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Scott LaFee on

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate achievements that make people laugh, then think. A look at real science that's hard to take seriously, and even harder to ignore.

In 2000, the Ig Nobel Prize in psychology went to David Dunning of Cornell University and Justin Kruger of the University of Illinois for their published study: "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments."

Known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, this hypothetical cognitive bias posits that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, while those with high ability underestimate that ability to do the task. Seems sort of relevant these days.

Med School

Q: Why do newborns' eyes change color?

A: In the first days and months after birth, a baby's eyes tend to appear blue or gray, but assume their permanent coloration gradually, beginning around the sixth month. (Timing is variable.) The reason is that newborn eyes lack melanin, a type of pigment that contributes to hair and skin color as well. As melanin production picks up, eye color changes. Blue eyes have less melanin than green or hazel eyes, which have less melanin than brown eyes. Exposure to light also affects the coloration process.

 

Curtain Calls

Dale Parlin, 67, was a retired salesman who filled his days working as a course marshal at the Lake Arlington Golf Course in Texas. On Feb. 18, 2005, a golf ball struck by his son on the 15th hole glanced off a tree and struck Parlin in the head. He died the next day of a cerebral hemorrhage, which may have resulted, in part, from blood-thinning medications he took for a heart condition. His son later said, "It was just the way God wanted him to go to heaven."

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