The 2018 Ig Nobels Honor Discoveries About Cannibalism, Voodoo, and DIY Colonoscopies

The annual parody of the Nobel Prize also celebrated studies about human saliva as a cleaning agent, the effect of roller-coasters of kidney stones, and the use of postage stamps as erection detectors.

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Sep 14 2018, 7:13pm

Image: ImprobableResearch

Scientific luminaries gathered at Harvard University’s historic Sanders Theatre on Thursday to honor notable achievements this year, such as the breakthrough insight that humans are no better at imitating chimpanzees than chimps are at aping people, as well as comprehensive research into the efficacy of using voodoo dolls to cope with bad bosses.

It was the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, a parody of the Nobel Prize that celebrates the weirdest and funniest scientific research produced each year. Since 1991, nominees have been selected by the gag journal The Annals of Improbable Research, under the criteria of making people “laugh then think,” according to the Ig Nobel website.

Here’s some juicy food for thought from Thursday’s event: A cannibalistic diet is not as rich in calories as other meat diets, according to a Nature paper by archeologist James Cole, who won the Nutrition category. So if you were thinking of switching up your meal plan to include human flesh, be advised that there are nutritional as well as legal consequences.

If you are suffering from kidney stones, heed the advice of the the Medicine category awardees, who suggest riding rollercoasters to hasten the passage of painful stones (the team used Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster at Walt Disney World as their research test bed). If you need a colonoscopy but don’t have the time or inclination to see a doctor, the Medical Education winners outline the best “self-colonoscopy” methods for journeying into your own bum.

Studies assessing road rage patterns, the value of human saliva as a cleaning agent, nasal detection of dead flies in glasses of wine, and the use of postage stamps as erection detectors also snagged Ig Nobel Awards. You can watch the whole ceremony here, but be forewarned, it is aggressively nerdy.

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