Ig Nobel winner’s damn!’s-good book on bad behavior

July 3rd, 2015

Richard Stephens, who was awarded the 2010 Ig Nobel peace prize for demonstrating that swearing helps relieve pain, has written a book about the good sides of bad behavior.

The book, to which I delightedly contributed a cover blurb (‘Richard Stephens demonstrates that the bad (“NEVER DO THAT!”) things in life do have their good, practical side’), is called Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad. The publisher produced this wicked little video about it:

Caroline Morley wrote an admiring book review, in New Scientist magazine, that begins:

WHETHER it’s skiving, sex, speeding or drinking alcohol, everything fun seems to have a warning attached. So why does behaving badly feel so good?

Richard Stephens, a senior lecturer in psychology at Keele University, UK, may not sound like the obvious person to tackle the science of deviance until you discover that he has won an Ig Nobel prize for his work on swearing. And since swearing is a particular vice of mine, I was keen to read about any advantages fruity language might confer.

In Black Sheep, Stephens ranges far and wide, surveying the psychological and physiological research into our character flaws. He writes with the glee of someone at a theme park, which is fitting since he tells us that a ride on a roller coaster is beneficial for asthma….

Attracting Wildlife – for research (or shooting) [new patent]

July 3rd, 2015

Inventor Harrison Forrester, from Greenwood, SC, USA, has just received a patent for a wildlife attractor device which may help scientific researchers (or hunters),


“The present invention is related to a hunting device that is particularly suitable for attracting wildlife and animals, such as deer, antelope, and varmints to a particular location.”


The device, which can be strapped to a tree as shown, has, if required, a remote controlled tail-wagging function.

“Attracting wildlife and animals such as deer to a particular location has many benefits. For example, attracting wildlife to a particular location can aid scientists with their studies on a particular wildlife’s migratory patterns.”

Or, alternatively, it can

“[…] allow a hunter enough time to aim and discharge his weapon.”

See:Wildlife Attractor Device’ (US Pat., May 26, 2015)


Ig Nobel ceremony tickets go on sale July 9

July 3rd, 2015

Tickets for the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will go on sale THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2015, at NOON (Boston time). Tickets will be available exclusively from the Harvard Box Office.



Tickets alway disappear quickly. This being a big year — our 25th! — we expect them to disappear especially quickly. So prepare!

Tonight’s (Friday) Ig Nobel event in Tokyo

July 2nd, 2015

Here’s the poster for tonight’s Ig Nobel event — the final Ig Nobel event on the Ig Nobel Japan Tour:


It begins at 6:00 pm, at Chuo-ku: Ginza Blossom Chuo Kaikan Main Hall, 2-15-6 Ginza.

Ig Nobel Prize winner BP will pay $18.7 billion, reportedly

July 2nd, 2015

BP, which was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2010, is in the news again for the actions that won that prize. The New York Times reports:

BP to Pay $18.7 Billion for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS — The Gulf Coast states and the federal government have reached a tentative settlement with BP for the British oil company to pay $18.7 billion over 18 years, to compensate for damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, state officials said Thursday….

The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and BP [British Petroleum], for disproving the old belief that oil and water don’t mix.