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REVIEW: "Ig Nobel Prizes", Marc Abrahams

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKIGNOBL.RVW 20030201 Ig Nobel Prizes , Marc Abrahams, 2002, 0-75285-150-0, C$24.95/UK#9.99 %A Marc Abrahams air@improbable.com %C Orion House, 5 Upper
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2003
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      BKIGNOBL.RVW 20030201

      "Ig Nobel Prizes", Marc Abrahams, 2002, 0-75285-150-0, C$24.95/UK#9.99
      %A Marc Abrahams air@...
      %C Orion House, 5 Upper St. Martin's Lane, London, UK WC2H 9EA
      %D 2002
      %G 0-75285-150-0
      %I Orion Books Ltd.
      %O C$24.95/UK#9.99 info@...
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0752851500/robsladesin03-20
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0752851500/robsladesinte-21
      %P 319 p.
      %T "Ig Nobel Prizes"

      Once upon a time, there was a magazine known as the Journal of
      Irreproducible Results (JIR) (cf. BKBSTJIR.RVW and BKSEX.RVW).
      Reproducibility being the touchstone of scientific utility, it was
      devoted to publicizing scientific research which either cannot or
      should not be reproduced. There are some who say that the Annals of
      Improbable Research (AIR) is the continuation of the Journal of
      Irreproducible Results. There are others who will sue you if you do.
      Suffice it to say, then, that AIR is either Mad magazine's answer to
      science or science's answer to Mad magazine, and nobody is quite sure
      which.

      The Ig Nobel awards have been given out each year since 1991. The
      ceremonies are hilarious, as can be seen from the video clips on the
      Web page at http://www.improbable.com/ig/ig-top.html. The prizes
      celebrate terrifically bad science (such as studies into the memory of
      water), really misunderstood science (such as the illegality of
      chemical glassware in Texas), just plain bizarre science (studies into
      the relation of the size of certain parts of the body in relation to
      the size of, say feet)--and sometimes pure, dogged determination in
      the pursuit of knowledge whose value we have not yet ascertained.

      This book outlines the history of, and rationale for, the Ig Nobel
      prizes, and describes a representative sample of the winning work. My
      personal favorite has been the study which shows that incompetent
      people are too incompetent to be able to judge how incompetent they
      are. I use PawSense as an example when teaching about biometrics, so
      I am delighted to have a reference work to which to direct skeptical
      students. And, of course, I am thrilled to note the relatively high
      proportion of Canadians honored in these pages.

      Marc Abrahams has done a wonderful job of writing up this material.
      It's readable, funny, sometimes outrageous, and occasionally poignant.
      I highly recommend this book to anyone engaged in scientific or
      technical work. I recommend it to anyone else, too, with the warning
      proviso from the Electric Company television show: if you're not
      careful you may even learn something.

      copyright, Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKIGNOBL.RVW 20030201


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
      - (John A.?/William?) Shedd
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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