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Year 2000 Ig-Nobels Released

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  • This [popularmechanics.com] is a popmech story about the device. Also in their latest issue is a larger story about a machine that can cancle the gravity vector completely all the way to space. Now, I am as skeptacle as next guy, but if this is true, it will REVOLUTIONIZE the space program. You could get into space with a cylinder of compressed gas!
  • by CyberQuog (67799) <cyberquogNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:05AM (#723745)
    watch, one day while they're in the middle of the war, instead of actually firing a shell, the sailor is just going to scream "BANG!", and wonder why nothing happened....

    -
  • You know, I was reading the linked "report", and I was struck by some things:

    1. I wouldn't lean too heavily on the arithmetic. Numerology is clearly a Big Thing in the Unification Church, and they probably, shall we say, "round their figures" a good deal.
    2. Moon was, in essence, driven out the US because questions were raised as to the Church's status as a genuine religious organization. Reading that document, it seems to me to be at least as crazy as most mainstream faiths, although perhaps not quite as psychedelic as, say, the Book of Revelations. I think that decision should be reconsidered.
    3. Next time you read the Washington Times, be sure to check their math. (Mind you, this is a good idea with any newspaper)
  • yes, and no respectively.

    and no, magnets are not harmful to you, unless you have a iron pace meaker or something of that sort

    ALTERNATING magnets do tend to mess with your brain tho. but thats not what we're talking about

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I fcsad Suffer jpo hnih fromhgub A THE samemo;uiomiu problemfe j;!

    No aej point sz dk pr/.';ieviwing this...

  • Yeah, those wacky Brits. I remember seeing a documentary from the U.K. where they took infrared video of a man and woman in a state of arousal -- shades of blue to indicate cool, yellow/orange to indicate mildly warm, and reds to indicate hot.

    The woman was a wonderful palette of yellows and oranges, with a few patches of red (the locations are an exercise left to the reader).

    The man was dark blue all over with a single spot fiery red (again, you can guess where). Go figure...
  • OK, so I'm a mostly-vegetarian-once-removed, but that screws up the whole delivery.

    Besides, I generally avoid seafood. Anything with that many bones clearly wasn't meant to be eaten, and crabs and whatnot just revolt me (and I live in Baltimore, where crabs are held slightly above God and country, loved almost as much as beer).

    Ah, but a nice piece of dolphin, with maybe some baby Harp Seal on the side...

  • Oh well; your quest is a bit of a lost cause anyway, since your cows and chickens and pigs were probably fed with ground-up sheep brains and fishmeal anyway. Unless you're a subsistence farmer, in which case I salute you. But I wonder if there are any real vegetarians-once-removed out there (people for whom this is a code). If you can have breathearians (and what the hell, they might be right), I figure anything goes. Although that flies in the face of the "food chain" (nicely illustrated in the Simpsons) argument for omnivorous humans; if the justification is that other animals prey on each other, maybe you should only eat predators. ;) Including frogs, of course.

    Holy -1 Offtopic.
  • From the FAQ
    Q: Is PawSense patented?

    A: PawSense is sufficiently useful, novel, and unobvious that we can patent it. We have already filed some of the paperwork to get a patent, and will keep this page updated as the situation develops.

    We must boycott the evil PawSense writers today. They should feel the wrath of 31337 hax0rs like ourselves!

    Seriously, if this gets a patent, I think we can stick this in the "ludicrous patent" basket too! Might be a handy one to point at in an argument.

  • by cra (172225) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @12:59PM (#723753) Homepage
    Or how about that tune from Hampsterdance.


    ---
  • The pictures from the "Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal." study sure wouldn't be the same if they were using regular x-rays.


    ---
  • Zero Bandwitdh ? I'd rather guess that your ISP has a bad connection to Ten-155 - would not be too uncommon.

