A report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports

This year's IgNobel Prizes were a characteristically great bunch, but as a writer, I'm particularly excited to see that the organizers awarded a prize in literature this year. The prize went to the US Government Accountability Office, for Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies, or as the IgNobels put it:

The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.

The feds didn't send anyone to accept.

Winners of the IgNobel Prize (via As It Happens)


    1. i think they wanted to send someone, but they had to elect a committee to decide the electoral process for a committee to designate a representative to the committee to elect a person to go accept the award, assuming of course that the committee to decide if the award should be accepted is put together in time by the committee set up to decide how that committee should be created.
      the process should go quickly and take only 10-20 years.

  1. That’s ridiculous. Everybody knows that before writing any reports you need to elect a committee to elect a committee to elect a committee to investigate the feasibility of writing a report.

    1. “Don’t quote me regulations. I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the color of the book that regulation’s in. We kept it gray!”

  2. Close, but they haven’t bested “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” yet.

  3. The Ig Nobel prize ceremony was historically held near the Nobel Prize ceremony date 10/07 or 10/08.  Wassup with holding it on 9/20?

    1. Some natural languages may be non-recursive (depending on who you choose to believe) and therefore have a finite set of possible sentences of finite length. I cannot think how they would deal with about about about about about, as unlike with relative clauses I can see no easy way to divide all the abouts into separate sentences which refer back to each other. I suspect they might just say WTF and forget it.

      1. Or you might write a book “About about”, concerning the word ‘about’. Then somebody might review it. Then somebody might review the review. And I may wish to talk about that. Which I just did.

          1. It looked as if somebody needed the help.

            But the about (iteration/recursion) wasn’t intended as an actual application but as a concretised abstraction (not quite the same thing) – and that should always get a laugh.

            Perhaps you had to be there.

  4. Reuters had – The U.S. Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report recommending the preparation of a report to discuss the impact of reports about reports.
    Where did the missing reports go? We need a report.

  5. Just to speak clearly, the nice folks at GAO aren’t “feds” as that term is typically used by Feds themselves. GAO is an arm of Congress, the legislative branch. Feds, as is usually understood among gov’t types, work for agencies of the Executive branch. Feds are generally self-aware concerning their bureaucratic nature. GAO think of themselves as “watchdogs” but can be a source of some of the most head-to-desk, harebrained ideas ever.

  6. Lost track of which report reports on the report about reporting about which report.  By the third word of the sentence.

    But the true champion remains, to this day, the Ground Nuts Law:
    In the Nuts (Unground) (Other than Groundnuts) Order, the expression nuts shall have reference to such nuts, other than groundnuts, as would, but for this Amending Order, not qualify as nuts (Unground) (Other than Groundnuts) by reason of their being nuts (Unground).

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