One year ago I observed on Blogger that “I like to think my sense of humour is of the British kind; BBC sometimes tries to convince me different”, meaning that their editors and me were invariably most fascinated by different winners of the Ig Nobel Prizes. The trend continues this year:
BBC: Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee & Sandra Marijan: “for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks – one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander”.
Me: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks: “for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa (and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy).”
BBC: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse et al: “for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter”.
Me: Toshiyuki Nakagaki et al: “for using slime mould to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks”.
Richard Stephens et al: “for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain”.
Libiao Zhang et al: “for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats”.
BBC: Darryl Gwynne & David Rentz: “for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle”.
Me: Two teams “whose independent research jointly established that people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things, when they have a strong urge to urinate.”
John Perry: for Theory of Structured Procrastination which says “To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important”.
BBC: Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren & Robin Ball: “for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail”.
Me: US Government General Accountability Office: “for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports”.
BBC: Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, Medhi Ourabah, Brad Bushman: “for confirming that people who think they are drunk also think they are more attractive”.
Me: Bert Tolkamp, Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford. David Roberts, Colin Morgan: “for [discovering] that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up [and] that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again”.
BBC: Kiyoshi Mabuchi et al: “for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor”.
Me: Eigil Reimers et al: “for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears”.
BBC: Patricia Yang et al: “for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds)”.
Me: Hmm . . . for once I’m in accord with the Beeb. My runner-up then: Mark Dingemanse et al: “for discovering that the word “huh?” (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language – and for not being quite sure why”.