Archive for October, 2007

Tweet There’s been a bit of a to-do recently following a comment by Richard Dawkins here.* Chris Dillow, who blogs here, said this:- Here’s a curious statement from Richard Dawkins (via Norm): “When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – […]

Tweet Research by Yohsiharu Yamamoto of the University of Tokyo, via the Physical Review Letters and The Economist, has shown that the movements of people suffering from clinical depression can be described by a power law. So different are they from their “normal” counterparts that the discovery looks truly diagnostic, according to The Economist. Subjects […]

gerd instinct


Tweet Gerd Gigerenzer‘s new book, Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious (Allen Lane, £14.99) has been troubling me for some time. It’s the kind of book whose title, like The Wisdom of Crowds, is going to mislead a few people. There are already a few too many out there who worship their own gut […]

The winners of the seventeenth annual awards, organised by Improbable Research, include:

  • Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre, Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin (a vanilla flavouring) from cow dung
  • Medicine: Brian Witcombe of Gloucester, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, for their report in the British Medical Journal about the occupational hazards of sword-swallowing
  • Peace: the Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research on a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other (the “gay bomb”)
  • Aviation: Patricia V Agostino, Santiago A Plano and Diego A Golombek of Argentina, for the discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters
  • Nutrition: Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup

All that leaves me feeling surprisingly peckish. For further details of a special commorative ice-cream, designed especially for the occasion (yes, you guessed – vanilla, but with a twist!), plus a series of FREE lectures tomorrow (Saturday 6th October), head straight for the horse’s mouth. Neither treat will be accessible to you if you are outside Massachusetts, unfortunately.

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Tweet I specifically asked for a cherry-red Gibson ES335 semi-acoustic guitar with a Vox AC-30 Amplifier for my 40th birthday. I can’t really play electric guitar, and had no real intention of taking it up. But the same genes that pushed me into marathon-running were finding expression; it was a pure materialism/mid-life crisis mashup. March […]

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