2010 Ig Nobel Awards: Whale snot, obscenity therapy, fruit bat sex among this year’s winners

The mysteries of bat sex and whale snot and an unusual way to deal with human pain were the focus on Thursday of the annual tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel Prizes.

ENGINEERING: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, Agnes Rocha-Gosselin and Diane Gendron for developing a method to collect whale snot using a remote control helicopter.

MEDICINE: Simon Rietveld, Ilja van Beest for investigating asthma on a rollercoaster.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi, Dan Bebber, Mark Fricker for using slime mould to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

PHYSICS: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams and Patricia Priest for demonstrating that wearing socks on the outside of your shoes helps prevent slipping on ice.

PEACE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston for confirming that swearing helps relieve pain.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews and Larry Taylor for determining that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

ECONOMICS: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk.

CHEMISTRY: Eric Adams, Scott Socolofsky and Stephen Masutani for disproving the belief that water and oil don’t mix.

MANAGEMENT: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda and Cesare Garofalo for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if promotions were made at random.

BIOLOGY: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, Shuyi Zhang of China and Gareth Jones for scientifically documenting fruit bat fellatio — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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