30 September 2011

2011 Ig Nobel awards

The Ig Nobel is awarded to researchers, whose research should not be repeated. The 2011 winners, announced on 29 September 2011 at Harvard University were
PHYSIOLOGY PRIZE: Anna Wilkinson (of the UK), Natalie Sebanz (of NETHERLANDS, HUNGARY, and AUSTRIA), Isabella Mandl (of AUSTRIA) and Ludwig Huber (of AUSTRIA) for their study 'No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise."
REFERENCE: 'No Evidence Of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise Geochelone carbonaria," Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl, Ludwig Huber, Current Zoology, vol. 57, no. 4, 2011. pp. 477-84.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of JAPAN, for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.
REFERENCE: US patent application 2010/0308995 A1. Filing date: Feb 5, 2009.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Makoto Imai, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami

MEDICINE PRIZE: Mirjam Tuk (of THE NETHERLANDS and the UK), Debra Trampe (of THE NETHERLANDS) and Luk Warlop (of BELGIUM). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder and Robert Feldman (of the USA), Robert Pietrzak, David Darby, and Paul Maruff (of AUSTRALIA) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.
REFERENCE: "Inhibitory spillover: Increased Urination Urgency Facilitates Impulse Control in Unrelated Domains," Mirjam A. Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, Psychological Science, vol. 22, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 627-633.
REFERENCE: "The Effect of Acute Increase in Urge to Void on Cognitive Function in Healthy Adults," Matthew S. Lewis, Peter J. Snyder, Robert H. Pietrzak, David Darby, Robert A. Feldman, Paul T. Maruff, Neurology and Urodynamics, vol. 30, no. 1, January 2011, pp. 183-7.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Mirjam Tuk, Luk Warlop, Peter Snyder, Robert Feldman, David Darby

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, NORWAY, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.
REFERENCE: "Is a Sigh 'Just a Sigh'? Sighs as Emotional Signals and Responses to a Difficult Task," Karl Halvor Teigen, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, vol. 49, no. 1, 2008, pp. 49–57.

LITERATURE PRIZE: John Perry of Stanford University, USA, for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important.
REFERENCE: "How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done," John Perry, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 23, 1996. Later republished elsewhere under the title "Structured Procrastination." http://www-csli.stanford.edu/~jperry
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Colleague Deborah Wilkes accepted the prize on behalf of Professor Perry.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Darryl Gwynne (of CANADA and AUSTRALIA and the USA) and David Rentz (of AUSTRALIA and the USA) for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle
REFERENCE: "Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbies for Females (Coleoptera)," D.T. Gwynne, and D.C.F. Rentz, Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, vol. 22, 1983, pp. 79-80
REFERENCE: "Beetles on the Bottle," D.T. Gwynne and D.C.F. Rentz, Antenna: Proceedings (A) of the Royal Entomological Society London, vol. 8, no. 3, 1984, pp. 116-7.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz

PHYSICS PRIZE: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne and Bruno Ragaru (of FRANCE), and Herman Kingma (of THE NETHERLANDS), for determining why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't.
REFERENCE: "Dizziness in Discus Throwers is Related to Motion Sickness Generated While Spinning," Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma, Acta Oto-laryngologica, vol. 120, no. 3, March 2000, pp. 390–5.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: The winners accepted via recorded video.

MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of KOREA (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of UGANDA (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

PEACE PRIZE: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, LITHUANIA, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.

PUBLIC SAFETY PRIZE: John Senders of the University of Toronto, CANADA, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.
REFERENCE: "The Attentional Demand of Automobile Driving," John W. Senders, et al., Highway Research Record, vol. 195, 1967, pp. 15-33. VIDEO
Compare to 2010 and 2009, which I've previously written.

The mathematics and peace prizes were particularly interesting. Sigh. Or was just a sigh?

28 September 2011

"Goldman Sachs rules the world"

according to Alessio Rastani, a London-based trader, while interviewed by BBC News

See also Yahoo! News for discussion about whether it was a hoax (apparently it wasn't).

Thanks to Eric Olander via Google+

27 September 2011

A logo for Human Rights

A universal symbol for Human Rights was announced in New York on 23 September 2011 following a world-wide competition seeking a suitable design. The Human Rights logo is an open source product, free to be used by everyone, everywhere, without restrictions for the purpose of promoting Human Rights.

The logo was designed by 32-year old Serbian graphic designer Predrag Štakić from Belgrade.

