Sep. 22nd, 2012

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Two big international wins for Scots this month.

First there was Andy Murray's long-awaited victory at the US Open, following up on his Olympic Gold. What makes this special for me is that I have people in Murray's home town of Dunblane.

Second -- and to my embarrassment rather overshadowing Murray's achievement -- there's been my own winning of the AIR Limerick Competition.

AIR is the acronym for Annals of Improbable Research, the folks best known for organizing the famed Ig Nobel Awards; this year's Ig Nobels ceremony was held just a couple of days ago and you can read about it here.

Each month AIR runs a competition for a limerick based on a particular research paper that has caught the editors' attention. The August competition was as follows:

The traditional rivalry between fire ants and carrion flies inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

"Exclusion of Forensically Important Flies Due to Burying Behavior by the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Southeast Texas," Natalie K. Lindgren, Sibyl Bucheli, Alan Archambeault, Joan Bytheway
<>, Forensic Sciences International, vol. 204, nos 1-3, January 2011, pp. e1-3. <> The authors report:

"the remains of an adult male were partially buried at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility at the Center for Biological Field Studies, Sam Houston State University, Texas. The individual was buried except for a small portion of the left abdominal region. A postmortem incised wound was created in the exposed area with the intention of attracting carrion flies. Worker ants of a colony of Solenopsis invicta Buren 1972 (red imported fire ant) filled in the wound with soil, thereby monopolizing the exposed area of the corpse and excluding expected carrion insects from the wound."

And in the September issue of AIR, released mere days before the Ig Nobels ceremony, the judges made their momentous announcement:
The winner is the team of INVESTIGATORS PAUL BARNETT and JOHN GRANT, who write:

Each of us, after he dies,
If buried with ample supplies
     Of soil for adhesions
     To cover his lesions,
Gets ants in his pants, but no flies.


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