I covered a tricky week in politics earlier, but I’ve had a pretty taxing few days too, hence my somewhat erratic appearance here. When things get tricky, my brain seems to stop working, and I can tell you being broke and having to fight pension providers for my money is stressful. Oddly, the stress makes my vertigo worse, and my facial palsy. I can see the link to my depression and anxiety, but vertigo? Palsy? How does that work?

Anyway, come Friday something cheered me up, took the edge off things for a little while. The IgNobel awards came out this week. I was like a child in a sweetshop. Endless completely pointless research on tap. Hog heaven.

In the past, the winner of Best of Year was, ‘The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhyncos.’ That’s a belter isn’t it? Nothing this year came close to this, but there was still a treasure trove of idiocy.

Let’s go to France, shall we? I’m not sure how you persuade French bus drivers and French postmen to measure the temperature of their bollocks, but this is France, after all. Anyway, there is a phenomenon ‘testicular thermal asymmetry.’ The left knacker is warmer than the right knacker. There was a lot of blather about this being of interest to fertility doctors because of the relationship between bollock temperatures and sperm count, but I think the research team got pissed one night and dreamt up the most ridiculous scheme for getting a grant, and it worked. God loves a tryer.

Then there was the crew who applied itching powder to volunteers. They found that the pleasurability of having a scratch depended on where was itching. No brainer, really. I’ve not seen the results, but I’d put money on the back being the most pleasurable.

The motto for the IgNobels is research that ‘first makes people laugh, then makes them think.’ My pick for this year is the research into why wombat turds are cube-shaped. Some bunch of pointyheads actually looked into this. Science at its finest.

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