The mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results

The mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results ("mini-JIR")
Issue Number 1994-02
February, 1994
ISSN 1072-7159
Key words:science humor,irreproducible results,Ig Nobel
The Official Electronic mini-Organ of
The Society for Basic Irreproducible Research
Produced jointly by
The Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR) and
The MIT Museum

1994-02-01      TABLE OF CONTENTS

1994-02-01      Table of Contents
1994-02-02      Purpose of the mini-Journal (*)
1994-02-03      Historic Abstracts from JIR, vol. 3, 1956
1994-02-04      WARNING: Perfume as Biohazard
1994-02-05      JIR Barnstorming Tour: partial schedule ---IMPORTANT!!!
1994-02-06      JIR Recommends
1994-02-07      Calendar of Upcoming Events
1994-02-08      Calls for Papers
1994-02-09      How to Submit Articles (*)
1994-02-10      How to Subscribe / How to Get Back Issues (*)
1994-02-11      Yes, please DO make copies! (*)
1994-02-12      Irreproducible Section

                Items marked (*) are reprinted in every issue.

1994-02-02      Purpose of the mini-Journal (*)

The mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results publishes news about overly
stimulating research and ideas. Specifically:

A) Haphazardly selected superficial (but advanced!) extracts of research
news and satire from the Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR).

B) News about the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Ig Nobel Prizes honor
"achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced." A public
ceremony is held at MIT, in Cambridge Massachusetts, every autumn. The
ceremony is sponsored jointly by JIR and by the MIT Museum.

C) News about other science humor activities conducted by the MIT Museum
and JIR.

1994-02-03      Historic Abstracts from JIR, vol. 3, 1956

        [JIR itself is published bi-monthly.
        In months between issues, this section of mini-JIR will contain
        historic abstracts from the JIR archives.]

Volume 3 (1956) of JIR is devoted primarily to zippers.

In the lead article, the zipper is defined as a fastening device
consisting of two flexible strands engaging and disengaging by means of
a sliding cam pulled between them. The zipper was invented in 1891 by
Whitcomb J. Judson (because he became fed up with lacing his shoes and
his wife's corset). After 12 years of toiling to make the device by
hand, he enlisted the help of a Swedish engineer, Gideon Sundback, and
by 1912 they devised the product as we know it today.

The second article is Harry J. Zipkin s "Theoretical Zipperdynamics"
Zipkin first discusses "Zipperbewegiung" of quantum theoretical nature
with no clear resolution of the problem. A semi-infinite zipper, based
on the Schroedzipper equation, is then described, the construction of
which was impossible because of the semi-infinite budget required.

The finite zipper, which, too, is based on the Schroedzipper equation,
presents other problems. These are discussed by Azo-KOHN in the article
"Applications and Complications of Zippery Mechanisms". The following
facts are described:
1. Production of finite zippers is connected with accumulation of Au and
2. Concentrated sulfuric acid seriously disturbs the potential activity
of the zipper;
3. The introduction of the plastic zipper is beneficial for forgetful
surgeons: they can use it for closing abdominal postoperative wounds;
4. Electronically operated remote control zippers can be installed on
the oral apertures of talkative spouses;
5. A clear connection exists between the hybridization mechanisms of DNA
and the function of zippers.

Volume 3 also contains an article on "Grading Systems of Scientific
Workers" by D. Rougge. Several systems are evaluated:
1. Idea grading: based on IPM (ideas per minute). It works quite well
for scientists employing many graduate or postgrad students.
2. Execution grading: based on projects - no matter whether original or
not. The important factor is the number of publications or patents.
3. Disagreeable grading : Certain activities (administration of a
department, planning of laboratories, organization of conferences,
inspection of laboratories) seem to be quite disagreeable to scientists.
Promotions can be keyed to the performance of these disagreeable jobs.
4. Public relations: Grading depends on scientists ability to convince
potential investors to part with their money

H. J. Lipkin contributes another non-zipper related article. "The story
of Chanukah" discusses:
1. The view of Sceptics and Antisceptics.
2. The Scottish origin of McAbies.
3. The problem of why potato latkes (in Europe) and doughnuts (in the
USA) are associated with Chanukah.

