It's time for the weird, the wonderful, and the silly - also known as this week's edition of Welcome to My Insomnia. Thanks to some random late-night Googling, it's come to my attention that the Annals of Improbable Research have once again awarded their annual Ig-Nobel Prizes. While the Ig-Nobel Prizes might not be as well-known as the fancier Nobel Prizes (which definitely have better PR with all that "for the greatest benefit to humankind" shtick), the Iggy's are not some fictional prize made up in the middle of the night by the Ale Mail Editorial Board. In fact, Science People have been giving out Ig-Nobels for more than three decades, in order to honor and celebrate the best, the weirdest, and potentially the most pointless scientific research. Or, as they like to put it: research that first makes you laugh... and then makes you think.
This year, Ig-Nobel Prize winners included intrepid researchers who proved:
sex is just as good as Sudafed when it comes to unblocking stuffy noses
humans evolved beards to protect themselves from being punched in the face
it’s safer to transport an airborne rhinoceros upside down, a process known as inverted rhino translocation (fyi: relocation helps protect rhinos from poachers).
All this got your Ale Mail editor first laughing, but then thinking (it was 3:30am, an excellent time for thinking). Hmmmmm…. were there ever Ig-Nobels awarded for the science contributions of, say, beer?
Bingo! In 2002, an Ig-Nobel Prize was awarded to the same German physicist who discovered why toast usually lands buttered-side down. His beer experiment? To prove that beer froth obeys the mathematical law of exponential decay.
Wait… what is the mathematical law of exponential decay??
It’s something about decay factor and consistent percentages
It's something about y= a (1-b)x
It's… apparently a very good cure for insomnia… zzzzzz.