Scientists love a good joke as much as anyone. They just happen to have very well-developed and incredibly nerdy splinter interests. The Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR) was (and still is) a quixotic attempt to make a general satirical publication for scientists as a group; being for serious formally-educated scientists, it was naturally published in the form of a journal.

JIR was founded in Israel in 1955 by virologist Alexander Kohn and physicist Harry J. Lipkin, who wanted a humor magazine about science, for scientists. While JIR has since passed through the hands of a number of editors and publishers, it has consistently published a mix of jokes, puns, cartoons, satirical essays, and general nonsense, all sciencey in nature. It will occasionally include bits of real, but amusing, research, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

JIR is perhaps the most famous/popular of the faux scientific journals, although ex-editor (1991-1994) Marc Abrahams went on to create and edit the popular rival publication, Annals of Improbable Research (he also created the Ig Nobel Prize). There are some samples of JIR publications available on-line, mostly available at their web-site,, although many of the links to archived articles are currently broken. You may have seen the winner of a recent JIR reader contest floating around the internet; the One Graph to Prove all Scientific Theories. This graph is fairly representative of the sort of humor found in the journal. If this looks like your sort of fun, you can either subscribe to the journal, or buy one of their many anthologies.

JIR is currently edited by astronomer Norman Sperling, who has sworn to rejuvenate the publication. He has been working on this since 2004, and has had limited success. However, the JIR is something of a legend in geek circles (both computer and science), and is fondly remembered and/or sought after by many odd fans.

Edwardina was her name which etched
burned on the edge of paper
much like her fingers burned on my skin
traces and digits, points of pressure
even the softest touch would
leave open wounds I can feel until today,
phantom limbs

I used to trap Edwardina on ink and paper; she
would be my heroine of devastated and
empty cities of fury, full of skeletons in closets
and corpses in the living room, the bright dust of
sin sticking to every hollow corner of
her figure in a statue of salt: lustful and still.
I used to trap Edwardina in a feeble attempt
to assert the will that was so easily bent
between legs and dawn and

Then Edwardina was gone in a night or
less of a fickle fever
her brain swollen to edge of her
pressing skull did not let thoughts out,
I said to myself, to excuse her for that absent

Now with her no longer on the air
or otherwise
I am bound to these pages and bound to capture her
by arson

I trapped Edwardina in every way I deemed possible,
her name all over journals and
her hands and hair out in the night or
in between sheets
endless stories which would never end unless she
ended herself

When my speech became faulty and disheveled because of
all the words I'd spent trying to carve and burn Dina
on notebooks, they sent me somewhere I wouldn't need them and
the doctors said those stories were irreproducible, as if
those words had been encrypted, only for Dina and me

they were probably too prudish to
read them out loud

Special thanks to TheDeadGuy who reminded me of
a song
I had forgotten

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