Monthly Archives: February 2015

IgNoble Prizes

Here’s the IgNoble Prize List for 2014.  A little late.

PHYSICS PRIZE [JAPAN]: Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor.

REFERENCE: “Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin,” Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, Tribology Online 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 147-151.


I know a certain father-in-law will be interested in the prize in public health.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE [CZECH REPUBLIC, JAPAN, USA, INDIA]: Jaroslav Flegr, Jan Havlíček and Jitka Hanušova-Lindova, and to David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa Seyfried, for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat.

REFERENCE: “Changes in personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis,” Jaroslav Flegr and Jan Havlicek, Folia Parasitologica, vol. 46, 1999, pp. 22-28.

REFERENCE: “Decreased level of psychobiological factor novelty seeking and lower intelligence in men latently infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii Dopamine, a missing link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis?” Jaroslav Flegr, Marek Preiss, Jiřı́ Klose, Jan Havlı́ček, Martina Vitáková, and Petr Kodym, Biological Psychology, vol. 63, 2003, pp. 253–268.

REFERENCE: “Describing the Relationship between Cat Bites and Human Depression Using Data from an Electronic Health Record,” David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa Seyfried, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 8, 2013, e70585. WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Jaroslav Flegr, David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan

Obituary: Soy Sauce Designer

Article from the New York Times.

TOKYO — Kenji Ekuan, the Japanese industrial designer whose instantly recognizable soy sauce bottle — red-capped and elegantly teardrop-shaped — became one of his country’s most ubiquitous postwar exports, died on Sunday. He was 85.

His death, of heart failure, was confirmed by GK Design Group, which Mr. Ekuan helped found in the 1950s and he continued to lead as chairman. He had a form of arrhythmia and had been hospitalized since early this month.

Mr. Ekuan was a prolific and widely lauded designer whose work shaped products closely associated with modern Japan, including Yamaha motorcycles and a bullet train used in the country’s Shinkansen high-speed rail network.