See reporting in Deutsche Welle (in English) and German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) media release (in German).

The logo in different formats can be downloaded from a Logo for Human Rights.

26 September 2011

Breakaway (Speedy Singhs)

Breakaway is a joint Indian-Canadian film production about Punjabi Indian Canadian life set in Toronto. It combines Bollywood with Canada's major sporting past-time ice-hockey.

Trailer for Breakaway

In India, the film has been released as Speedy Singhs. Even the trailer has been edited for a different film-going market.

One that I will watch. Bend it like Beckham was a splendid film and the Punjabi culture depicted made that film appealing and charming.

25 September 2011

Catalonia's final torment and torture of bulls

Last year, I wrote about the Catalan parliament banning the torment and torture of bulls, otherwise known as bullfighting.

Today, Barcelona hosted its last bullfight.

Reported by Euronews

Further print reporting in BBC News, AFP and France24.

20 September 2011

FC Bayern München in lederhosen


After defeating FC Schalke in an away game, players for FC Bayern München donned traditional Bavarian dress including the lederhosen. Of course, Oktoberfest has already started.

10 September 2011

World in Union

The 2011 Rugby World Cup began on 9 September 2011 with the New Zealand All Blacks defeating Tonga 41-10. Every four years, the competition begins with the rugby union anthem World in Union. This was first heard in 1991 at Twickenham sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. This year, it was sung by New Zealand soprano Hayley Westenra. It is probably the best sporting anthem of all time. Of course the tune would be familiar to most people from the Thaxted melody of Gustav Holst's The Planets (Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity) and also in the hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country.

British ITV's introduction to their rugby coverage makes best use of Hayley Westenra's rendition of World in Union

The 2007 All Stars recording for the RWC in France was also well done

I Vow to Thee, My Country

Holst The Planets - Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity

05 September 2011

Google Doodle for Freddie Mercury Day

Today worldwide (except for the United States), Google celebrated what would have been Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday with an animated doodle using an embedded YouTube video (see below)

France24 also had an excellent article about it, excerpt
"It has a lot of fun, goofy stuff to celebrate what an incredible song writer, fashion icon, and musical innovator he was," doodle team creative lead Ryan Germick told AFP during a visit to their base at Google's headquarters in the California city of Mountain View.
"Freddy Mercury was an awesome performer, an ambitious creator and pioneered really audacious concept records," Germick said. "We just love him; we've been blasting Queen for the last couple of months and it is always joyful."
Read more. See also, Queen guitarist Dr Brian May's post in the Google blog.

Previously, the animated doodle for Lucille Ball's 100th birthday was also very creative, allowing for interaction with different 'channels'.

03 September 2011

football - round 24

Sydney Swans   3.3  11.7  14.9  18.11 (119)
Brisbane Lions  4.3   6.6    9.9     9.13 (67)

Sydney Swans:
Bolton, Goodes 4, Rohan, Spangher 3, Parker 2, Hannebery, Malceski
Brisbane Lions: McGrath 3, Karnezis 2, Rich, Hawksley, Redden, Cornelius

Sydney Swans:
Bolton, Goodes, Spangher, Rohan, McVeigh, O'Keefe, McGlynn
Brisbane Lions: McGrath, Rich, Leuenberger, Hanley, Karnezis, Hawksley

Sydney Swans:
Reid (calf), Grundy (illness) replaced in the selected side by Malceski and Jetta
Brisbane Lions: Banfield (hamstring) replaced in the selected side by Buchanan

Sydney Swans:
Spangher replaced by Jetta in the fourth quarter
Brisbane Lions: Retzlaff replaced by Buchanan in the third quarter

Umpires: Margetts, Chamberlain, Meredith
Official crowd:
27,721 at SCG.

It was the last game for the season and the year. Brisbane Lions won the first quarter before Sydney Swans picked up the pace. Match report by James Dampney and Ryan Chase. Photos by Craig Golding for Slattery Media.

Jack Redden 

Simon Black

Aaron Cornelius

Matthew Leuenberger

01 September 2011

New York City - get fit and make music. For free.

For VMAN, Clark Cord and Matthew Terry show how New York City can provide the means of staying fit and making music, without paying a dime.

Clark "you can go down the street and work out anywhere"

VMAN 23 CLARK ll from V Magazine on Vimeo.

Matthew - shows that the city has a rhythm and beat

VMAN 23 MATT ll from V Magazine on Vimeo.