Ig Nobels go to cow watchers, dung beetle studiers and Aleksandr Lukashenko

The "winners" of this year's Ig Nobel Prizes proved to be a colorful bunch at the award ceremony held Thursday night at Harvard University, which is probably to be expected, given that they were honored for their strange, apparently useless or otherwise oddball contributions to scientific discovery.

With Annals of Improbable Research editor Marc Abrahams as emcee, and an 8-year old girl enforcing a time limit on acceptance speeches (by marching onto the stage and repeatedly saying "please stop, I'm bored"), the ceremony also featured a short opera about the Blonsky Device, as well as music from Deborah Henson-Conant, who played the blues on a harp, among other things.

[IN PICTURES:The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize winners]

The winners themselves included a group that discovered how dung beetles can navigate by looking for the Milky Way in the night sky, a scientist that swallowed a dead shrew whole to determine which of its bones could survive the digestion process, and a team that found that drunk people believe themselves to be more attractive.

A "peace" prize was also presented (though not in person) to Belarussian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko, for banning public applause, and to his police forces for arresting a one-armed man under the statute.

Other honorees accomplished such notable scientific feats as assessing the effects of opera on heart transplant patients who are also mice, figuring out that it would be possible to run across the surface of ponds (if said ponds were on the moon), and discovering that cows that have been lying down for a long time are more likely to stand up again soon.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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