Monday, May 7, 2007

Fund This

Paul Williams of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has recently conducted a study on the effects of exercise and aging. I hope you're sitting down, because the results are mind boggling.

Seems they found that people who maintain an active lifestyle gain less weight than those people who don't. I know!! It's the exact opposite of what I would have thought!! To quote this press release, 'men and women who ran over 30 miles per week gained half the weight of those who ran less than 15 miles per week'.

Whoa, whoa, slow down! Let me see if I have this straight. You're telling me if Joe runs half as much as Lisa, Joe will put on twice as much weight. Well, thank you for that information. Hold on while I file that away in the 'No Fucking Shit' section of my brain. Here, I'll put it between the 'Anna Nicole Smith died from a drug overdose' story and the 'Black Players Get Whistled For More Fouls in the NBA' report.

Mr. Williams, your rebuttal? 'To my knowledge, this is the only study of its type. Other studies have tracked exercise over time, but the majority of people will have changed their exercise habits considerably.'

Allow me one possible reason this is 'the only study of its type': Because it's fucking obvious! That's why! Do we really need a seven year long study conducted that proves people who run more gain less weight? What other outcome were they expecting?

But, wait!! There actually was another study that looked at the same thing. Back in 2006, an article in Obesity Magazine 'found that runners who increased their running mileage gained less weight than those who remained sedentary, and runners that quit running became fatter'. Wow! I can't figure out which is more amazing, that this was published as a legitimate scientific find or that there is a magazine dedicated to fat people. Hey, want to guess who one of the co-authors of that article was? Our good friend Paul Williams, Dean of Obvious University.

Normally, I would probably just laugh this off (ok, I'm doing that anyway), but I'm also a bit pissed off. See, this particular study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Who funds that? We do. It falls under the the Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, I couldn't find how much of our money was spent on this. Attempted searches on the NHLBI site regarding funding became so layered and convoluted I wound up getting lost. Here is the archive for past Requests for Applications if you want to see how your tax money is being spent.

The best I can figure is it was at least $186,000, but probably not more than $1,515,000. That's just a guess. Searches for Paul Williams and/or Berkeley Labs produced too many results to be helpful.

I figured since there seems to be good money in proving the obvious, I would apply for some funding myself. Some proposed subjects for research:

People who drink alcohol more likely to be caught drunk driving

Coffee drinkers more social approximately 30 minutes after morning cup

Boston residents crankier than San Diego residents

U2: Overrated or just annoying?

Kobe Bryant is a flaming asshole: a qualitative study

Barry Bonds used steroids: statistical analysis of cap size

Couples without children sleep better than those with children

Beer - delicious or just plain yummy?

Pass along any suggestions you may have. I'll submit my options online and could definitely use a few hundred thousand to buy some beer.

Today's distraction: The 10 most obvious studies of recent years. Did you know the beer goggle effect was proven? Or that objects far away are tougher to see than those that are close? Now you know. It's been scientifically proven. Can't wait until they update this and put this study right at the top.


French said...

I'd like to see a study on if smoking actually makes you cool or not. Or if pretty girls produce aromatically pleasing feces.

This you may find intriguing...a recent study shows that since the Jeter/A-Rod "breakup", A-Rod is playing much better baseball. Further investigation shows that A-Rod was indeed the receiver in the relationship. In a related story, the t-shirt vendors outside Fenway have changed the t-shirt reading "A-Rod Pujols Jeter" to "Jeter Pujols A-Rod".

It takes people too long to get the humor in those shirts, so I am now producing t's that say simply "A-Rod and Jeter are sexual partners".

BeachBum said...

You only look cool when you're huddled outside in -20 degree weather, trying to suck down a cigarette before your fingers fall off.

As for the second study, we both know that answer is a resounding no.