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10 Bizarre Mock Nobel Prize Winners

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A lg Nobel Prize Award

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the most respected honors in the world.
The award is given out annually on December 10.  Since 1991, a mock
Nobel Prize named the lg Nobel Prize has been awarded.  Each year 10 lg
Nobel Prizes are given out to researchers and inventors for achievements
that "first make people laugh, and then make them think."  The prizes are
intended to discuss the unusual, honor the imaginative, and spur people's
interest in science, medicine and technology.  This article will be documenting
some of the most unusual winners of the lg Nobel Prize.     

10. Robert Klark Graham (1991)

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Robert Klark Graham was born in Harbor Springs, Michigan.  He was a
successful businessman who made millions of dollars by developing shatter-
proof plastic eyeglass lenses.  However, he received his lg Nobel Prize for
founding the Repository for Germinal Choice, a sperm bank for geniuses.
The sperm bank originally accepted donations from only Nobel Prize winners
and Olympians.  The organization had many rules.  The sperm recipients
were required to be married, and male donors had to have extremely high
IQs.  By 1983, Graham's sperm bank was reputed to have 19 repeat genius
donors, including William Bradford Shockley and two anonymous Nobel
Prize winners in science.

The sperm bank closed in 1999, two years after Graham’s death.  In all, 218
children were born as a result of the Repository for Germinal Choice.
Graham's overriding goal was a form of "positive" eugenics, meant to
increase the number of designated "fit" individuals in a population through
selective breeding.  Eugenics has been highly disputed in modern times,
particularly after the atrocities of Nazism.  For this reason, Graham's "genius
sperm bank" was highly controversial.

9. Jim Knowlton (1992)

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Jim Knowlton is a modern Renaissance man.  A Renaissance man is a
person with superior intelligence, whose expertise spans a significant
number of different subject areas.  In 1992 Knowlton was given a lg Nobel
Prize for his classic anatomy poster "Penises of the Animal Kingdom.”  The
U.S. National Endowment for the Arts was honored with half of the award
for encouraging Mr. Knowlton to extend his work in the form of a pop-up
book.

8. BowLingual (2002)

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Bowlingual is a computer-based dog-to-human language translation device
developed by Japanese toy company Takara and first sold in Japan in
2002.  The device was honored by Time Magazine as a "Best Invention of
2002."  It also won the 2002 lg Nobel Prize for promoting peace and
harmony between the species.  The device is billed as a "translator" but it
might more precisely be called an emotion analyzer.  It uses technology to
categorize dog barks into one of six standardized emotional categories.

The device consists of a hand-held receiver, which also acts as the controller
and contains an LCD information screen and a wireless microphone-
transmitter which attaches to a dog's collar.  When a dog barks, the
microphone records and transmits the sound to the hand-held unit for
computer analysis against a database of thousands of dog barks.  The unit
then categorizes the bark into one of six distinct dog emotions (happy, sad,
frustrated, on-guard, assertive, needy) and displays the corresponding
emotion on the screen.

7. Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong (1999)

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In 1998, South African inventor Charl Fourie created a device called the
Blaster.  The Blaster was a flamethrower that was installed on the door
panels of cars to help prevent carjacking.  During the late 1990s, crime rates
were rising in South Africa and armed assault and carjacking was a serious
public concern.  The Blaster was a liquefied petroleum gas flamethrower that
was installed along the sides of the vehicle under the doors.  Should a
carjacker approach, the driver could activate the weapon with a pedal or
switch and violent flames would erupt from underneath both front doors.

The inventors claimed that the weapon was unlikely to kill someone, but it
would definitely blind and disfigure the assailant.  In South Africa, it is legal
to use lethal force in self-defense and ownership of a flamethrower is
unrestricted.  By 2001, only a few hundred Blasters had been sold, and the
inventors decided to stop sales and market a pocket-sized personal
flamethrower.  The Blaster received the 1999 lg Nobel Prize in the area of
Peace. 

6. John Edward Mack (1993)

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John Edward Mack, M.D. was an American psychiatrist, writer, and
professor at Harvard Medical School.  He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning
biographer, and a leading authority on alleged alien abduction experiences.
In the early 1990s, Mack and a fellow colleague named David Michael
Jacobs, who is a professor of history at Temple University, conducted a
study of 200 men and women who reported recurrent alien encounter
experiences.  Alien encounters have been reported since the 1950s, but the
phenomenon has received little attention from the academic world.  John
Edward Mack was one of the first highly respected academics to research
alien encounters.  To this day he remains one of the most esteemed
professionals to have studied the subject of aliens.

John Edward Mack is quoted as saying "I would never say, yes, there are
aliens taking people.  I would say there is a compelling powerful phenomenon
 here that I can't account for and that's mysterious.”  In 1994, the Dean of
 Harvard Medical School appointed a committee of peers to review Mack's
 clinical care and clinical investigation regarding aliens.  A BBC article is
 quoted as reporting "It was the first time in Harvard's history that a tenured
 professor was subjected to such an investigation."

The Harvard committee did not like the attention that Mack was bringing and
it didn’t help the situation when he was awarded the lg Nobel Prize for
Psychology in 1993.  On Monday, September 27, 2004 while in London to
lecture at a T. E. Lawrence Society-sponsored conference, John Edward
Mack was killed by a drunk driver heading west on Totteridge Lane.  He was
walking home from a dinner with friends.

5. Edward Teller (1991)

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Edward Teller was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist.  He was
known as "the father of the hydrogen bomb."  Teller immigrated to the
United States in the 1930s, and was an early member of the Manhattan
Project charged with developing the first atomic bomb.  During this time he
also made a serious push to create the first fusion-based weapons.  Teller
was a strong advocate for nuclear energy development, a large nuclear
arsenal, and vigorous nuclear testing programs.  In his later years he
became known for his advocacy of controversial solutions to both military
and civilian problems, including a plan to excavate an artificial harbor in
Alaska using thermonuclear explosives.

Edward Teller was a vigorous advocate of Ronald Reagan's Strategic
Defense Initiative, perhaps overselling the feasibility of the program.  Over
the course of his life, Teller was known both for his scientific ability and his
difficult personality.  He is considered one of the inspirations for the
character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 movie.  Edward Teller was given the
1991 lg Nobel Prize for his “lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace
as we know it.”

4. The Pepsi-Cola Company (1993)

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In 1993, the Pepsi-Cola Company of the Philippians sponsored a contest
where people could win a million pesos (about $40,000 U.S. dollars) tax
free.  The tagline for the contest was "Today, you could be a millionaire!"  It
was an extremely successful marketing campaign and millions of people in
the Philippians tuned in for a nightly drawing indicating what number was the
winner.  All Pepsi Cola bottles were sold with a number under the cap.  On
May 25, 1993, the nightly news in the Philippians announced that anyone
holding a bottle cap marked 349 had won up to 1 million pesos.  Hundreds
of thousands of people in the Philippians instantly felt that they were
millionaires. 

However, Pepsi had made a mistake and announced the wrong number.
Instead of a single 1-million-peso winner, up to 800,000 bottle caps marked
349 had been printed. 
People began to demand their money and Pepsi
would not pay.  This caused some unrest and sparked the “Cola War.”  In
1993, Pepsi records showed that at least 32 delivery trucks have been
stoned, torched or overturned. Armed men also used homemade bombs to
attack Pepsi plants and offices.  In the worst incident, police say a
fragmentation grenade tossed at a parked Pepsi truck in a Manila suburb
Feb. 13, 1993, bounced off and killed a schoolteacher and a 5-year-old girl
and wounded six other people. 

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Pepsi executives got so many death threats that they used round-the-clock
bodyguards and hired heavily armed police to ride with delivery trucks.
During the middle of the 1990s hundreds of street protests against Pepsi
occurred in the Philippians.  In 1993, more than 22,000 people filed 689 civil
suits seeking damages from Pepsi, plus more than 5,200 criminal complaints
for fraud and deception.  Needless to say, people were pissed.  For the
outbreak of crime, Pepsi was given the 1993 lg Nobel Prize in the area of
Peace. 

3. Viliumas Malinauskas (2001)

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In 2001, Viliumas Malinauskas created the amusement park Grūtas Park or
Stalin’s World.  Grūtas Park is a sculpture garden full of Soviet-era statues.
It is an exposition of Soviet relics from the times of the Lithuanian SSR.
The park is located near Druskininkai, about 130 kilometers (81 mi)
southwest of Vilnius, Lithuania.  After Lithuania regained its independence in
1990, various Soviet statues were taken down and dumped in different
places.  Malinauskas asked the Lithuanian authorities if he could take
possession of many Soviet sculptures, so that he could build a privately-
financed museum.  This Soviet-theme park was created in the wetlands of
the Dzūkija National Park.  Many of its features are re-creations of Soviet
Gulag prison camps, including wooden paths, guard towers, and barbed-wire
fences. 

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Vladimir Lenin

Stalin’s World has faced some fierce opposition and the park’s existence is
controversial.  Some originally ideas meant for the park were disallowed,
including transporting visitors in a Gulag-style train.  Grūtas Park also
contains playgrounds, a mini-zoo and cafes, all containing relics of the
Soviet era.  The exposition consists of 86 statues by 46 different sculptors,
and is organized into spheres.  Each of the statues features a Soviet or
socialist activist, many of them ethnic Lithuanians.  The Totalitarian Sphere
features sculptures of the main Communist leaders and thinkers, including
Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Karl Marx.

It also has a sculpture of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the organizer of the Red Terror.
The Soviet Sphere includes sculptures of the four leaders of Lithuanian
Communists, executed in the aftermath of the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état,
and activists of the Lithuanian–Soviet War of 1918–1919.  The park won the
2001 lg Nobel Prize in the category of Peace.

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2. Troy Hurtubise (1998)

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Troy Hurtubise is an inventor and conservationist from North Bay, Ontario,
Canada.  He is famous for his bizarre creations.  In the middle of the 1990s
Hurtubise started Project Troy, which is an effort to develop a protective
suit.  He started by developing and testing the 145-pound (65 kg) Ursus
Mark VI suit, which was made to withstand a live bear attack.  The suit
underwent a live bear test in British Columbia, Canada.  The biggest safety
concern with the Ursus Mark VI was that a bear was able to rip the helmet
off of the suit.  However, the testing was an international story and Hurtubise
won the 1998 lg Nobel Prize in the area of Safety Engineering.

Troy Hurtubise has developed many new technologies since 1998.  Most
famously, he has created a device named the Angel Light.  The Angel Light
is a large device that Hurtubise claims will allow people to see through
objects, detect stealth aircraft, see into flesh, and disable electronic devices.
Hurtubise says that the design for the Angel Light came to him in a series of
three dreams, and that he was able to build a working device from memory.
According to Hurtubise, the device makes walls, hands, stealth shielding,
and other objects transparent.  He also claims that beams from the device
have the side-effects of frying electronic devices and killing goldfish. 

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Trojan T Model

After testing the Angel Light on his own hand, Hurtubise claims that he could
see his own blood vessels and muscle tissue as clearly as if the skin had
been pulled back, but the beam caused numbness and he began to feel ill.
Hurtubise also claims to have tested the device covertly with the help of
scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  After he discovered
that the Angel Light had harmful effects, he dismantled it.  However,
Hurtubise said that the French government sent agents to North Bay to
witness a demonstration of the Angel Light.  He claims the reps were so
impressed with the device that they gave him $40,000 in cash to finish it.  In
early 2007, Hurtubise made public his new protective suit which is designed
to be worn by soldiers.