    Well, I can stream the videos :)

  • Sorry to be so skeptical, but that looks like your typical "perpetual motion" scam. Even the article admits that they didn't take basic magnetic shielding steps that would most likely eliminate the force they claimed to have measured.
    Avoid those gee-whiz news items that promise things for free like cancelling gravity completely. They're right up there with those goofs that claim you can survive without eating.

    Be skeptical about pseudoscientific claims. Join the James Randi Educational Foundation [randi.org].
  • Wasn't it The Human Animal (animal!) or something? or am I thinking of another brit tripe documentary like "trouble at the top"
  • I'm masturbating right now as you read this, and this, and this, if this helps.

    Oh, and yes. They only had couples. I'm not sure of the sexuality, though.

    If there's anything else I can do for you, just whistle.

  • I heard about the PawSense award on the radio yesterday, and between snickers I discerned Chris Niswander's name. I used to work with him at (of all places) a medical imaging software shop -- nice tie-in to the MRI/coitus award.

    That said, I'm not at all surprised that Chris would invent something like this. It's right up his alley. Now, if he'd come up with a device to stop my superannuated (19 years) feline from sitting downstairs and emitting piercing yowls that wake the dead at 3 am....

    ps

  • Pawsense is written for Win32and I didn't see anything about Linux. When I leave the keyboard, I usually lock the workstation. Even if I do a remote session using Netmeeting, I can run taskmgr and select "Lock Computer" when I'm done. Nice concept, but was it really necesssary?
  • So, are we going to start requiring toilet menufacturers to start printing expiration dates on our toilets?

    Edward Burr
  • Au contraire! my dear cat novice. Your cat is quiet aware that she is blocking the screen. That's the whole point! Now stop playing with your computer and pet the cat like you're supposed to.

  • I can't help but wonder if such strong magnetic forces are bad for the body. I must admit that my knowledge of physiology is nearly non-existent, but it seems to me that such a tremendous amount of magnetism would be less-than-healthy.

    In a word. DUH. That's why we need to do the research, rather than making a mockery of it.

    And the ceramic superconductor apparently steps down the wavelength of gravitons, so that they collide with the ceramic. So it is more of a gravity blocker. The frog magnet works by pushing against the atoms inside the frog via magnetism. No gravitons are harmed in this experiment.
  • The URL for the Medline entry for the incompetence article, with abstract, is below. I was trying to post it as a link, but apparently it's too long, as /. keeps trying to insert a space into the URL, which screws it up. Remove any spaces which may appear; they've been inserted by /. and don't belong there.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd= Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10626367&do pt=Abstract

  • by cluening (6626)
    I had seen the levitating frog video before, but I want to see the levitating sumo wrestler! Where's video of that?
  • by K8Fan (37875) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:10AM (#723766) Journal

    I agree with most of the prizes, but awarding the IgNoble for Medicine to the researchers who observed intercourse in an MRI machine just smacks of the same blue-nosed attitude that has been impeding sex research for years. It was serious work about questions that need to be answered. It's not as if the functioning of the sex organs is any less important than the functioning of any other human organ.

    But they had to struggle with the fact that nobody would give them funds to use the MRI machine, pay researchers, compensate volunteers and have more freedom. Seriously, this is an activity that (nearly) everyone engages in, yet we have little hard data (no snickering) on how it actually works...just a bunch of conjecture. Even the great Di Vinci was wrong about this.

    It's not as if sex researchers like the Kinsey Institute or Masters and Johnson can afford their own MRI machine. For serious research like this to be lumped in with the nutcase who believes that people don't need to eat is shameful, and indicitive of how screwed up our society is.

  • It was on HBO last night....fresh in my head....heh

    I'm thinking about taking that new chick from Logistics. If things go right I might be showing her my O-face. You know: Oh! Oh!

