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Old 2006-10-05, 03:46   #1
mfgoode
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Lightbulb Physics Nobel.


"CNN reports that the [0]Nobel Prize in Physics has
been
awarded to John C. Mather and George F. Smoot for their contribution to
the
big-bang Theory." From the article: "Their work was based on
measurements
done with the help of the NASA-launched COBE satellite in 1989. They
were
able to observe the universe in its early stages about 380,000 years
after it was born. Ripples in the light they detected also helped
demonstrate how galaxies came together over time. 'The very detailed
observations that the laureates have carried out from the COBE
satellite
have played a major role in the development of modern cosmology into a
precise science,' the academy said in its citation." If you're
interested, you can read [1]a rundown on the prize-winning work (pdf)
provided by the prize organization.

Links:
0.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe....ap/index.html
1.
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/p...6/phyadv06.pdf
Mally


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Old 2006-10-06, 18:47   #2
ewmayer
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And on the lighter side ... a big "thumbs up" to this year's IgNobelists ... especially - and quite literally - to the IgLaureate who authored the immortal research study, ''Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage":
Quote:
Ig Nobels Honors Odd Scientific Research

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 5, 2006

Filed at 11:33 p.m. ET

BOSTON (AP) -- The sound sets teeth on edge, makes skin crawl and sends a shiver down the spine. Just thinking about it gives some people the heebie-jeebies. But what is it about the sound of fingernails scratching on a blackboard that elicits such a universal reaction? Randolph Blake and two colleagues think they know -- the sound's frequency level.

Their research has earned them an Ig Nobel, the annual award given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research magazine for weird, wacky and sometimes worthless scientific research.

This year's winners honored -- or maybe dishonored -- at a raucous ceremony Thursday at Harvard's inappropriately opulent Sanders Theater include a doctor who put his finger on a cure for hiccups; two men who think there is something to the old adage that feet smell like cheese; and researchers who discovered that dung beetles won't tuck in to just any old pile of ... well, dung.

What started as a small event in 1991 to honor obscure and humorous scientific achievements has grown into an international happening, with some of this year's winners traveling from Australia, Kuwait and France. The awards are given out by real Nobel laureates, including Harvard physics professor Roy Glauber, who stays behind afterward to sweep up.

The nails on a blackboard research was part of a bigger, legitimate project, said Blake, a Vanderbilt University psychology professor who specializes in vision. He, along with Dr. D. Lynn Halpern and James Hillenbrand, did the research two decades ago while at Northwestern University.

Blake remembers some volunteers refusing to participate after learning they'd have to endure the obnoxious screeching.

Howard Stapleton's research into noise has more practical applications. He invented teenager repellant.

His device, called the Mosquito, emits a high frequency siren-like noise that is painful to the ears of teens and those in their early 20s, but inaudible to adults.

The invention grew out of his 15-year-old daughter's trip to the local store last year to buy milk. She came back empty-handed, having been intimidated by a group of teenage boys loitering outside the store.

Stapleton, who has sold and installed security systems for more than two decades, thought back to when he was 12 years old and he visited his father at work.

''I walked into this room with six people doing ultrasonic welding, and immediately ran right back out again the noise was so painful,'' Stapleton said. ''I asked an adult, 'What's that noise.' And he said, 'What noise?'''

Stapleton's company, Compound Security Systems of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, has sold hundreds of the units to retailers, local governments, police departments and homeowners all over the United Kingdom. The company is shipping its first Mosquito units for sale in the United States next week.

''The success of this has knocked my socks off,'' Stapleton said.

Dr. Francis Fesmire said he wasn't sure whether he was honored or embarrassed when he learned he'd won an Ig Nobel for his paper called -- ahem -- ''Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.''

''I'm a serious guy, and something I wrote in 1987 is coming back to haunt me,'' said Fesmire, an emergency physician and director of the emergency heart center at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Fesmire, who stresses he is a real doctor who ''someday wishes to be truly be remembered for my cardiac research,'' tried the technique for the first and last time nearly 20 years ago.

