From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 05 OCT 2004 - The IGs and Stella
What's an Ig? Does listening to country music make you want to kill yourself? And can you get filthy rich by locking yourself in a storage unit? Find answers to all these questions in today's TOURBUS. Read on!
When Patrick and I started the TOURBUS newsletter back in 1995, it was one of the first sponsored email newsletters. We never expected that people would actually *thank us* for including advertising, but they do! Lots of people have written to say thanks for introducing them to our sponsors, and InkJetsRus is often mentioned.
Surely you've heard of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded for great achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace. But have you heard about the IG NOBEL Prize? The Igs, which honor individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced" are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative, and take a good-natured poke at some remarkably goofy things done in the name of science. This year's Ig Nobel Prizes, sponsored by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research", were just awarded at a gala ceremony on September 30th at Harvard University and included:
--> MEDICINE: AW SHOOT! COUNTRY'S A KILLER
Researchers Steven Stack and James Gundlach had this crazy idea that listening to country music just might be depressing enough to make some people want to buy the proverbial farm. So they analyzed the suicide rates of 49 metropolitan areas and found that indeed, the more airtime devoted to country music, the greater the suicide rate. The research doesn't mention anything about people killing neighbors who play their country music too loud.
--> PUBLIC HEALTH: UMM, YOU GONNA EAT THAT?
Thanks to Illinois high school student Jillian Clarke, you can scoop up that piece of toast that fell butter-side down, and eat it without fear. Clarke has once and for all validated the revered maxim known as "The Five Second Rule" which states that if food falls to the floor it's safe to pick it up and eat it within five seconds. Her research shows that there is remarkably little bacteria on the typical floor, and that women are MORE likely than men to invoke the Rule. Perhaps Jillian's next project will put me at ease about pizza that's been left on top of the fridge for 24 hours.
--> ENGINEERING: YOU'VE GOT A POINT THERE
You can tip your hat to the father and son team of Frank and Donald Smith for patenting the comb-over. In December of 1975, when the rest of us were doing the Bump to the music of "Fly, Robin, Fly" the Smiths were busy filing US Patent #4,022,227 which described "a method of hair styling to cover partial baldness using only the hair on a person's head."
You can read all about the IG NOBEL prizes and peruse the archives of past winners here:
If you've been online for more than, say, a week, you've probably had your share of e-mails filled with urban legends -- promises that Bill Gates will send you money if you forward a stupid e-mail, some guy in Africa has $200 million in cash for you (if you'll just send $15,000 in shipping costs), and a listing of the most outrageous lawsuits you've ever seen -- the "Stella Awards".
The problem with all of them is that they ARE urban legends -- none of them are true. The weird lawsuits in particular have caught people's attention: they're really going around a lot. Randy Cassingham, the guy that writes the weekly weird news journal "This is True", got really tired of the fake "Stella Awards" mails. "What's the point of arguing about a real problem with fake cases?" he asks. So he decided to DO something about it: he launched the True Stella Awards, and proves once again that "Truth is Stranger than Fiction". And thanks to Randy's wit, they're a lot more amusing, too. The site lists those popular-but-fake lawsuits (see the "bogus awards" page) and you can get a free e-mail subscription to the True Stella e-mails too. Highly recommended!
That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin