Five Second Rule Research Wins IgNobel Prize

Does the "five-second rule" exist?�

Apparantly not. Jillian Clarke recently won the IgNobel in Public Health for her research, which found:
1. Attempts at culturing bacteria from floor swabs showed that most of the floors in her school were clean enough to eat on
2. When she placed food on flooring tiles prepared with bacteria, the bacteria transferred in 5 seconds 100% of the time.

Clarke was a high school student when the research was conducted, and is the youngest ever recipient of the IgNobel.


P.S. I have to rethink my eating-at-my-desk habits after finding this factoid: Chuck Gerba, microbiology professor at University of Arizona, sampled 7000 desks and found an average of 25,000 bacteria per square inch. (Just for comparison, he swabbed a few toilet seats and found 50 bacteria per square inch.) Ewww!


Language in the making

Is it just me, or did Joel Achenbach coin a new term to describe the 24-hour news circus in today's blog entry? Look:
. . . that whole foofaraw was as embarrassing for the media as for the Wilbanks
family. Jennifer Wilbanks was shoved into the vacancy in the Media
Scandal Infrastructure
originally erected for the O.J. case.


a mile wide and an inch deep

I read Achenbach's sunday column today and learned, all of a sudden, that the phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" is in widespread use as a slur. Is that new or did I never notice? Where I grew up, it's part of the local folklore you learn in 4th grade social studies. The alternative grass-stem-chewing description of the Platte River is: "it's too thick to drink and too thin to plow." And there you have it. Lately it's a good year in the water wars if there's any water in the river at all by August.

700,000 google results for the phrase and about 3 of them seem to refer to the Platte river.

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