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Ig Nobels Awarded 143

prostoalex writes "The definitive study on bellybutton lint, a dog-to-person translation device and an inquiry into what arouses ostriches were recognized at 2002 Ig Nobel awards. The telecast of the event in RealMedia format is available from Harvard University server, there's also an Associated Press story. Ig Nobel awards typically recognize the most dubious contributions to the world of science and research."
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Ig Nobels Awarded

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  • by oliverthered ( 187439 ) <oliverthered AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:17AM (#4386462) Journal
    Hang on, this could be quite handy.
    For
    a: breeding ostriches
    and
    b: Don't wear pink in a field full of ostriches, it makes then horny!
  • by laetus ( 45131 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:18AM (#4386464)
    If you read the article, the question is, do ostriches find overweight, middle-aged men with belly-button lint hair sexy?
  • The Slashdot polls probably deserve an Ig Noble as well then ;-)

  • Ironic (Score:3, Funny)

    by anthonyclark ( 17109 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:20AM (#4386472)

    Ironic that awards for technologies with dubious benefits are being streamed in RealVideo...

    • Hm? Any things wrong with RealVideo that I should be aware of?
      • Re:Ironic (Score:2, Informative)

        by glesga_kiss ( 596639 )
        Real have a long history of having no respect for users privacy. In the default install of RealPlayer, your privacy is zero. At one point RealDownload was tracking your link clicks on the web. They used to claim that the data was anonymous, but that was proved to be wrong by a guy with a port sniffer. They maintained this until it was proven beyond doubt and the media began to pick up on it. At that point they "fixed" it.

        Combined with the constant forced updating of client software for no apparent reason (with expiry dates in the software), producting bloatware that sits in your systray, stealing file associations and so on, many people believe that basically they are not a very nice company.

        • I concur. I'd rather gnaw both my legs off than install RealPlayer (or RealOne, as it's called nowadays) on any of my systems. It stomps all over your installation, phones home more than E.T. and is basically one of the most annoying pieces of software I had the dishonor to install.

          Quoting from this page [aluminumstudios.com]: Realnetworks practically invented spyware. They were sued for their privacy violations. They were sued again. Their spying drew the attention of the FTC. By now, the activities of RealDownload are well-known, as are those of RealJukebox. Would you trust a company with this record?

          I don't.

    • Ironic that awards for technologies with dubious benefits are being streamed in RealVideo...

      And that the downloadable archives for those of us (ARGH!) who forgot and missed the live telecast are only being offered for "QuickTime 5"...

      (Insert obligatory bitter complaints about the one popular video codec that can't be played outside of Mac and Windows here...)

      I wonder if they could be talked into either streaming or archiving in Ogg Theora [theora.org] format starting next year (judging by the good, if incomplete, quality of the existing 1st alpha release, it ought to be ready in plenty of time...)

      P.S. Anybody here watch the awards? Did they get a better camera operator and sound technician this year? (Last year, the camera operator stubbornly REFUSED to point the camera at interesting things happening, no matter how relevant. I say REFUSED because I seem to recall that at one point one of the speakers was actually GIVING a slideshow [not to be confused with the semi-random slideshow they are said to have running throughout], and I would have sworn I saw the camera START to swing towards the slides being presented...then stubbornly swing back and stare at the presenter pointing at the slides...also half of the wedding opera was essentially inaudible due to microphone problems...)

      • I'm apparently retarded. I just spent 10 minutes clicking around that site and couldn't find the quicktime version. Do you have an URL?
        • Here's the page for the 2001 video archive [uwstout.edu]

          The 2001 archive has the little 'requires quicktime 5' logo on it...Actually, I'll slightly amend my original statement - the only archive of a complete ignobel ceremonty that seems to be available at the moment appears to be quicktime 5 only. The 2000 archive is on another site, and is just plain broken, but appears to have been Real as well. (The links that work seem to be a message saying "This program has expired"...) I haven't yet found any complete videos of years prior to 2000 online.

          They DO have an .avi of "Highlights from some older ceremonies [harvard.edu]" but not complete videos, except for some available for purchase (on videotape).

    • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Funny)

      by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:32AM (#4386805) Homepage Journal
      Ironic that awards for technologies with dubious benefits are being streamed in RealVideo...
      That's not ironic.
      That's *appropriate*.
      • Appropriate, as in hosted by a Harvard site. Up Chuck River as we used to say.

        "If we should ever find a Harvard man within our walls,
        we'll take him up to the physics lab and amputate his balls.
        And if he hollers 'uncle', I'll tell you what we'll do:
        we'll fill his ass with broken glass and seal it up with glue."

        ?sp
  • RTFA ?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by RobertNotBob ( 597987 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:20AM (#4386473)
    Normally I am perfectly willing to flame people who post without reading the article. But after clicking through a couple of links I have to admit, the only thing I can think of using this article for is the "before" example of a before-and-after illustration of a web page design class.

  • by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:20AM (#4386476) Journal
    " A potentially more practical achievement is a Japanese device that measures the tone of a dog's bark and relays his mood. The device is on the market in Japan, and an English version, called Bow-Lingual, should be ready in about a year. "

    Imagine a Beo-WOOF! cluster of these.
    • NPR's All Things Considered did a story [npr.org] about this. Except, they did the story on Thursday, April 1, 1999.
    • All you need to know: "Woof" == "Hey!"
    • An Alsatian went to a telegram office, took out a blank form and wrote:
      "Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof."
      The clerk examined the paper and politely told the dog: "There are only nine words here. You could send another 'Woof' for the same price."
      "But," the dog replied, "that would make no sense at all."

      ...and now we'll all know why

    • called Bow-Lingual

      I saw a tech show where they spent some time on this a few weeks ago. I swear, every time they say the name, it sounds like "Bowel-Lingual" to me. In fact, I don't think there's any difference in the pronunciation of the two.

      I like to think that I can learn something from everyone, but when it comes down to it, there are just some things I don't want to talk to.

      -Puk
  • by Boss, Pointy Haired ( 537010 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:23AM (#4386488)
    Don't be fooled into thinking that what appears to be intelligent behaviour is actually something very basic (although the same could be said of course for all levels of intelligence).

    Many years ago here in the UK, and light hearted popular culture TV magazine "That's Life" had a feature about gifted pets.

    This one time, they went to visit a dog that could do maths. His owner would hold up two cards with numbers on them, the dog would add them up, and woof out the answer (3 = 3 woofs etc.) The bloke would then shout out "Well Done!" and the whole nation was amazed.

    The presenter appeared to be completely taken in by it, especially after the dog had done 4 sums correctly on the trot.

    The bloke had basically trained his dog to woof until he said "Well Done!" :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:24AM (#4386490)
  • by droid_rage ( 535157 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:25AM (#4386499) Journal
    The list of winners is available in this New Scientist article. [newscientist.com]
  • by Rick_T ( 3816 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:32AM (#4386531) Homepage

    The winners - from the source - are here [improb.com]. I notice one old favorite on there - the periodic table table, which I linked to from my chemistry web site myself. Ahh, literalism ...


    Funnier, though, is the pet washing machine. Unfortunately, I can't read the language, but they do have photos ... :)


  • by pipetoawk ( 455329 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:32AM (#4386532)
    I think the headline to the AP article doesn't do justice to the spirit of the awards. It seems the awards celebrate seemingly useless discoveries. Of course, no one can say definitively that any of these discoveries won't prove useful in the future. In fact, history is littered with useless discoveries that later prove very useful (Gregor Mendel and his theories of heredity come to mind). The scientists at these awards know that, and they also know that the general public doesn't know it. It's a chance for them to come together and commiserate.

    Contrast this to truly dubious science, like that practiced by that Schon guy at Bell Labs who said he could make any material a superconductor, and fudged all his data to prove it. Now that was dubious science.


    • If the desired output is a linear graph, it is only necessary to obtain two empirical data points. If you only have the opportunity to get one data point (or you are lazy), just adjust the desired slope accordingly.....
    • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:30AM (#4386796) Homepage
      That is my one beef with the Ig prices. IMHO they should make a much stronger distinction between trully bogus science (Schon, Enron) and valid, --although fringe science-- whose techniques or goals are, let's say, non-standard.

