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

September 2017, issue number 2017-09. ISSN 1076-500X.

----------

  Research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK.

—————————

 

01 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Cigs/Marmite; Strange Questions

03 Compelled Versus Freely-Chosen Lullabies

04 Announcing the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

05 Lullabies Are for Moms [LIMERICK CONTEST]

06 Decisive Regret Winners

07 Ig Nobel EuroTours

08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Explosion-Puffed Coffee'd Flies, Tails

09 Lullabies As a Distraction (With the Oucher)

10 IMPROBABLE EVENTS

11 — Subscribe to the Actual Magazine! (*)

12 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

13 — Contact Info (*)

14 — Standard Gobbledegook (*)

 

      Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

 

—————————

 

02 IN THE MAGAZINE ITSELF: Cigs/Marmite; Strange Questions

 

The special CIGARETTE BUTTS, VEGEMITE, AND MARMITE

issue of the magazine (vol 23, no. 4) is downloadable.

It and many previous issues await your scrutiny:

 

      MAGAZINE SINGLE ISSUES & SUBSCRIPTIONS:

      <https://gumroad.com/improbable>

 

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

 

WARNING: The special STRANGE QUESTIONS issue is in prep.

 

 

—————————

03 Compelled Versus Freely-Chosen Lullabies

 

This month's research spotlight shines on mothers and what they sing to their new offspring:

 

"Maternal Singing of Lullabies During Pregnancy and After Birth: Effects on Mother–Infant Bonding and on Newborns’ Behaviour. Concurrent Cohort Study," Giuseppina Persico, Laura Antolini, Patrizia Vergani, Walter Costantini, Maria Teresa Nardi, and Lidia Bellotti, Midwifery, vol. 28, no. 2, 2012, pp. 173–180. <https://is.gd/5TT0df>

 

The authors, at the University of Milano Bicocca, and other institutions in Italy, explain:

 

"Women in the singing cohort received the text of nine lullabies. The recommended lullabies were given by the musicologist who included traditional, loving and playful songs.... After four weeks, women were invited to choose one or two lullabies as a 'leitmotiv' for their own babies and to continue singing at home, in their own time, paying attention to their emotions and their babies’ behaviour.... Women in concurrent cohort were, however, left free to singing [sic] whatever type of lullabies they wanted."

 

 

—————————

04 Announcing the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

 

Ten New Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 27th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard University.

 

The ceremony was webcast (as it has been every year beginning in 1995). This year, for the first time, the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT also were webcast. Video of both events, and links to the winners, are at <https://www.improbable.com/ig/2017/>

<https://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2017>

 

The prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK. The new winners:

 

PHYSICS PRIZE [FRANCE, SINGAPORE, USA] — Marc-Antoine Fardin, for using fluid dynamics to probe the question "Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?"

REFERENCE: "On the Rheology of Cats," Marc-Antoine Fardin, Rheology Bulletin, vol. 83, 2, July 2014, pp. 16-17 and 30.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Marc-Antoine Fardin

 

PEACE PRIZE [SWITZERLAND, CANADA, THE NETHERLANDS, USA] — Milo Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz, and Otto Braendli, for demonstrating that regular playing of a didgeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring.

REFERENCE: "Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial," Milo A. Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz and Otto Braendli, BMJ, vol. 332 December 2006.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Milo Puhan, Christian Lo Cascio, Markus Heitz, Alex Suarez. NOTE: Alex Suarez was the first patient, and was the inspiration for the study.

 

ECONOMICS PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, USA] — Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer, for their experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble.

REFERENCE: "Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal," Matthew J. Rockloff and Nancy Greer, Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 26, no. 4, December 2010, pp. 571-81.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer

 

ANATOMY PRIZE [UK] — James Heathcote, for his medical research study "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?"

REFERENCE: "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?" James A. Heathcote, British Medical Journal, vol. 311, 1995, p. 1668.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: James Heathcote

 

BIOLOGY PRIZE [JAPAN, BRAZIL, SWITZERLAND] — Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura, and Charles Lienhard, for their discovery of a female penis, and a male vagina, in a cave insect.

