Last Thursday was the 2012 Ig Nobel prizes, a yearly prize ceremony wherein quirky or downright odd scientific endeavors are given the appreciation they deserve. The Ig Nobel awards, put on by the Annals of Improbable Research, are near and dear to my heart as we share a creedo: Make them laugh, then make them think.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be picking my favorite winners to make comics about. For a full list of this year’s laureates, check out this recap over at Ars Technica. As you can see, it’s a veritable gold mine of material.

Taking home the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize in Acoustics is the speech jammer. If you’ve ever been on the phone and able to hear your echo, you know what a disconcerting experience it can be. These two Japanese researchers used the effect to full force, making a jamming gun that looks like a Gamecube on a stick (complete with laser pointer). The gun utilizes a direction microphone and speaker, so only the target is recorded and only the target hears the feedback. Dastardly! I’ll post the video below, where they explain their remarkable device.

I can’t help detect a twinge of bitterness as the impetus behind the gun. If only Akemi would just shut up with all her girl talk!!! I can only hope that Kurihara and Tsukade did the right thing, and when asked to declare any conflicts, said, “I can’t wait to use this thing all the time.”


This post was brought to you by Nobelium (N0), named for Alfred Nobel. Also thanks to my girlfriend, who puts up with my constant science geekery and was the one who came up with the joke in the penultimate panel.