Farting Herring, Suicides Garner Ig Nobels Discovery News http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20040927/ignobel.html Oct. 1, 2004 A research team that showed herring communicate by farting and the authors of a study on the effect of country music on suicide were among the winners of the 2004 Ig Nobel prize. The annual prizes for the silliest science that makes people laugh, and then think, were handed out on Thursday night at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., at a gala ceremony organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (HotAIR). The coveted Ig Nobel prize for Physics went to Ramesh Balasubramaniam of the University of Ottawa, and Michael Turvey of the University of Connecticut and Yale University, for exploring and explaining the dynamics of hula-hooping. The Ig Nobel for Public Health was accepted by Jillian Clarke of Howard University for investigating the scientific validity of the well-known five-second eating rule for food that's been dropped on the floor. For Chemistry, the Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain got the nod for its use of advanced technology to transform liquid from the River Thames into Dasani expensive bottled water which for precautionary reasons related to increased chances of contracting cancer has been pulled from U.K. shelves. Donald J. Smith and his father, the late Frank J. Smith, of Orlando, Fla,, won the Engineering prize for patenting the perfect combover. Smith's granddaughter told Reuters that the combover was so effective that for years, she didn't know her grandfather had one. Two separate studies on herring won the biology Ig Nobel. Both of the studies found that Atlantic and Pacific herring talk to each other with high-frequency sounds made by passing gas, which helps the fish gather into protective shoals at night. It was a study called "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide" that garnered the prize for Medicine for Steven Stack of Wayne State University and James Gundlach of Auburn University. According to the study, published in Social Forces, "The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate."