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Ig Nobel Prize winner says he retains presidency of his country

August 9th, 2020

Alexander Lukashenko, who in 2013 was awarded an Ig Nobel Peace prize, has announced that he will again and still be President of his country. BBC News reports, on August 10, 2020: “Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled for 26 years, claimed he had won a landslide victory in an election marred by accusations of vote-rigging….”

A Prize-winning President Who Gets No Applause

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

“Bee Sting Secrecy”– an Ig Nobel Prize favorite moment

August 9th, 2020

This historic Ig Nobel Favorite Moment video stars Michael L. Smith, Ig Nobel Entomology & Physiology Prize winner for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK.

The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will be webcast September 17, 2020 at

Coordinator, Narrator, & Typist: Seth Gliksman

Pocket-Sized #1029: “Abnormal Blinking”

August 8th, 2020

Abnormal Blinking

In this Pocket-Sized episode #1029, Marc Abrahams shows an unfamiliar research study to Jean Berko Gleason. Dramatic readings and reactions ensue.

The research mentioned in this episode is featured in the special Psychology issue (vol. 26, #1) of the Annals of Improbable Research magazine.

Remember, our Patreon donors, on most levels, get access to each podcast episode before it is made public.

1. Jean Berko Gleason encounters:

Abnormal Blinking of Newscasters,” Kazuo Tsubota, Fuminobu Egami, Tomohiro Ohtsuki, and Masuro Shintani, The Lancet, vol. 354, no. 9175, July 24, 1999, p. 308.

Seth GliksmanProduction Assistant

Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Google Podcasts, AntennaPod, BeyondPod and elsewhere!

The case of the roaming cat carcass & the case of the dead cat carcass

August 7th, 2020

Cat carcasses can create curiosity.

A study called “A Case Report of a Botulism Outbreak in Beef Cattle Due to the Contamination of Wheat by a Roaming Cat Carcass: From the Suspicion to the Management of the Outbreak” has been published by a research team in France.

An earlier report by a team in Australia, about a different incident, concerns what would appear, from the writing, to be a doubly dead cat. The study, called “Aggregation in quads but not pairs of rats exposed to cat odor or bright light”, includes this passage:

The predator odor stimulus was a 2 g ball of cat fur obtained from a dead cat carcass acquired from the company Australian Feral Pest Management.

Those are but two of science’s curious cases involving cat carcasses. If you know of other examples—good examples, not just examples, we might enjoy hearing about them.

Press release breathes hint of a more potent garlic

August 6th, 2020

Discovery could lead to more potent garlic, boosting flavor and bad breath” is the punch-in-the-nose headline in a news release from Virginia Tech. The lead researcher [pictured here, gazing at a test tube] explains:

“This information changes the whole story about how garlic could be improved or we could make the compounds responsible of its unique flavor,” said Hannah Valentino, a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ph.D. candidate. “This could lead to a new strain of garlic that would produce more flavor.”

The team offers punchy details, in a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is called “Structure and function of a flavin-dependent S-monooxygenase from garlic (Allium sativum)“.

(Thanks to Davide Castelvecchi for bringing this to our attention.)

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