October 6, 2007

Rats cannot tell between Japanese and Dutch

Filed under: Science,Weird by Branko Collin @ 10:30 am

Weird science! The Ig Nobel awards are tongue-in-cheek awards given to the people doing very serious scientific studies that make you laugh before they make you think. Last Thursday, the 2007 awards were presented at MIT in the US.

Prof. Dr. Johanna van Bronswijk of the Eindhoven University of Technology came to pick up the prize she had won in the category 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. See also “Huis, Bed en Beestjes” (House, Bed and Bugs), J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, vol. 116, no. 20, May 13, 1972, pp. 825-31.

Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona in Spain, won the award for Linguistics by showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards. See also “Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats,” Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100.

Other winners were the US military apparatus for trying to make a bomb that turns its victims into homosexuals (no-one turned up to accept the award); Mayu Yamamoto, from Japan, for developing a method to extract vanilla fragrance and flavouring from cow dung; Brian Wansink of the UK for investigating the limits of human appetite by feeding volunteers a self-refilling, “bottomless” bowl of soup; and more.

Tags: , , , ,

September 15, 2007

World record cola fountains in Breda

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 8:38 pm

(Promotional video that lead up to the event)

Today the city of Breda, Brabant has broken the world record Mentos Geyser, according to the spokeswoman of the organiser, sweets manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle of Breda who makes Mentos. Some 850 participants on the Kasteelplein with their ready to blow cola bottles plonked their five Mentos sweets at 2:30 pm in their cola bottles. The result was a lot of four to five-meter high fountains. And voilà, the home of Mentos entered into the World Guinness Book of Records.

Thanks to the artistic group the Eepybirds, the Mentos Geyser has become very popular around the world. The Eepybirds were also in Breda for the joyous occasion.

(Link: omroep Brabant)

Tags: , , ,