Ig Nobel Prizes – 2012 update

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:

2009
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).”

2010
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”.

2011
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”.

2012
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”.
 

Postscript/update, 29/9/15:

2013
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”.

2014
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”.

2015
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”.

 

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