  • This isn't just a Literature prize, it's also a Darwin Award [darwinawards.com].
  • No, it's probably because the people at M$ have the un-fun job of trying to make a UI that even the uber-incompetent can use ("My Computer", "Network Neighbourhood", etc). I bet that makes their programmers' skin crawl too...
  • Oops, "Network Neighbourhood" is now deemed too hard--it's devolved to "My Network Places" and "Computers Near Me". Can't wait until that level of sophistication shows up in Gnome ;)
  • by nweaver (113078) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:24AM (#723771) Homepage

    Sometimes the Ig Nobel prizes are for actual serious research, albeit with a silly bent. This is one of them. I don't think there is anything wrong with this winning the Ig Nobel for medicine, it is FUNNY gosh-darnet, even if it is serious research. About 1/4 or so of the winners in any given year are such research.

    Similarly, the psych one is another serious paper, albeit with a silly result (a corrolation in chemical effect between romantic love and OCD). If anything, winning the Ig Nobel is good for these indeavors, because they give publicity for research which might otherwise go unnoticed or forgotten.

    Me, I'd love to write a serious paper which would win an Ig Nobel. I'd definatly show up to pick it up.


    Nicholas C Weaver
    nweaver@cs.berkeley.edu

  • That story pertains to a different device and a different process - the NASA experiment is attempting to partially cancel gravity (uncurve space?) by rotating a superconductor in a magnetic field. The Dutch study used diamagnetic resistance to a static magnetic field to merely counteract the force of gravity. You've confused the issue.

    However, I'd be interested in reading any followups to that 1997 Popular Mechanics article, like say the results of the NASA experiment. It looks like they were being fearfully closemouthed about it and may never have reported their results, which is really bad science (but probably not unusual for funding-driven agencies like NASA, sad to say). Science itself is weak enough without compromising it by breaking its own principles.
  • I found this link [scitoys.com] off of the floating frog story. It's a small fuel-air explosive 'toy' cannon. Possibly suited for intra- and inter-cubicle warfare. They also have a kit available. [scitoys.com]/p& gt;

  • by nweaver (113078)

    Err, both the Chemistry (OCD & Romantic Love corrolations) and the Psych (Incompetent people fail to recognise their incompetence) are serious results.


    Nicholas C Weaver
    nweaver@cs.berkeley.edu

  • The relevant passage is:
    Say you have done something that you - and some other people - believe to be very, very good and maybe even very, very important. But most people don't recognize its importance. Worse, most people don't even recognize its existence. It's different from what they expect or what they have ever run across. What you have, you believe, is a breakthrough. The classic sequence of events for any breakthrough is:

    (1) Most people don't recognize its existence. (2) When they do recognize it, their immediate reaction is to laugh or scoff at it. (3) Some of those people become curious about this thing that they are laughing at, and then think about it, and so come to appreciate its true worth.

    This is a very good point. I had always thought they were about mocking pseudo science. Apparently they are to bring attention to good and bad science that would otherwise be ignored because it also has some humor value.

    -m

  • In the research paper, they did indeed find that men had performance anxiety and had to take stimulating drugs.

    The couple with the fewest problems were "street acrobats".

    -m

  • In the research paper, they did indeed find that men had performance anxiety and had to take stimulating drugs. The couple with the fewest problems were "street acrobats".

    If they had received funding for this, they could have hired professionals, like p0rn performers. But then, on the other hand, there's no what they could squeeze Ron Jeremy and anyone else into the middle of an MRI machine.

  • As much as I want to join in sophomoric fun chuckling at levitating frogs and sex in MRIs, I think a lot of people (especially /. readers) assume this is all CSICOP-style "debunking."

    Its really just for a laugh, and a lot of the prize winners are great ideas. Ever try to plan a marriage? Quite the headache, Moon and the city of Las Vegas has done us a great social service. I know Pawsense has sold more than a few copies, how much software have you sold?

    The awards would make a lot more sense if they didn't include ridiculous psuedoscience and just stuck to well-meaning research that just turns out to be hilarious. I'm sure its just easier to pick on Breatharians than to use your brain and sense of humor to find something that isn't painfully and obviously weird.
  • Well, mostly it's a line I use in restaurants (the question arises because my wife is a vegetarian). I mean, I thought it was pretty clever the first time I tossed it at a waitress, and she laughed politely, anyway. :)

    As for predators, I've come at it more from the other direction: the description given of predator's meat generally involves words like "tough" and "stringy". I'm hoping that if I ever fall in with a hungry wolf that I'll be able to reason with him and explain that, as a fellow carnivore (OK, omnivore, but I'll be talking to a glorified dog and he's not likely to have a dictionary on hand), I too would be tough and stringy, while that deer over there...

  • Fig 1. "The Copulation" as imagined and drawn by Leonardo da Vinci.2 With permission from the Royal Collection. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is gratefully acknowledged
    ...
    We did not foresee that the men would have more problems with sexual performance (maintaining their erection) than the women in the scanner. All the women had a complete sexual response, but they described their orgasm as superficial. Only the first couple was able to perform coitus adequately without sildenafil (experiments 1 and 2). The reason might be that they were the only participants in the real sense: involved in the research right from the beginning because of their scientific curiosity, knowledge of the body, and artistic commitment. And as amateur street acrobats they are trained and used to performing under stress.
    (Emphasis added.)
    ...
    Acknowledgments ... P van Andel does not want to be acknowledged for his idea of using MRI to study coitus.
  • And sticking it's ass in your face! All cat's are just playing one big joke on us.
  • So now when someone asks a participant where the weirdest place they had sex was, they can truthfully answer "in an MRI machine!"
    You mean: "In the butt [snopes.com], in an MRI machine"

    Don't mind me. I'm just pissed off because I submitted this story 2 days ago. And was rejected.

  • Exactly. I find the idea of people fornicating inside of an MRI machine delightful, rather than just amusing. Talk about performance anxiety - trying to keep an erection in the middle of a machine making loud booming noises.
    And don't forget they had to stay still and lined up properly for about 15 seconds while the machine did the scan.

    Personally, I think if there are such gaps in human knowledge, it is the responsiblity of science to fill those gaps, and I hereby donate my body to science for any further experiments.

  • I remember my physics professor telling me (like 25 years ago) that diamagnetic fields could lift a mouse without trouble. (have a sneaking suspicion he said it had been done)

    Makes me wonder if the experiment has actually been done many times before unofficially ... especially after a few drinks. But you'd never want to report it, would you ?

    Peter
  • is really only the possibly experiment that can top these awards.
  • It's very legit.

    Water is diamagnetic, (so are lots of other molecules).

    This means that, very weakly, they respond do the presence of a magnetic field with the same field.

    This means if you put them in a strong enough field, they can levitate.

    The coil used to levitate that TINY frog, was about 6 megawatt if I remember....

    Also.. stable magnetic levitation with ferromagnetic materials is theoretically impossible.
  • That gravity reduction thing may or may not be true. It is considered a flawed experiment by most. It is certainly not accepted scientific fact.

    As for magnetic forces being bad for the body... without trying to state that absolutely it's not.... if they DID have some kind of harmful effect, we would notice it. Given that most tissue cannot respond to a magnetic field.... who knows?
  • not 'uncurve space', but exert a force opposite to gravity, hence cancelling it's effects (partially, of course). Uncurving space would be analogous to nullifying gravity itself, which I believe the math says cannot be done.

    Essentially, I think it requires setting up some kind of heavy ions to a very high rate of spin (rotation, I mean, not that quantum 'spin' property). To the order of quadrillions of rotations a second. Some wierd branch of physics says that this should create some kind of wierd gravitational effects.

  • by geekchiq (217021) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @08:57AM (#723789)
    Hmm. I just read the Literature prize winner's article.

    "You can get your vitamins and nourishment from vitamins and minerals contained within food, or you can bypass food and hook into what we call the universal life force which is prahna. "

    So basically, stop eating and let the Force feed ya. Either that or become photosynthetic. Sounds like fun...

