Ig Nobel 2019
September 13, 2019 5:03 PM   Subscribe

The 2019 Ig Nobel Prizes (previously) are here. The winner attracting the most media attention this year was a study about the testicles of French postmen, but there are many other unworthy winners.
posted by clawsoon (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cubed poo!
posted by BeeDo at 5:29 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]




"Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, and Tomasz Paterek, for discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches."

I sure hope they do!
posted by brecc at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE [USA]
Karen Pryor and Theresa McKeon, for using a simple animal-training technique— called “clicker training” —to train surgeons to perform orthopedic surgery.
REFERENCE: “Is Teaching Simple Surgical Skills Using an Operant Learning Program More Effective Than Teaching by Demonstration,” I. Martin Levy, Karen W. Pryor, and Theresa R. McKeon, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, vol. 474, no. 4, April 2016, pp. 945–955.


Can they maybe rename this prize to be the "amazing research by scientists who dgaf" prize or something like that?
posted by billjings at 6:41 PM on September 13, 2019 [20 favorites]


I never noticed the fact that Ig Nobel prizes aren't given out for discoveries made "during the preceding year" as Nobel prizes nominally are, so I am forced to assume that like Nobel prizes the committee withholds recognition until the full impact of the discoveries have become evident.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:51 PM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I remember the initial result being touted in some pop psychology book or another - and telling other people about it myself, because I found it interesting - so I especially appreciate, "Fritz Strack, for discovering that holding a pen in one’s mouth makes one smile, which makes one happier — and for then discovering that it does not."
posted by clawsoon at 7:58 PM on September 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


using a simple animal-training technique— called “clicker training” —to train surgeons to perform orthopedic surgery.

Orthopedic surgeons are like the bass players of the medical world. Things like this don't do much to dispel "dumb orthopedic surgeon" jokes like:
What's the difference between a rhinoceros and an orthopedic surgeon?

One of them has thick skin, a small brain and charges way more than he should. The other is a rhinoceros.
posted by tclark at 8:11 PM on September 13, 2019 [14 favorites]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfzs8ZIPVIA

Watch the whole ceremony! The list of winners is one thing, but you don't want to miss the acceptance speeches, Miss Sweetie Poo cutting off the acceptance speeches, the mini-opera, and more!

(ObDisclaimer: I have been a minordomo in the Ig Nobels since 1999, and continue to be involved)
posted by LeDiva at 9:48 PM on September 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


What made the Dutch news were the dutch winners, among Habip Gedik, Timothy A. Voss, and Andreas Voss, for testing which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria.
posted by DreamerFi at 5:10 AM on September 14, 2019


Cubed poo!

David Hu and I have a mutual friend/colleague. I have decided not to ask to be introduced because I know better than to meet my heroes.
posted by donpardo at 5:48 AM on September 14, 2019


A final thought from @MarcAbrahams: If you didn’t win an #IgNobel prize this year—and especially if you did—better luck next year!

This tweet and many others like it were posted by MetaFilter’s own Horace Rumpole in the coveted role of onstage livetweeter.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:53 AM on September 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


I spent all night wondering "why postmen?". I was trying to guess, maybe the uniforms? Nope. I read the study and it says:
Eleven employees at a postal sorting office were selected for inclusion in this study because their working pattern consisted of 90 consecutive minutes in a standing position, preceded by about 10 min walking.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 AM on September 14, 2019


oh nice. love it when smart people devote themselves to dubious undertakings...
posted by ph00dz at 8:08 AM on September 14, 2019


I misread the small article title as "How do *women* make cubed poo?" and I was prepared to have my understanding of the world shaken.
posted by pinothefrog at 8:18 AM on September 14, 2019


I never noticed the fact that Ig Nobel prizes aren't given out for discoveries made "during the preceding year" as Nobel prizes nominally are. . .
I'm also quite surprised that there's no previous-year rule for the IGs. Maybe that's new? Sounds good to me.

I'm always torn between "this is great fun" and "this is possibly useful research, why intentionally feed the popular misconception about wasted tax dollars on junk science" when reading about the IGs. I think the former wins. . . but, it's close.

But, if we're going to geek out on the prizes this year - what the hell is going on in Fig 1 scrotal temperature plot? Lining up all conditions sequentially is a really strange choice. Surely starting from the same condition in each case is the obvious thing to do if you're running 15 minute studies on eight volunteers. That's nuts, right? That every plot is rising throughout also makes me wonder about starting conditions. None the less, my take home message is that in order to avoid fertility as a person with testes, becoming a bus driver and crossing your legs whenever possible is the way to go.

The facial feedback thing is interesting, but actually reading the followup paper is kind of a bummer. I'm not sure the author is actually in on the joke here.
posted by eotvos at 12:38 PM on September 14, 2019


The wombat poo thing is awesome! A question for the ages.
posted by Coaticass at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2019


what the hell is going on in Fig 1 scrotal temperature plot? ... That's nuts, right?

I see what you did there.
posted by Umami Dearest at 6:58 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


No comments on the automatic diaper changing machine??

Supposedly it removes, washes and applies a new diaper - mechanically:

A diaper removing arm is provided in the form of a fork-like apparatus which removes the soiled diaper from the body of the infant and releases it to the outlet bin

I bet these machines would inspire early toilet training.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 9:28 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


Previously, on wombat 💩.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


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