Daily: 10th October 2010

9 October, 2010 at 23:59 (GMT+01:00)

By Steven Roy

Since Lou is feeling ill I am doing today’s daily post and its theme is science with a twist. So today is sidepodscience day.

I am sure by now everyone is aware of the anti-awards shows that have appeared over the last decade which award prizes not for excellence but for failure or someone other apparently negative reason. The first one I became aware of were the razzies (raspberries) which are the anti-Oscars.

Everyone is aware of the Nobel Prizes which are awarded for excellence in several fields including sciences. Since 1991 we have also had the IgNobel Awards which are not given for scientific failure or bad science but for “achievement that makes people laugh then makes them think.” Previous winners conducted such scientific endeavours as the extraction of vanilla flavouring from cow dung or showing that cows that have names that have names produce more milk than those who don’t and possibly my favourite ever “termination of intractable hiccups by digital rectal massage”.

These can appear to be frivolous endeavours but although they sound humourous they are serious scientific research papers which have been published and reviewed in the same manner. The 2010 winners were announced a week ago and some of the highlights include

For Engineering – A novel non-invasive tool for disease surveillance of free ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programs. Or to you and me collecting samples of whale snot with a remote control helicopter.

For Medicine - Showing that asthma can be treated with a ride on a roller coaster.

For Management – For demonstrating mathematically that organisations would be more efficient if the promoted people at random.

And there will be no discussion on this site about the intimate habits of fruit bats the paper on which won its authors the biology prize.

As if that was not enough there is a second body that awards prizes based on the theories of Charles Darwin. The Darwin Awards honour those who improve the species by removing themselves from it. In effect by killing themselves through incredible stupidity they remove themselves from the gene pool and prove evolution. Like the IgNobel Awards the Darwin Awards started in the 1990s. I guess the internet made it easier to collect the necessary data.

A prime example of someone improving the species by removing himself from it is someone who died after dropping one of the grenades he was juggling. Or you may think a more worthy candidate for and award was the Australian man who tried to weld an acetylene tank to his metal roof to stop it slipping. I think my personal favourite may be the electrician who decided to use copper wire to fly a kite.

This year’s winners so far include a waitress who went swimming in a crocodile infested river, a couple of members of a race car crew who decided that if they sat on an oil drum which they had put 4 gallons of alcohol in and lit it they would have a nice ride across a car park and if you click on the picture on this one you will see on video what happens when a Korean man rammed an elevator door with his electric wheelchair.

Enough science I think.

There will be no Giggles Radio today but Alex will be back in his usual slot next week but there is plenty to keep you entertained. Owing to yesterday’s monsoon we have both qualifying and the race from Suzuka. If that is not enough on track action then there is the famous Bathurst 1000 from Mount Panorama.

There are a couple of wiki pages I would like to bring to your attention. Firstly we are looking for those of you with track driving experience to share your thoughts and feelings of that with us for our On Track With series which will be posted every Wednesday.

Secondly we distracted Mr C in the early hours of Saturday morning while watching nothing happen in Japan and he said we can go ahead with sidepodradio2 so long as he doesn’t have to organise it. So if you have any ideas for shows please post them.

I think there is enough in there to keep everyone occupied. Hopefully Lou will be back on top form soon. No doubt a good result for Jenson would help.