Jul
13
2008

Science confirms the obvious!

Popular Science magazine is running a series of items on scientific research projects that seem fairly pointless. They report on experiments that have proven that unathletic kids are unpopular; that rock musicians tend to die young; and that people catch the flu in winter.

Why bother? Two reasons. First, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “common sense is neither.” A lot of the things we think we know turn out not to be true. Only by checking them out do we really know what’s what.

Second, confirming a phenomenon exists is the first step toward understanding it. If we want to combat the flu, for instance, it helps to know that, yes, it really does strike more often during a particular time of the year. This may be a clue to how the disease spreads, and how we might be able to stop it.

Sometimes, having an amazing grasp of the obvious can be a good thing!

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