It's everybody's favorite time of year again - the IgNobel prizes. This year the awards go to:
- MEDICINE: "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects."
- PHYSICS: for studying how sheets become wrinkled.
- BIOLOGY: for doing a census of all the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds each night.
- CHEMISTRY: for developing a way to extract vanillin -- vanilla fragrance and flavoring -- from cow dung.
- LINGUISTICS: for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.
- LITERATURE: for studying the word "the" -- and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.
- PEACE: for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon -- the so-called "gay bomb" -- that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other.
- NUTRITION: for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup.
- ECONOMICS: for patenting a device, in the year 2001, that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them.
- AVIATION: for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.
Also see the splendid keynote speech of this year's ceremony.