No, this is not something I overheard at a table of 8th graders. (Do I even know any 8th graders?) This is legitimate, scientific fact. Deborah Anderson of Boston University Medical Center and her colleagues discovered that Coca-Cola makes the defenseless little spermies explode. Seriously.
In honor of their epic discovery, Anderson and her colleagues were awarded an Ig Nobel prize. Not to be confused with the Nobel prize, the Ig Nobel prizes reward research with some snark and humor. So naturally, SWTCTW is impressed.
Because the Reuters news story describes some of the other winners better, here are the best parts:
The Ig Nobel committee made up a “nutrition prize” to go to Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Britain’s Oxford University, who tricked people into thinking they were eating fresh potato chips by playing them loud, crunching sounds when they bit one.
The biology prize goes to a French team that found dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas, while the medicine prize was awarded to a team at Duke University in North Carolina who showed that high-priced placebos work better than cheap fake medicine.
Dorian Raymer of the Scripps Institution in San Diego and a colleague won the physics prize for demonstrating mathematically why hair or a ball of string will inevitably tangle itself in knots.
How smart do you feel, knowing that dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas? I’m feeling good. I also learned from this year’s economics winner that professional lap dancers make more when they’re most fertile. So ladies, take note. More useless knowledge that people spent lots of money on to study:
Past winners include the creator of the plastic pink flamingo, a researcher who recorded a mallard duck sodomizing a dead drake and a doctor who cured hiccups by applying digital rectal massage.
I guarantee you that when the big time Nobel prizes are announced, they won’t be nearly as entertaining as the Ig Nobels.
And guys, Coca-Cola has been proven ineffectual as a method of birth control. Don’t get any weird ideas.
[Posted by Kathleen]