pandemic

Story Sunday: Ig Nobel Prize Goes For Alligator On Helium

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Alligator On Helium Image
Image Credit: Lund University
YouTube
MSN & CNN

“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

Weird S*** Wednesday: Wet Wipes Wastewater Wads

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UPI Facebook Image
Photo Credit: Palm Beach County
Water Utilities Department
Facebook Post

I haven’t done one of these since 2013. I read a lot and sometimes I come across some strange things. This is an article from United Press International:

Wet Wipes Clog All Four Pumps At Florida Wastewater Facility

April 15, 2020 (UPI) Utility officials in a Florida county are reminding residents not to flush wet wipes down the toilet after all four of the wastewater facility’s pumps clogged at the same time.

The Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department said in a Facebook post that all four pumps at the organization’s wastewater pumping facility in Boca Raton ended up clogged at the same time “for the first time ever.” The post blamed the clogs on increased use of wet wipes.

“It took a team of three utility mechanics to dissemble and reassemble the pumps in order to remove the compacted wipes,” the post said. The department said residents who find themselves “low on toilet paper” amid shortages from the COVID-19 pandemic should remember that all wet wipes, including those labeled “flushable,” should be thrown in the trash and not disposed of in the toilet.

Wait a minute. Are these folks insinuating that “residents who find themselves low on toilet paper” are using Clorox and/or Lysol wet wipes in lieu of TP? Or, are we talking baby wipes here? The article isn’t all that clear. Either way…just…DAMN. ~Vic