World’s Zaniest Scientists Honored: The 21th First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes at Harvard University’s Historic Sanders Theatre

Some of the Ig Nobel Prize Winners at the Awards Ceremony

Ig Nobel Prize Winners with Genuine Nobel Prize Laureate Award Presenters

2011 Ig Nobel Prize Closing Ceremony: The Traditional Tearful Goodbye

World’s Zaniest Scientists Honored: The 21th First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes

In the ultimate accolade for the world’s mad scientists, spoof Nobel Prizes were awarded Thursday night for studies into beetle sex, turtles yawning, the desperation of people dying to urinate and other daffy investigations. The Annual Ig Nobel Prizes, now in their 21st year, were given at Harvard University in front of 1,200 spectators, with real Nobel Prize winners handing out the honors.

To win, scientists must “first make people laugh, and then make them think,” according to the Ig Nobel ethos. The Biology Prize, often a good source of humor at the Igs, went to Darryl Gwynne of Canada, Australia and the United States, and David Rentz of Australia, for their groundbreaking paper titled: “Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbis For Females.” Which to the layman translates as: beetles tragically attempting to mate with an Australian beer bottle.

Several prizes delved into the extremes of human behavior under stress. Take, for example, the Medicine Prize, won by a Dutch-Belgian-Australian team with “Inhibitory Spillover,” a probe into the age-old challenge of needing to pee at a busy moment. The team investigated why “people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things, when they have a strong urge to urinate,” the awards citation said.

Research into the Psychology and Physiology Prizes must have been a great deal less stressful. The former went to a University of Oslo professor who looked at “why, in everyday life, people sigh?” The second concerned yawning in red-footed tortoises. For those who’ve been wondering, the British-Dutch-Hungarian-Austrian team has finally established that there is “no evidence of contagious yawning” in the creatures.

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prize winners:

Physiology Prize

Anna Wilkinson (of the UK), Natalie Sebanz (of The Netherlands, Hungary, and AUSTRIA), Isabella Mandl (of Austria) and Ludwig Huber (of Austria) for their study “No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise.”

Chemistry Prize

Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of Japan, for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.

Medicine Prize

Mirjam Tuk (of The Netherlands and the UK), Debra Trampe (of The Netherlands) and Luk Warlop (of Belgium). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder and Robert Feldman (of the USA), Robert Pietrzak, David Darby, and Paul Maruff (of Australia) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.

Psychology Prize

Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, Norway, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.

Literature Prize

John Perry of Stanford University, USA, for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which states: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.

Biology Prize

Darryl Gwynne (of Canada, Australia and the USA) and David Rentz (of Australia and the USA) for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle.

Physics Prize

Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne and Bruno Ragaru (of France), and Herman Kingma (of The Netherlands), for determining why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don’t.

Mathematics Prize

Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of Korea (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of Uganda (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

Peace Prize

Arturas Zuokas, Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.

Public Safety Prize

John Senders of the University of Toronto, Canada, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony Promo

The 21th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Awards (The Full Ceremony)

Vilnius Mayor A.Zuokas Fights Illegally Parked Cars: Ig Nobel Peace Prize

John Senders Wins 2011 Ig Nobel Public Safety Prize: Pioneer Days on Rt 128

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Water Lilies Blooming: Hear Me With Your Eyes

Water Lilies Blooming: Hear Me With Your Eyes

Photography by: Vincenzo Di Nuzzo

Water Lilies Blooming is a glorious time lapse four-minute short art film by photographer/filmmaker Vincenzo Di Nuzzo, which captures water lilies blooming in his own garden. This wonderful film has a beautiful soundtrack provided by Greendjohn.

Water Lilies Blooming: Hear Me With Your Eyes

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Photo of the Day: Just to Be Very Clear!!

Just to Be Very Clear: No!

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

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Marilyn Monroe’s First Photo Shoot: Superstar’s Early Modelling Photos Revealed

Early Marilyn Monroe Photographs to Go on Auction Block

A bankruptcy judge in Florida ruled earlier this week that a number of rare photographs taken by Joseph Jasgur in 1946 of Norma Jeane Dougherty, who went on to become the iconic Marilyn Monroe, will be sold at auction to settle the debts of the late photographer. The photographs have not been widely distributed and the collection has been locked up in court battles for more than two decades. The sale is significant because it’s very rare to see something where you can buy a copyrighted image of Monroe, especially images from her very first photo shoot. The photographs include a black-and-white headshot of the future Marilyn Monroe wearing a jaunty beret, another of her in a halter top and a color picture of her smiling in a striped bikini on the sand. Jasgur was hired by the Blue Book modeling agency to shoot the then-unknown Norma Jeane.

