mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")

February 2016, issue number 2016-02. ISSN 1076-500X.

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      Research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK.

      A tiny supplement to the Annals of Improbable Research.

      Archive at <http://improbable.com/airchives/miniair>

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01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

02 Imminent Events: Arisia, AAAS, and EuroTour

03 In the Magazine: Human Heads and Garlic Juice Soon

04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Snakes in the Plane

05 Improbable at the AAAS Meeting in DC

06 Ig Nobel Eurotour in March

07 Snakes-on-an-Inclined-Plane Limerick Contest

08 Who Ate Whom Poet

09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Dr. Coffee / Lion-roaring / Window of Ants

10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Mouse Without Shakes, On and Off a Plane

11 — Improbable Research Events

12 — The Magazine (AIR) — How to Subscribe; How to Get Back Issues (*)

13 — Our Address (*)

14 — Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

15 — How to start or stop receiving mini-AIR (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

 

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02 Imminent Events: Arisia, AAAS, and EuroTour

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                — Feb 13, 2016

Ig Nobel EuroTour                   — March 4-23, 2016

Florida State U                     — March 29, 2016

 

      Details: <http://goo.gl/fh81lh>

 

 

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03 In the Magazine: Human Heads and Garlic Juice Soon

 

The special Human Heads and Garlic Juice issue of the magazine is in preparation. It will become available soon.

 

      SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES: <https://gumroad.com/improbable>

 

      Tables of Contents: <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

 

 

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04 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Snakes in the Plane

 

This month's spotlight shines on snakes and planes:

 

"Optimizing snake locomotion in the plane," Silas Alben, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 469. No. 2159. The Royal Society, 2013. <http://goo.gl/hO4pHR> The authors, at the University of Michigan, report:

 

"We develop a numerical scheme to determine which planar snake motions are optimal for locomotory efficiency, across a wide range of frictional parameter space.... a variety of complex, locally optimal motions are found. Some of these can be classified as standing waves (or ratcheting motions)."

 

 

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05 Improbable at the AAAS Meeting in DC

 

You and yours are invited to this year's special Improbable Research session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, in Washington, DC.

 

It happens on Saturday, February 13, from 8:00-10:00 pm., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St., NW, in the Diplomat Ballroom. <https://goo.gl/IznLVp>. You can see, hear, and question:

 

Ig Nobel Prize winner Patricia Yang

      (Urination duration is about 21 seconds in most mammals)

 

Ig Nobel Prize winner Greg Weiss

      (how to partially un-boil an egg)

 

Jessica Gall Myrick

      (who watches cat videos on the Internet,

      why, and to what effect?)

 

Eric Schulman

      (a one-minute history of the universe, AND ALSO

      an algorithm that predicts who will win

      the 2016 U.S. Presidential election)

 

Nicole Sharp

      (creator of FYFD — the worlds most popular web site

      for fluid dynamics)

 

This special evening session is open free to the public. The event always overflows the room, so we suggest you arrive a wee bit early.

 

 

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06 Ig Nobel Eurotour in March

 

The 2016 Ig Nobel Eurotour spans March 4-23, with Ig Nobel Prize winners assembling do public shows in

 

      Norway

      Denmark

      Sweden

      UK

      Switzerland

 

Individual events, stars, and links are at <http://goo.gl/fh81lh>

 

 

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07 Snakes-on-an-Inclined-Plane Limerick Contest

 

"Optimizing snake locomotion on an inclined plane," Xiaolin Wang, Matthew T. Osborne, and Silas Alben, Physical Review E 89.1, 2014: 012717. <http://goo.gl/uKsyhh> The authors, at the University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Toledo, report:

 

"We develop a model to study the locomotion of snakes on inclined planes.... We give an asymptotic analysis to show that the optimal snake motions are traveling waves with amplitudes given by the same scaling laws found in the numerics."

