Have you ever worried that knuckle cracking will give you arthritis or wondered why pregnant women don't tip over? Me too. Research into those topics--as well as studies finding that diamonds could be created from tequila and giant panda feces are good for composting--received Ig Nobel Prizes in a ceremony on Thursday night at Harvard University. The prizes, awarded to scientific achievements that "cannot and should not be reproduced," are presented in the week before the real Nobel prizes are announced and are sponsored by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research." A Thousand Oaks, Calif., doctor won the Ig Nobel medicine prize for his firsthand research into arthritis in fingers. As a child and in adulthood, Donald Unger's mother, several aunts, and mother-in-law warned him that cracking his knuckles would lead to arthritis in his fingers. To test that theory, he cracked the knuckles of his left hand, but not the right hand, every day for more than 60 years.
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