Humor

A good number of very high profile philosophers and mathematicians have drawn attention to what they see as the intrinsic beauty in mathematical solutions.

For example :

"It seems to me now that mathematics is capable of an artistic excellence as great as that of any music, perhaps greater; not because the pleasure it gives (although very pure) is comparable, either in intensity or in the number of people who feel it, to that of music, but because it gives in absolute perfection that combination, characteristic of great art, of godlike freedom, with the sense of inevitable destiny; because, in fact, it constructs an ideal world where everything is perfect but true."

Dr. Andy Martens,  of the psychology dept. at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and colleagues from the University of Arizona, US, have devised an Extermination Machine [pictured at right]. The machine was designed to experimentally investigate a bug-killing paradigm – in order to provide clues towards answering the  the question ‘Might killing something (in this case some pill bugs) fuel the urge for subsequent killing (in this case some more pill bugs) ?’

Shaving foam and baby diapers might not be the first key components to spring to mind if you were tasked with developing a gargantuan Non Lethal Weapon (NLW) for use against enemy warships.
But spring they did, however, to the mind of Lieutenant Commander Daniel L. Whitehurst of the United States Navy –  for he describes just such a weapon in a 2009 research report originating from the Air Command And Staff College, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. (“The Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force.”)

That weapon is ‘The Slimeball’

The ubiquitous ‘Stray Sock Syndrome’ can be a considerable headache for human sock-owners and sock-sorters. But help is afoot courtesy of the Computer Science Division at the University of California at Berkeley, US, and the Max Planck Institut Informatik, Germany. Where a team of computer scientists and robotics experts have “…considered the problem of equipping a robot with the perceptual tools for reliable sock manipulation.”

Hubert Devonish, who is Professor of Linguistics at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, is one of the very, very few researchers to have published a scholarly paper written entirely in Guyanese Creole.

An example paragraph :

Through millions of years of evolution, the shape of an egg has evolved to an optimum – at least from a hen’s point of view.
For some humans though, this shape is less than ideal –  there are those who prefer instead the aesthetic appeal of a cuboid rather than ovoid.

For technical (and ethical) reasons, this shape modification must necessarily be performed after laying rather than before. Prompting inventor Masashi Nakagawa to devise his
‘Apparatus for deforming boiled egg’  – for which he received a US patent (4,092,093) in May 1978.

If one were to overturn a tortoise, would it be more likely to right itself (i.e. get back on its feet) to the right or to the left?

To find out, a joint research team from the Comparative Psychology Research Group, University of Padova, Italy and the B.R.A.I.N. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Trieste, Italy, performed a unique set of experiments with 34 overturned tortoises.

For the first time, a peer-reviewed comprehensive discography of US-based apical musical recordings has been assembled. (Think : bees, hives, honey, buzzing, stingers, &etc). Professor William Lewis Schurk (Sound Recordings Archivist of the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, US) and colleague professor B. Lee Cooper, (presently at the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, US) have co-authored ‘Bumble Boogie: 100 Years of Bee Imagery in American Sound Recordings—A Discography’. (Popular Music and Society, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2011)

'A peculiar Scottish disorder' is described in the Scottish Medical Journal (SMJ), August 2011 vol. 56 no. 3, pp. 164-166 (by Doctor I. B. McIntosh.)

 “A highly contagious behavioural affliction is now endemic in highland areas of Scotland. Pretravel advice ought to include a health warning to sport-lovers venturing north into wild, highlands of Gaeldom. It particularly affects young adults and predominates in men, although women are affected. The disorder can be acute or chronic and when severe, it can threaten one’s life and limbs. Acute attacks may bring spontaneous recovery in months, but the chronic state can last for a life-time. Death will overtake some before it runs its inevitable course.”
“Cotton buds are commonly used to clean the ears, remove wax, in case of itching in the ear, aural toilet in discharging ears and some time as a habit.” – explain Suresh Kumar and  Shamim Ahmed  of the Department of ENT, at Liaquat University of Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Pakistan. They go on to warn that :

They supposedly represent a safe means of cleaning the ear and nose. Insertion of cotton tips is not only unnecessary but also potentially dangerous.

The conclusion of their study, which tracked cotton bud usage in 100 patients at the ENT Department, of Sir Syed Medical College& Hospital Karachi, (July 2005 to January 2007) is that