What has science ever done for me?

In a world where everyone seems to be quoting scientific research to support their argument, I’ve often stopped to wonder, what has science ever done for me? I’m sure the ANU science faculty would have a long list of answers as to the advances in medicine, technology and transportation but if I think long and hard enough, each of those developments is negated by something else: Penicillin and superbugs, cars and car accidents, smart phones and naked pictures of Paris Hilton. I mean come on; even Einstein’s theory of general relativity has come under fire.

So I went searching. I figured there must be something that science has found, that other science hasn’t tainted yet. The research uncovered things I never would have expected.

Redheads aren’t dying out.

I remember that fateful evening, sitting and staring into my mashed potato as I realised what recessive genes meant to me.  My unrequired love and lifelong commitment to Ariel (the little mermaid) was wasted as I wouldn’t be able to save her kind. No, not mermaids (I became a marine biologist for that) but redheads. We know that only 1% of humans are redheads, but science has shown that 4% of humans carry a copy of the gene that makes redheads. You could be a carrier and not even know it. So could your partner. Two redheads are unlikely to make a brunette, but two brunettes can make a redhead. So that means that Ariel will continue to be part of our world… (cue music and singing fish.)

Women choose men based on smell rather than penis size.

ANU researchers released a paper that went global, talking about how women prefer a bigger dong. But gents, before you go dropping your pants to attract the ladies (and potentially get arrested) research has found that the female body innately ‘sniffs’ out a man’s genetic compatibility, and those with the most pleasing musk are better candidates for having healthier offspring. So before you go waving it about, think about getting your stink on.

The Anatomical Snuff Box.

Take the back of your hand and stick your thumb out. See the two tendons popping out that form a triangle between your wrist and your first thumb knuckle? Science has lovingly labeled that space the “anatomical snuff box,” because people used to have the habit of sniffing powdered tobacco from it. Now I don’t condone tobacco use, but I’m sure storing a little salt there for next time you meet with Jose Cuervo would work just as well.


I grew up in the generation where kids played outside. We got dirty (with dirt), muddy and even suffered gravel rash on our eyelids (maybe that was just me). The fact of the matter is we grew up with germs. These days, thanks to antibiotics (listen to me, it sounds like I grew up in the 40’s), Dettol and hand sanitizer, everyone is afraid of germs. What people don’t realise, despite Inner Health Plus ads constantly telling us, is that the human body is full of bacteria: 1 quadrillion cells worth, give or take a few.  Babies depend on breast milk for their dose of healthy bacteria, which alone can contain up to 700 species. So, unless you’ve been playing with dead kittens or faeces, put the Aquim away and give your body a chance.

That infidelity is genetic.

Cheating is wrong. I just wanted to put that out there before the hate mail started bombarding my letterbox (if you want to send it, address it C/- Justin Bieber). However, a Swedish scientist (not to be mistaken with the Swedish chef) has found that there is an allele (gene variation), 334, that interferes with a neurochemical called vasopressin. This chemical is associated with monogamous pair bonding. So now if you ever get harassed by the Cheaters Detective Agency from reality TV, you can blame your parents for the bad genes.


So, maybe I shouldn’t be asking what science has done for me, but rather what I can do for science? Unless, of course, I find a redheaded germaphobic adulterer who likes hung men, then science better run for cover.

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