 

Submit your perfectly formed, delightful limerick to:

 

      SNAKES-ON-AN-INCLINED-PLANE LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

 

 

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08 Who Ate Whom Poet

 

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Who Ate Whom Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to honor this study:

 

"Dogs, Meat and Douglas Mawson," Elizabeth Leane and Helen Tiffin, Australian Humanities Review, no. 51, November 2011. <http://goo.gl/BRskBI>

 

The winner is INVESTIGATOR BEATRICE GUTMANN, who wrote:

 

If you want to survive near the Pole,

Supplies lost, belly one gaping hole,

  Eating humans is rough;

  Ice and snow aren't enough.

As for dogs – they may rue their new role.

 

Here's an offering from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:

 

My dog read this paper. Surprised,

He got neighborhood dogs organized.

  The dogs now agree.

  They want me to be

Preemptively cannibalized.

 

 

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09 MORE IMPROBABLE: Dr. Coffee / Lion-roaring / Window of Ants

 

Recent improbable research bits:

 

New Members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) and/or its sibling clubs

<http://www.improbable.com/category/lfhcfs-hair-club/>:

 

      Mike Coffee

      Michael Scheid

 

The podcast <http://goo.gl/WQFTyJ>:

 

      LISTEN / DOWNLOAD: <http://goo.gl/sxh7DX>

 

      #47 I do not understand, and have something to say

      #48 Hair (and Hare) and Dog-Flea and Cat-Flea Research

      #49 Artificial Lion-Roaring Contests

 

The blog <http://www.improbable.com/>:

 

      "Imagine if the window were made of ants..."

      "Cant imagine why more people dont study..."

      Head butting in whales – explanations for junk

      ...and lots more

 

More, at

      [twitter]   @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

      [facebook]  <http://www.facebook.com/improbableresearch>

 

 

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10 MAY WE RECOMMEND: Mouse Without Shakes, On and Off a Plane

 

"Mouse having shake-elimination function when leaving working plane," Kuo-Shu Cheng, U.S. Patent Application No. 12/400,949. <https://goo.gl/zmVy3q>

 

 

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11 — Improbable Research Events

 

For details and additional events, see

<http://improbable.com/improbable-research-shows/complete-schedule>

 

AAAS, Washington, DC                — Feb 13, 2016

Ig Nobel EuroTour                   — Mar 4-23, 2016

Florida State U                     — Mar 29, 2016

ESOF, Manchester, UK                — Jul TBA, 2016

IG NOBEL TICKETS GO ON SALE         — Jul TBA, 2016

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony             — Sep 22, 2016

Ig Informal Lectures                — Sep 24, 2016

 

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12 — The Magazine (AIR) — How to Subscribe; How to Get Back Issues (*)

 

The Annals of Improbable Research is a 6-issues-per-year magazine, published in PDF form. It's packed with research that makes people laugh, then think. (mini-AIR, the thing you are reading at this moment, is but a tiny, free-floating appendix to AIR.)

 

      SUBSCRIPTIONS (just $25)

      BACK-ISSUES (just $5 each)

      <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

 

 

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13 — Our Address (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

PO Box 380853, Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

(+1) 617-491-4437

 

EDITORIAL: <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

SUBSCRIPTIONS: <subscriptions AT improbable.com>

Web Site and blog: <http://www.improbable.com>

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

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14 — Please Forward/Post This Issue! (*)

 

Please distribute copies of mini-AIR (or excerpts!) wherever appropriate. The only limitations are: A) Please indicate that the material comes from mini-AIR. B) You may NOT distribute mini-AIR for commercial purposes.

 

      ------------- mini-AIRheads -------------

EDITOR: Marc Abrahams

CO-CONSPIRATORS: Kees Moeliker, Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Gary Dryfoos, Ernest Ersatz, Stephen Drew

PROOFREADER: Ambient Happenstance

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach, Sheldon Glashow, Richard Roberts

 

Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR, the

(c) copyright 2016, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

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15 — How to start or stop receiving mini-AIR (*)

 

Mini-AIR is a (free!) tiny monthly *supplement*

to the big, bold six-times-a-year magazine AIR.

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   To subscribe or unsubscribe to mini-AIR, please visit

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