An anthropologist who evaluated an urban legend by devising a knife out of frozen human poop is among the 2020 Ig Nobel winners.
This year’s winners annual Ig Nobel ceremony also included a man who discovered spiders peculiarly give researchers who study insects the creeps, a team of Belgian and Dutch experts who examined why chewing and various sounds folks make drive us mad, and an assemblage of world leaders who believe they’re smarter than scientists and physicians. Since high school, Metin Eren has been enchanted by the fable of an Inuit man who produced a knife out of his own dung. The tale has been told and told again, though is it actual?
Eren and his confreres elected to find out. Metin, a co-director of Kent State University in Ohio’s Experimental Archaeology Lab and assistant professor of anthropology at the university, utilized real human excrement chilled to minus-50 degrees Celsius and honed into a sharp edge. He attempted then to chopped meat with it. In a telephone interview, he said: “The poop knives failed miserably. There’s not a lot of basis empirically for this fantastic story. The point of this was to show that evidence and fact-checking are vital.”
The study is a tad revolting but makes a pertinent statement: There are a lot of stories out there based on unproven or bogus science. “These are all individuals who realized that their judgment is better than the judgment of people who have been studying this their entire lives, and were more insistent about it,” said Marc Abrahams, the event’s primary sponsor and Annals of Improbable Research magazine’s editor. Each victor was mailed documentation that consisted of instructions they could print out on how to put together their own cube-shaped award.
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