Story Sunday: Ig Nobel Prize Goes For Alligator On Helium

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Alligator On Helium Image
Image Credit: Lund University

“Alligator sucking on helium wins parody Ig Nobel Prize”

Scientists are answering a question no one is asking. What would it sound like if an alligator sucked up helium? When a team of international researchers wanted to find out whether a gator’s vocalizations relate to its body size, they devised an experiment that would earn them the 2020 Ig Nobel (a wordplay on “Nobel” and “ignoble”) Prize for acoustics. Researchers captured footage of the snorting alligator in a helium-filled tank. In perhaps one of the biggest letdowns in the history of scientific study, it sounded nothing like a cartoon chipmunk. Now in its 30th year, the annual Ig Nobel Prize awards ceremony, usually presented at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, was conducted remotely due to pandemic restrictions.

Among this year’s other elite competitors, a study which demonstrated that meticulously groomed eyebrows are a reliable indicator of grandiose narcissism took home the prize in psychology. The prize in economics went to an international team of creeps (presumably) who wanted to know whether the rate of French kissing correlated with national income inequality. Based on data from 13 countries across six continents, they found that where kissing was more frequent, income inequality was also more likely to occur. Go figure. American Richard Vetter took home the prize in entomology for his brave study on spiders (which aren’t technically insects) that revealed most of his peers are, allegedly, arachnophobic. And, the award for materials science went deservedly (because it’s gross) to a collaboration between the US and the UK to study whether frozen human feces could be made into usable knives. Spoiler alert: It certainly cannot.

But, who could forget the most Ig Nobel moment in recent history? The medical education prize went to a roundup of sometimes ill-advised world leaders for showing that “politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can” during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Hannah Sparks
New York Post
September 18, 2020

19 thoughts on “Story Sunday: Ig Nobel Prize Goes For Alligator On Helium

    Tippy Gnu said:
    September 20, 2020 at 10:15 PM

    That’s weird. And I’m inclined to think it’s a bunch of crock. But any professor who wants to lecture on this experiment should be required to do so after inhaling helium.


      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 20, 2020 at 11:34 PM

      Well…*scratching head*…the Ig Nobel thing does exist and the Journal of Experimental Biology seems legit.

      My favorite part is the excessively groomed eyebrows.

      Liked by 1 person

        Tippy Gnu said:
        September 20, 2020 at 11:37 PM

        I don’t doubt it exists. That was my lame attempt at a joke.

        Yes, excessively groomed eyebrows seem like that might just be a sign of narcissism. I’m wondering how one would excessively groom their eyebrows. Perhaps it requires a trip to a beauty salon.


          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 21, 2020 at 1:53 PM

          Ah! Yes! Sorry. I get it, now. I’m still trying to sharpen my brain cells on the pun thing. Sometimes I see them coming a mile away. Sometimes, they run me over. 🙃 Didn’t mean to deflate your joke balloon. I spend entirely too much time blogging late at night & into the wee hours of the morning. 😵😖

          I’d love to know where the eyebrow obsession came from. And, it has been around for a while, too, curiously. This was posted two years ago and I can barely breathe watching it (the link probably won’t show up on a phone):


            Tippy Gnu said:
            September 21, 2020 at 6:19 PM

            I can hardly understand the guy, due to the fact that I don’t speak Australian. But his emotion comes through, and I get that. Yeah, I don’t care what a woman’s eyebrows look like, either. I’ve never understood the whole makeup and beauty obsession that so many women have. I prefer the natural look, but that’s just me. Some guys do want to see women all dolled up and dressed to the nines, though, and they’re very critical about every little detail. I feel sorry for their wives.


              The Hinoeuma responded:
              September 21, 2020 at 8:52 PM

              LOL! A Scottish accent should come with subtitles!

              Both men and women are victims of advertising, the in-your-face and the subtle:
              I remember being shocked at European women with hairy armpits in 1980s music videos but, I’m at the mercy of my culture. So was my mother. She demanded that my dad give her breast implants. That became a nightmare on so many levels.

              It’s all about the money and creating products that we didn’t know we needed. How the hell else do you reconcile pet rocks…or Beanie Babies for that matter?

              I gave up wearing makeup a decade ago. I just don’t care anymore. And, I was never much into hair color, either.

              Liked by 1 person

                Tippy Gnu said:
                September 21, 2020 at 9:00 PM

                Hairy armpits and legs is another thing that doesn’t bother me. I don’t shave my face, and I don’t see why women need to shave their pits and thighs. Matter-of-fact, I kind of like the look, once it’s grown out from a stubble.

                We wouldn’t have hair if it wasn’t somehow good for us. I say, let’s all keep it.


                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  September 21, 2020 at 10:22 PM

                  I can remember years ago, in my 20s, trying to stop shaving. My mother is one of those lucky ones that was born blonde with body hair to match. She shaved up to her knees but, stopped…and you really couldn’t tell either way. I tried that. I had an aunt by marriage get snarky with me… “You really need to shave all the way up.” Yeah. Unsolicited advice from ANOTHER blonde.

                  I also remember being 11…12…when my leg hair was starting to grow and, crossing paths with a girl in a community pool…same age range. She didn’t shave and I asked her if it bothered her. She said “Nope!” and proceeded on her way.

                  I agree! It’s my understanding that it is for warmth and, in some cases, hygiene.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    Tippy Gnu said:
                    September 21, 2020 at 10:27 PM

                    Maybe this is why blondes have more fun. They don’t have to do all that shaving.

                    If hair is for warmth, I wonder what the R-factor is?


                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 21, 2020 at 10:42 PM

                      Depends. Head full of hair, R5, tops. Other, smaller concentrations, R3, maybe? Extremities…R1. And, OUR insulation can be itchy, too. LOL!

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Tippy Gnu said:
                      September 21, 2020 at 11:27 PM

                      The top of my head . . . R0.


                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 22, 2020 at 1:04 PM

                      Hats: R2-R7, depending upon material. 😉😎🤠

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Tippy Gnu said:
                      September 22, 2020 at 1:24 PM

                      That’s true.


                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 22, 2020 at 7:27 PM


                      Liked by 1 person

    Dayphoto said:
    September 21, 2020 at 2:56 PM

    HAHAHAH The Excessively Groomed Eyebrows….HAHAHAH


    charliecountryboy said:
    September 28, 2020 at 2:56 AM

    Quite amazing and it’s so refreshing that when the world is in crisis and on the brink of another recession, people can find the fund’s for such important research 😂😂😂😘


    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    September 28, 2020 at 10:42 PM

    I feel sorry for the alligator…poor guy has to live in a cement square.


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