Year after year Harvard University awards Ig-Nobel prizes for the "best, most genuine" research projects (the sarcasm should be self speaking).
"The Ig Nobel awards are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar." Nature
My favourites from 2005:
Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water?
A sweet swimming entertainment
Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie "Star Wars."
I cannot image how "shhhhhshhhhh, Luke I'm your faaaaather" could impress locust. Funnily enough, that a peace ignoble pize was awarded for a research project with the word "war" in the title (but that's probably part of the cynicism).
Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people DO get out of bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to the workday.
Hmm, doesn't sound that useless too me. And one does morning workout as well. Maybe the Ig-Nobel prize for sports should also go to this candiate.
Just a couple of days until the 2006 awards start. [Btw. thanks for the hint, (german) Alex .]