Archive for the ‘Research’ Tag

Don’t Swear In Front Of The Baby

Hammer and thumbThere are two contrasting stories doing the rounds today; Dr Denis Walsh, associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, said pain during birth was a “rite of passage” which often helped regulate childbirth; A study by Keele University researchers found volunteers who cursed at will could endure pain nearly 50% longer than civil-tongued peers. So there you have it, childbirth should be painful but please don’t swear to reduce the pain while giving birth or you’ll negate the effects.

The first point was made by a man who is either very brave or very stupid. To suggest to a woman who is in the midst of childbirth should ‘grin and bear it because its good for you’ would likely result in one life being lost as another begins. At least it would help control population growth but unfortunately we would soon run out of midwives.

I wonder how much the research into the analgesic effects of swearing cost just to prove the blinding obvious. Hit your thumb with a misdirected blow of a hammer and you will swear, its an automatic reaction. We don’t do it to offend those around us, we do it because we know it helps ease the pain. This sort of research deserves an expletive or two as its all a pain in the arse. Do we really need to waste money on proving habitual drinkers are more likely to fall over and the more fit you are the longer you will live? Yes both are real research projects and an indication how many academics are making a living out of the banal and students are getting degrees with little real effort.

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One Third Up Two Thirds Down

Our mental powers peak when we reach 22 and the speed at which we think, our ability to reason and our ability to mentally manipulate solid figures all start to decline in our late 20s. Err, does anybody else seem to think the researchers have got it all wrong. Have you met any young adults lately? The last thing I would attribute to them is intelligence. Most do not have the mental ability to get out of bed.

The reputation of hormonal teenagers was captured to a tee by Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry. They are uncooperative, talk in grunts and are lazier than a dead dog on life support. Yes there are a few hard working young adults but these individuals are a very small minority and all tend to be family relations. As the teenagers turn into their twenties there is little improvement other than being able to add bad driving to their social skills.

Perhaps the researchers should have concentrated on testing for those life skills that are of real importance such as being to remember everyone’s choice of drinks when getting a round in, knowing which day the supermarket prices down the items with a short sell-by date and the name of the undertaker with whom you have pre-booked your funeral.

Words Alive

Reading University researchers claim the words “I”, “we”, “two” and “three” are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years.

However, I think the research would be more realistic if the results contained a few profanities. The first grunts made by our ancestors were probably as a result of hitting their heads on the roof of the cave in which they lived. The more the pain the more distinct the grunt. Swearing can have an analgesic effect if its very loud and particularly obscene.

Add to this man’s main preoccupation before the invention of TV, books, music or alcohol, namely sex, then the colorful descriptive words for the act and the bits it involves must have been there at the beginnings of speech.

One question this does raise is what’s the point of the research? How does knowing what words were spoken first or when a particular work may become extinct going to help society achieve the Utopian state we all desire. Unless the word Utopia becomes extinct before we get there and we all forget why we are here.