From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 08 Oct 02 - Ig Nobel and Stella


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

What's an Ig? Can you get filthy rich by spilling coffee on your lap? And did Bob really make his sister kiss a light bulb? 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 Thrifty Ink 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 at Harvard University and included:

PHYSICS: Arnd Leike of the University of Munich, for demonstrating that beer froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay.

INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: Karl Kruszelnicki of The University of Sydney, for performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button lint -- who gets it, when, what color, and how much.

CHEMISTRY: Theo Gray of Wolfram Research, for gathering many elements of the periodic table, and assembling them into the form of a four-legged periodic table table.

MATHEMATICS: Researchers at Kerala Agricultural University, India, for their analytical report "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants."

HYGEINE: Eduardo Segura, of Tarragona, Spain, for inventing a washing machine for cats and dogs. This report is in Spanish, so I can't tell if *dries* them after wash cycle. If so, I want one for my dog, "Stinky"!

You can read all about the IG NOBEL prizes, listen to highlights of the ceremony, 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!


I wonder if all you nice folks would do me a little favor. You see, when I was a teenager, I wasn't always as nice to my sister as I should have been. Sibling rivalry and all that, one could argue, but finally I have a chance to assuage my guilt. My sister Sue has recently become a TupperWare(tm) salesperson. And even after buying as much TupperWare as I could possibly fit in my kitchen, I felt that I should do something more to atone for the sins of my youth.

So I helped Sue create her own online TupperWare store, and told her that I would ask 100,000 friends to come and buy lots of stuff. So come to my TupperWare party. Buy lots of great food storage products for yourself or to send as a gift. See the cute photo of my sister holding my adorable niece. I feel better now. :-)

That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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