      They are two different beasts and we do not gain by confusing them. Having said that, I enjoy the fun of the Igs as much as the next guy, and it makes for a good laugh.
      • I was thinking the same thing but actually, the theme is "science that makes you laugh" and that's a lot more fun than dealing with a bunch of frauds. For example, the guy that won by studying coconuts... well... that's not that funny when you live around coconuts... more people die from coconut falls than shark bites in Hawaii, for example! But they know this. It's strikes their funny bone because they live in a place where coconut is a flavour, and the coconut guy understands that and doesn't feel all that ridiculed. Most of the research is really quite valid in that way. That's what keeps the humor in good fun.
      • I think you've missed the point a bit.

        The point of the ignoble awards is to be FUN!

        A mixture of laughing at the genuine hoaxes as well as marvelling at the crazy scientific experiments people manage to get funding for is going to be a much better laugh than what you are proposing.

        Personally I like the award for making frogs levitate, dunking chocolate biscuits and for the use of imaginary numbers in accountancy by Enron ;-)

    • They are dubious because the whole thing is a big joke. 90% of the articles/awards that are part of the IgNobels are people writing fake articles to mock the trappings of science. The long convoluted abstracts, graphs that mean nothing, big words in small places. Check out a copy of the Best Of the IgNobels some time. Believing the science stories of these awards is like believing the news stories of the Onion.

      Of course the scary thing is when they are right anyway.
    • It seems the awards celebrate seemingly useless discoveries. Of course, no one can say definitively that any of these discoveries won't prove useful in the future.

      This is all to true. Much seemingly esoteric or apparantly inconsequential research can have entirely unexpected applications. My favourite example is the guy that proved in the 1970s that Bees couldnt fly. He then spent the rest of his career proving that Bees could actually fly. Along the way, he discovered a hitherto unkown convection current that the Bees are using to give themselves the extra lift. This is now being applied within the field of aeronuatical engineering.
  • Where's the dude that invented napkins on a roll?
  • And my extensive work on getting an elephant to make sweet love to a pig.

    "Do what I do, get them good and drunk"

  • I wanna know what that guy did with all that lint afterwards. "It tastes like grandma"
  • she always said, "bellybutton lint is really goat cheese."

    Yummy!
  • Yeah, the funny part is that they are doing these cute little projects, most likely, with taxpayer money. Your money, my money, funny money, huh.

    (Whatever)
    • Re:Funny Money? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MaxVlast ( 103795 )
      Like the guy at Wolfram Research? Or the fellows from the University of Sydney? Or the president of Takara Co.? How about the executives of the companies awarded in the Economics category? Did you bother reading the article or are you just another annoying knee-jerk "I don't get it, but I must be paying for it, God, it's awful, the humanity!" people?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:42AM (#4386562)
    In general, women have pubic hair that looks like an inverted pyramid, or a map of Tasmania, with a sharp cut-off at the top.

    Thats information you need to get through life.
    • In general, women have pubic hair that looks like an inverted pyramid, or a map of Tasmania, with a sharp cut-off at the top.

      It sounds like the two-dimensional projection of what is known as a "frustrum", a word which can also describe my experience in getting there.
  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:43AM (#4386569) Journal
    A link to goatse would be finally on-topic!

    ----
    Testicular asymmetry in human sculptures. "To test Winckelmann's claim, I observed the scrotal symmetry of 107 sculptures, either of antique origin or Renaissance copies, in a number of Italian museums and galleries. Although the ancient artists were correct in tending to place the right testicle higher, they were wrong in so far as they also tended to make the lower testicle the larger: we may postulate that they were also using the common-sense view that the heavier ought to be the lower." (McManus, I. C. 1976. Scrotal asymmetry in man and in ancient sculpture. Nature 259: 426)
  • You know, I used to have a problem taking exams until I realized it was because I was using a black magic marker.
  • Is it just a coincidence that you get small holes in your socks abd fluff in your belly button? I think not. I can't explain why it's always blue though.

    Other important things to research should include

    1) Where do lost biro's go to

    2) Why trouser turn-ups attract so much fluff (perhaps it's related to belly buttons?)

    3) If you tie 4 cats together and drop them wil they all land on their feet?

    • "Other important things to research should include

      1) Where do lost biro's go to"


      That's easy - they go towards coloring your belly-button fluff blue. And the plastic breaks into really small pieces that end up on the floor, and in your shoes, so you know you're standing on something painful, but can't find it.

