Well, it’s been almost a week, it’s about time that we talked about the 2013 Ig Nobel prizes, right?
Among the women honored with the Ig Nobel this year –
You know, the award given to strange research, whose results may not be very useful (except perhaps to some very small group of dairy workers or dung beetle biologists), but whose origins lie in that most common of scientific endeavors: asking “I wonder if…?” As the Ig Nobel motto goes: research that makes people laugh and then think.
Anyway, Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford, and their team showed that, statistically, cows are more likely to stand up the longer they have been lying down. Let that sink in for a moment before I tell you their next conclusion: that cows do not become more likely to lie down the longer they have been standing. It’s true (apparently). Marie Dacke, Emily Baird and other researchers on their team discovered that even if you shovel poop all day long, you can still enjoy the grandeur of the night sky. That is, they found that dung beetles can use the Milky Way to navigate back to their burrows.
And perhaps most relevant to our wildest dreams, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici, and their team discovered that humans can run on water. If that water and that human are on the Moon, and the water isn’t frozen, and the human isn’t asphyxiating, etc. From the methodology section of their paper:
Three-dimensional motion capture of reflective markers on major joint centers showed that humans, similarly to the Basilisk Lizard and to the Western Grebe, keep the head-trunk segment at a nearly constant height, despite the high stride frequency and the intensive locomotor effort.
So don’t expect to be particularly dignified while you’re doing the running.
The rest of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes, including the Ig Nobel Peace prize, can be found here.
(top pic via Flickr.)