Nobel, Ig Nobel or No Balls
This is the time of year when distinguished folk gather near some Norwegian fjord to consider which folk are distinguished in their respective fields and should be awarded loads of publicity and a million dollars or so because they've supposedly benefited mankind.
There are usually several scientists. What they do and how is beyond our comprehension as we grapple with killer diseases bred in hospital air conditioners, drilling disasters, power cuts, thalidomide and the wiping out of wildlife so that the few remaining rhino horns and tiger testicles can give someone's testerone a boost. (What's wrong with viagara, eh? Were the scientists responsible for discovering erectile dysfunction en-nobeled?) Maybe what they do is bad science, but it takes one to know one, as they (who?) say.
Alfred Nobel, as we all know, made his pile out of his reinvention of explosives ~ the Chinese had them yonks before ~ and because he got very remorseful in his dotage he decided that his ill-gotten gains should be doled out to inventors of the Big Bang Theory and others perceived to have had a cataclysmic effect on the human race.
There is a Peace Prize, too, which is because you can't have peace without war which was one source of his wealth. This year, gamblers consider SBY to be a relatively sure bet for this supposedly prestigious award because he told his deputy, Josef Kalla, to end the separatist 'war' in Aceh, a war that had escalated when he, SBY, was the Co-ordinating Minister of Security in the Cabinet of President Magawati while she was too busy shopping to sort it out herself.
Ig nore all that and pause to admire this year's winners of the Ig Nobel awards
which were announced yesterday at Harvard University.
These awards are recognisably relevant as they answer key questions, such as "Why don't woodpeckers get headaches
?" and "What is the Dung Preference of the Dung Beetle Scarabaeus Cristatus Fab (Coleoptera-Scarabaeidae) from Kuwait
?" ( Answers are here
In brief, the Mathematics Prize went to Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed. Positively rivetting stuff
And the Ig Nobel Literature Prize this year went to Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly
" which you can download here
. (NB. This might take an inordinately lengthy and tedious timespan to download. And read.)
The Ig Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded for the invention of a grouch's dream: it's an electromechanical teenager repellant - a device that makes an annoying noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults.
Think of dog whistles and you get the idea. As we get older, our auditory range shrinks so those high-pitched squeals emitted by pubescents when listening to Wetlife or Boyz2Gurlz become inaudible - thank whoever your god is.
This device is called the Mosquito
, the solution to the eternal problem of unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls, around shops and anywhere else they are causing problems.
Jakartass recognises that this is a real boon to society, if not for me. You see, I don't hang out in malls and teenagers don't hang out in front of Jakartass Towers. What we do get are arrogant bastards who park in front and leave their engine running because they want the so-called benefit of in-car air conditioning.
Then there's the Hells Cherubs on their souped up 80cc motorbikes. It baffles me why they remove the baffles from the silencers and, when I'm not fantasising about stringing fishing line at neck height across our narrow back street, as they race past I use up all the f- and c- words decorum won't allow me to use here.
Peace in Indonesia? Don't make me laugh. Or anyone who doesn't really want to be woken up at 4.50 in the morning.
And as for SBY getting the $1 million and being enNobelled with the Peace Prize, that has to be a non-starter.
Two days ago, Pollycarpus, a Garuda Airline pilot convicted of killing Munir, the human rights activist, two years ago, had his sentence of 14 years imprisonment reduced to just two
. It has always been assumed that he was the fall guy for the State Intelligence Service, mainly because his handphone recorded so many calls to the deputy director, Muchdi Purwopranjono, before and after Munir's assassination on a flight to Amsterdam.
Pollycarpus was on the flight and had given up his seat to Munir in the first class section. The documents allowing Pollycarpus on the flight were proved to have been forged; hence the imprisonment. He is now being set free because no direct evidence of murder could be proven against him.Many believe Pollycarpus was made a scapegoat to protect certain individuals or parties who masterminded the murder of Munir. Pollycarpus personifies the silence of the lamb as until the Supreme Court reduced his 14 years jail term to only two years, he has never revealed the brains behind the murder.
Despite this, at more than one point before and during the trial his lawyer did threaten to do so; saying Pollycarpus knew more about the murder than he would let on, a tacit admission of involvement that the Supreme Court judges did not seem to consider worthwhile evidence.
President Yudhoyono sanctioned a fact-finding team to find out who ordered the murder, but the team said they had difficulty getting access to information from the military and BIN. Yudhoyono has publicly stated his commitment to seeing the case solved. But with the exoneration of Pollycarpus, no one has been held responsible for the murder.
The deputy chief of the fact-finding team, Asmara Nababan, questioned Yudhoyono's resolve, pointing out that the President has not released the team's results to the public.
Until such time as SBY releases the report into Munir's murder
~ the report that he, as President, commissioned ~ then no award of any kind, let alone an Ig Nobel, should be awarded to SBY.
He is beginning to demonstrate that he is President No Balls.