1994-02-04      WARNING: Perfume as Biohazard

A special announcement from
        William Lipscomb, 1976 Nobel Laureate, chemistry
        Chemistry Department
        Harvard University

[Professor Lipscomb first presented this speech at the Ig Nobel Prize
Ceremony held last October at MIT]

                                        * * *
The international science community is worried about the future of the
earth's environment. The uncontrolled release of perfume into the
atmosphere constitutes a major biohazard.

Please -- after you have read a magazine, don't throw your smelly scent
strips in the trash. Recycle them.

At our recycling center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we now have
separate bins for glass, for plastic, for metal, and for scent strips.
If your town doesn't recycle scent strips, please do the next best thing
-- stick your scent strips in an envelope and mail them back to the

Thank you.
                                        * * *

1994-02-05 JIR  Barnstorming Tour: partial schedule ---IMPORTANT!!!

In honor (?) of the new JIR book, "Sex As a Heap of Malfunctioning
Rubble," (see section 1994-02-10 below) we will be barnstorming North
America doing JIR readings/seminars/slide shows. The tour will take
place during March and April and May. Events already scheduled include:

Friday, March 18        University of Portland (Portland, OR)
Tuesday, March 22       Microsoft (Redmond, OR)
Saturday, April 1       Sci-Fi Mini-Con (Minneapolis)
Thursday, April 7       [date may change] - New York Mensa (NYC)
Friday, April 8         Cornell University Medical Center (NYC)
Sunday, April 10        Franklin Institute (Philadelphia)
Wednesday, April 13     Library of Congress (Washington, DC)
Saturday, April 16      Technicon 11 Sci-Fi convention at
                        Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
Thursday, April 21      Ohio State University (Columbus)

        More dates and details
        will appear in the next issue of mini-JIR

If you would like to be a host/instigator for an Irreproducible Science
Event for 50 or more people at your city, university, hospital, research
center, high school, book store, etc., ASAP please contact:
        Lisa Bernstein, Workman Publishing, 708 Broadway, NY, NY 10013
        (212) 614-7505          FAX:(212) 254-8098

If you are a JIR author and/or if you want to read, shout, or otherwise
present your irreproducible research results at one of these events,
please contact Marc Abrahams ( as soon as possible.

1994-02-06      JIR Recommends

Research reports that merit a trip to the library:

"Immunological and Behavioral Effects of Fragrance in Mice," by Hideki
Shibata, Ryoichi Fujiwara, Mitsunori Iwamoto, Harue Matsuoka and M.
Mitsuo Yokoyama,  International Journal of Neuroscience,  vol. 57, nos.
1-2, 1991. (Thanks to Barry Duggan for bringing this to our attention.)

"Reassociation of Dreams. IV. A Second LSD Analysis of the Beetle Bug
Dream: Its Relation to a Shark Dream and Fear of Lesbianism," by H. A.
Abramson,  Journal of Asthma Research,  vol. 15, no. 1, 1977, pp. 23-62.
(Thanks to Thomas Ryan for bringing this to our attention.)

1994-02-07      Calendar of Upcoming Events

::::: "Crazy After Calculus"
An ongoing exhibition of extraordinary humor at MIT from prehistoric
times through the present day.
   The MIT Museum
   265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA  02139  USA
   (617) 253-4422               (

::::: 1994 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday evening, October 6, 1994 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
You are cordially invited to attend. You are also invited to submit
nominations for this year s Ig Nobel Prizewinners.

1994-02-08      Calls for Papers

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS for the 1994 Ig Nobel Prizes. Ig Nobel Prizes are
awarded for achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced.

CALL FOR PAPERS on the topic: "The Theory of Redundancy Theory."  Please
submit research results only, not speculative essays, please.

CALL FOR ESSAYS for JIR's "Worst Science Teacher Competition."
Essays must be 300 words or less, explaining how and why, despite the
competition, your nominee is the world's worst science teacher. Please
enclose any photographs, diagrams, or other evidence that might bolster
your case. All entries become the property of JIR. The winning essayist
and the worst teacher will both be invited to attend the 1994 Ig Nobel
Prize Ceremony at their own expense. [A stilted note for incurably
serious readers: the underlying purpose of this competition is to
publicize the importance of GOOD science teachers!]

