That’s not a proof, mate — that’s a proof

I arrived Friday morning in an exotic, faraway “Backwards-Land,” where mammals have pouches, vegemite is considered edible, toilets should in principle flush the wrong way, and Christmas trees adorn a tropical summer landscape.

I’m here to visit the University of Queensland physics department, which is probably best known as the home of the world’s longest-running experiment: a glob of congealed black tar that’s been dripping through a funnel since 1927, at the rate of about one drop per decade. This important experiment recently won an Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, causing my colleague the Quantum Pontiff to regret not taking a photo of it while he had the chance. In perhaps the greatest advance in Catholic-Jewish relations since John Paul II prayed at the Western Wall, today Shtetl-Optimized proudly presents His Quantum Holiness with the following token of goodwill.

But there’s more to Australia than funnels of congealed black tar. There are also strange and wonderful birds with that wander around the campus eating people’s garbage. Birdwatching is not a pastime I’ve ever wished on anyone, but I think this one is an Australian White Ibis:

Finally, Australia is also home to terrible race riots, which erupted yesterday after a Lebanese gang apparently attacked two white lifeguards. I don’t have anything amusing to say about that.

11 Responses to “That’s not a proof, mate — that’s a proof”

  1. Osias Says:

    I’m a little slow today… how does the title relates to the text?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    As a focused academic blogger, Scott assumes a certain background from his readers. Specifically, you should watch more television.

  3. JesseM Says:

    Or, to be more specific:

    Crocodile Dundee

    (see the last line of the ‘plot summary’ section)

  4. Scott Says:

    Thanks for the hermeneutic elucidation, mates!

  5. Osias Says:

    Hey! I know the “knife” joke, I just didn’t see a proof in the post…

  6. Dave Bacon Says:

    Damnit, I am very jealous of your picture with the tar. My dream is to some day win an Ig Nobel prize (actually I bet you’ve got a pretty good chance at an Ig Nobel if you ever carried out a certain “free-will” experiment which you once mentioned to me!)

  7. Scott Says:

    > Hey! I know the “knife” joke, I
    > just didn’t see a proof in the
    > post…

    Sorry, mate. I try not to prove anything on this blog. You’d have to come to my talks for that.

  8. Osias Says:

    Ok, OK. I’ll create my own blog just you don’t understand the post titles. All you will see!!! (laughs devilish)


    Oh, why the heavens will someone read a blog about a boring person like me? Never mind!

  9. Bunny Dee Says:

    Hey, is that you in the photo?! How adorable, cute and nerdy… Oh, if only women everywhere could appreciate the awesomeness of guys with so much stuff in their cerebrum that it oozes out… Still, I never thought you’d look as good, what with the “smart guys can’t be good looking” stereotype 😛 [ok, just ignore me, just spazzing out here…]

    And I don’t mean the damn bird…

  10. Bunny Dee Says:

    Oh, shucks, it’s not you, it’s the other too-smart-for-his-own-good guy… Or is it?

    Still, Scott pic request!

    [am I bringing the level of the conversation down or what? :P]

    *cough* OK then, so let me just say, I truly appreciate the Ig Nobel prizes… I love the way they show the world that there’s more than meets the eye [insert Transformers sound effect here] in certain cases where things seem absurd or pointless… Congrats to His Holiness 😛

  11. John Says:

    Yup. Definitely an Ibis. Bain of every Wordsmiths regular.