News that Vexes

News that Vexes

It's so tiresome to read 'new studies' that reveal Smoking, Stress or Obesity are Bad for you. Yet these studies appear all the time. It's time to take back the newswire from so-called Scientists!

Friday, March 15, 2019

A refreshing change - good news! And of course it's about cheese!

Among our millions of readers are many eagle-eyed news trackers who are constantly on the lookout for influential news stories for News That Vexes.  Though Smoking is still Bad and Exercise is still Good, you may want to be more discerning in your future cheese purchases.  Specifically, what music was your cheese exposed to while it was aged?

In some hard-hitting new research, it seems that cheese exposed to hip-hop tastes better.  Not that the cows were exposed to hip-hop, but rather the bacteria in the cheese prefers hip-hop.  

Some of you might think this research is insane. Far from it - this research was done by veterinarian (Wait, did you say veterinarian?  Yes, we did) BEAT WAMPFLER.  Sadly his email address isn't available at press time, so congratulatory emails aren't possible at the moment.  Luckily, the 'scientific support' for the experiment was provided by Dr. Michael Harenberg - who also provided this unintentionally hilarious quote:

"We were overwhelmed," says Professor Michael Harenberg who provided the scientific support for the experiment. "At first I thought it was a typical Swiss reaction because cheese plays such a big cultural role here in Emmental. But even journalists from South Africa approached us for interviews and information."

Some possibly bad news for Dr. Harenberg - journalists don't want to talk to you because of your cheese, they want to know if you actually have coherent thoughts and can speak in complete sentences.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to our legions of readers who submitted this important news story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

James Bond - Vexing, not Stirred.

Today's annoyance comes from the Medical Journal of Australia - a journal that sounds prestigious, doesn't it?  In case the original research is too complicated for you, gentle reader, it's summarized in this high quality(?) Washington Post article.  The fact that this hard-hitting science reportage appears in the "Entertainment" section of the paper perhaps tells you something about its scholarship.

So to save you time, some scientist - I use the term loosely - has analyzed the drinking behavior of a certain British Secret Service Agent named Bond - James Bond.  It turns out HE DRINKS TOO MUCH.

Sample tidbits: 
Bond had a “severe” and “chronic” drinking problem — and he performed some pretty risky maneuvers while under the influence of alcohol.  “Chronic risks include frequently drinking prior to fights, driving vehicles (including in chases), high-stakes gambling, operating complex machinery or devices, contact with dangerous animals, extreme athletic performance and sex with enemies, sometimes with guns or knives in the bed,” lead author Nick Wilson said in a statement.

Want to congratulate the lead author Nick Wilson?  Drop him a note here.  Australians embarrassed by the true absurdity of this research can take heart knowing it actually from a university in New Zealand.  On the other hand, this study (again it's hard to keep a straight face when calling this a study) won first place in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas competition.

Who will be the first to tell author Nick Wilson that Bond is a fictional character?  I'd wait until after Christmas because he may doubt the existence of Santa if he finds out there's no James Bond.


Friday, September 09, 2016

5-Second Rule Revisited [but it's still vexing]

Long-time readers of News That Vexes may remember this little post from June 2006 - a scant TEN years ago.  That article's link doesn't work any more, but we care about you, so you can reread that reported "news" here

That 10-year old article basically said the 5-second rule for food dropped on the floor IS TRUE.  Caveat: "Sticky food though, will pick up bacteria faster than dry food."   REALLY?  Yes, really.

Now comes NEW research from Rutgers (It appears 'Rutgers' is Latin for "We have nothing better to study").  This hard-hitting article says that

Rutgers researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it's OK to scoop up food and eat it within a "safe" five-second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. Their findings appear online in the American Society for Microbiology's journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
One of my favorite parts of this 'news' story is that the researchers preemptively attempt to tell us that this is not dumb, nor are the researchers stupid:
"We decided to look into this because the practice is so widespread. The topic might appear 'light' but we wanted our results backed by solid science," said Schaffner
Hooray for SOLID SCIENCE!

Another jewel: the subtitle of the press release is, "Eating food off the floor isn't safe."  Thanks Doc - But where were you yesterday when I was having dinner on the linoleum??! 

Personally I'd pay good money (25-30 cents) to see a Matt Lauer-moderated debate between Peter Blaschek - the U of Illinois researcher who said the 5-second rule is TRUE and this Rutgers professor who says it's FALSE.

Why not drop Dr. Shaffner an email congratulating him on his research?   He's had the last word at least.  Well, that is until some 4th grader corroborates - or disproves! - this research at their elementary school science fair.