      "2) Why trouser turn-ups attract so much fluff (perhaps it's related to belly buttons?)"

      More that it can't escape when the trousers are washed.

      "3) If you tie 4 cats together and drop them will they all land on their feet?"

      Depends how you tie them. Side to side, there's a good chance. Backs together, either one or two will. Feet together, kitty go splat.

      Maran
  • Awards are stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmark ( 230091 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:48AM (#4386590)
    I have never been able to tolerate the self-important, judgemental nature of these awards. Who are they to determine what is and is not of merit ? Basic science, especially, is FULL of research which seems largely irrelevant to many and is easy to ridicule when described out of context.

    The annals of basic science are full of findings that seemed irrelevant at one point, only until they were interpreted later from another framework or in light of other findings.

    Basic science is all about asking questions for the sake of asking questions, because it would be arrogant for ANYONE to presuppose they know what is and is not going to be 'of scientific merit'. The people who run these awards, and the ones who snicker at the recipients, are arrogant in the extreme.
    • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:26AM (#4386779) Homepage

      If you watch or read the awards, or the associated publications, you'll note that the people running and participating in the awards are themselves science-types with senses of humor. They're laughing at scientific research in general, and in a good-natured manner, and not just sneering at a few scientists with unusual specialties...

      The awards actually seem to go to a few different types of endeavors:

      • Valid but REALLY STRANGE or not-very-useful-outside-of-a-very-narrow-field scientific research, e.g. this years Mathematics prize ("Surface area of an elephant") and Biology prize ("Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain.") or last year's Medicine prize (a study of nose-picking behavior in India - I should point out that the recipient showed up in person for this prize and with appropriate good-humor. "Some people stick their noses into other people's business. I stick my business into other people's noses."...), or the award a few years ago for the invention of blue Jell-O...
      • Claims or "facts" presented as "scientific" that are blatantly not. (e.g. Last year's Astrophysics award to the evangelists for 'proving' that Christian Hell may be what Black Holes are...), the "Literature" award in 2000 for the 'Breatharian' who says nobody needs to eat, and the 1998 Chemistry prize to Jacques Benveniste for 'proving' that not only does water remember everything it ever touched, but that you can transmit this 'memory' over the internet...
      • The absurd and ironic that can be somehow "cast" as a scientific endeavor even though it really isn't (e.g. this year's Economics prize to Enron, WorldCom, etc. for " adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world.", or last year's Peace prize for the founding of the "Stalinworld" amusement park...

      From my perspective, ALL of the awards seem to have gone to endeavors that are fitting subjects for humor, and I see no claims of valid scientific reasoning being INVALID or 'stupid', merely strange or funny. Further, as far as I can see, NONE of the RECIPIENTS are being 'snickered at' at all, only the "research", activity, or claims that earn the award. That is, it's not the PEOPLE being made fun of (ad hominem attacks are not good science), it is what they are doing or claiming.

      In short, in my personal opinion, the only people who really have any reason to actually be offended are excessively thin-skinned scientists (e.g. the late Carl Sagan, who feared that the awards would make people "laugh at scientists") and crackpots, who kind of NEED to be made fun of so that they can claim that their Revolutionary Secrets That Shake the Very Foundations of Scientific Knowledge(tm) are being unfairly repressed by The Establishment...

      • Absolutely. There was the Vetrinarian who one an IgNoble for his research on ear mites. Ear mites occur in cats and dogs and many a pet owner has asked "Can people get ear mites?". This Vet set out to answer the question by attempting to infect himself with ear mites - not once, not twice, but three times.

        Bottom line "People can't get ear mites."

        The vet actually attended the awards and took the ribbing all in fun.
  • Hang on... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Soko ( 17987 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:48AM (#4386591) Homepage
    PHYSICS
    Arnd Leike of the University of Munich, for demonstrating that beer froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay. [REFERENCE: "Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth," Arnd Leike, European Journal of Physics, vol. 23, January 2002, pp. 21-26.]


    What do they mean "cannot not or should not be reproduced"?!!!!!! I'll run this experiment every chance I (URP!) get...

