Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

How to do the stamp test (for erections) if you can’t purchase stamps

Friday, April 26th, 2019

To assess erections, Dr. Susan Lundgren, in this two-minute educational video, tells and shows how to make and use your own perforated stamps, if you can no longer find perforated stamps for sale at the post office:

The Stamp Test

The stamp test is the standard, simple, reliable, inexpensive, quick test for whether a man’s sexual organ is physiological functional.

The stamp test’s inventors were awarded the 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for reproductive medicine. The prize was awarded to 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.” (You can watch historic video of Drs. Barry, Blank, and Boileau accepting their Ig Nobel Prize.)

Those inventors documented their prize-winning research, in the study “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps,” John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michael Boileau, Urology, vol. 15, 1980, pp. 171-172.

What Came Before the Stamp Test: Machines

Before the Stamp Test was invented, doctors used more elaborate, expensive, awkward, embarrassing, perhaps less reliable means to try to answer the question of whether a man’s natural equipment still functions. One of those machines is the RigiScan (and a later version, the RigiScan Plus!). The RIgiScan sometimes itself has problems, as Dr. Michael Werner tells and shows in this six-minute educational video:


“The funniest scientific lecture I’ve ever been to”

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

A student who attended her first Ig Nobel event—earlier this month, at Stockholm University—tries to describe the experience:

I admire very much all those creative scientist that come up with unexpected ideas, and when I found out that there was going to be an Ig Nobel lecture in Stockholm I new that it was an opportunity I could not miss. Very unexpectedly, I ended up playing a role in the lecture, and was even funnier than I could have ever imagined….

Read the details in her blog account: “Ig Nobel Stockholm: the funniest scientific lecture I’ve ever been to“.



A Person Who Swallowed a Snake Whole (But Died)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

This new study, describing a now-long-dead person who ate a snake whole, is reminiscent of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning study about swallowing a shrew. The new study is:

Analysis of a coprolite from Conejo Shelter, Texas: Potential ritualistic viperous snake consumption,” Elanor M. Sonderman, Crystal A. Dozier, Morgan F. Smith, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 25, June 2019, pp. 85-93. The authors, at Texas A&M University and Wichita State University, report:

This paper presents an analysis of the floral and faunal remains of a single human coprolite recovered from Conejo Shelter, Texas…. Zooarchaeological analysis found the remains of a small rodent, evidently eaten whole, with no indication of preparation or cooking. Notably, the bones, scales and a fang of a snake in the Viperidae family were also recovered from the coprolite, which is the first direct archaeological evidence of venomous snake consumption known to the researchers….

We propose that the ingestion of an entire venomous snake is not typical behavior for the occupants of the Lower Pecos or Conejo Shelter.

Geroge Dvorsky, writing in Gizmodo, has a report about this report, with the headline “Fossilized Human Poop Shows Ancient Forager Ate an Entire Rattlesnake—Fang Included.”

Ig Nobel Prize-winning study

The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize for archaeology was awarded to Brian Crandall and Peter Stahl, for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days — all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.

They documented their research, in the study “Human Digestive Effects on a Micromammalian Skeleton,” Peter W. Stahl and Brian D. Crandall, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 22, November 1995, pp. 789–97.

Voodoo dolls, the Ig Nobel Prize and why headlines matter in academia

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Here’s a voodoo-doll-rich, behind-the-scenes account what happened before and after a researcher (and her team) won an Ig Nobel Prize. Elsevier Connects reports:

Voodoo dolls in hand, the winning co-authors await their press interviews before the Ig Nobel ceremony at Harvard. Left to right: Prof. Lisa Keeping (Wilfrid Laurier University), Prof. Huiwen Lian (University of Kentucky), Prof. D. Lance Ferris (Michigan State University), Prof. Lindie Liang (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Prof. Douglas Brown (University of Waterloo). Not pictured: Samuel Hanig, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo.

Voodoo dolls, the Ig Nobel Prize and why headlines matter in academia
How psychologist Dr. Lindie Liang captured the world’s attention with her research

By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten

Many researchers have a story about a time they were surprised: an unexpected finding, an accidental hack that improves an instrument, a collaborator they meet at a bar. It can be exhilarating or unnerving and almost always brings a lesson.

That was certainly the case for psychologist Dr. Lindie Liang, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior/Human Resources Management in the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier Universityin Canada, when she published her paper on dysfunctional leadership and retaliation. Rejection followed rejection, which led to acceptance and publication, which resulted in interviews with journalists and international media coverage; before she knew it, she found herself on stage holding a voodoo doll, accepting the Ig Nobel Prize for Economics, in 2018….

The Prize-winning Research

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to 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.

The team documented their research, in the study “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.

Gorillas and humans, too, imitate each other

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

This report from Virunga National Park appears to broaden and confirm the Ig Nobel Prize-winning discovery about different kinds of animals (humans and some of our close relatives) imitating each other:

The photo, posted on Instagram, bears this caption:

You might have recently seen caretakers Mathieu and Patrick’s amazing selfie with female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze inside the Senkwekwe center at Virunga National Park. We’ve received dozens of messages about the photo. YES, it’s real! Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities! Also, it’s no surprise to see these girls on their two feet either—most primates are comfortable walking upright (bipedalism) for short bursts of time….
Conserving Virunga’s amazing wildlife is a constant challenge for the Park and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support.

The photo has appeared in numerous press accounts, including a BBC report with the headline “Gorillas pose for selfie with DR Congo anti-poaching unit“.

The Prize-Winning Study

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for anthropology was awarded to 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.

They documented their research, in the study “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.

(Thanks to Bruce Petschek for alerting us to this.)

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