Ig Nobel Nomination

October 2nd, 2014

NOTE:  The following nomination letter was recently submitted to Improbable Research:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to nominate the Government of Canada for the Ig Nobel Prize in Improbable Research in the category of Engineering and Scientific Testing.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is an agency of the Canadian Government mandated to draft certain legislation, to develop certain standards, and to test consumer products for safety and certify those test results.  Through this agency, the Canadian Government has pioneered new and innovative testing procedures that promise to revolutionize the world of engineering and scientific testing.

Specifically, the Government of Canada, through the CSA, is now able to conduct scientific and engineering tests on new consumer products without the encumbrances of traditional testing.  That is, the CSA can determine the performance parameters of newly designed equipment without submitting this equipment to the rigours and the tedium of staid scientific analysis.  Rather, new equipment is subjected to an arduous process of telepathic testing, where performance parameters and resultant safety levels are assessed through metaphysical contemplative cogitation.

This new scientific approach is increasingly common, as noted in several RestoreCSA.com articles.  Examples abound;

1. The Canadian Government has repeatedly demonstrated their ability to achieve specific product test results (thermocouple data for instance, or power consumption figures) by assigning specific figures for each required result by means of estimated probable result or thoughtful SWAG* readings or, in some cases, just making up all the numbers.  (*Scientific Wild-Ass Guess)

2. The Government has likewise conducted extensive testing of products at locations all over the world, accomplished from the confines of CSA’s lab.  That is, the tested product stays at the manufacturer and all the scientists, the lab, the testing, etc. remains in another city.  Thanks to Canada, through a sort of brain-based distance review, most new equipment can now be tested without the product being present for the testing. 

3. On several occasions, the CSA conducted substantial scientific testing of consumer products without removing the product from its packaging.  This is reasonable.  After all, most people can eat a burger without removing the wrapping.

4. Some of the most dramatic -almost theatrical- advances are seen in the process of duration testing.  As the name implies, a duration test is a test over time, assessing the product’s durability.  The Canadian Government recently performed a three-day duration test of a new kitchen appliance in only four hours.  On another occasion, test results from a month-long duration test were achieved in two days. 

5. Finally, the Government of Canada firmly believes in empowering the little people and, in this, the CSA has ensured that some of the most complicated scientific reporting ever mandated for public safety is now being authored by randomly selected secretarial staff.  This is surely not a worry.  Most “credentials” and “certifications” and other such pompous, self-aggrandizement is as meaningless as traditional testing itself, they’re just a throwback to a bygone age of pedantic conformity in the sciences.

The Canadian Government knows that science is an art.  Science is ever changing and always properly subject to the peculiar interests and profits of political and business influence.  Test results ought to be what we want them to be, not what they are objectively.  Our new objectivity is subjective, just as the old sciences, those of narrow-minded open-mindedness, are rapidly discarded.  Sorry, recycled.  The practice of physical testing, that puritanical obsession with actuality, certainty, tangibility, etc., is as extinct as the seagull.  Thanks to the testing innovations of the Canadian Government, we may confidently embrace a new, less dogmatic science, where parochial and pedestrian pedanticism is replaced with opinion-based narrative and the giddy delights of subjective reality.

The engineering and scientific testing processes pioneered by Canada have huge potential to revolutionize scientific testing. In future, merely being confident of a particular test result will suffice to certify such a result as having happened.  New vaccines can now be tested notionally.  Chemical testing can now be conducted by a process of professional pondering.  Nuclear research reactors can now be managed by unqualified, uninterested persons while watching CSPAN.  Or FOX.  Massive, multi-year studies can be completed in, say, ten minutes, saving taxpayers a mass of money and saving the scientist a massive, multi-year study.

We respectfully note that just as the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers was central to Enron’s 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in Economics, so the Canadian Government’s concept of imaginary testing is the next logical progression.  It seems appropriate, comparing Enron to this Administration, given the endless possibilities intrinsic to these advances.  Endless Possibilities, indeed.

On the basis of their demonstrated commitment to testing innovation, rooted in unshakable self-interest and virtuous profiteering, wholly unconstrained by the petty and dated dogmas of scientific principle or professionalism, the Canadian Government deserves to win the Ig Nobel Prize for their pioneering of brain-based telepathic testing.