The database of laughter – serious research, lest you scoff [Article]

The ILHAIRE database is accessible to those who agree to certain conditions. The encompassing ILHAIR Project web site includes a list of public deliverables, some demos (including the Body Laughter Index), and more.  [via Improbable Research]

On attending an Ig Nobel ceremony & after-party [Article]

Scientific research that makes people laugh, then think finds its way into the annals of the Improbable Research, eventually competing for the Ig Nobel awards each year. Carmen Nobel visited this year and writes about it:

The requisite small-talk name-dropping bests that of most cocktail parties. Overheard conversation snippets at this year’s party include, “I don’t know if you remember him, but he studied penguin poo under pressure,” and “Oh, right, she played Star Wars movies to locusts.”

The effect of skull shape & size on music preferences [Article]

Another one from the Improbable Research stable. Your skull, as much as what’s in it, may affect your musical taste — you may dislike a song because your head is too big (or too small) — suggests this study:

The influence of skull resonance on music preference was studied across a series of experiments. Listeners were presented with a set of original melodies and were asked to judge how much they enjoyed each selection…. this research suggests that the skull [shape and size] might influence the music that a person dislikes rather than the music a person likes.”

Using yellow liquid to flush toilets [Improbable Research]

Improbable Research, as the site says, is research that makes people laugh and then think. “Our goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people’s curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what’s important and what’s not, and what’s real and what’s not — in science and everywhere else?”

Consider this one for instance, German research that explores using urine as the main fluid to make flush toilets flush

 the utilization of yellow water as toilet flush liquid seems to be advantageous. To be accepted for this purpose, urine has to be decolorized (and also deodorized).

Conserve water, & save your water bills – watch out for those new products hitting the shelves at a store near you shortly!