Bulletproof Custard And Other Benefits Science Promises Humankind
I didn't make up the headline (let's be honest you couldn't make this stuff up, it's too idiotic. Real 'bulletproof custard' has been proposed in a science competition along with a number of other whacky and wonderful projects on which governments and academic might be wasting out tax money in future.
Scientific curiosity, that driving force behind so much money wasting, does not just demand answers to the great questions like, where did we come from, how did the universe begin, is there any point to life and who put the ding in Ram - a - lam - a -ding - dong but also to more mundane questions like "how common is common sense?" and "why do all waste bins smell the same?"
Such questions could be answered soon in a national competition for aspiring scientists.
If the right winner emerges it could lead us to discover the bullet-stopping properties of real custard (very useful as a a cheap filler for body armour in combat situations and as a snack for hungry soldiers we're told) or yield the secrets of "tangle theory", the mysterious force which causes garden hoses to become knotted no matter how carefully they are rolled up and put away.
So You Want To Be A Scientist, operated by BBC Radio Four, invites listeners to send in ideas for research projects in fields that have been overlooked by conventional science.
Last year's competition led to the remarkable discovery that snails have a homing instinct, after retired teacher Ruth Brooks observed that the pests would reappear in her garden no matter how many times she threw them over the fence. My own theory on this is if Miss Brooks can tell one snail from another she needs to get a life. I am not a scientist however and so tend to look for some point to these things. Scientists of course have pointy heads and a single point is enough to justify anything. Will support from the University of Exeter, Ms. Brooks discovered that the gastropods did indeed have the ability to find their way back home – but only within a radius of 100m.
One entrant, apparently tired of the chicken falling out of their lunchtime wrap, proposed an experiment to develop "edible Velcro". Now this is just ridiculous and proves a point I have" often made, that scientists are detached from reality. While American's may struggle to get the kind of messy snack served in fast food outlets "from hand to greasy chin" we British had the problem beaten before Christianity came to these isles. Instead of importing serving ideas from a nation of lazy, malodourous, flatulent Volkswagen Beetle drivers via the USA where every bad idea is proclaimed a good idea, we have been getting our faces round meat pies for millennia because it is the perfect scientific solution, having involved no scientists at any stage of development (LINK: Former deputy Prime Minister demostrates how to eat a meat pie).
Some suggestions were designed with a genuine public good in mind, such as an experiment to link up exercise machines in gyms to the national grid to generate electricity. Unfortunately my UK Blog was years ahead of that one and to make it more commercially viable we suggested putting unwanted children on treadmills.
Entries for this years contest are due to close in a few days. We look forward to learning of what
insanities wonderful new ideas it will throw up.
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