    Soko
  • by nick255 ( 139962 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:54AM (#4386621)
    Personally I don't think the physics winner (Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth [iop.org]) satisfies the awards criteria for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced." I know once I finish work to today I plan to try to reproduce it!
    • You're going to sit and stare at your beer instead of drinking it? (said in an adam sandler "you eat pieces of shit for breakfast?" voice)
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:00AM (#4386645) Homepage Journal
    . . . to get some ideas for research grant proposals.

    The dog-to-human translator is taken. Maybe I'll go for tomacco.

    -Peter
  • Funny Quote (Score:3, Funny)

    by SmlFreshwaterBuffalo ( 608664 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:00AM (#4386647)
    From the Associated Press article:

    In economics, the executives and auditors at Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen and a host of other companies were commended by the Ig Nobel committee "for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world."

    That's the funniest thing I've read in a while. (I guess I don't get out much.)
    • i was just watching cnn headlines, and i a small caption about imaginary numbers, ig awards and those two companies. had to check slashdot to see if this was true :)
  • All of the stuff is amusing but some of it is actually a bit interesting. I'd like to see the work behind the literature prize. It is an interesting question to answer albeit not an earth shattering piece of science. Does improper high-lighting affect reading comprehension? Never thought of that...

  • Ig Nobel awards typically recognize the most dubious contributions to the world of science and research.

    Does this mean that Amazon's revolutionary "One Click" system will be honored?
    • That's not science. It might be technology, or it might be law, but it's not science, and it sure didn't require much research.

  • From the website for the Chemistry Category Winner:

    "After Ed Pegg Jr featured it on his puzzle website, there was a brief but spirited slashdot discussion, and a few people started offering to help me out with samples. To acknowledge their contributions and let them know how things were going, I decided to make a web site with pictures of all the samples they had sent and those I'd collected myself. The website eventually began to take on greater depth. Here's why."

    • Yes ... Slashdot is directly responsible for us receiving this award. Theo's site (periodictabletable.com) has been updated with some items from the award ceremony, along with a few videos of our scientific experiments with 3 pounds of sodium and a kiddie pool. It was Slashdot, though, that led the Ignoble committee to my site (mathpuzzle.com), which was hosting the table pictures initially. I thank the Slashdot community for promoting our programming group's conference table. --Ed Pegg Jr
  • by Kraft ( 253059 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:34AM (#4386817) Homepage
    It took me forever to find this comic online, Dog decoder [aol.com] (see the one to the right).

    Naturally, there is also the more subtle guide to interpreting the mood of an Irish Setter [uni-marburg.de].
  • by bensej ( 79049 )
    I think I saw prior art on the dog/cat washing machine [aykan.cl] in Puerto Rico. I was in traffic caused by a carnival and saw a ride through donkey wash car wash style.
    As for this invention I'm sorry but no pet of mine will ever be placed in a device that looks that much like an industrial microwave.
  • by Cy Guy ( 56083 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @09:43AM (#4386868) Homepage Journal
    From this month's British Journal of Urology International [blackwell-synergy.com]:
    Can shoe size predict penile length?
    J. Shah and N. Christopher

    Objective To establish if the 'myth' about whether the size of a man's penis can be estimated from his shoe size has any basis, infact.

    Subjects and methods Two urologists measured the stretched penile length of 104 men in a prospective study and related this to their shoe size.

    Results The median stretched penile length for the sampled population was 13cm and the median UK shoe size was 9 (European 43). There was no statistically significant correlation between shoe size and stretched penile length.

    Conclusion The supposed association of penile length and shoe size has no scientific basis.
    Now while millions of women (and some men - not that there's anything wrong with that) may find this research important, I think most men would prefer that the women research it independently rather than depend on the citizen's tax dollars.

  • "...Waste Management, WorldCom, Xerox, and Arthur Andersen, for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. [NOTE: all companies are US-based unless otherwise noted"

    Hmmm.... I wondering why my last phone bill was $36.45 + $7i dollars.
  • A lot of irony has already been pointed out, but perhaps the MOST ironic is the slashdot page about it that I'm seeing right now:

    check out my screenshot:

    Slashdot Screenshot [froggynet.com]

    So much irony on so many levels...
    • You mean that you are using IE [mozilla.org] instead of Mozilla [mozilla.org] to view slashdot? I'd say its not that ironic. :-P Pretty common around here.

