This year's Ig Noble Awards for wacky and improbable science discoveries were announced a few days ago. The awards are always fun and often thought-provoking. Here are this year's highlights. [As usual my comments in italic.]
Physics: Researchers in New Zealand found that wearing your socks over your shoes improves your ability to walk on ice.
[In what way is this not self-evident?]
Management: A mathematical study in Italy found that in some business situations, it is better to promote randomly than the choose the most qualified candidates.
[And you thought the corporate world worked on the basis of who was prepared to sleep with whom.]
Engineering: A team from the UK and Mexico found the perfect way to collect whale snot: despatch petri-dishes attached underneath a remote controlled helicopter to hover above the whale when it blows.
Public Health: A study of bearded scientists working in microbial labs found that they carry along a hoard of microbes in their facial hair and may literally be taking their work home with them at the end of the day.
[Again how was this not self-evident?]
Chemistry: A team including BP were awarded an Ig Nobel for their studies over the summer of how oil, natural gas, and water interact.
[Yeah, the Gulf of Mexico makes a great summer field trip for the graduate students.]
And finally ...
Biology: A UK team discovered that fruit bats engage in oral sex to prolong their sexual encounters.
[And you worried about human sexuality!.]
You can find the complete list here.