Cattle researchers win ‘Ig Nobel’ prize

Scientific proof — she is likely to get up — sometime.

It is now scientifically proven. The longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that she will soon stand up. And once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon she will lie down again.

Five British researchers who reached that conclusion were among this year’s winners of the “Ig Nobel” prize, a humorous take-off on the better-known Nobel version.

“Improbable Research,” sponsor of the event, says the Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. According to its website, “The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.”

Every year, in a gala ceremony, the prizes are handed out by real Nobel laureates. They are sometimes awarded for tongue-in-cheek research, but others are for spinoffs from more serious research.

Other winners this year:

  •  A study that found that people consider themselves more attractive after drinking;
  •  A study that showed dung beetles navigate using the Milky Way;
  •  A design for an device to trap airline hijackers and eject them by parachute;
  •  Proving that people could run across the surface of a pond — if it were on the moon;
  •  Discovery that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized;
  •  Determining which bones of a shrew would dissolve inside the human digestive system;
  •  Surgical management of an epidemic of penile amputations in Siam, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

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