1994-02-09      How to Submit Articles (*)

Since 1955, The Journal of Irreproducible Results has been the
publication of record for overly stimulating research and ideas. JIR
publishes original articles, news of particularly egregious scientific
results, and short notices of satiric and humorous intent. The editors
look forward to receiving your manuscripts, photographs, X-rays,
drawings, etc. Please do not send biological samples.

Articles are typically 500-2000 words in length. The entire manuscript
should be typed double-spaced on standard white bond paper, with
generous margins all around, and submitted with a photocopy.
Alternatively, you may submit via e-mail, in ASCII format.

Because of the volume of submissions, we are unable to acknowledge
receipt of manuscripts unless they are accompanied by a SELF-ADDRESSED,

Before you submit an article to The Journal of Irreproducible Results,
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE skim through a recent issue to see the typical
length and format of JIR articles.  At the same time, please read the
"Information for Contributors" notice in any issue of JIR. Articles may
be submitted to:
        Marc Abrahams, editor
        The Journal of Irreproducible Results
        c/o Wisdom Simulators
        P.O. Box 380853
        Cambridge, MA  02238  USA
        Telephone number for editorial matters: (617) 491-4437

A list of arbitrary suggestions for authors can be obtained by sending a

E-mail address for editorial questions:

1994-02-10      How to Subscribe / How to Get Back Issues (*)

The mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results is an electronic publication,
available over the Internet, free of charge. It is distributed as a
LISTSERV application.  We expect to publish 6-12 issues per year.
To subscribe, send a brief E-mail message to either of these addresses:
The body of your message should contain ONLY the words "SUBSCRIBE MINI-
JIR" followed by your name.
Here are two examples:
        SUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Irene Curie Joliot
        SUBSCRIBE MINI-JIR Nicholai Lobachevsky
To stop subscribing,
send the following message to the same address:
To obtain a list of back issues,
send this message:
To retrieve a particular back issue,
send a message specifying which issue you want.
For example, to retrieve issue 93-00002, send this message:
        GET MINI-JIR 93-00002
If you have questions about how to subscribe, or if you would like to
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[PLEASE NOTE: if you are regularly posting mini-JIR on your gopher, WWW,
news group or mailing list, please drop an e-mail note to so that we can compile a complete resource list --

The Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR)
JIR is a print publication published six times per year.
JIR is written by scientists from around the world, and read by
subscribers in 41 countries. To subscribe, send payment to:
        By phone:       (800) 759-6102 or (617) 876-7000
        By FAX: (617) 876-7022 (include credit card info)
        By mail:        The Journal of Irreproducible Results
                        c/o Wisdom Simulators, P.O. Box 380853
                        Cambridge, MA  02238  USA

        Rates for a year's subscription:
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        Canada, Mexico  individuals $27.50      libraries $46
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        For multiple gift rates, please call

New Book
A new book of outstanding JIR research has just been published:
A) "Sex As a Heap of Malfunctioning Rubble (and further
improbabilities): More of the Best of The Journal of Irreproducible
Results," Marc Abrahams, editor
Workman Publishing, New York, 1993.             ISBN 1-56305-312-8

Previous Books:
B) "The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results,"
George H. Scherr, editor
Workman Publishing, New York, 1983.             ISBN 0-89480-595-9
C) "Journal der Unwiederholbaren Experimente,"
George H. Scherr, editor
Kruger Verlag, Frankfurt, 1986
D) "Journal der Unwiederholbaren Experimente II,"
George H. Scherr, editor
Kruger Verlag, Frankfurt, 1989          ISBN 3-8105-1714-3

Items (A) and (B) are available in most libraries and bookstores,
and from the MIT Museum (617) 253-4462.

1994-02-11      Yes, please DO make copies! (*)

Please DO send copies of mini-JIR to anyone who might be interested.

The only limitations are:
A) You must copy the whole document, without making any changes to it.
B) You do NOT have permission to copy this document for commercial

The contents of this document are copyright (c) 1994, Marc Abrahams.

The mini-Journal of Irreproducible Results ("mini-JIR")
        Editor: Marc Abrahams (
        Technical Brains: Marilyn Geller (