Archive for March 2nd, 2008

Cruising down the highways of the internet, and the back roads, and the alleys, the sewers, and LO! Yes, even the bowels of the net, one can glean nuggets of the informational type that possess great value.

For instance, armed with new information I can raid the medicine chests of others to aid my hamster while on travel for business:

AVIATION: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.

hoviagra.jpg +hamster.jpg


I can now sleep better at night, knowing that the suffering of my hamster has been banished, never to return.

In another article, those of us who speak Japanese and Dutch backwards are suddenly gifted with a great burdensome load of guilt as well as a confused rat:

LINGUISTICS: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.
REFERENCE: “Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats,” Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100


Lest you, Constant Companion, feel that small furry animals are being given too much attention (sorry Weasel) let us look at our feathered brethren:

ORNITHOLOGY: Ivan R. Schwab, of the University of California Davis, and the late Philip R.A. May of the University of California Los Angeles, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don’t get headaches.


Admit it… you were worried to tears about this, weren’t you?

In more research that could bring the world to a screeching halt…

ACOUSTICS: D. Lynn Halpern (of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Brandeis University, and Northwestern University), Randolph Blake (of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University) and James Hillenbrand (of Western Michigan University and Northwestern University) for conducting experiments to learn why people dislike the sound of fingernails scraping on a blackboard.
REFERENCE: “Psychoacoustics of a Chilling Sound,” D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand, Perception and Psychophysics, vol. 39,1986, pp. 77-80.

clintonhillary954.jpg I didn’t have a picture of fingernails on a blackboard, but this is pretty much the same thing…

Oh, to be mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence… For the curious, these examples were gleaned from the IgNobel Prize Awards. Look ’em up.

– LK

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