The Indexer

Ig Nobel prize winner Print E-mail
“The Definite Article: Acknowledging ‘The’ in Index Entries,”
Glenda Browne, The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119-22.

The Ig Nobel prizes are awarded for “Research that makes people LAUGH then THINK”

The 2007 Ig Nobel Literature Prize was been awarded to Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word “the” — and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.

The article may be viewed here Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3″

Sildenafil accelerates reentrainment of circadian rhythms after advancing light schedules — PNAS

Sildenafil accelerates reentrainment of circadian rhythms after advancing light schedules

( cGMP phosphodiesterase | resynchronization | suprachiasmatic nuclei | phase advance )
Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano, and Diego A. Golombek *

Laboratorio de Cronobiología, Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, 1876 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Communicated by Joseph A. Beavo, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, April 12, 2007 (received for review November 2, 2006)

Mammalian circadian rhythms are generated by a master clock located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei and entrained by light-activated signaling pathways. In hamsters, the mechanism responsible for light-induced phase advances involves the activation of guanylyl cyclase, cGMP and its related kinase (PKG). It is not completely known whether interference with this pathway affects entrainment of the clock, including adaptation to changing light schedules. Here we report that cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase 5 is present in the hamster suprachiasmatic nuclei, and administration of the inhibitor sildenafil (3.5 mg/kg, i.p.) enhances circadian responses to light and decreases the amount of time necessary for reentrainment after phase advances of the light-dark cycle. These results suggest that sildenafil may be useful for treatment of circadian adaptation to environmental changes, including transmeridian eastbound flight schedules.

Improbable Research & Page not found

LINGUISTICS: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.
REFERENCE: “Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats,” Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 074302 (2003): Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling

Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling

E. Cerda1,2 and L. Mahadevan1 *
1Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EW, United Kingdom
2Departamento de Física, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Avenida Ecuador 3493, Casilla 307, Correo 2, Santiago, Chile

Received 25 June 2002; published 19 February 2003

The wrinkling of thin elastic sheets occurs over a range of length scales, from the fine scale patterns in substrates on which cells crawl to the coarse wrinkles seen in clothes. Motivated by the wrinkling of a stretched elastic sheet, we deduce a general theory of wrinkling, valid far from the onset of the instability, using elementary geometry and the physics of bending and stretching. Our main result is a set of simple scaling laws; the wavelength of the wrinkles λ^K-1/4, where K is the stiffness due to an oeelastic substrate” effect with a multitude of origins, and the amplitude of the wrinkle A^λ. These could form the basis of a highly sensitive quantitative wrinkling assay for the mechanical characterization of thin solid membranes.

Sword swallowing and its side effects — Witcombe and Meyer 333 (7582): 1285 —

Sword swallowing and its side effects

Brian Witcombe, consultant radiologist1, Dan Meyer, executive director2

1 Department of Radiology, Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester GL1 3NN, 2 Sword Swallowers’ Association International, 3729 Belle Oaks Drive, Antioch, Tennessee 37013, USA

Correspondence to: B Witcombe
Objective To evaluate information on the practice and associated ill effects of sword swallowing.

Design Letters sent to sword swallowers requesting information on technique and complications.

Setting Membership lists of the Sword Swallowers’ Association International.

Participants 110 sword swallowers from 16 countries.

Results We had information from 46 sword swallowers. Major complications are more likely when the swallower is distracted or swallows multiple or unusual swords or when previous injury is present. Perforations mainly involve the oesophagus and usually have a good prognosis. Sore throats are common, particularly while the skill is being learnt or when performances are too frequent. Major gastrointestinal bleeding sometimes occurs, and occasional chest pains tend to be treated without medical advice. Sword swallowers without healthcare coverage expose themselves to financial as well as physical risk.

Conclusions Sword swallowers run a higher risk of injury when they are distracted or adding embellishments to their performance, but injured performers have a better prognosis than patients who suffer iatrogenic perforation.