He knew that the technique could be used to slow a rapid heartbeat by stimulating the vagus nerve. The same nerve, when stimulated, can stop hiccups.

''I saw this patient who couldn't stop his hiccups, I tried these other maneuvers, and then I stuck my finger in his bottom,'' Fesmire said, emphasizing that it was the treatment of last resort. ''Will I ever do it again? No!''

Dr. Ivan Schwab accepted his Ig Nobel for his work explaining why woodpeckers don't get headaches. Schwab, an opthamologist, said his writings are based on the research of deceased UCLA professor Phillip R.A. May, who received an Ig Nobel posthumously.

''I had heard about the Igs and this sounded like too much fun to pass up,'' said Schwab, who planned on dressing up as a woodpecker for the ceremony. ''I'm very proud to be part of it.''

------

On the Web: Ig Nobels, www.improbable.com
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Old 2006-10-08, 06:43   #3
mfgoode
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Smile Hiccups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
And on the lighter side ... a big "thumbs up" to this year's IgNobelists ... especially - and quite literally - to the IgLaureate who authored the immortal research study, ''Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage":

Very interesting article indeed, Ernst!

Reminds me of the tale about a teenage boy who used to suffer from terrible migraine. He was told to visit a famous and renowned yogi who claimed he could cure any illness. So the boy went and met the Guru.

Finding the boy attractive and appealing the guru told him to lie face flat on the bed. You guessed it. He sodomised the boy.
Strange enough the boys severe pain vanished.

When he left the yogi's mountainous abode he wondered to him self,
' where I had the pain and where he ministered the medicine, amazing !'
I do not know if he ever went back to the yogi again. Maybe he did.

But seriously speaking I learnt in my travels in the Himalayan foothills that a very reliable cure for hiccups, even chronic, is to put both the little fingers
in the ears, one in each and breathe normally. Holding the breath is even better.
It wont take long before the hiccups vanish. I have personally found this to work marvellously and effectively.

I suppose a little faith in the method is part of the cure.

Mally
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Old 2006-10-08, 07:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfgoode View Post
But seriously speaking I learnt in my travels in the Himalayan foothills that a very reliable cure for hiccups, even chronic, is to put both the little fingers in the ears, one in each and breathe normally. Holding the breath is even better. It wont take long before the hiccups vanish. I have personally found this to work marvellously and effectively.

I suppose a little faith in the method is part of the cure.
Yes, it is. Hiccups are caused, I have read, by a feedback loop in the nervous system that gets established (involving the vagus nerve, it seems) under certain conditions. The key to stopping hiccups is to interrupt this feedback loop, which can be done by a variety of methods, both physical and psychological.

Each of the methods described in this thread accomplishes the goal of interrupting the feedback loop. I used to use the holding-my-breath technique on myself, after finding the sipping-water-slowly method not as effective. (See below for improvement.)

Interestingly, I learned from my former wife, when we were married, a technique (invented by someone else) for stopping someone else's hiccups without physically contacting that person (though it does require visual and verbal communication). She used to ask me to do it whenever she got the hiccups. It's purely psychological and quite amazing or amusing, depending on whether you've seen it before. I've used it to help stop hiccups in people other than my wife, such as co-workers, and of course it also works on myself (though then it's both physical and psychological).

First I ask the hiccuper to concentrate his/her attention on me as I perform the technique. His/her concentration is important -- its level determines the success of the method. Then I adopt a serious but relaxed attitude, take a deep breath, then simultaneously hold my breath and slowly rub both my temples with my fingers for as long as possible before I have to breathe again. Usually, by the time I breathe again, the other person's hiccups have ceased. If the first time doesn't work, I re-explain that his/her total concentration on me is necessary, then I do it again. I can't recall ever needing to do it more than twice, but one could if necessary. After success, I totally explain the method to the recovered hiccuper so he/she can pass it on (and understand its scientific basis, not think it's magic).

