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Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony Tonight 73

Ellen Spertus writes "The Eleventh First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will be held in Cambridge, MA, on Thursday, Oct. 4, to honor scientific achievements that cannot, or should not, be reproduced. The ceremony, which will be webcast live and broadcast later on Science Friday, is sponsored by The Annals of Improbable Research. The accompanying Ig Informal Lectures will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at MIT."
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Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony Tonight

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  • by smaughster ( 227985 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @05:01AM (#2387505)
    I think that initiatives like the Darwin award [darwinawards.com] and the Ig Nobel prize [improb.com] are great. Maybe it would be a good idea to introduce such a prize for software that is too faulty or insanely difficult to use, or code that is too unreadable. Ermz, I am preaching for the wrong choir here, since some people actually like making unreadable code [slashdot.org] :)
    • The only problem I see with that concept is, do you consider software faulty if it has been patched to the point where it is useable?
    • But thats not fair!
      How can anyone compete with Microsoft???

    • If you did read through the pages to the past winners you might have noticed that they have a category of computer science (from year 2000 awards):

      COMPUTER SCIENCE Chris Niswander of Tucson, Arizona, for inventing PawSense, software that detects when a cat is walking across your computer keyboard.

      Some others of past winners are quite hilarious too. So for the lazy ones: link to past winners is here [improbable.com] [improbable.com].

      • The point of IG Nobel prizes is that it is about (academic) research which has no use. I was thinking more of a prize for stuff that is too hard to use (but could have a use anyway).

        Some of the past results would have made great slashdot stories, how about: Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong of Johannesburg, South Africa, for
        inventing an automobile burglar alarm consisting of a detection circuit and a flamethrower."
        • Noise ratio. (Score:3, Interesting)

          The good thing about the internet is that anyone could build up a site with this kind of contest. And the bad side of the internet is that anyone can build up a site with this kind of contest.

          Or in other words. I would otherwise greatly encourage, for example you to put ut such a contest, but the fact seems to be (at least to me) that the web is filled with such contests of small communities and groups.

          Then again, should you (or anyone) somehow gain a larger community behind such endeavour, and get some outside funding from advertisers or sponsors, then your idea might be worthwhile, or even good. So if you can get these two, and create some working nomination/moderation system for nominees it would sound a great project, but without them you will be having hard time and need lots of will to build such contest. You can note that these fellows have been doing this for a decade now, and had a community at the beginning to start with.
        • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @01:24PM (#2388613)
          Some of the past results would have made great slashdot stories, how about: Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong of Johannesburg, South Africa, for
          inventing an automobile burglar alarm consisting of a detection circuit and a flamethrower."

          Far from being a whacky burglar alarm, the device you mention was originally actually an anti-hijack device. Johannesburg is the carjacking capital of the world. I have been resident here for over ten years and I can truthfully say that if you yourself haven't been hijacked then a member of your family or a friend has if you live in this town. I personally have had two attacks in my own driveway, my wife was the victim of an attempt and my father was hijacked and then kidnapped for over four hours.

          Most carjack attempts happen at traffic lights or outside your home. The robbers' modus operandi is to walk up to your car door brandishing a weapon - normally a 9mm or an AK-47. Sometimes they just shoot first, drag your body out the way and dump it before driving off. It's impractical to reach for a weapon yourself in these situations since a) you're sitting down and b) your seatbelt is often in the way.

          Solution: press a button (the original method of activation) and your would-be murderers get themselves horribly crisped by a sheet of burning hydrocarbons. Sounds damn good to me.
    • Nah.. wouldn't work. It would be indistiguishable from coroprate self-back-patting.

      The thing is, science works by a method of peer review and community respect: your collegues know you do good work because they read it. Software, on the other hand, is not judged at all...

      .. except in the Open Source world. Still, I don't think this would work: software either suceeds or fails; the best Open Source stuff simply does it's job well.. it doesn't discover new things.

      But all this misses the point. First you need a good name for the prize/magazine. I preferred the 'Journal of Irreproducable Results' to AIR, but that's just me.
  • Looks a lot like it...

    I think to remember their motto was "For those who helped humanity to advance by removing themselves from it".

    But then, the site doens give that many clues on what experiences those guys are awarded for...

