Italians get faux-Nobels for economics and art

Finally, some good news for Italy. The country has won two Ig Nobel prizes, a spoof of the prestigious Nobel, including one for coming up with the savvy idea of boosting its economy through revenues from illicit activity.

Italians get faux-Nobels for economics and art
Italy was given a faux-Nobel prize for including revenues from illegal drug sales in its GDP. Photo: Drug smuggling photo: Shutterstock

Just when we thought things couldn't get worse for Italy, the country now has something to feel proud about.

In May, the national statistics agency (Istat) raised a few eyebrows when it said earnings from activities such as prostitution and drugs would be included in GDP.

But the move earned Italy this year's coveted lg Nobel award for economics for "proudly taking the lead in fulfilling the European mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants."

Not to be mistaken for the esteemed prizes to be handed out in Stockholm in October, the lg Nobels are awarded "for research that makes people laugh and think" by the science humour magazine, Annals of Improbable research.

Researchers at the University of Bari also scooped the prize for art for their work on how paintings affect pain thresholds.

They were commended by the magazine for "measuring the relative pain people suffer while looking at an ugly painting, rather than a pretty painting, while being shot [in the hand] by a powerful laser beam."

One of the researchers, Marina de Tommaso, attended the awards ceremony at Harvard University on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, researchers from Canada and China won the neuroscience prize "for trying to understand what happens in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast" while those in the Czech Republic, Japan the USA and India were commended "for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat."

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.