      Why do people think they need to be modded up just for getting a VS.Net ad on their slashdot pages and announcing it? People have been mentioning the VS.Net ads for weeks, if not months.

  • hmmm... I had a look through the inventions that : "cannot or should not be reproduced."

    For shame on giving an award to the under-ease (air-tight underpants that have a carbon filter to stop gas emmisions from smelling too bad)

    Have a read of the web-pages, there are people with pretty embarrassingly horrible problems (80% of colon removed, crohns disease, spastic colon etc.) who cannot control their "emmissions"! It's kinda funny - but it shouldn't get a prize like this :)

  • by Jhan ( 542783 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @11:13AM (#4387469) Homepage

    No one seems to have posted an actual list of winners yet, so here you go.

    BIOLOGY
    "Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches (Struthio camelus) Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain," Norma E. Bubier, Charles G.M. Paxton, P. Bowers, D.C. Deeming, British Poultry Science, vol. 39, no. 4, September 1998, pp. 477-481.

    PHYSICS
    "Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth," Arnd Leike, European Journal of Physics, vol. 23, January 2002, pp. 21-26.

    INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH
    Karl Kruszelnicki of The University of Sydney, for performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button lint -- who gets it, when, what color, and how much.

    CHEMISTRY
    Theo Gray of Wolfram Research, in Champaign, Illinois, for gathering many elements of the periodic table, and assembling them into the form of a four-legged periodic table table.

    MATHEMATICS
    "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants (Elephas maximus indicus)," K.P. Sreekumar and G. Nirmalan, Veterinary Research Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 1990, pp. 5-17.

    LITERATURE
    "The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading Comprehension." Vicki L. Silvers and David S. Kreiner, Reading Research and Instruction, vol. 36, no. 3, 1997, pp. 217-23.

    PEACE
    Keita Sato, President of Takara Co., Dr. Matsumi Suzuki, President of Japan Acoustic Lab, and Dr. Norio Kogure, Executive Director, Kogure Veterinary Hospital, for promoting peace and harmony between the species by inventing Bow-Lingual, a computer-based automatic dog-to-human language translation device.

    HYGEINE
    Eduardo Segura, of Lavakan de Aste, in Tarragona, Spain, for inventing a washing machine for cats and dogs.

    ECONOMICS
    The executives, corporate directors, and auditors of Enron, Lernaut & Hausbie [Belgium], Adelphia, Bank of Commerce and Credit International [Pakistan], Cendant, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Dynegy, Gazprom [Russia], Global Crossing, HIH Insurance [Australia], Informix, Kmart, Maxwell Communications [UK], McKessonHBOC, Merrill Lynch, Merck, Peregrine Systems, Qwest Communications, Reliant Resources, Rent-Way, Rite Aid, Sunbeam, Tyco, Waste Management, WorldCom, Xerox, and Arthur Andersen, for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. [NOTE: all companies are US-based unless otherwise noted.]

    MEDICINE
    "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture." Chris McManus, Nature, vol. 259, February 5, 1976, p. 426.

    • Don't suppose anyone knows if the Bank of Commerce and Credit International was/is related to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (AKA Bank of Cocaine and Conmen International)?

      Still, sounds like they're upholding the proud tradition [nwu.edu].

  • ...a physics prize for this [usatoday.com]

    It was certainly irreproducible.

  • by call -151 ( 230520 ) on Friday October 04, 2002 @11:48AM (#4387740) Homepage
    The guy (Theodore Gray, I have one of his Mathematica textbooks, I think) who made the wooden periodic table table [theodoregray.com] is hilarious, and also has a page nicely documenting what happens when you drop sodium into water [theodoregray.com], which includes a nice quicktime video of a drop of sodium into a lake. [theodoregray.com]
  • From the Periodic Table Table's site: [theodoregray.com]

    "the Periodic Table Table was awarded the highest conceivable award for which it is eligible"

    Interestingly the sentence works just as will shifted round:

    "awarded the highest award for which it is conceivably eligible"
  • "Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth"

    Well, at least that's what they say they were doing down at the pub during working hours! Why didn't I think of this one!

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

Working...