Osama's bin'ad

November 23, 2001

Is there a spark of wry scientific humour beneath the al-Qaeda turban? Documents recovered from the terrorist organisation's abandoned Kabul offices seemed to reveal plans to build a thermonuclear device. However, the pages have turned out to be a spoof article "Let's Build an Atomic Bomb", published in the forerunner of The Annals of Improbable Research .

Editor Marc Abrahams thinks it was likely to have been printed by someone searching the web for atom-bomb technology who did not have a good grasp of English or did have a sense of humour.

Details about the magazine's annual Ig Nobel prizes are online. They have high-lighted research into injuries caused by falling coconuts and collapsing toilets. You have been warned.

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