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Thursday, October 12, 2006 

Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize


From Improbable Research

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

Some of the 2006 IgNobel winners:

-- BIOLOGY - Bart Knols of Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria and colleague Ruurd de Jong for showing that the female Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which carries malaria, is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.

"We have shown that three different Anopheles mosquito species prefer to bite different parts of a naked motionless volunteer and that this behavior is influenced by odors from those body regions," they wrote in their report, published in the Lancet medical journal in 1996.

-- ORNITHOLOGY - Ivan Schwab of the University of California Davis, and the late Philip R.A. May of the University of California Los Angeles, for explaining why woodpeckers do not get headaches.

-- NUTRITION - Wasmia Al-Houty of Kuwait University and Faten Al-Mussalam of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority, for showing that dung beetles are finicky eaters.

-- PEACE - Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing a teen-ager repellent -- a device that makes a high-pitched noise that is annoying to teen-agers but inaudible to most adults; and for later using the technology to make cellphone ringtones that teenagers can hear but not their teachers.

-- ACOUSTICS - D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand of Chicago's Northwestern University for a 1986 experiment aimed at discovering why the sound of fingernails scraping on a blackboard is so irritating.

-- MATHEMATICS - Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of shots a photographer must take to almost ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed.

-- MEDICINE - Francis Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and the team of Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan and Arie Oliven of Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa, Israel who both published studies entitled "Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage."

Ummm... how is the inital thought for this experiment produced?? Too many hours in a lab with the same people??

Nevermind!

I want to know how some one figured out that they could get rid of their hiccups by fingering themselves. Did the hiccups come before the sodomy or during and just didn't last beyond one?

That would make me quit hiccuping, or anything else, for that matter!

I'll stick to a teaspoon of sugar or drinking water upside-down, thank you very much...

Any post that can mention dung beetles is a good one! Although I would have expected to see this on DPT's blog . . .

So why are those fingernails on the c-board so irritating? C'mon Peak. Inquiring minds want to know.

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