Jessica Luetger

You’ve Heard of the Nobel Prize… But Have You Heard of the Ig Nobel Prize?

“The Stinker”, the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes

Sometimes research is funny. No, really! Using actual money and resources to study if roller coasters can help move kidney stones? Comedy GOLD.

When research, either good or bad, is funny and thought provoking it can earn an Ig Nobel Prize. Organized by the Annals of Improbable Research, ten prizes in different fields have been awarded in September every year since 1991.

Here are some highlights from the 2020 award winners:

  • Psychology Prize: for devising a method to identify narcissists by examining their eyebrows
  • Peace Prize: For the governments of India and Pakistan, for having their diplomats surreptitiously ring each other’s doorbells in the middle of the night, and then run away before anyone had a chance to answer the door
  • Economics Prize: for trying to quantify the relationship between different countries’ national income inequality and the average amount of mouth-to-mouth kissing
  • Medicine Prize: for diagnosing a long-unrecognized medical condition: Misophonia, the distress at hearing other people make chewing sounds
  • Materials Science Prize: for showing that knives manufactured from frozen human feces do not work well

That last one is my personal favorite. Where would we be without this VITAL research?!?!

Here are a few of my all time favorite winners:

  • Medical Prize (2018): for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.”
  • Economics Prize (2017): for experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person’s willingness to gamble
  • Psychology Prize (2016): for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers
  • Literature Prize (2012): The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.
  • Archeology Prize (2008): for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo.
  • Literature Prize (2006): for the report “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”
  • Peace Prize (2005): for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie “Star Wars.”
  • Psychology Prize (2004): for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it’s all too easy to overlook anything else — even a woman in a gorilla suit.

Think these are fake? They sound like clickbait, but you can check out the full list and read the original research articles yourself!

Want to find entertaining research at MVCC? Check out our databases and ask a Librarian for help!

Are There Really Farting Microbes on the Planet Venus? This is a Job for Research!

Maybe you were scrolling through a news feed today and saw some headlines about aliens on Venus, or at least this weird gas that maybe means aliens. Maybe you’re not sure what to make of that or even if it’s true.

So we’ve got this library full of reliable news sources and books just waiting to be explored. Let’s do a little SCIENCE RESEARCH!

Oh, come on, don’t you want to know about the alleged aliens? Let’s check out some different databases and see what we can find!

If we’re looking for science news, a great place to start is Science Magazine Online, where we can find a news article describing the research that lead to the discovery.

If we are looking for more news, maybe we should try a news database, like the New York Times. If we search “life on Venus” under news, we find another article about the research that looks at this specific gas found in the Venusian atmosphere that we know is produced on Earth by tiny microbes. The production of that gas could mean there are living microbes, like bacteria, in the Venusian clouds! ALIEN BACTERIA!

Maybe now you’ve been bit by the knowledge bug and you want know more about Venus or the other planets. Follow me down the rabbit hole of astronomy information! We’ve got some great books in our collection that you can find through our Catalog! You might find a few books that look interesting…

As for life on Venus, we may not have the answer yet, but with a little bit of research we can discover what the headlines really mean. It wasn’t that bad, was it?

Librarians are always ready to help you dig into the databases to find what you need. All you have to do is ask us!

“How do I _____ at the Library?”: A Library Choose Your Own Adventure

Using the library can be an adventure, especially with so many recent changes. Follow the steps in this guide to find the information you need to be successful this semester. Choose a “character” to get started on your library adventure!

First, Choose Your Character:

You’ve Chosen Student!

Students can find all sorts of help at the library, including research and citation guidance, technology to borrow, and of course books! What will you do next?

Next, Choose Your Action:

You’ve Chosen Staff or Faculty Member!

Staff and Faculty are the backbone of education! The library wants to support you in your work by providing several services. Which one will you choose?

Next, Choose Your Action:

You’ve Chosen Member of the Community!

Members of the community are still welcome in the library and we have several services available to you. Which will you choose?

Next, Choose Your Action:

You’ve Chosen Research!

Research projects can be overwhelming, but the library has so many ways to learn what you need to be successful! Where will you start?

You’ve Chosen Visiting the Library!

The library is excited to welcome visitors back into the building, but there are some new things to know about using the space. What would you like to know?

You’ve Chosen Help with a Nursing Assignment!

Nursing assignments can be tough, but the library is ready to support you. What’s your next move?

