This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research

This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research

Marc Abrahams

Language: English

Pages: 299

ISBN: 1851689311

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Often, thinking seriously about outlandish problems is the only way to make progress in science. The rest of the time, it’s hilarious. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the famous Ig Nobel prizes, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the oddest, most imaginative, and just plain improbable research from around the world. He looks into why books on ethics are more likely to get stolen and how randomly promoting people (rather than doing it based on merit) improves their work. He also shares the findings of weird experiments, from whether Vegas lap dancers earn higher tips at a certain time of the month to how mice were once outfitted with parachutes to find a better way to murder tree snakes. Abrahams’ tour through this strangest of strange science will first make you laugh, and then make you think about your world in a completely new way. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel prize, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the most improbable research from around the world, from why one psychologist insisted it was better to promote people randomly to whether Vegas lap dancers get higher tips at certain times of the month. As you travel from the bizarre to the profound, Abrahams will make you laugh, and then think about the world in a completely new way.

Mr. Funny Pants

Funnymen: A Novel

Doctor In The Swim (Doctor Series, Book 8)

Something Rotten (Thursday Next Novels)

Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel)

The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America














houses, at meals, or within private conversation, but were staged, often in the open, with an audience provided by the witnesses who, “hearing a great noise” in the street, left their work or houses to investigate or intervene ... the doorstep was a crucial vantage point for the exchange of insult.’ But by the eighteenth century, Shoemaker reports, ‘the insult became less public’. Insults moved indoors. Many ‘took place in semi-private locations, such as yards, shops, pubs and houses, where

maximize piratical profit.’ Pirates, he argues, invented a system of checks and balances ‘to constrain captain predation’, and devised democratic constitutions to ‘create law and order’ among themselves. ‘Remarkably,’ points out Leeson, ‘pirates adopted both of these institutions before the United States or England.’ These pirate practices of the past now read like a ‘best practices’ primer on economics and finance. Successful buccaneers learned how to manage organizational growth: ‘Many pirate

women and women with large breasts are unintelligent, both of which, just like the stereotype that beautiful people are intelligent, may statistically be true.’ Kanazawa and Kovar don’t merely say these things. They back them up. The volume of their evidence, if not the evidence itself, is overwhelming. Nearly all of it comes from studies – lots of them – done by other people. Among the earlier discoveries: QUOTE: Middle-class girls ... have higher IQs and are physically more attractive than

blockbuster report, called ‘What’s in a Name: Mortality and the Power of Symbols’, gave certain people the willies. It said: ‘individuals with “positive” initials (e.g., A.C.E., V.I.P.) might live longer than those with “negative” initials (e.g., P.I.G., D.I.E.).’ Three psychologists at the University of California, San Diego, discovered this by poring through death records, gathering, crunching, and pondering numbers. They then published a warning in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

using a square section clamping gripper driver to hold, revolve and press a casket into a pre-bored or augered hole He Ate the Silverware A study called ‘Account of a Man Who Lived Ten Years After Having Swallowed a Number of Clasp-Knives, with a Description of the Appearances of the Body after Death’, published in 1823, has an accurate title. But in a sense, it is misnamed. The author could, with just as much accuracy, have chosen to call it ‘Account of a Man Who Died Ten Years After

Download sample