Today is surely the biggest day of the year for boffins and those involved in the pursuit of boffinry. Because today, the Ig Nobel awards are handed out. Well, they were handed out last night, but the boffins will be having their hangovers today, and that is even more important.
As regular readers will know, the Ig Nobel Awards are given to scientists who have contributed a certain something to the overall store of human knowledge, and have simultaneously made us all wonder, "what were they thinking?" The tagline of the awards is "research that makes people laugh, then think".
This year's illustrious winners include the team of geniuses who came up with the idea of a "gay bomb". Although it was not ever constructed, the idea behind this was that when unleashed behind enemy lines, the chemical bomb would render enemy soldiers more interested in pursuing one another, than in fighting an actual war.
The prize for physics went to a team who tackled the tricky and vexing question of just how it is that sheets become wrinkled. A team that demonstrated that ducks can't tell the difference between the Japanese and German languages, if they are played backwards, won the prize for linguistics.
Glenda Brown of Australia took home a trophy for her unstinting search for the best way to index titles that start with "The". She said the band "The The" cause particular difficulties. Thankless work, we are sure, so good to see it being recognised.
Medical work is recognised, too. So let's hear it for the researcher who discovered that the injury most often sustained by professional sword swallowers is a sore throat.
But our favourite has to be the work done in Argentina, which determined that viagra can help hamsters recover from jetlag. Splendid news indeed, since hamsters are known for their globe trotting.
We are a little confused tough, as to how you would spot a jetlagged hamster. From our own childhoods we seem to remember the damn things spent virtually 24 hours a day sleeping, or hiding in a plastic boot. ®