As you can see, Mally, it's similar to a combination of the two methods you mention, plus an extra psychological component. Rubbing my temples is probably more effective in holding the other person's attention than putting my fingers in my ears would be.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2006-10-08 at 07:44
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Old 2006-10-09, 17:36   #5
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My grandmother's favored folk remedy for hiccups was to eat a spoonful of sugar - as a child that invariably worked for me - as an adult I've never had any bouts of hiccoughs which didn't self-terminate in fairly short order, as Ahhhhhhhnold might say. ;) I expect the combination of the strong taste and granular texture of the sugar and the mouth-work required to dissolve it probably is quite effective at breaking the feedback loop Richard describes in his post. Along similar lines, I would expect drinking a carbonated beverage and letting go a few rip-snorting borborygmi might be effective (unless that was what started the bout to begin with.)

One can also see why such a folk remedy would be more likely to arise than the "thumb up the bum" technique described in the IgNobel paper.
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Old 2006-10-10, 18:32   #6
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Water from the far side of a cup has been a fail safe for me.

One must bend over to drink this way.
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Old 2006-10-11, 02:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
One must bend over to drink this way.
Bend over? Ohhhhh! I had wondered why soaking my beard was supposed to stop my hiccups.
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Old 2006-10-11, 16:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
Water from the far side of a cup has been a fail safe for me.

One must bend over to drink this way.
Indeed - the whole idea is to make the subsequent Digital Rectal Massage easier to perform. The cup-of-water thing is just a trick to get people to expose their nether regions.

I wonder: in the old days, did people instead use Analog Rectal Massage to cure hiccups? sounds like a topic for another potential IgNobel-winning research study to me.
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Old 2006-10-13, 16:18   #9
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Cool Hiccups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Yes, it is. Hiccups are caused, I have read, by a feedback loop in the nervous system that gets established (involving the vagus nerve, it seems) under certain conditions. The key to stopping hiccups is to interrupt this feedback loop, which can be done by a variety of methods, both physical and psychological.
~ ~ ~
Each of the methods described in this thread accomplishes the goal of interrupting the feedback loop. I used to use the holding-my-breath technique on myself, after finding the sipping-water-slowly method not as effective. (See below for improvement.)
~ ~
As you can see, Mally, it's similar to a combination of the two methods you mention, plus an extra psychological component. Rubbing my temples is probably more effective in holding the other person's attention than putting my fingers in my ears would be.

The feed back loop you mention is a nerve circuit originating in the spinal column and terminating in the brain and is probably correct Richard.

But to examine the cause of hiccups physically the reason is that the diaphragm separating the Thorax from the abdomen, losses its normal rhythm and hence it is out of step with the normal breathing rhythm.

There are two types of breathing. and in normal respiration it is

1) thoracic breathing when the rib cage moves upwards principally increasing the volume of the chest with the diaphragm moving slightly down wards but not appreciably. This type of breathing is found mainly in females. You must have noticed when a female exercises or gets sexually aroused her breasts heave upwards in slight spasms. This is because of her childbearing function when the diaphragm by a restricted movement is bereft of causing pressure on the child to be.

2) abdominal breathing where the increase in volume is effected by the diaphragm moving up and down rather than the rib cage. This is the normal form in males.

When the diaphragm loses its rhythm temporarily and is spasmodic, hiccups are caused. Therefore the cure is to bring the diaphragm back to its normal rhythm. This is effected by the various methods recounted above both physical and psychological. I have also used Reiki, pyramid power, magnetic healing and urine therapy to cure chronic cases.

With this different breathing in males and females I wonder, if a study is made, will it be found that men fart more often and women belch more?

Now am I eligible for an IgNobel prize?

mally

Last fiddled with by mfgoode on 2006-10-13 at 16:21 Reason: spelling
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