Published on: September 14, 2018

Morning everyone.  Once again, we find ourselves staring down the barrel of the gun they call “the weekend” and as such, it’s time again for this week’s News, Views and Truths.

No doubt you have heard of the Nobel Prize and, probably, the most famous of these being the Nobel Peace Prize.  To get you all up to date on this, the Nobel Prize is a set of six annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

The awards were created through the will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel in 1895, offering prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine and were first awarded in 1901.  Each recipient, or laureate, receives a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation.  As of 2017, each prize is worth around £800,000.

However, of particular news this week is this year’s winner of the Ig Nobel Award.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that make people laugh and then think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology.

Of particular note is this year’s winner in the field of medicine, Professor David Wartinger of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

A number of years ago, one of Professors Wartinger’s clients reported that one of his kidney stones became dislodged after a ride on the Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster ride.  The client then went on to ride the rollercoaster several time to test whether or not this was a coincidence and each time, the client passed another stone.

As a result of this, Professor Wartinger built a silicone model of his patients’ kidney, including kidney stones and proceeded to test the hypothesis by riding several roller-coasters.  He discovered that not only was the rollercoaster effective at dislodging kidney stones, but the specific type of ride, one which “rattled” the rider through more vertical and horizontal movements, was more effective than those which provided the rider with a faster ride.

The research has come to a dead end; there is no chance of Professor Wartinger getting the funding, or medical sign off, to continue with a live trial.  However, if you are struggling with kidney stones, have a word with your GP and see if you can get a prescription to Flamingo Land.

Back to the world of investment markets, it’s been largely uneventful this week, with most markets having a largely dull week.  The FTSE 100 is trading broadly flat, up 0.3% for the week, with the FTSE 250 index doubling that with a return of 0.6%.  The US S&P 500 closed last night up 0.5% and the week ended with a late surge for the Japanese Nikkei 225 up 1.2%.  Emerging Markets continue to struggle, dropping another 0.6%, although mid-week the index was down over 1.5% so quite the recovery.

And hear endeth this week’s lesson, aside for the usual playlist which, this week, is brought to you via the husband of our very own Wilma, Mr Ian Watson.  Have a great weekend and I hope to see you all next week.

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