This just in from brand-new Flip Side blogger Carmen Nobel:
Last night marked the 17th annual Ig Nobel prize
ceremony, in which a magazine called "The Annals of
Improbable Research" honors scientific achievements
"that first make people laugh, and then make them
This year the Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize went to Mayu
Yamamoto, a scientist from the International Medical
Center of Japan, who developed a way to extract
vanillin -- a vanilla fragrance and flavoring -- from
The Cambridge gourmet ice cream store Toscanini's has
created a flavor in her honor. Today at 11 a.m., with
Yamamoto in attendance, Toscanini's will be offering
free samples of "Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist." The
flavor, which utilizes real vanilla beans, will be
available after that at regular prices -- $3.75 for
one scoop and five bucks for two scoops.
(Toscanini's proprietor Gus Rancatore remains coy
about the rest of the ingredients. All I can say is
that I haven't seen any cows hanging out near the
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