    • Nature has a way of doing these things...
      Soon, the Ig Nobel prizes won't be needed. That is, once some more Darwin awards are handed out.
  • Ig Nobel -> ignoble [dictionary.com]

    Synonyms of ignoble include disgraceful, shameful, and degenerate.
    I'm pretty sure this is not related to the more widely recognized Nobel Prize awards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2001 @05:23AM (#2387530)
    Loved those winners of 2000:
    "Romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder." [biopsychiatry.com]

    "Detecting when a cat is walking across your computer keyboard." [bitboost.com]

    Of course I always knew the first one, so it's quite useful to tell people who are "in love", dunno about the later.
  • Levitating Frog (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Last Years Awards Kicked Ass

    By Far any away the coolest thing is the levitating frog,

    Check out the MPegs and Science behind it, fsuking amazing and something I never thouhgt id see

    ---Any sufficiently advanced motorbike is indistingasble from magic--
  • ObJoke (Score:5, Funny)

    by imipak ( 254310 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @06:09AM (#2387566) Journal
    scientific achievements that cannot, or should not, be reproduced.

    I nominate:

    • Windows XP
    • Microsoft Mediaplayer
    • MS SQL Server
    • Last year's winner: IIS, up for a record four years in a row!
    • Re:ObJoke (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      With regards to your use of the word 'scientific'.

      To borrow a page from The Princess Bride. I do not that it means what you think it means.
    • Re:ObJoke (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lonesmurf ( 88531 )
      Just wondered why you put windows 9x in the OS/platforms section of your resume twice. You particularly proud of it of something? :)

      I'd change that before showing it around, man.
    • Re:ObJoke (Score:2, Funny)

      by stephend ( 1735 )

      Last year's winner: IIS, up for a record four years in a row!

      That's the first and last time that any Microsoft software has been up for over a year.

  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @06:32AM (#2387591) Journal

    ... for most versatile hybrid polymorphic y-chromosome based genome string :

    Once again: Cowboy Neal!
  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @06:54AM (#2387605) Homepage
    I object in the strongest possible terms to the idea that this painfully self-conscious attempt at proving that "Scientists aren't all dull" should appear under the category "It's Funny, Laugh", and demand that Slashdot establishes an "It's Embarrassing. Cringe" category for the purpose.

    Oh yeh, and the Darwin Awards [adequacy.org] can fuck off too.

    • You are located in England, aren't you?

      The Ig Nobel Governors board has already heard about your topic from Brittan's govermental head of science. Their responce was akin to "How can you tell if it's funny or not? If Brittan is not allowed it's scientists to laugh at themselves, then it is a dark day in the land of the Queen."

      BTW, durring that year, three Brittish scientists came voluntarily to receive their Ig Nobels.
  • "A Wedding in 60 Seconds."
    I don't think they'll be signing, it takes too long. I think they'll just finger print the wedding certificates.

    Desides, where is the science in the wedding?
  • How about a choice event for the /.ers where the most rediculous moderation gets an award.

    Nominations start NOW! event in a month!
  • The awards are funny. I especially like the Medicine, Physics and Peace awards. MEDICINE Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, Pek van Andel, and Eduard Mooyaart of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Ida Sabelis of Amsterdam, for their illuminating report, "Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal." [Published in British Medical Journal, vol. 319, 1999, pp 1596-1600.] PEACE The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!" PHYSICS Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Sir Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK), for using magnets to levitate a frog and a sumo wrestler. [REFERENCE: "Of Flying Frogs and Levitrons" by M.V. Berry and A.K. Geim,European Journal of Physics, v. 18, 1997, p. 307-13.]
  • I managed to sit through almost 37 minutes of this "ceremony," watching the streaming web-cast. I enjoy intelligent people making fools of themselves on stage as much as the next guy, but this was just too much... or maybe too little. I had to turn it off... didn't even get to any of the actual awards, just to the beginning of the first act of the mini-opera, "Marriage Complex."

  • Just got done watching. Not bad. My biggest complaint were the less-than-stellar technicians operating the equipment. The non-functioning (or just misplaced?) microphones, and the camera operator stubbornly focussing on the podium while the activity takes place elsewhere (e.g. the slideshow...)

    Did I hear that right? "Stalinworld"???? (the IgNobel Peace Prize winner...)

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.