Funny science quote of the day

I found this piece funny, in particular:

[Funding a particle accelerator is] not a trivial sum of money for a lot of people, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $1,500 per head price tag of the Iraq war to date. And building a particle accelerator doesn’t require waterboarding anybody.

(Well, strictly speaking, neither does the Iraq war, and I can’t say with certainty what might happen if Alberto Gonzales were put in charge of ILC construction…)


this kind of ultra-hot, ultra-dense stupidity can only be achieved by colliding at least two forms of idiocy at speeds approaching that of light

And the winner is…

My favorite Ig Nobel prize this year is in Linguistics:

LINGUISTICS: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.

A close second is in aviation:

AVIATION: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.

Meanwhile, a more serious prize was awarded for really useful physics.

Le pélican est, avec le kangourou, le seul marsupial volant à avoir une poche ventrale sous le bec.

Demo effect, by Honda

Someone recently shared with me an interesting quote from Immanuel Kant:

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made
(German original: Aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden)

It looks like robots are not the solution to this particular problem:

A particular variant of Murphy’s law states that a demonstration’s probability of failure is directly proportional to the size of the audience. Since such a probability quickly exceeds one (unless you use super-advanced mathematics, that is), failure almost never fails:

I wonder if the presence of a camcorder measurably improves the rate of failure…

This cruel treatment to robots reminds me of one of the greatest robotic quotes ever:

The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn’t enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.

The $50B science thing

As expected, The Onion does a much better job than I did.

The scientists spoke for approximately three hours about the complicated science machine, which is expensive, and large, telling members of the House Committee on Science and Technology that the tubular, gamma-ray-using mechanism is vital in some big way. Yet the high price tag of the thing, which would be built on a 40-square-mile plot of land where the science would ultimately occur, remained a pressing question.

Found through Cosmic Variance. Everybody these days seems to agree that communication is difficult in science.