(Roughly) Daily

Whether ’tis ignobler…

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but, ‘That’s funny…” —Isaac Asimov

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” —Sherlock Holmes

The good folks at Improbable Research have once again awarded the Ig Nobel Prizes.  In keeping with IR’s goal…

to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people’s curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what’s important and what’s not, and what’s real and what’s not — in science and everywhere else?

… The Ig Nobel’s “honor” research that is, at the least, amusing…  for instance, among this year’s winners:

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than sixty (60) years.

For the scholarly citations attaching to these accomplishments– and a full list of other winners– click here.

At the 2009 ceremony, Public Health ig Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her invention — a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander. She is assisted by (real) Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle (left), Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman (right). PHOTO: Alexey Eliseev.

As our minds drift back toward campus, we might recall that, on this date in 1916, The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (playing under coach John Heisman, after whom The Trophy is named) set a still-unbroken football record, beating the Bulldogs of Cumberland College 222-0… of course, the game was in Atlanta, so the Jackets had home field advantage…  Astoundingly, Tech wasn’t named National Champion for the first time until the following season.

The Tally

Everett Strupper, who scored eight TDs in the game

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