  • by Klerck (213193)
    Either this place has zero bandwidth or it's already been slashdotted. I'll try and set up a mirror of the frog mpeg if I can get it!
  • The line is.....

    What am I going to do with 40 subscriptions to VIBE???
  • err.. okay it was just me! Sorry for the crap post :(
  • What am I going to do with 30 subscriptions to VIBE???
  • by vink (202545)
    I've got a copy here [interstroom.nl] if you have problems accessing the site, but is seems to be OK at the moment.
  • a link that works is at the top of the page when it loads

    this is the most pathetic whoring i've ever witnessed.
  • Sorry for the bad link (it worked in the preview before posting, very odd), but the main point was to use test@test.com as an e-mail if the user was too lazy...

    Most people don't tend to put their real e-mail address (to avoid spam), so might as well just use that one...
  • The Psychology "winner" was a very interesting study.

    It showed that the more incompetent people get, the less they realize their incompetence.

    This could have a profound impact on the user interface design of everything from software to medical equipment to road signs.

    It also demonstrates why people at Microsoft might actually think their operating system has a good user interface. I used to think they were just lying, but it turns out they might've just been so incompetent that they didn't realize how bad it was!
  • by efuseekay (138418) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:29AM (#723799)
    This is not blue-nosed attitude : you may have a wrong opinion of what the Ig is all about.
    To correct that, I suggest you read this [hmsbeagle.com].
  • Ok, obviously there were at least 40,000 couples married in the alleged '36,000,000 Blessing,' that's how many were in the stadium at Seol, but come on... they're claiming 72 Million people being married? The earth's population is about 6 billion, so that means he is claiming to be marrying 1.2% of the total population of the planet. How come I haven't met any of these couples? Statistically, every slashdotter should know at least a few...
  • Please don't kill my schools server, but here is a mirror of the frog mpeg anyway. The levitating frog [nmsu.edu]
  • Well, at least it gives the /. hordes a chance to see some sex...

    Anyway, you're quite right, TV is full of National Geographic films peeping at elephants, lions etc having it... where are the humans!

    Perhaps it's because most hospitals are run by priests.

  • It's real alright. I already knew about this a year ago. The electromagnet has an effect the very small amounts of metal in the frog's body fluids (nitrates have some part in it too, if I remember right).
  • by Jonathan (5011) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:44AM (#723804) Homepage
    Hey! My cat likes to walk across my keyboard, so it isn't as a absurd a occurance as it may seem. Of course my cat also likes to look at my screen, apparently unaware that she is blocking my view...
  • by Jonathan (5011) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @10:56AM (#723805) Homepage
    Yes, yes, I think most people understand that Ig Nobel awards are awarded to both pseudoscience and amusing examples of real science. The problem is that combining the two ideas in one award is probably not a good idea, because people may mistake an example of one for another. Even if the researchers themselves have a sense of humor it doesn't mean that the politicians who hold the purse strings do.
  • Its really just for a laugh, and a lot of the prize winners are great ideas. Ever try to plan a marriage? Quite the headache, Moon and the city of Las Vegas has done us a great social service. I know Pawsense has sold more than a few copies, how much software have you sold?

    I had a similar reaction to the bit about being in love and being O/C disordered. For someone who has studied neuropsych, that is just plain fascinating! It should and hopefully will be repeated and expanded on if consistant.

    The awards would make a lot more sense if they didn't include ridiculous psuedoscience and just stuck to well-meaning research that just turns out to be hilarious. I'm sure its just easier to pick on Breatharians than to use your brain and sense of humor to find something that isn't painfully and obviously weird.

    Agreed.

    -Kahuna Burger

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone remember the old joke about the guy who was given a stick in training, and told to say "bangity bangity bang", and the enemy actually fell over dead! Unfortunately, he pointed it some other guy who didn't drop dead, and ran him over. The last thing he heard was "tankity tankity tank"
  • I used to run a program called 'Portal of Power',
    which would pick up my mail every so often. One
    of the "features" of this program was that you
    could press 'alt-L' and type in a password that needed
    to be reentered to unlock the computer's keyboard. It didn't do
    the sane "ask the question twice and check if they are the same" thing.

