Friday, August 29, 2014

This Is Improbable

My favorite IgNobel prize was the one awarded to the inventor of the run away alarm clock.   She won the Economics prize - for getting people out of bed and to work on time.  That's not included in This Is Improbable.  What you will find is reports on the speed of fingernail growth, alternative uses (easing sweaty hands and cracked nipples) for tea bags, how people view "Norman" when he's dressed as a punk versus when he's dressed as an accountant, and the amount of stress a strapless gown can bear before, well, leaving the wearer bare.  All of these studies first appeared in Annals of Improbable Research edited by Marc Abrahams.  They're all silly on the surface (and some are side projects which must have been conceived after a third drink), but some (like the IgNobel winning Wasabi Fire Alarm) have real applications.  As Abrahams says, the IgNobels go to achievements which make you laugh - and then make you think.

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