REFERENCE: "Female Penis, Male Vagina and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect," Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo L. Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura, Charles Lienhard, Current Biology, vol. 24, no. 9, 2014, pp. 1006-1010.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: They delivered a short video acceptance speech, filmed in a cave.

 

FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE [SOUTH KOREA, USA] — Jiwon Han, for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks backwards while carrying a cup of coffee. REFERENCE: "A Study on the Coffee Spilling Phenomena in the Low Impulse Regime," Jiwon Han, Achievements in the Life Sciences, vol. 10, no. 1, 2016, pp. 87-101.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Jiwon ("Jesse") Han

NOTE: Jiwon Han was a high school student when he wrote the paper, at Korean Minjok Leadership Academy, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea.

 

NUTRITION PRIZE [BRAZIL, CANADA, SPAIN] — Fernanda Ito, Enrico Bernard, and Rodrigo Torres, for the first scientific report of human blood in the diet of the hairy-legged vampire bat

REFERENCE: "What is for Dinner? First Report of Human Blood in the Diet of the Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat Diphylla ecaudata," Fernanda Ito, Enrico Bernard, and Rodrigo A. Torres, Acta Chiropterologica, vol. 18, no. 2, December 2016, pp. 509-515.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video.

 

MEDICINE PRIZE [FRANCE, UK] — Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Nicolas Torquet, Anne-Marie Mouly and Tao Jiang, for using advanced brain-scanning technology to measure the extent to which some people are disgusted by cheese.

REFERENCE: "The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study," Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Nicolas Torquet, Anne-Marie Mouly and Tao Jiang, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 10, October 2016, article 511.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video.

 

COGNITION PRIZE [ITALY, SPAIN, UK] — Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi, and Salvatore Maria Aglioti, for demonstrating that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart visually.

REFERENCE: "Is That Me or My Twin? Lack of Self-Face Recognition Advantage in Identical Twins," Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi, Salvatore Maria Aglioti, PLoS ONE, vol. 10, no. 4, 2015: e0120900.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari

 

OBSTETRICS PRIZE — [SPAIN] — Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte, for showing that a developing human fetus responds more strongly to music that is played electromechanically inside the mother's vagina than to music that is played electromechanically on the mother's belly.

REFERENCE: "Fetal Facial Expression in Response to Intravaginal Music Emission," Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, and Alberto Prats-Galino, Ultrasound, November 2015, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 216–223.

REFERENCE: "Fetal Acoustic Stimulation Device," patent ES2546919B1, granted September 29, 2015 to Luis y Pallarés Aniorte and Maria Luisa López-Teijón Pérez.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte

 

 

—————————

05 Lullabies Are for Moms [LIMERICK CONTEST]

 

This month's challenge —

Devise a pleasing limerick that encapsulates this study:

 

"The Limerick Lullaby Project: An Intervention to Relieve Prenatal Stress," Mary Carolan, Maebh Barry, Mary Gamble, and Kathleen Turner, Midwifery, vol. 28, 2012, pp. 173–180. <https://is.gd/u59uqq>

 

The authors, at the University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland and Victoria University, Australia, report:

"Participants found singing lullabies to be a useful strategy when the infant was unsettled and the mother did not know what else to do."

 

Submit your perfectly formed, delightfully enlightening limerick to:

 

      LULLABIES LIMERICK COMPETITION

      c/o <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

 

 

—————————

06 Decisive Regret Winners

 

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Competition, which asked for a limerick to explain this study:

 

"Regret in Decision Making Under Uncertainty," David E. Bell, Operations Research, vol. 30, no. 5, 1982, pp. 961-981. <https://is.gd/0jmbVG>

 

The winners are INVESTIGATOR JONATHAN ROSS, who wrote:

 

If I think that a choice once decided

Might lead to me being derided,

  My aversion to knocks

  Brings a strange paradox:

I'd rather be poor than be chided.

