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Marc Abrahams

(Founder of IgNoble Prizes)

An Italian economist, Prof Carlo Cipolla defined The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity:

1) Everybody underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

2) The probability that a person is stupid is independent of other characteristics of that person.

3) A stupid person is someone who causes losses to others, while incurring no gain, and possibly, losses, himself

4) Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid people. Associating with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

A further study by David Dunning and William Flew found that incompetent people don't perform at full speed, dramatically overestimate their ability, and don't recognize incompetence - either their own, or others.

(Their research won them the 2000 Ig Nobel prize for Psychiatry

More books on Behaviour

Territorial Defence. People using a payphone stay on line longer if someone is waiting to use phone. Similarly, drivers take longer to exit car park if someone waiting to use it. Only variation was that men, but not women, would leave quicker if next person had a more expensive car.

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Danish urban legend that alcohol is more easily absorbed through the foot, was tested and found to be completely untrue.

Another study found that grumpy people got grumpier when they drank, and the more irritable they were sober, the more irritable they got when they drank.

More books on Drink

Experimenter severed tiny nerve which tells a fly when it has eaten enough. It never stopped eating, even when its abdomen became so stretched that its organs flattened the sides. It became so big and round that its feet no longer reached the ground, and too heavy to fly. And still it kept eating.

More books on Wild Animals

Thailand has a lot of penis amputations. In the 1970's it became fashionable way for wives to express disapproval of their husband's roving eye - wait until he was asleep, preferably drunk, chop it off with a kitchen knife and then throw it under the house where pigs and ducks foraging. Hence the Thai saying "I'd better get home or the ducks will have something to eat," being well understood in all levels of society.

More books on Doctors

Tanner Scale or Tanner Stages of Development, devised by James M Tanner, describes in detail how female breasts and pubic hair changes as they become women. Although police and prosecuters have used the scale to work out whether (porn film) models are underage, the scale in fact documents the series of changes, which are not indicative of chronological age per se. Tanner himself wrote to magazine Pediatrics explaining this distinction. In response, other doctors wrote angry letters, each praising his own use of the Tanner Scale and denouncing Tanner.

More books on Women

A 2009 Russian patent addressed the problem of tank crews having nowhere to defecate. It proposed a small bag which was then screwed into the nose cone of a shell which was then fired at the enemy. The patent went into some detail as to the psychological effects such shells would have on the opposition forces.

More books on Inventions

Bear attacks a concern in some areas. To overcome this a Californian patent suggested a large inflatable doll which could be incorporated into a walking stick and activated when any wild animal threatened. And the inventers suggested optional extras such as foghorns, bangs and smoke.

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