Hurtubise describes the new suite as the "first ballistic, full exoskeleton body
suit of armor."  Weighing in at 40 lbs, he claims that the suit can withstand
bullets from high powered weapons (including an elephant gun).  The suit has
many features including a solar powered air system, recording device,
compartments for emergency morphine and salt, and a knife and gun
holster.  He estimates that the cost of each suit to be roughly $2,000 if mass
produced.  Troy Hurtubise is currently working on the Trojan S type armor.
The new model is superior to the Trojan T model in many ways.

1. Cecil Jacobson (1992)

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Would You Want This Guy to Father Your Child

Cecil Jacobson is a former fertility doctor who used his own sperm to
impregnate his patients without informing them.  In the 1980s, Jacobson
operated a reproductive genetics center in Fairfax County, Virginia.  He
specialized in treating women who had difficulty getting pregnant, or
problems carrying a pregnancy.  One of his forms of treatment was to inject
patients, before and after conception, with the hormone hCG (commonly
used as a fertility medication).  Patients who had been unable to conceive
reported success under Jacobson's care, however the pregnancies were
false positives as the bodily changes were a reaction to the drug.  Invariably,
around the third month, Jacobson would report that the fetus had died.

In 1989, suspicious former patients tipped off a local television station about
the situation.  The news agency investigated and reported on the false
pregnancies.  Jacobson was sued by numerous patients.  During the course
of the investigation, another type of fraud was uncovered.  For a variety of
reasons, some patients had arranged to be artificially inseminated with
sperm provided by screened, anonymous donors arranged by Jacobson.  In
order to preserve the identity of the donors, Jacobson recorded their names
using code numbers, and only he knew the donors true identities.

However, in reality the clinic had no donor program and Jacobson just used
his own sperm.  There are at least seven cases where Jacobson is the
biological father of his patients' children, including one patient who was
supposed to have been inseminated with sperm provided by her husband.
In 1992, Jacobson was convicted of 52 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and
perjury.  He was sentenced to five years in prison and had his medical
license revoked.  He now lives in Provo, Utah, and is involved in agricultural
research.  Cecil Jacobson was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in the area of
biology. 

Honorable Mentions

Donatella Marazziti et al (2000)

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In the May 1999 edition of Psychological Medicine, Donatella Marazziti,
Alessandra Rossi, and Giovanni B. Cassano of the University of Pisa, Italy,
published an article in regards to a biochemical experiment surrounding
biological love.  The authors determined that biochemically, romantic love
looks an awful lot like severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).  In
2000, the authors won the lg Nobel Prize in the area of Chemistry for their
work. 

John Martinez & Company (1995)

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The 1995 lg Nobel Prize for Nutrition was given to John Martinez of J.
Martinez & Company in Atlanta, for Luak Coffee.  Kopi luwak, or civet
coffee, is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by
the Asian Palm Civet and other related civets.  A civet is a cat sized
mammal native to South-east Asia and southern China.  The beans are
passed through the animal’s digestive tract and then used to make coffee.
After gathering the coffee berries they are washed, sun dried, and light
roasted.  Brewing these beans yields an aromatic coffee with much less
bitterness.  Kopi luwak is widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the
world.  In 1995, it was given the lg Nobel Prize because some people find it
strange to drink coffee that has been made with beans released as animal
excrement.

Eclaireurs de France (1992)

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The Cave of Mayrières supérieure is a cave near Bruniquel, Tarn-et-
Garonne, France, which contains two prehistoric cave paintings of Bisons.  In
1992, a French Scouting organization named Eclaireurs de France was
given the job of removing modern day graffiti from the cave.  During the
process of removing the graffiti they severely damaged the prehistoric
paintings of the two Bisons.  For this act they received a lg Nobel Prize in
the area of archeology. 

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Daryl - May 26, 2010
Just shoot "Troy" in the neck with his suit on, theoritically.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted April 30, 2010