Friday Fun with Research (& some singing)

I’ve always said that ‘fun’ is subjective and I freely admit that many of you may not find random pieces of research as fun as I – a professional researcher – do. [I will now pause while certain friends guffaw at the notion that I consider myself a ‘professional researcher’. I get paid for doing research, end of story.] However, there is no doubt that research at the more spurious end of the spectrum can be really quite ridiculous.

So, two pieces that have recently caught my attention…

Firstly, apparently ‘God wants you fat’ (as the title of the Hairpin article where I found this research said). Apparently, “[F]requent religious involvement appears to almost double the risk of obesity compared with little or no involvement.” The research itself is unclear as to how this link occurs – suggesting that religious people might reward themselves for their good works by indulging in treats, or that it’s to do with generally feeling relaxed.

That’s not the reason – had the researcher never been to a church function? Have they not experienced the amazing ability Christians have to make every single event revolve around food? There’s a reason why there’s a Christians Against Quiche group on Facebook, people! Heck, at my church they hand you yummy baked goods as soon as you walk through the door, not to mention the exceptionally scrummy meals served after the evening service. It’s not rocket science – hang around church long enough without saying “No” to at least some of what you’re offered and you will gain weight. [To spread this out across other faiths, I will also say that hands-down the best Indian meal I ever ate was in the Gurdwara in Southall.]

Secondly, a map showing the average bra size of women in different countries. (I’m certain this will be of interest to both genders.)

I genuinely found this fascinating – who knew that there might be a difference between the populations of the UK and Ireland? Also, I had a slightly blonde moment on first discovering it. Honestly, the question that sprang to mind was “how did they get a decent sample of women to reveal their bra size?” – about two minutes later it dawned on me that the data was probably gathered from bra sales figures. For a supposedly intelligent person I can’t half be a twit at times.

And now, for something completely different. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite as fun as I first thought it would be, but it’s still kept me entertained for the duration of writing this post. When I first saw the url I thought “Wow! Disastrous choral performances that are so bad it’ll make you cry! Excellent…”, because clearly that’s the mean, vindictive kind of person I am. It’s actually a collection of good choir performances that are so beautiful they might make you cry. Have to say I’ve not welled up during any of them, but hair has stood on end and I’ve jiggled about with joy a little.

Ok, I confess, the primary school choir singing Badly Drawn Boy had me slightly emotional (and they did actions, and swayed, and sounded good – get me a tissue, quick!). Everybody Hurts is always a tearjerker, but as the website says:

Also, the site (inevitably) features He Who Cannot Be Named, who of course I still love and deeply respect and this performance of his boys choir is especially wonderful. (I dare not use his name – he was on TV again last night and caused another spike in my blog stats as people googled his marital status/sexuality.) 
Enough soppy music – enjoy your final working Friday for three weeks! [Unless you’re not British, or happen to be ordained and therefore have a rather hectic Friday lined up for next week.] 

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