Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology, by TaylorRandle


									                                     Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,

Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,

Source: http://sci.tech−archive.net/Archive/sci.archaeology/2008−10/msg00075.html

      • From: Jack Linthicum <jacklinthicum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
      • Date: Fri, 3 Oct 2008 10:13:34 −0700 (PDT)

Strippers, armadillos inspire Ig Nobel winners

By MARK PRATT, Associated Press WriterThu Oct 2, 9:04 PM ET

Deborah Anderson had heard the urban legends about the contraceptive
effectiveness of Coca−Cola products for years. So she and her
colleagues decided to put the soft drink to the test. In the lab, that

For discovering that, yes indeed, Coke was a spermicide, Anderson and
her team are among this year's winners of the Ig Nobel prize, the
annual award given by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine to
oddball but often surprisingly practical scientific achievements.

The ceremony at Harvard University, in which actual Nobel laureates
bestow the awards, also honored a British psychologist who found foods
that sound better taste better; a group of researchers who discovered
exotic dancers make more money when they are at peak fertility; and a
pair of Brazilian archaeologists who determined armadillos can change
the course of history.

Anderson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston
University's School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that not
only was Coca−Cola a spermicide, but that Diet Coke for some reason
worked best. Their study appeared in the New England Journal of
Medicine in 1985.

"We're thrilled to win an Ig Nobel, because the study was somewhat of
a parody in the first place," Anderson said, adding she does not
recommend using Coke for birth control purposes.

A group of Taiwanese doctors were honored for a similar study that
found Coca−Cola and other soft drinks were not effective
contraceptives. Anderson said the studies used different methodology.

A Coca−Cola spokeswoman refused comment on the Ig Nobel awards.

Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely won an Ig Nobel for
his study that found more expensive fake medicines work better than

Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,                                                     1
                                      Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,

cheaper fake medicines.

"When you expect something to happen, your brain makes it happen,"
Ariely said.

Ariely spent three years in a hospital after suffering third−degree
burns over 70 percent of his body. He noticed some burn patients who
woke in the night in extreme pain often went right back to sleep after
being given a shot. A nurse confided to him the injections were often
just saline solution.

He says his work has implications for the way drugs are marketed.
People often think generic medicine is inferior. But gussy it up a
bit, change the name, make it appear more expensive, and maybe it will
work better, he said.

Charles Spence's award−winning work also has to do with the way the
mind functions. Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at
Oxford University in England, found that potato chips "crisps" to
the British that sound crunchier taste better.

His findings have already been put to work at the world−famous Fat
Duck Restaurant in England, where diners who purchase one seafood dish
also get an iPod that plays ocean sounds as they eat.

Geoffrey Miller's work could affect the earning potential of exotic
dancers everywhere.

Miller, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New
Mexico, and his colleagues knew of prior studies that found women are
more attractive to men when at peak fertility. So they took the work
one step further by studying earnings of exotic dancers.

In the 18 subjects Miller studied, average earnings were $250 for a
five−hour shift. That jumped to $350 to $400 per five−hour shift when
the women were their most fertile, he said.

"I have heard, anecdotally, that some lap dancers have scheduled
shifts based on this research," he said.

Armadillos helped win an Ig Nobel for Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo, a
professor of archaeology at the Universidade De Sao Paulo in Brazil,
and a colleague earned.

Pesky armadillos, they found, can move artifacts in archaeological dig
sites up, down and even laterally by several meters as they dig.
Armadillos are burrowing mammals and prolific diggers. Their abodes
can range from emergency burrows 20 inches deep, to more permanent
homes reaching 20 feet deep, with networks of tunnels and multiple
entrances, according to the Humane Society of the United States' Web

Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,                                          2
                                     Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,

Araujo was thrilled to win. "There is no Nobel Prize for archaeology,
so an Ig Nobel is a good thing," he said in an e−mail.


On the Web:

Ig Nobels: http://www.improbable.com

REFERENCE: "The Role of Armadillos in the Movement of Archaeological
Materials: An Experimental Approach," Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José
Carlos Marcelino, Geoarchaeology, vol. 18, no. 4, April 2003, pp.

Ig Nobel Prize for Archaeology,                                          3

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