Huzzah! The Ig Nobel Awards for 2010 have been awarded!
I am happy to report that the fruit bat fellatio study took home the prize in Biology this year. Let's give a big round of applause to those hard-working flying mammals. Some of my other favorites from this batch …
Psychologists Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest at the University of Amsterdam share the award for discovering that breathing difficulties brought on by asthma can be alleviated by repeated rollercoaster rides.
The task of monitoring dangerous bugs in whales at sea is a formidable one. Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and others at the Institute of Zoology in London developed a way to collect fluids ejected from whales' blowholes by attaching petri dishes to the underside of small, remote-controlled helicopters and hovering them overhead.
Working with Japanese scientists, Mark Fricker and Dan Bebber at Oxford University used slime mould to model an effective railway network. In the experiment, cities were represented by porridge oats that were linked to one another as the slime mould grew.