    Twice I had my cat walk on the keyboard, left paw on "Alt"
    and right paw on "L", back paws on random other keys then
    sit down on 'enter', leaving me trying to figure out how to break into my computer.
  • If they had received funding for this, they could have hired professionals, like p0rn performers.

    They may not have been good subjects for this sort of thing. If you want to generalise medical research to the general population, you've got to try and get people who are representative of that population in the area of interest. As you've alluded to, porn stars often become famous *because* their body is in some way unusual. Therefore, from a "general applicability" criterion, Mr and Mrs Joeseph Bloggs copulation is more interesting for a scientist than Mr Jeremy and half a dozen porn starlets.

  • Seriously, if this gets a patent, I think we can stick this in the "ludicrous patent" basket too! Might be a handy one to point at in an argument.

    Unless you think no software ideas should ever be patented, I don't see why you would oppose this idea being patented. As they said, it meets the requirements for a patent: useful, novel, and unobvious.

    Unless you know of some prior art?

    By the way, I love the dialog box: CAT-LIKE TYPING DETECTED

    steveha

  • I agree with most of the prizes, but awarding the IgNoble for Medicine to the researchers who observed intercourse in an MRI machine just smacks of the same blue-nosed attitude that has been impeding sex research for years.

    Note where the research was done - the Netherlands, one of the most socially liberal societies in the world. It's unfortunate that you probably couldn't do this kind of research in the English-speaking world.

  • Perhaps that should be "scientifically interesting" rather than "interesting for a scientist"!

    Postgrads are people too! :)
  • Yeah, those wacky Brits. I remember seeing a documentary from the U.K. where they took infrared video of a man and woman in a state of arousal -- shades of blue to indicate cool, yellow/orange to indicate mildly warm, and reds to indicate hot.

    Yeah, it was a documentary called The Human Body. They managed to cover (and show) just about everything from birth to death, including the scene you describe. It hardly felt like a porn flick, though - it was all very scientific and absolutely fascinating stuff. The most amazing shot, though, was a shot from *inside* a woman's reproductive organs as she, um . . .peaked. How they got *that* particular camera angle (and I'm sure it was real) I'll never know.

  • "Unskilled and unaware of it: How Difficulties in Recognizing one's own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments". Now surely that's an article to show the PHB? But it seems it isn't on the web; does anyone know otherwise, or has anyone at least read it?
  • "Next time you read the Washington Times, be sure to check their math. (Mind you, this is a good idea with any newspaper)"

    Especially when said newspaper is owned by the one pushing the numbers.

    Apparently Moon owns or owned the Washington Times. Was he before or after the right-wingers owned it?

  • It's remarkable discoveries like the collapse of toilets in Glasgow [nih.gov] that make me proud to be a student at Glasgow University... :)
    At least I know my (read: parents') money is being put to good use!
  • Next year we'll be treated to MRI scans of flying frogs "doing it" in mid-air.

    Or maybe flying people, if the researchers can keep them up long enough.

    --
  • As they said, it meets the requirements for a patent: useful, novel, and unobvious.

    Useful, perhaps, novel perhaps, but nonobvious? I seriously think that any teenage hacker could figure out an algorithm to do this in twenty minutes.

  • With you on the Obsessive Compulsive thing

    Living in a family with a radical shoulder-licking (yeah it's wierd. get over it) OCD sibling. *Any* research on OCD is mondo welcome. And when it provides a good belly laugh, its even better.

    Considering the way I kinda obsessed bigtime over my ex-wife when she left the love/OCD connection is probably spot on :)

  • Well, yes, the Unification Church founded and still owns the paper. Actually, see, that's why I mentioned them in particular...*sigh*

    Of course, I live in Baltimore, just up the road from DC, so I'm more familiar with the local papers than other /. readers might be.

