I’ve been having frustrating computer problems for the last couple of weeks. An electricity surge switched off the circuit breaker for part of the house. When I turned the electricity back on, I discovered that both our computers and the wireless router were having major hardware problems. I actually enjoy fixing these things — unless I’m unsuccessful. I’ve now repaired the wireless router and one PC. The other PC — the one where I had started writing several blog posts and where I had most scientific papers (PDFs) stored – is now completely dead. I’ve decided to give up and bring it to a repair shop. (And yes — I’ve made that stupidest of all computer mistakes. I hadn’t backed up the hard drive for a few months.) I’m 99% sure that the hard disk is still intact.
Meanwhile, if you’ve never heard of the Ig® Nobel Prizes and are in a need of a a laugh, take look at this. They’re awarded at Harvard every October and their motto is, “Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.” Nature has said that the Ig Nobel awards “are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar.”
Incidentally, you’ll see that the Ig® Nobel Prizes are sponsored by Improbable Research. My personal nominee for improbable ”epidemiological” research of the last few years is: Jasienska et al. Large breasts and narrow waists indicate high reproductive potential in women. Proceedings of the Royal Society/Biological Sciences 2004; 271:1213-1217. But take a look at the paper and you can be the judge.