October 6, 2006

Friday Fun, Ig Nobel Edition

The Ig Nobel prizes (Wiki) were awarded last night and, as usual, there's lots of very funny stuff this year.

My two favourites (and really, how do you choose a favourite for one of these?):

PEACE: Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing an electromechanical teenager repellant -- a device that makes annoying noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults; and for later using that same technology to make telephone ringtones that are audible to teenagers but not to their teachers.
REFERENCE: http://www.compoundsecurity.co.uk

PHYSICS: Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, for their insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces.
REFERENCE: "Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half," Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, Physical Review Letters, vol. 95, no. 9, August 26, 2005, pp. 95505-1 to 95505-1.
REFERENCE: video and other details at <http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/index.html>
I also wanted to choose the hiccups one, but I really don't want to get the keyword search hits that one would probably bring. The mind boggles.

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