Last week, the Times published a story about how, according to really important research that definitely needed to happen, sitting down all day at work makes us fatter. We're less than halfway though 2011, and already we've seen quite a few similarly needless examples of "science" in action. Here are a few of our favorites: But first, a little more on that whole sitting makes you chubby thing:
“It’s a light bulb, ‘aha’ moment,” said Barbara E. Ainsworth, the president-elect of the American College of Sports Medicine and an exercise researcher at Arizona State University, of the finding.
Seriously? We get that nobody had concrete numbers before, and that concrete data can be a valuable tool in urging governments and workplaces to help people become more active, but come on! How this is not already obvious to absolutely everyone? Did we really need actual scientists to study this? Did they get paid to study this while sitting down?
And the list:
1) Old People Drive Badly - According to a study in Neuropsychology, 17% of drivers in a study of 266 healthy 70–88 year-olds who "lived independently and drove at least once a week" screwed up badly enough in a monitored road test that the instructor present had to take control of the wheel or apply the brake. Also, according to an independent study conducted by my grandpa, those darned egghead whiz kids with their newfangled thingamabobs don't know squat about operating an automobile. Why, in my day, people had respect for the elderly.
2) Playing Video Games For Hours At A Time Will Make Your Wrists And Fingers Hurt - Scientists have "discovered" that 9-15-year-olds who text and play video games a lot experience device-related joint pain. Video games hurt more than texting, and the amount of pain varies with the amount of time spent on these activities.
"Our study has shown the negative impact that playing computer games and using mobile phones can have on the joints of young children, raising concerns about the health impact of modern technology later in life," said Professor Yusuf Yazici, Rheumatology, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York.
Then he excused himself to go play more Angry Birds.
3) Parents Dumb Enough To Feed Their Children Tons Of Junk Food Have Dumb Children - Young kids who eat a lot of junk food wind up with fewer IQ points later on in life, and the damage may be irreversible. We concede that a piss-poor diet can cause all sorts of health problems, and that raising your kids on garbage probably isn't good for their brains. Still, we can't help but wonder if the supposedly intelligent parents who feed their 3-year-olds a bunch of chips and pizza aren't impacting their kids' brainpower in other ways.
4) "Long-Awaited" Study Shows Running Was Safe Before Sneakers Were Invented - Apparently, scientists were like, totally shocked to find out that running on your own two feet isn't actually bad for you. How, exactly, did they think we caught our food and escaped the wrath of angry cheetahs and stuff before Nike came around?
5) Illegal Drugs Are Easy To Buy On The Internet - We didn't even have to change the title of this one to be clever, except that we added an "are" to make it grammatically consistent with the rest of this list. What did it take to figure this one out? A PhD in Google-searching?
6) Preventing Large Groups Of People From Gathering In Enclosed Spaces Keeps Them From Spreading Germs To Each Other - Shutting down schools and other big public areas when lots of people get sick can--surprise!--keep more people from getting sick. *Palm firmly planted on forehead.* Interestingly enough, though, the CDC says not to cover your mouth when you cough -- at least not with said palm.
7) Sometimes Kids Unbuckle Their Car Seats - But only the ones whose parents feed them lots of home-cooked meals full of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The other kids are too dumb to figure out the buttons.