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October 19, 2005

SOMEDAY SCIENCE WILL SAVE THE WORLD ... BUT NOT YET

It's that time once again when the most useless scientific research of the year is honored with the Ig Nobel Awards. The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was created by the editors of the Annals of Improbable Research (improb.com) in order to recognize "achievements" in science that would otherwise go unnoticed because they are so stupid. This year's winners include the man who invented artificial testicles for neutered dogs ("Neuticles allow your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with neutering," claims the creator, who added that "considering my parents thought I was an idiot when I was a kid, this is a great honor"); the inventors of an alarm clock that runs away and hides in order to actually get you out of bed in the morning; and the authors of a study that calculated the pressure that builds up inside a penguin just before he has to take a dump (yes, there is actually a research paper titled "Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh: Calculations on Avian Defecation"). Other awards were the prize in nutrition, given to a Japanese man who has photographed and analyzed every meal he has eaten for the past 34 years; the biology prize was given to University of Adelaide researchers for "painstakingly smelling and cataloguing the peculiar odours produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed," and for some unknown reason, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to scientists who monitored the electrical activity of a locust's brain while the locust watched Star Wars. (www.improb.com)

A SEE A FAILED LAWSUIT IN YOUR FUTURE

A Brazilian psychic who claims to have given the U.S. armed forces the information they needed to find Saddam Hussein has been given permission to file a $25 million lawsuit against the American government in Brazil's second highest court. Jucelino Nobrega da Luz claims that he wrote a series of letters to the Americans between 2001 and 2003 describing Saddam's hiding place in the cellar of a farmhouse near Tikrit. His lawsuit seeks the $25 million reward, which the United States announced in July of 2003 for information leading to the capture of the former Iraqi president. (Reuters)

THAT SMURF VILLAGE WAS HARBORING TERRORISTS

Belgian children have been left traumatized by an anti-war commercial created by UNICEF, which features the death and dismemberment of Smurfs and the annihilation of an entire Smurf village by warplanes. The ad was created to spark a fund-raising campaign for the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Burundi. Instead, the public service ad sparked outrage thanks to its graphic and horrific imagery. The ad opens with a happy scene of Smurfs holding hands, singing and dancing around a campfire while birds and rabbits play in the Smurf village. Then, without warning, bombs rain from the sky and the Smurfs are decimated in fiery explosions. The carnage ends with a baby Smurf sobbing amidst a sea of dead Smurf bodies. Philippe Henon, a spokesman for UNICEF Belgium, defended the ad by saying that they had purposefully designed the ad to shock viewers because "traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers." (Ottawa Citizen)

WHY DOES THIS HOUSE STINK ALL THE TIME?

Speaking of strange new inventions, a German architect has filed a patent application for a new type of cement made mostly out of dog shit cleaned off of city streets. "They thought I was joking at first, but it makes economic sense as the stuff has to be collected anyway, so why not use it for something useful," said Friedrich Lentz, 57, who claimed that dog shit is a "great mortar with fantastic insulating properties." (Ananova)

GETTING READY FOR THE BIG CASH OUT IN THE SKY

Now that poker is all the rage, of course you can buy poker chips with various levels of personalization, including a series of chips emblazoned with messages about Jesus Christ which, according to the Web site that sells these, you can use to help spread the Gospel to those gambling sinners you hang out with. Among the helpful poker-related messages from Jesus are these: "Jesus Went All-In For You," "Call in the Name of the Lord," and "Don't Gamble With Eternity." Get 'em at www.kerusso.com.

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