My favourite speaker of the night, and the one whom I had come especially to see, was, of course, the duck man himself, Kees. And he was hilarious, in his very Dutch way, speaking about how he had come across the case which made him famous (suffice it to say it involved the museum building, which is made up almost entirely of glass, and a head-on collision involving said building and the unfortunate victim of necrophilia), other instances of necrophilia in the animal world (and one case of mistaken identity involving an elk and a bronze statue of a bison) and, finally, showing us the stuffed duck, which accompanies him on tour.
Other interesting speakers included Piers Barnes, winner of the Ig Nobel Award for Mathematics in 2006 for calculating the number of photographs one needs to take in order to ensure nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed. Since then, he's taken his research further, and has now applied this to the probability of a mobile phone going off in a public event and came up with an inconsideracy factor for the human race of 0.12 (plus/minus 0.1). This factor is "a dimensionless constant" so I'm not sure what this tells us exactly, but, hey, that's an Ig Nobel for you!
I can't for the life of me recall how I came across this event, and I am so glad I did. Not only was the tour free, it even came with a free drink at the post-show reception where all and sundry could mingle with the speakers and speak to them about anything and everything. If I'm around next year - and I really do hope I am - I'll definitely return for the 2009 Tour.
And just so that I end off on an interesting note, did you know Singapore has an Ig Nobel Award for Psychology winner in Lee Kuan Yew? Apparently, he won in 1994 for work in researching "the psychology of negative reinforcement" by way of "his thirty-year study of the effects of punishing three million citizens of Singapore whenever they spat, chewed gum, or fed pigeons." Ha ha!