Graduates from the University of Stating the Bleeding Obvious. Now there’s a pandemic. So much that ‘research shows’ or ‘scientists claim’ appears to be simple common sense.
For example, we’re told that people in care homes are more vulnerable to this virus – what exhaustive research went into finding that out? Every death is a tragedy, but most people would imagine that older, frailer people who are no longer able to live in their own homes might be more susceptible to illness. And they have found out that looking after a family member with Alzheimer’s is likely to make someone more isolated and lonely than someone who is not. Finally, they have discovered that the virus can be spread though sex – well who would have thunk that! It may have been a long time but I can just about remember the technicalities and I’m not sure how socially distanced sex would be possible. Phone sex?
With too much time on my hands, I am spending hours delving into Google. I don’t know what sort of profile I’m creating but I keep getting pop-ups that tell me “These 5 incredible erection superfoods will keep you hard for HOURS”. However, I digress, I did look to see what ridiculous research is out there and these are some of my favourites.
Study shows beneficial effect of electric fans in extreme heat and humidity: You know that space heater you’ve been firing up every time the temperature climbs above 90º in August? Turns out you’ve been going about it all wrong. If you don’t have air conditioning, it seems that “fans” (which move “air” with the help of a cunning arrangement of rotating “blades”) can actually make you feel cooler. That, at least, was the news from a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last February. Still to come: “Why Snow-Blower Use Declines in July.”
Study shows benefit of higher quality screening colonoscopies: Don’t you just hate those low-quality colonoscopies? You know, the ones when the doctor looks at your ears, checks your throat and pronounces, “That’s one fine colon you’ve got there, friend”? Now there’s a better way to go about things, according to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), and that’s to be sure to have timely, high quality screenings instead. That may be bad news for “Colon Bob, Your $5 Colonoscopy Man,” but it’s good news for the rest of us.
And my own particular favourite
Spiderman Doesn’t Exist: After an extensive analysis, researchers at Cambridge University have concluded that the larger a person is, the more adhesives he would need to stick to a wall, making it virtually impossible for a normal sized human being to have the characteristics of Spiderman. “If a human, for example, wanted to climb up a wall the way a gecko does, we’d need impractically large sticky feet — and shoes in European size 145 or US size 114,” said Walter Federle, senior author also from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology. As for Batman, the jury’s still out.
The problem with science and research is that it is difficult to separate fact from fact. Following the science is a bit like trying to get out of Hampton Court Maze – there are too many twists and turns. We won’t know whether we did right or wrong until all this is over. There is an expression about not being able to see the wood for the trees and we need to get some perspective on it. At the moment it is like comparing a banana with an orange and a pineapple. We have no idea how other countries are measuring their figures. But one thing is certain when all this is over and most of the world is struggling to regain some form of solvency and to pay their mortgages there will be scientists rubbing their hands with glee as they are commissioned to do endless studies and research and to come up with REPORTS. These will not add to the gaiety of nations in any way but maybe they will give us ‘people to blame’.
Money won’t buy happiness, but it will pay the salaries of a large research staff to study the problem.