Research, Picasso and the Cookie Crumbles

Everywhere I look on the net someone somewhere, has a new research story to tell. I'm not sure if everyone is like me and thinks that research is important if it's medical, space, technology, sorting out third world issues, you know that kind of thing that will make a huge difference to ours and others lives. Clearly not everyone thinks as I do that these are to me the most pressing topics for research studies.


I struggle to understand why some research on say something like, why do people write with their left hand, firstly costs so much, and secondly, why the results are always generally the same. Being a left handed person, I can tell you immediately why I write with my left hand, it's because I have a lack of rotator cuff movement in my right arm.


This was probably caused by me doing something stupid like trying to climb a tree when I was about 12-months old. Allegedly I was a difficult child to control. Hey, I remember riding my bike into an iron bar. The bar was at the same height as my head. Boy, can I still remember the pain. In those days there were no such things as bicycle helmets, and it wouldn't have made a jot of difference at all. It wouldn't have took the impact away from my mouth.


So I have decided to tell you about a few studies you may not have heard. First up did you know that students get bored? Well, apparently researchers found that all high school and college students experience some level of boredom.


Now this my friends was a piece of research carried out in a collaboration between McGill University in Montreal and City University of New York which collected data from 63 university students (mean age 24) and high school students (mean age of 17 years). Go figure. Who would have thought a bunch of 17 and 24 (mean age) students would ever get bored?


Hardly the most expensive or expansive study, so we will turn it up a notch. Nine, that's right, nine, people were the subject matter in the next study. Apparently people who have a wide circle of friends and thrive in social situations "might", emphasis on the "might", have more white-matter pathways in their brain. The conclusion of this revered study was that "it's unknown whether their brains were predisposed to social engagements or whether large social networks prompted brain development". Who carried out this research? Oxford University. That fine academic establishment between London and Birmingham in the UK.


Next up, teenagers who spend more time playing video games spend less time doing their homework. This nugget was led by Hope Cummings of the University of Michigan. The research involved studying the time of 1,500 teens for a year. At lest this time the subject size is a little more credible than the nine in the last study.


The study concluded that boys read less while gaming, and girls do less homework. Now I have tried to multi task when playing Grand Theft Auto on my PS4, it's impossible. If someone could research how to expand time, then we might be on to something.


Perhaps this is too harsh - the study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and does have some interesting social implications: you'll be relieved to know that gaming doesn't come at the expense of social interaction with friends or family. Well, it does when the teenager grows into a 45 year old man, believe me when I say that not even my wife approaches me in the middle of one of Trevor's missions.


But even this piece of ground breaking research doesn't even come close to the work carried out by Loughborough University and their study into a question that has kept me awake almost every night since I became aware that you could dunk a cookie into a cup of tea. Why does a cookie crumble? Even I could have told you that it's because humidity disrupts the biscuit's internal forces which cause it to self destruct. In other words, it gets a bit soggy as the liquid penetrates the that crispy outer shell, or the humidity in the air does the same even without dunking it in to a cup of tea.


Just to ensure that the tea is brewed correctly, the Royal Society of Chemistry carried out extensive research on how to brew the perfect cup. So with these research studies, I go back to the first research study and conclusively prove that it's no wonder students get bored.


In other news, it has been an enormous week at the annual May post war and contemporary art sales in New York. As I said in my post yesterday, Chrisitie's set a new all time record for a work sold at auction when it sold a Picasso for $179.4m.


Disgruntled, but probably not overly bored first-year MFA students at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Art & Design released a statement detailing multiple grievances which led to their collective decision to drop out in protest, stating that they lost time, money and trust in a classic bait and switch. They went on to cite the reduced tuition subsidisation and that there was a lack of emphasis on teaching experience. Let's hope they were not a part of some 7 person research study.


Yesterday also saw Beechhouse Media introduce another 16 pieces of art. Two pieces, Guitar Solo and Urban Guitar are Fine Art America exclusives, with the remaining pieces being made available on both Zazzle and Fine Art America.


This week looks set to be busy, I am off to stay over in London on Wednesday evening, returning to what seems to be my second home in Covent Garden for two days of back to back meetings with my day job. I hope that this time I will be able to just go and grab a hot chocolate without a conference of people who recognise me from previous keynotes, and then want to chat about cyber risk management!


Going back to the most pointless research studies, have you heard of any that in your view are a complete waste of time and money?

Urban Guitar A Fine Art America Exclusive


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