Interview with Joe Jasgur: Marilyn Monroe Photographer

Photography by Joseph Jasgur: Marilyn Monroe’s First Photo Shoot

Photo-Gallery: Marilyn Monroe’s First Photo Shoot

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The Decadently Delirious Art of Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1978

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1958-1962/2011

The Decadently Delirious Art of Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes

Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes

Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes is a retrospective celebration of the underground films, performance art, photography and experimental theatre created by legendary American artist, filmmaker and actor Jack Smith (1932-1989), an exhibition that recently was presented at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Smith was described by Andy Warhol as the only person he would ever copy and by film director John Waters as “the only true underground filmmaker.”

Working in New York from the 1950s until his death in 1989, Jack Smith resolutely resisted and upturned accepted conventions, whether artistic, moral or legal. Irreverent in tone and delirious in effect, Smith’s films are both wildly camp and subtly polemical. Just before Andy Warhol’s Factory, and well before the full flowering of New York City’s gay community, Smith made Flaming Creatures (1963), a trippy, decadently surreal tableau of cross-dressing men and women sexually molesting one another.

Flaming Creatures defined underground cinema for a generation and ended up being banned almost everywhere it was shown. The film was even banned in Europe, and Jonas Mekas ended up having to schedule a private screening in a hotel room for such luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda and Roman Polanski after a film festival in Belgium refused to show it. In 1968, Sen. Strom Thurman vehemently denounced it on the floor of the U.S. Senate. People were arrested for showing it. To this day, Smith’s works are still rarely shown; his films aren’t available from Blockbuster or NetFlix. Wagging weenies, female crotches, bare breasts and all manner of simulated sexual activities are shown in Flaming Creatures, as well as memorable lines such as a male voice asking: “Is there a lipstick that doesn’t come off when you suck cock?

While Smith is best known for his contributions to underground cinema, his influence extends across performance art, photography and experimental theater. Smith has been referenced by avant-garde artists such as Laurie Anderson, Cindy Sherman and Mike Kelley, filmmakers David Lynch and Matthew Barney, photographer Nan Goldin, musicians John Zorn, Lou Reed and David Byrne, and theater director Robert Wilson.

Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes

Jack Smith: Flaming Creatures (Full Movie)

Jack Smith and the Destruction Of Atlantis

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis is a documentary film directed by Mary Jordan that premiered in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary presents a collection of interviews and clips by and about the revolutionary artist Jack Smith. The film covers some of the difficult exhibition history of Flaming Creatures (1963) and difficult collaborations with Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol and others. Voice-overs from Smith, culled from some 14 hours of interviews with various critics and friends, supplemented the archival visual materials, footage and extensive interviews with filmmaker John Waters, Smith’s sister Mary Sue Slater, playwright Richard Foreman, Smith and Warhol star Mario Montez, writer Gary Indiana, and musician John Zorn, among others.

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis

Photo-Gallery: The Decadently Delirious Art of Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes

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A Stunning Measure of Clenching Courage: Full Release

A Stunning Measure of Clenching Courage: Full Release

Full Release is an amazingly inspiring two-minute short film, a collaborative production by Jordan Satmary and Brandon Yoon at Concord Films. The film presents a stunning documentary of an act of rare bravery, perhaps once best described by Mohandas Gandhi: “Courage is not measured by how tall a man pretends to stand, but by how hard he clenches his butt cheeks.

A Stunning Measure of Clenching Courage: Full Release

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It’s 1994 All Over Again: The Lion King

It’s 1994 All Over Again: The Lion King

It’s 1994 all over again, with Disney’s re-release of The Lion King debuting with a roaring start at the domestic box office. Back in 1994, after the young lion cub Simba was tricked into thinking he had killed his father, he fled into exile and abandoned his identity as the future King. But he then made the unlikely journey to claim his crown as both ruler of the jungle and king of the box office. Now seventeen years later, The Lion King is back to take his throne once again. In one of the biggest surprises of the year, the re-release of The Lion King has again opened at the top of the box office.

The Lion King (1994, Full Movie)

Slide Show: The Lion King (1994)

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