents other glowing examples. As does the Daily Mail:

That Ig Nobel Peace prize, in 2013, was awarded to Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

Leaping fish injuries and the trauma center [podcast 79]

June 29th, 2016

Fish (specifically sturgeon) leaping into the air and colliding with young human boaters are biggest stars in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free.

This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by Nicole Sharp — tells about:

The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

Orgasms in 27 Languages: “Behold, I Am Coming Soon!”

June 28th, 2016

Linguistics is a sometimes exciting discipline. Behold this newly published study:

Behold, I Am Coming Soon! A Study on the Conceptualization of Sexual Orgasm in 27 Languages,” Anita Yen Chiang and Wen-yu Chiang [pictured here], Metaphor and Symbol, vol. 31, no. 3, July-September 2016, pp. 131-147. The authors, at National Taiwan University, explain:

WenYuChiang“languages tend to conceptualize orgasm as a physiological response in the terms for orgasm; whereas more languages are inclined to conceptualize orgasm as an ideal goal in the announcements for orgasm. Depending on whether the focus is on the physiological, psychological, and ideal aspects during sex, native speakers of their various languages may conceptualize orgasm with the conceptual metaphors ORGASM IS A PEAK, ORGASM IS FIRE, ORGASM IS DEATH, ORGASM IS A DESTINATION, and ORGASM IS THE RELEASE OF FORCE/SUBSTANCE IN A CONTAINER; conceptual metonymies (i.e., EXCITEMENT FOR ORGASM, SWELLING FOR ORGASM, and HEAT FOR ORGASM); and related concepts (i.e., (FEELING OF) SATISFACTION and (FEELING OF) PLEASURE).”

Here’s are two further chunks of details from the study:



(Thanks to Dor Abrahamson for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: A performance of the song “Behold, I Am Coming Soon!”:

Spin, twin, min, fin, free will, and all that…

June 28th, 2016

John Conway writes the words SPIN, TWIN, MIN and FIN on a blackboard. Watch him do it, if you will (so to speak), in this video:

He then goes on to lecture for an hour (more or less) about his study:

The Strong Free Will Theorem,” John H. Conway and Simon Kochen, Notices of the AMS [American Mathematical Society], Volume 56, Number 2, February 2009.

What does this mean, you are (or are not) free to wonder. You are not alone. Others have decided, in some fashion, to try to clarify the situation for you. See the study:

What Does the Free Will Theorem Actually Prove?” Sheldon Goldstein, Daniel V. Tausk, Roderich Tumulka, and Nino Zanghì,” Notices of the AMS [American Mathematical Society], Volume 57, Number 11, December, 2010.

BONUS: Princeton University’s guide to the above video and some related videos, and to your larger adventure in free will exploration.

Belgian sporting earthquake measurements project

June 27th, 2016

Scientists in Belgium are methodically measuring the effects of soccer games on the oscillation of the earth. Lieven Scheire alerted us, saying “our seismic institute is measuring small earthquakes every time our national soccer team scores at the european championships.

The image you (probably) see below documents seismic activity from a recent match between Hungary and Belgium. (Belgium won the match, 4-0). The institute explains:

“4-0 ! This picture shows the seismic record of the Uccle Surface station. The first goal is not clearly visible, but the three next triggered a big energy release! Goal-quakes! Belgian Red Devils.”