 

and INVESTIGATOR ERIK M. JENSEN, who wrote:

 

No, not even Damascus-road visions

Will prevent all mistaken decisions.

  And so filled with regret,

  We do nothing but fret

(Hoping lawyers can get us rescissions).

 

The word from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:

 

I haven't decided quite yet.

Should I maximize what I will get?

  Should a second dimension

  Command my attention,

Gain versus future regret?

 

 

—————————

07 Ig Nobel EuroTours

 

We are assembling the next Ig Nobel EuroTours.

 

The Fall 2017 Ig Nobel Tour, in late November and early December, includes shows in the UK and GERMANY.

 

The Spring 2018 Ig Nobel Tour, in March and April, includes shows in the UK, NORWAY, DENMARK, SWEDEN, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, and THE NETHERLANDS.

 

If your institution would like to host an Ig Nobel show, please get in touch with us. Each show features Marc Abrahams (founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony) and several Ig Nobel Prize winners.

 

 

—————————

08 MORE IMPROBABLE: Explosion-Puffed Coffee'd Flies, Tails

 

Recent improbable research bits you may have missed...

 

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

 

<> Effect of Explosion-Puffed Coffee on Fruit Flies

<> The Aerodynamics of Cheetahs' Tails

<> A Simple Surprise About "Surprised Face"

 

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) and its sibling clubs:

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

 

  FACEBOOK: <http://www.facebook.com/improbableresearch>

  TWITTER: @ImprobResearch, @MarcAbrahams, #IgNobel

 

 

—————————

09 Lullabies As a Distraction (With the Oucher)

 

"Children's Responses to Immunizations: Lullabies as a Distraction." Mary Erickson Megel, Catherine Wagner Houser, and Leslie Simons Gleaves, Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, vol. 21, no. 3, 1998, pp. 129-145. <https://is.gd/rDUp11>

 

The authors, at the University of Nebraska, explain:

 

"Pain perception was measured using the Oucher in phases 1 and 4. No significant differences were found between experimental and control groups for heart rate, blood pressure, or Oucher scores. However, total distress scores were significantly less for the experimental group. These results indicate that immunization is a stressful experience for children."

 

 

—————————

10 IMPROBABLE EVENTS

 

For details and additional events, see

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

 

Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA           — Oct 11, 2017

Ig Nobel Fall EuroTour

      U Manchester, UK              — Nov 29, 2017

      EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany     — Dec 4, 2017

ARISIA, Boston, MA                  — Jan, 2018

SLAS Conference, San Diego          — Feb 7, 2018

AAAS Annual Meeting, Austin, TX     — Feb 2018

Ig Nobel Spring EuroTour            — Mar-Apr 2018

Northwest Rheumatism Society,

      Portland, OR                  — Apr 26, 2018

28th First Annual Ig Nobel Ceremony — Sep, 2018

Ig Informal Lectures                — Sep, 2018

Ig Nobel Museum Opening, Tokyo, Japan     Oct, 2018

 

—————————

—————————

11 — Subscribe to the Actual Magazine! (*)

 

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 the actual magazine.)

 

      <www.improbable.com/magazine/>

      SUBSCRIPTIONS     ($25, for six issues)

      SINGLE ISSUES     ($5 each)

 

 

—————————

12 — How to start or stop receiving this newsletter (*)

 

This newsletter, Mini-AIR, is just a (free!) tiny monthly *supplement* to the big, bold six-times-a-year magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

 

   To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE to mini-AIR:

   <http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/mini-air>

 

   ARCHIVES: <http://improbable.com/airchives/miniair>

 

 

—————————

13— CONTACT INFO (*)

 

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

<www.improbable.com>

EDITORIAL: <MARC aaattt IMPROBABLE dddooottt COM>

SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS: <subscriptions AT improbable.com>

Cambridge, MA 02138 USA, (+1) 617-491-4437

Twitter: @ImprobResearch

 

 

—————————

14 — Standard Gobbledegook (*)

 

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 2017, Annals of Improbable Research

 

 

—————————