I could be wrong, but I rather suspect that kids love science. I mean ever see how kid’s eyes light up when some cool scientist mixes a brew of this and that, and it bubbles and volcanoes out of the beaker? Or turns an unearthly hue of green? I dare say no kid is bug-eyed over Silas Marner or the capital of Georgia the way they ooh and ahh over “magic” tricks in the science lab.
I confess that I respect with deep appreciation the scientific method and all that it has produced for mankind. I don’t worship it, as some of the right wing crazies would have it. That is just their inane way of being defensive for their hypocrisy of loving the kind that makes their life comfortable and hating the kind that messes with their interpretation of life, the universe and everything.
And who can forget, all those long years ago one William Proxmire who used to make regular sport of science expenditures that went for what he thought were “frivolous” research. Who cares whether bed bugs breed in sunlight or only in the deep darkness of night? Why are tree frogs never more than three feet from a tree in the rain forest?
What Proxmire, who claimed he was trying to protect the American taxpayer against being gouged for waste of time pet projects, didn’t realize, is that many of these what sound like absurd research projects often, down the road, produce information that is most useful to humankind. Yep, and the beauty of it from the scientists point of view is that there is really no good way of knowing what might be important in thirty, eighty, or two hundred and forty years.
And there is such a thing as obtaining information for its own sake and fleshing out the story of human existence to the greatest degree possible.
But I confess, that sometimes, even I wonder about the efficacy of this study or that. And sometimes the results, touted as “stop the presses” seem rather shall we say obvious? to me?
Such is the case with a story from Science Digest today. The study, was of some importance to me, a home cleaner, pusher of dirt around. Where in the heck does all that dust come from? I mean we live a full 1/2 mile from the road. I recall, living in suburbia in my childhood, albeit on a rock road, the wafts of dusty air billowed off the road with each passing car, and in summer, directly in the front door. That made sense. But how does this dust collect when I am deep within the wooded splendor of the meadow?
The scientists report that, hold on to your hats kids, most dust, about 60% originates from OUTSIDE!!!!! Yes, you heard that right. Outside. I mean who would have guessed. The choices were, inside, and outside. It was a safe bet that outside is where more dirt is than inside right? I mean I can see it tracked in by dogs every day. Muddy little paw prints, and the cats patter in and out the kitchen door soon making a trail of tiny little prints. I can read tea leaves. I can figure this out.
But scientists were surprised. So they say. It would appear likely that most scientists, (those studying dust at least) don’t dust. So I guess it must come as a shock. I dunno. It seems like a waste of time and money to tell me the obvious. And I’m being polite, remembering the company. I’m not telling you what the dust consists of!
Okay, I will. It’s dirt, from OUTSIDE. Oh and some of it is human skin. Yech…now that does turn a tummy or two doesn’t it? Who wants to think about that? Nobody, except those that get off on showing microscopic “pictures” of counter tops with (shudder) fecal material.
It makes me want to run right out and throw away the butter that the cat licked yesterday. I mean really!
The Contrarian claims that the kids of the people who came to cart away dead horses and pigs and cows were the healthiest of all. Ya gotta eat a peck of dirt before ya die, said the Contrarian’s grandmother, and one likes to take solace in that. I’m not dirty, lazy, and so forth, I’m merely being healthy. We follow the ten second rule like everyone else. If you pick it up off the floor within ten seconds, nothing had time to latch on. It’s still clean!
They claim that there are bad things in the air, like lead and arsenic, and these land on objects. Not so good for items you lick. Dogs lick a lot of things, including themselves, but I always was told that dog mouths are much cleaner than our own. So I figure the dog is taking the chance in giving me a licky kiss.
So, I don’t know what to do at this point. Maybe we need to rethink where we build our showers. Perhaps they need be outside, on the porch. Then we can track less of the “dust” in. Kinda not such fun in the winter, but nobody will object much in the summer months. In fact the dirty old man down the street, hey he just might take to walking by your house a lot more often if you are singing in the shower on the porch.