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Tongue-Tripping Title of the Month

September 28th, 2021

This month’s Tongue-Tripping Title of the Month comes from a study published almost a decade ago:

Time displacement rotational echo double resonance: heteronuclear dipolar recoupling with suppression of homonuclear interaction under fast magic-angle spinning,” Tim W.T. Tsai, Yun Mou, and Jerry C.C. Chan, Journal of Magnetic Resonance, vol. 214, no. 1. January 2012, pp. 315-8. (Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.) The authors are at National Taiwan University.


Evil – the Math [new study]

September 27th, 2021

Philosophers, theologians, and many others have been searching for an unequivocal definition of Evil for at least 2,000 years. Perhaps a mathematical one might help?

Francisco Parro, who is Associate Professor of Economics, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, School of Business, Chile, makes steps towards such things in his latest paper : The problem of evil: An economic approach [ ref: Kylos Journal (early view) ]

If the ramifications of the new approach are not immediately evident from the paper’s abstract, a full version of the study may be viewed here.


Modes of Cat-Human Communication: 2021 Ig Informal Lecture

September 23rd, 2021

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

In the Ig Informal Lectures, some days after the ceremony, the new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it. We are releasing these lectures one at a time.

The 2021 Ig Nobel for Biology was awarded to Susanne Schötz, Robert Eklund, and Joost van de Weijer, for analyzing variations in purring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cat–human communication.

REFERENCE: “A Comparative Acoustic Analysis of Purring in Four Cats,” Susanne Schötz and Robert Eklund, Proceedings of Fonetik 2011, Speech, Music and Hearing, KTH, Stockholm, TMH-QPSR, 51.

REFERENCE: “A Phonetic Pilot Study of Vocalisations in Three Cats,” Susanne Schötz, Proceedings of Fonetik 2012, Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

REFERENCE: “A Phonetic Pilot Study of Chirp, Chatter, Tweet and Tweedle in Three Domestic Cats,” Susanne Schötz, Proceedings of Fonetik 2013, Linköping University, Sweden, 2013, pp. 65-68.

REFERENCE: “A Study of Human Perception of Intonation in Domestic Cat Meows,” Susanne Schötz and Joost van de Weijer, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody, Dubin, Ireland, May 20-23, 2014.

REFERENCE: “Melody in Human–Cat Communication (Meowsic): Origins, Past, Present and Future,” Susanne Schötz, Robert Eklund, and Joost van de Weijer, 2016.

YouTube, the Ig Nobel Prizes, and the Year 1914

September 22nd, 2021

[NOTE: On September 22, 2021 we more or less solved the problem. See the end of this blog post for the happy news about that. The original blog post was written on September 13, while we were intensely wrestling with the problem.]

YouTube’s notorious takedown algorithms are blocking the video of the 2021 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

We have so far been unable to find a human at YouTube who can fix that. We recommend that you watch the identical recording on Vimeo.

The Fatal Song

This is a photo of John McCormack, who sang the song “Funiculi, Funicula” in the year 1914, inducing YouTube to block the 2021 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Here’s what triggered this: The ceremony includes bits of a recording (of tenor John McCormack singing “Funiculi, Funicula”) made in the year 1914.

The Corporate Takedown

YouTube’s takedown algorithm claims that the following corporations all own the copyright to that audio recording that was MADE IN THE YEAR 1914: “SME, INgrooves (on behalf of Emerald); Wise Music Group, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, UMPG Publishing, PEDL, Kobalt Music Publishing, Warner Chappell, Sony ATV Publishing, and 1 Music Rights Societies”

UPDATES: (Sept 21, 2021) A clear writeup on Reclaim the Net. (Sept 19, 2021) There’s an ongoing discussion on Slashdot.(Sept 13, 2021) There’s an ongoing discussion on Hacker News, about this problem.

PROBLEM SOLVED (probably): (September 22, 2021) Still unsuccessful at making any contact with any human being at YouTube, we (think we) solved the problem by recording our own performance of the old song “Funiculi Funicula”, and then editing that into the video recording of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The new musical performance is by soprano Maria Ferrante and accordionist/cardiologist Thomas Michel (both of whom also starred in the opera that was part of the ceremony).

Special thanks to Bruce Petschek, Richard Baguley, Julia Lunetta, Maria Ferrante, Thomas Michel, David Kessler, and Jeff Hermes for their time, effort, and wisdom at working around and thus (probably) overcoming the problem.

Here is the new version of the ceremony video:

And here is the original version (but living on Vimeo, rather than YouTube), that has the John McCormack 1914 recording of “Funiculi Funicula”:

FURTHER UPDATE (September 27, 2021): YouTube sent us this reply to our protest (we filed that protest when the problem happened, via YouTube’s web site, there being apparently no practical way to get in direct touch with any human at YouTube):

So there you have it: YouTube says that the little company called SME (also called “Sony Music Entertainment”, also called “Sony Music”) again claims ownership of the recording of John McCormack singing “Funiculi Funicula” in the year 1914.


Why-Exactly-Is-a-Bicycle-Stable Experiments

September 21st, 2021

David Jones some years ago assaulted humanity’s embarrassing lack of understanding of why moving bicycles are so stable. Jones performed a series of experiments, from which he learned some surprising things. He revealed them in this article:

The Stability of the Bicycle,” David E.H. Jones, Physics Today, April 1970, pp. 34-40.

(Thanks to Catherine Klauss and Davide Castelvecci for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: David Jones delivered a 24/7 Lecture on the giant topic “Science”, in the 2001 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

BONUS: Here’s a video made much later by Andy Ruina, addressing advances on the bicycle question forty years after David Jones had brought the physics world up to cruising speed:

Improbable Research