Toad in the Hole

June 18, 2005

Friday Science-is-Odd Blogging

This study in Science purports to show that Nepalese porters expend less energy (and therefore are more physiologically efficient) while toting heavy loads than are women of a couple of African tribes carrying large loads on their heads or with a tumpline, or Americans carrying backpacks.

However, these studies were performed on American army recruits, Kikuyu and Luo women, and Nepalese men, all of whom presumably had better things to do than walk around in various configurations with strange blue oxygen- and carbon-dioxide-measuring masks on. Surely they were paid, and I'd never discount that as a motivator. Maybe the recruits were just ordered. Still, I think the study is, more than anything else, a measure of the patience of ordinary people confronted by a couple of crazy Belgians who ask them to do silly things in the name of Science.

I'll conclude on an optimistic note: Maybe science has more friends than we think.

Posted at June 18, 2005 01:40 AM


If they can tell me how to carry water to chickens more efficiently, I'm all for it...

But what's this I hear about beetle-elytra earrings? :)

Posted by: Rurality at June 20, 2005 01:36 PM

Water to chickens? Well, one speculates about a pipe or hose...

(And the mental picture of a hen with a meerschaum and stockings, um, never mind.)

I do have a pair of beetle-elytra earrings, and they're among my favorites. They're a sort of pine-cone-shaped compound, many elytra on each, of some exotic beetle close to the color of the Emerald in your photos but longer and pointed at the bottom, maybe a little bluer, iridiscent. They weigh almost nothing and make a pleasant faint jingle when I wear them.

I got them from The Bone Room, though I haven't seen them there in a while. Sometimes they sell the elytra with pre-drilled holes for jewelry.

Posted by: Ron at June 20, 2005 09:53 PM

Too far for a hose, too expensive to put in pipes... well it's not like I don't need the exercise anyway. :)

I doubt that I'd have thought to make beetle earrings in a million years. (Beatle earrings, maybe.)

Posted by: Rurality at June 22, 2005 03:05 PM