Nothing like starting a Saturday with a tasty cup of coffee (Java Mocca, in this case) and an article that tickles the funny bone. This even involves some of my favorite critters: Rats, cows and Norwegians.
Forskning.no – a Norwegian web newspaper that specializes in reporting on research – has given its own slant on this year’s Ig Nobel Awards, including posing the very same question that occurred to me after mentioning the award-winning research in linguistics showing that rats are unable to tell Dutch apart from Japanese when hearing the languages spoken backwards. The question is: Is it animal cruelty to subject lab rats to such things?
Then the Norwegian article states that Norwegian researchers have had more nominations (and wins) to the Ig Nobel Prize than to the real Nobel Prize, topping out in 1996, with, among other things, trying to figure out if blow-up dolls can spread gonorrhea (they can’t), and what stimulates appetites in leeches (sour cream’s fine, beer is toxic, and garlic is deadly). My trivia-junky brain is giddy with delight at learning a new fact about leeches.
Having been up close and personal with the end product of cows, as it were, it’s almost amazing that one can find vanillin in cow muck (Ig Nobel in chemistry). It would be nice if cow patties actually smelled that way.