    As it happens, I buy it sometimes, because even here in Baltimore I can get it for .25, while the Baltimore Sun is .50. I don't read either one, mind you, but I have a puppy.

  • by Trevor Goodchild (187368) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @09:09AM (#723821)

    Apparently living on light [selfempowe...emy.com.au] is a whole lot like munching lots of LSD.
  • The participants (pairs of men and women) were recruited by personal invitation and through a local scientific television programme. From Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal [bmj.com]. [Published in British Medical Journal, vol. 319, 1999, pp 1596-1600.]

    Even Science Friday [sciencefriday.com] doesn't do this...

  • by waldoj (8229) <`waldo' `at' `jaquith.org'> on Saturday October 07, 2000 @09:09AM (#723823) Homepage Journal
    The Ig Nobel Prize honors individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced." [from the site [improbable.com]
    Why *wouldn't* you want to levitate that frog again? I think that perhaps the most important method of spending our tax dollars very well may be levitating frogs and other amphibious creatures.

    But I do want to check: the levitating frog is the real deal, right? I remember hearing about it at the time, and I still think it's pretty goddamned cool. The movie cracks me up. But before I go around telling people that I have a video clip of a floating frog, I figure I should check to make sure it's legit. :)

    -Waldo
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...is some really fast banjo music in the background. Yow!
  • Thanks...must go watch Office Space again...must go watch...
  • Looks like it could be levitation by fast moving air through a tube. Don't know how a sumo wrestler would be levitated though. I don't think there are big enough wind generators. :)
  • I'm surprised they only got 13 participants!

    So was there a menage-a-trois or was one just masturbating?

    HH
  • by K8Fan (37875) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @11:14AM (#723828) Journal
    I think most people understand that Ig Nobel awards are awarded to both pseudoscience and amusing examples of real science.

    Thank you. Yes, I do understand that aspect of the awards.

    The problem is that combining the two ideas in one award is probably not a good idea, because people may mistake an example of one for another.

    Exactly. I find the idea of people fornicating inside of an MRI machine delightful, rather than just amusing. Talk about performance anxiety - trying to keep an erection in the middle of a machine making loud booming noises. No wonder Viagra was necessary.

    Getting an award like this will get this research more attention, but I doubt if it will result in making it easier for researchers to conduct more research. No, instead it will result in more restrictions imposed on those with access to the machines by the institutions who own the machines to make sure that nothing happens that could jeopardize donations.

    Even if the researchers themselves have a sense of humor it doesn't mean that the politicians who hold the purse strings do.

    Right. Anybody remember Sen Proxmire's Golden Fleece awards? He single-handedly killed SETI. Mockery is a powerful tool in the hands of a fool.

  • It's worth noting that this is a static field (not changing flux), so it's probably ok. But your knowledge of physiology isn't much less existent than the sum total of scientific research on the effects of magnetic and electric fields on living things, so the bottom line is that no one really knows.

    What I find neat about diamagnetic levitation (what's holding up that frog in its blob of water) is that the force acts within each atom of the levitatee, so the net force on each of the frog's atoms becomes zero (gravity is exactly counteracted). Since the diamagnetic force is really pretty much equivalent in this to the way gravity normally acts on us all, the frog is probably fine. I'm actually a fairly strong proponent of animal rights (for slashdot anyway, you bunch of carnivorous bastards) but this particular frog was probably happier in the physics experiment with the whimsical researchers than when it went back to the (ulp) biology lab.

