Roy Exum: 2018 Ig Nobel Awards

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
The word ‘ignobel’ is rarely used because only a few among us know that it means "characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness." About 30 years ago, a glorious group of great scholars took a literary hatchet to form the word into ‘ig nobel’ so it could be placed in the dictionary as a term that means “a satirical social criticism that identifies absurd research.”
Think of it as the moment in our universe when science meets silly. The organizers openly admit it id a parody of the Nobel awards and, to put it more simply, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think."
Last Thursday night before a sell-out crowd in Harvard’s Sanders Theater, the 2018 winners were proclaimed at the 28th First Annual event.
(“Yeah, it was the First Annual when we started in 1991 so ‘First’ is part of the original name.”)
You must understand: The hysterical studies are actual research – with legitimate papers and such. I have been keen on the ‘Igs’ for years and some readers still don’t believe anything so preposterous exists. That is why this year, as you laugh in disbelief and wonder, I have included the actual references so you can research for yourself how to scientifically determine the nutritional value of cannibalism, and this trick you can do with postage stamps.
A drumroll, please, as we honor the …
2018 FIRST ANNUAL IG NOBEL PRIZE AWARD WINNERS
MEDICINE PRIZE [USA] — Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.
REFERENCE: "Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster," Marc A. Mitchell, David D. Wartinger, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 116, October 2016, pp. 647-652.
* * *
ANTHROPOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, ROMANIA, DENMARK, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, UK, INDONESIA, ITALY] — Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.
REFERENCE: "Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors," Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, Primates, vol. 59, no. 1, January 2018, pp 19–29.
* * *
BIOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, COLOMBIA, GERMANY, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND] — Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.
REFERENCE: "The Scent of the Fly," Paul G. Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika A. Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, bioRxiv, no. 20637, 2017.
* * *
CHEMISTRY PRIZE [PORTUGAL] — Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.
REFERENCE: "Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces," by Paula M. S. Romão, Adília M. Alarcão and César A.N. Viana, Studies in Conservation, vol. 35, 1990, pp. 153-155.
* * *
MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report "Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy."
REFERENCE: "Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope," Akira Horiuchi and Yoshiko Nakayama, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, vol. 63, No. 1, 2006, pp. 119-20.
* * *
LITERATURE PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, EL SALVADOR, UK] — Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, for documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual.
REFERENCE: "Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products," Alethea L. Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, Interacting With Computers, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp. 27-46.
* * *
NUTRITION PRIZE [ZIMBABWE, TANZANIA, UK] — James Cole, for calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.
REFERENCE: "Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic," James Cole, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 44707, April 7, 2017.
* * *
PEACE PRIZE [SPAIN, COLOMBIA] — Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar, for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.
REFERENCE: "Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment," Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge and Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, vol. 1, no. 12017, pp. 1-7.
* * *
REFERENCE: "La Justicia en el Tráfico: Conocimiento y Valoración de la Población Española" ["Justice in Traffic: Knowledge and Valuation of the Spanish Population")], F. Alonso, J. Sanmartín, C. Calatayud, C. Esteban, B. Alamar, and M. L. Ballestar, Cuadernos de Reflexión Attitudes, 2005.
* * *
REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE PRIZE [USA, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, INDIA, BANGLADESH] — John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau, for using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly—as described in their study "Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps."
REFERENCE: "Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps," John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michael Boileau, Urology, vol. 15, 1980, pp. 171-172.
* * *
ECONOMICS PRIZE [CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, USA] — Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.
REFERENCE: "Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice," Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.
* * *
“The sentence ‘The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog’ uses every letter in the alphabet.” – Unknown

Transparency?

Greenway Dog Park Needs Attention

Thomas Lee Is The Pathway For District 2 And Opening Our City


The southern border is in chaos, governors in the region are pleading for help and Biden’s Border Csar, Roberta Johnson, a three decade State Department employee, just bailed out. That’s because ... (click for more)

Our seven-month old indoor Yorkie puppy just loves the Greenway Dog Park so she can run and play with other dogs and people. Unfortunately, the city of Chattanooga’s lack of maintenance makes ... (click for more)

With the importance to District 2 of “Opening Our City”, Thomas Lee’s election as our City Council District 2 councilperson is critical for that to happen. Thomas is the leader that will lead ... (click for more)



Opinion

Transparency?

The southern border is in chaos, governors in the region are pleading for help and Biden’s Border Csar, Roberta Johnson, a three decade State Department employee, just bailed out. That’s because they have no answers and the activist media will tell us little. Moving migrant children in unmarked vans into buildings shrouded with black tarps and then not answering questions doesn’t ... (click for more)

Greenway Dog Park Needs Attention

Our seven-month old indoor Yorkie puppy just loves the Greenway Dog Park so she can run and play with other dogs and people. Unfortunately, the city of Chattanooga’s lack of maintenance makes this dangerous for small dogs. The bottom of the gate to the small dog area is 4-5 inches above the ground and many small dogs can easily slip under and get out of the fenced in area. Our ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Former Tennessee Temple Dorm Apparently Is New Home For Unattended Migrant Children

A former Tennessee Temple dorm is apparently being converted as a new home for unattended migrant children. Brandon Lewis said he visited the site at 1914 Vance Ave. for his new Tennessee Conservative newspaper and asked an official "Are there migrant children inside?" He said he was referred to a federal government office. Mr. Lewis said he believes the former ... (click for more)

No Cruelty At McKamey, Executive Director Says In Letter To Volunteers And Fosters

The embattled executive director of McKamey Animal Center has reached out to MAC volunteers and foster partners, assuring them that there is no truth to allegations of animals at the facility being treated cruelty. “By now you are all aware of the assertions being made against MAC and our staff,” Ms. Fricke wrote, referring to complaints made by former employees who watched ... (click for more)

Sports

Soddy Daisy Native Jessica Combs Featured By Austin Peay Alumni Association

Hixson native Jessica Combs was recently honored by the Austin Peay Alumni Association in an Alumni Spotlight article. Upon her graduation in 2016, Combs became a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) as a teaching pro and club professional. In 2019 APSU athletic director Gerald Harrison announced Combs would be returning to the school as its sixth head women’s ... (click for more)

Future Pans Factor Into Madison Hayes' Move To Wolfpack

Former McDonald’s All-American and SEC All-Freshman selection Madison Hayes transferred from Mississippi State to NC State for a plethora of reasons, not all of them related to basketball. The former East Hamilton superstar guard averaged 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Bulldogs as a spot starter before entering her name into the transfer portal after the season. The Chattanooga ... (click for more)