Monthly Archives: September 2011
Yes, for outstanding creativity and imagination in mathematics, Harold Camping along with five others has been awarded the Ig Nobel Mathematics prize for incorrectly predicting the date for the world ending. The ceremony at Harvard University honoured many people, seven of whom attended the ceremony this year.
Biology Prize: Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz for publishing two papers about an Australian beetle that tries to mate with empty beer bottles (stubies).
Chemistry Prize: A team from Shiga University who have a patent pending for a fire alarm that fires wasabi into the air in just the right density to awaken sleeping people.
Literature Prize: John Perry for his theory of Procrastination. To be a high achiever work on something important to avoid doing something that’s even more important.
Mathematics Prize: Various doomsayers who predicted the end of the world. Dorothy Martin (1954), Pat Robertson (1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1990), Lee Jang Rim (1992), Credonia Mwerinde (1999) and Harold Camping (1994 and 2011).
Medicine Prize: Shared by two teams who discovered that people make better choices about some things and worse choice about other things when they have a strong need to urinate.
Peace Prize: Arturas Zuokas, mayor of Vilnius, for showing that running an armoured vehicle over illegally parked luxury cars can solve parking problems.
Physics Prize: Philippe Perrin and colleagues for their study on why discus throwers become dizzy, while hammer throwers don’t.
Physiology Prize: Anna Wilkinson and colleagues for their study “No evidence of contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise.”
Psychology Prize: Karl Halvor for studying why people sigh.
Public Safety Prize: John Senders for a series of safety experiments involving someone driving on a main highway while a visor repeatedly flaps in their face blinding them.
It’s good to know that the frontiers of science are being pushed by such research. You can see the complete award ceremony and get more information from the Improbable Research website. Don’t laugh, the wasabi alarm could save your life some day.
Americans in the state of Alabama have come up with a great idea to boost church attendance and save money on running the prison service simultaneously. The new program grandly called Operation ROC (Restore Our Community) allows criminals found guilty of minor non-violent crimes to choose between serving time in prison, paying a fine or attending church services on Sunday. The town in question, Bay Minette, does not contain any mosques or synagogues so only Christians need apply. The town police chief, Mike Rowland, claims the program is primarily a cost saving measure saving over $500 a week for each potential inmate who turns to Jesus. The American Civil Liberties Union is strongly against the operation and called it blatantly unconstitutional. The American constitution prohibits the state forcing participation in religious activity. The police chief denies that anything is being forced as it is a free choice. I think most would agree that it really isn’t much of a choice. The operation which was originally to start operating yesterday has been delayed while lawyers check the legality of it. If the city attorney gives his approval, it will go live after the next court day on October 11th. If it does go ahead, I can’t wait until Muslims somewhere in America get in on the act.
The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has decided that High School students will no longer use the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) to reference dates. All textbooks will use the more politically correct terms BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era) instead. BCE is equivalent to BC and CE is equivalent to AD, so nothing changes except the notation. The lesser known BP is used in scientific disciplines using AD (or should I say CE) 1950 as the origin, when carbon dating became possible. BP has also been called Before Physics. Australian Christians are outraged saying it is an absurd attempt to write Christ out of history. I think that is a very loose definition of history. We should just use the terms Backward Counting (BC) and Adding Dates (AD) so everyone is happy.