    As another respondent notes, a strong and rapidly changing magnetic field can tear you inside out, by comparison. But it probably wouldn't levitate you very well either. ;)
  • I think the "hard" data you are looking for is/are probably here [ed-facts.com] or here. [viagra.com]
  • Hey, I'm a vegetarian-once-removed -- all the animals I eat are vegetarians.
  • We score a 2 out of ten.
    I'ts great to live in a country where it seems not everything has to be dull and boring..
  • by david duncan scott (206421) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @12:01PM (#723833)
    apparently unaware that she is blocking my view

    Haven't had cats for long, have you? Of course she knows -- she just doesn't care.:)

  • by Csy (136750)
    From the Pawsense (winner of the Ig-Nobel in CS) web page [bitboost.com] :

    Q. My cat is deaf. Can you help me?
    A. PawSense detects the paws of even deaf cats. Even if a cat is deaf, PawSense blocks cat typing once detected.

  • Don't worry - it won't become widespread. Cults which emphasise not eating are much like the ones that favour handling poisonous snakes - they tend to die out.

  • Regarding your comment: "unfortunate that you probably couldn't do this kind of research in the English-speaking world."

    What you are probably trying to say is "You couldn't do this kind of research in the USA." Unfortunately true - founded by puritans and not much has changed.

    Your comment about "English-speaking" I just don't understand - the paper was written in perfect, even clever English.
  • Thats basically what the story in popmech said. The three researchers incolved are Ning Li, Jonathon Campbell, and Larry Smalley. They must be pretty confident about this tech, because they started their own company. If this works, it will be NEAT. Flying cars might actually become practical, although they wouldn't fly, they would float. Not to mention it would make it redicuously cheap to get into space.
  • What I find neat about diamagnetic levitation (what's holding up that frog in its blob of water) is that the force acts within each atom of the levitatee, so the net force on each of the frog's atoms becomes zero (gravity is exactly counteracted).

    I have thought occasionally that this would be a perfect way to cushion acceleration. After five to ten pages of solid algebra, the mind can wander to some really interesting places - you can forget about the really big problems with interstellar transport, and get to (or rather away from) work on the details.

    I once had to discuss whether it is practical to escape the solar system by sailing on the pressure of sunlight, as an exercise in an atom optics course. Unless you have a (really) ridiculously large sail, you need to pick up energy while you are close to the sun; the pressure on your sail follows an inverse square law. So you need a large acceleration. I estimated 10 g at the time. That does bad things to jet pilots, who experience it for just an instant while ejecting. With a diamagnetic cushion, which acts on the water in your body, you might be able to push harder. Designing cockpit instruments which would not be affected by a 10 T magnetic field, not to mention building the magnet, is left as an exercise.

    BTW, it should be pointed out that Berry is a very serious physicist - my favorite textbook on quantum theory has a whole appendix on geometric phase, which is based on a paper he published in 1984. And it is quite possible to levitate a ferromagnet with magnetic fields - I have heard of it being done as an undergraduate experiment. You just need feedback.

  • The sad part is that there have been people who believed this kook and died of starvation. She has been challenged to prove her claims under controlled conditions, but has yet to take up the challenge.
  • what about GPL?
    gPawSense?
    CONFIG_OWN_A_CAT=m ?

    .
  • It's real alright, the physics they describe are legit. And no, you fucking morons who don't even bother to read the site, it's not done with pressurized air. They use a rather strong electromagnet (6 Megawatts), which you couldn't plug into a household outlet. Read here. [sci.kun.nl]
  • by ywwg (20925)
    "Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal"

    So now when someone asks a participant where the weirdest place they had sex was, they can truthfully answer "in an MRI machine!"

    I'm surprised they only got 13 participants!
  • That's what I remembered. I can't help but wonder if such strong magnetic forces are bad for the body. I must admit that my knowledge of physiology is nearly non-existent, but it seems to me that such a tremendous amount of magnetism would be less-than-healthy.

    I also recall something about decreasing the force of gravity over a superconductor...something about a 2% reduction in weight over some super-cooled ceramic or something. Is there a connection to that? It's been a while... I vaguely remember an article debunking the 2% figure, and that the reduction in weight is actually so small as to be a result of chance, not the physics behind the levitation system.

    Am I making this up? Is there a connection between these?

    -Waldo

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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