To cap off the comedy themed posts, here is a sampling of some science stories that have been sprinkled with comedy.
Perhaps most notable of the science meets comedy offenders is the Ig Nobel. The Annals of Improbable Research, the world’s preeminent journal of strange scientific findings sponsors the infamous Ig Nobel Prizes.The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. If you missed the broadcast on September 20th it is available in its entirety here. But if you don’t have that kind of time to spare here is a quick sampling of the research titles that took home awards this year;
- Leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller (Psychology Prize)
- Calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail (Physics Prize)
- What happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee (Fluid Dynamics Prize)
- How to minimize the chance that their patients will explode during colonoscopies (Medicine Prize)
Marc Abrahams serves as an editor for the Annals of Improbable Research, and has recently released a book titled This is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research, which chronicles some of his favorite, offbeat, oddball research. Wired offers a look into 10 of the WTF Research Highlights, which includes research on untied shoelaces and national character, and racial preferences for cheese color.
Along similar lines as the Annals of Improbable Research, NCBI ROFL collects and reports of bizarre research that is being performed and published. The people behind NCBI ROFL also have a website which highlights the inherent comedy that comes from working too many hours in a lab, called pwned experiments. One bit of harrowing research that NCBI ROFL reported was on penile fracture seems more likely during sex under stressful situations. The research included a very descriptive account of the processes and sound that happens when one breaks a penis.
Research on the penis is quite common, and often humorous, and its plays a significant role in Jesse Bering’s book, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human. But human members are not the only ones that get researchers attention, in particular ducks and armadillos, have pretty remarkable stories (seriously, check out those links!). There is something about research into reproduction and the reproductive behaviours of the animal kingdom that lends itself to humorous research. This is inventively, beautifully, and hilariously portrayed in Isabella Rossellini’s webseries Green Porno.
- NCBI ROFL: Craft tips from PubMed: How to make a DIY cast of your rectum. (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- IG Awards Post The Most Insane Inventions You Would Have Ever Seen [Viral Video] (thetechnologycafe.com)
- Japanese scientists win spoof Ig Nobel award for ‘SpeechJammer’ (sfluxe.com)