Self Care and Mental Health Resources at MVCC Library

Times are tough, stress is high, changes are happening rapidly. With everything that’s going on, it’s important to keep taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. In case you’re not sure how exactly to go about those last two, the library has collected books, e-books, and e-audio books to help. Included in the collection are videos of two panel discussions with MVCC Councilors about mental health in social isolation.

If you would like help with these resources, or would like to explore what else the library has available, please Ask a Librarian.

Click on the image below to see the collection:

Self Care and Mental Health Resources at MVCC Library

The Relevance of Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction

Today would have been Octavia Butler’s 73rd birthday, had the multi-award winning author not passed in 2006. She left us with a body of work that inspires, captivates, and often provokes thought and emotion in readers. Her science fiction, typically centering black, female protagonists, was never afraid to discuss race, gender, or sexuality.

Often writing about where she thought humanity was headed, her work is still so relevant today. Some even claim she predicted our current political situation with charismatic political leaders and famous slogans about bringing the country back to some idlilic past that never really existed.

Butler’s novels have never been adapted for the small or large screen, however a TV adaptation of her novel Dawn is in the works with some impressive talent behind the wheel.

MVCC Library has almost all of her books available digitally. Click the image below to see the collection and Ask a librarian if you need help accessing e-books.

The Science Fiction of Octavia E. Butler

Why Be a Pirate When the Library Has Movies for Free?

Arrr… I see ye be lookin’ to watch some movies! Be they… legal?

The BBC recently reported that due to “lockdowns”, visits to film piracy sites have increased dramatically in many countries. This includes the U.S., where visits to those websites increased by 41% between February and March.

Sure, you could sail the choppy waters of illegal films on the internet…. OR, hear me out, you could just borrow movies for free from the library. You can save your doubloons and stay on the right side of the law with what MVCC library has to offer.

You can select a film from this curated collection:

Click on the image below to view the collection:

https://spark.adobe.com/page-embed.jsMovies to Stream from MVCC Library

Or you can browse some our different streaming services:

Your MVCC login and password are the key to free movie treasures untold!

Hoopla – Streaming popular movies, television, eBooks, and eAudio

Swank – Popular Hollywood films

Kanopy – Popular films and documentaries

If you run into trouble with any of these library services, you can always ask a librarian for help!

The New Digital Life of the Book Cart

Ah, the Book Cart. A librarian’s favored vehicle to promote timely, curated library books and movies. But, with the campus and library closed, the Book Cart remains sadly forlorn and unused where it was left. This could break a librarian’s heart, but we’re stronger than that! After all, we are more than a building! MVCC librarians have been working hard to move services online, and the Book Cart is no exception!

Meet the new Digital Book Cart! By clicking on the image below you can browse and borrow eBooks and streaming video from MVCC library’s collection. Today’s topic: Pandemics and Public Health. Check it out if you’re interested in our history with pandemics, the stories of our heath care workers, or the mental heath struggles we are facing.

Look for more of these “displays” in the future!

Pandemics and Public Health

Happy Birthday Raspberry Pi!

Eight years ago a credit card-sized, affordable computer landed on the market, making computing and programming accessible to a wide audience. Since then, the Raspberry Pi has been a hit with scientists, hobbyists, students, and kids alike.

Take a look at these fun projects for beginners to get some inspiration!

The Library has several books and eBooks about the Raspberry Pi to get you started on your project. We also have resources on coding in Python and Scratch.

Have you been participating in this year’s One Book One College program? Use your Raspberry Pi to experiment with machine learning!

Pi day is coming up on March 14th (3-14!). Here’s how one academic library celebrated using the Raspberry Pi.

Katherine Johnson 1918 – 2020

Today marks the passing of one of the great minds of mathematics. Katherine Johnson, a mathematician at NASA during the Space Race, contributed to projects such as America’s first human space flight, the first moon landing, and the Space Shuttle.

In 2015 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians, for her 33 years of work with NASA.

She was best known for the calculations that helped put John Glenn in orbit around the Earth, the story behind Hidden Figures, available at the library in DVD, book, eBook, and eAudio format.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The United Nations has designated February 11th as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day that highlights how important it is to encourage a new generation of women to enter into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to break down harmful stereotypes and narratives as well as promote policies that makes STEM fields more accessible to women and girls.

How Can You Celebrate Women in Science?

Introduce Girls and Young Women to STEM Careers

  • Moraine Valley supports women entering technology fields with its Women in Technology Mentoring program.
  • Know a girl entering eighth grade? She might want to sign up for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on February 20th at Argonne National Laboratory.
  • Girls aged 10-18 can get involved with Girls 4 Science, a non-profit dedicated to getting young women in Chicago involved in the STEM fields.
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