Big Brains Line Up for Ig Nobel Abuse

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"Some people poke their nose into other people's business," Srihari said at his Ig Nobel induction. "I make it my business to poke my business into other people's noses."

Among the findings in the 2001 report: Nose picking is the same across social classes, and 80 percent of us do it with our fingers, though some use tweezers and even pencils. Why? Srihari says about 50 percent of people pick to unclog their nose, 11 percent do so for cosmetic reasons. The rest, presumably, are just looking for recreation.

PUBLIC HEALTH Inflatable Doll Advisory (1996) — Most grown men don't play with dolls. But a few guys apparently play very intimately with the inflatable kind. However, before you get a little too familiar with "Rubber Rhonda," you might want to read a cautionary medical report from Ellen Kleist of Greenland and Harold Moi of Norway, "Transmission of Gonorrhea Through an Inflatable Doll," published in Genitourinary Medicine.

MEDICINE Intimate Zipper Injuries (1993) Three doctors at a Navy Hospital in San Diego received their Ig Nobel for a 1990 research report, "Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis." Unless you've had such an injury, you'll never know the importance of this research. Moreover, our boys in the Navy deserve all the protection we can afford.

MANAGED HEALTH CARE The Spinning Birthing Table (1999) — How can you ease labor pains? How about strapping a woman into a circular table and spinning her at high speed? Then you can pop out the newborn with centrifugal force. The late George and Charlotte Blonsky of New York City thought of this while observing elephants at the Bronx Zoo. Apparently, pachyderms spin when they're in labor. The Blonskys even patented their idea.

TECHNOLOGY The Wheel (2001) — Maybe you've heard of the wheel. Well, last year, John Keogh of Australia patented it. Actually, he patented the "Circular Transportation Device" to demonstrate that, perhaps, there are some problems with patent laws.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.