The mini-Annals of Improbable Research (+quot;mini-AIR+quot;) Issue Number 1994-07 Novembe

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The mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR") Issue Number 1994-07 November, 1994. ISSN 1076-500X Key words: science humor,improbable research,Ig Nobel ------------------------------------------------------------ The mini-journal of inflated research and personalities published by The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) at The MIT Museum ============================================================ Once again, we salute those members of the international scientific and technical community who arranged the details of World Standards Day. This year, World Standards Day was October 14. In the US, the day was marked on October 11. In Finland, World Standards Day occurred on October 13. Italy held its own standards conference on October 18. AIR is an intensely nonprofit educational activity of The MIT Museum. Any generous support you or yours (or someone else's) might donate in the form of equipment, clerical assistance, or one of the more widely recognized kinds of sustenance would: (a) irremediably advance the cause of improbable research and education; and (b) bring widespread glory, satisfaction and other desirable states of being. ------------------------------------------------------------ Ig Nobel Peace Prize: Follow-up Investigation Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society (APS) has done a follow-up investigation of the work which earned John Hagelin this year's Ig Nobel Peace Prize. Park's report appeared in his weekly APS newsletter, "WHAT'S NEW." It reads in part: "The [1994 Ig Nobel] Peace Prize went to physicist John Hagelin for his experiment to reduce crime in Washington, DC by the coherent meditation of 4,000 TM [Transcendental Meditation] experts. By coincidence, Hagelin was holding a press conference [on the day of the Ig Nobel Ceremony] to announce his final results. It was a data analysis clinic; violent crime, he proudly declared, decreased 18%! Relative to what? To the predictions of "time-series analysis" involving variables such as temperature and the economy. So although the weekly murder count hit the highest level ever recorded, it was less than predicted." ------------------------------------------------------------ Selected Abstracts from AIR vol. 1, no. 1 Following are selected abstracts from vol. 1, no. 1, of The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). For full details, including lurid photographs and data, see the issue itself. Additional abstracts will appear in the next issue of mini-AIR. Collect the whole set and amaze your friends and yourself. "The Taxonomy of Barney," Edward C. Theriot, Arthur E. Bogan, and Earle E. Spamer. The authors observed on television an animal which was there identified as a dinosaur, Barney. X-ray, cladistic, and morphological analyses suggest that Barney is a hominid. The authors note that Barney more closely resembles a dead salmon than a dinosaur. [Includes photos and charts] "The Aerodynamics of Potato Chips," by Scott Sandford, Jim Ross, Joe Sacco, and Nathaniel Hellerstein. Potato chips were subjected to a rigorous series of wind-tunnel tests. The authors conclude that, "you can throw a potato chip, just not very far." Other conclusions are also presented. [Includes photos and graphs] "Nobel Thoughts: Sidney Altman," by Marc Abrahams. The Nobel chemistry Laureate addresses questions about beer and potato chips. [Includes photo] "At the Fourth First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony," by Stephen Drew and Francesca Thurston. A complete report on this year's ceremony, featuring citations of the ten Prizewinning efforts and highlights from the acceptance speeches and the 30-second Heisenberg Certainty Lectures. Features 16 photos, including several of the world premiere ballet "Interpretive Dance of the Electrons" featuring The Nicola Hawkins Dancers, three Nobel Laureates, and jazz harpist Deborah Henson- Conant. "The mickeymouse Gene" (photomicrograph), Timothy P. Angelotti and Marco A. Scarpetta "QI of IQ: Quantum Interpretation of The Intelligence Quotient," by Dudley Herschbach. It is hypothesized that intelligence arises from the vibrating molecules within our brains. Qualitatively, IQ is directly proportional to the vibrational amplitude. The distribution of IQ's can be explained by a combination of quantum "tunnel effects," temperature T, and the spring constant K of each individual's head. [Includes instructive graph] Each issue includes genuine page numbers. ---------------------------------------------------------- Science and the Dervish The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey are currently on a performance tour of the United States. Here is an extract from the program booklet given to their audiences. It was written by Dr. Celaddin B. Celebi, their master of ceremonies and the grandson of Hz. Mevlana: "Contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being that does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons and protons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of the smallest particle to the stars far in the sky. As a consequence of thsi similarity, everything revolves and man carries on his life, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural elements in his body, by the circulation of his blood, by his coming from the Earth and return to it, by his revolving with the earth itself." ----------------------------------------------------------- May We Recommend... Research reports that merit a trip to the library: "The effects of chewing gum stick size and duration of chewing on salivary flow rate and sucrose and bicarbonate concentrations," M. Rosenhek, L. Macpherson, and C. Dawes, "Archives of Oral Biology," vol. 38, no.10, Oct. 1993, pp. 885-891. (Thanks to Wayne Woods for bringing this to our attention.) "Illustrations of the Gestalt-Individual versus Group Performances By the Members of the Rolling Stones," R.N. Paddle, "Australian Psychology," vol. 23, no. 1, p. 88. (Thanks to Jim Jewett for bringing this to our attention.) "Synergistic activation of Ras and 14-3-3 protein of a mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase named Ras-dependant extracelluar signal regulated kinase kinase stimulator," by K. Shimizuet et al, "Journal of Biological Chemistry," vol. 269, 1994, p. 22917. (Thanks to Mohan Natesan for bringing this to our attention. Natesan suggests that the title was inspired by Boutros Boutros-Ghali.) (We welcome your suggestions for this column. Please include full citations. If possible, please send us a photocopy of the paper.) ----------------------------------------------------------- AIRhead Events IG NOBEL CEREMONY RADIO BROADCAST Fri., Nov. 25 "Talk of the Nation/Science Friday" will broadcast a (nearly) complete recording of this year's Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. This is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Check your local National Public Radio station for broadcast time; in most cities other than DC and NYC, the show is on from 2-4 pm eastern time. The Ig Ceremony will comprise (and compromise) the program's second hour (3-4 pm eastern). ***************************************************************** Purpose of mini-AIR (*) The mini-Annals of Improbable Research (mini-AIR) publishes news about improbable research and ideas. Specifically: A) Haphazardly selected superficial (but advanced!) extracts of research news and satire from The Annals of Improbable Research. B) News about the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. C) News about other science humor activities intentional and otherwise. WHAT IS AIR? (An introduction, of sorts) AIR is a new magazine produced by the entire former editorial staff (1955-1994) of "The Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR)," the world's oldest satirical science journal. The new magazine's co-founders are Marc Abrahams, who edited JIR from 1990-1994, and Alexander Kohn, who founded JIR in 1955 and was its editor until 1989. AIR is published by the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. The editorial board consists of more than 40 distinguished scientists from around the world including seven Nobel Laureates. Each October, AIR and the MIT Museum produce the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, honoring people whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced. --------------------------- AIR's Mailing and Internet Addresses The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) The MIT Museum 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Subscriptions: (617) 253-4462 fax:(617)253-8994 mitshop@mit.edu Editorial: 617) 253-8329 air@mit.edu PLEASE include your Internet address in all printed correspondence. *E-O-F*

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