Studying common sense

Seems everyone is calling for “common sense” these days, but apparently it’s not enough to accept what we know. Sometimes we have to “prove it” with research instead of just saying “duh.” And sometimes we just have to find out things the hard way, as the headlines demonstrate:

  • “Airlines required to check no-fly list more often”: Yes. Good idea. (Homeland Security set the new policy after the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing bought a ticket and boarded a plane hours after being placed on the no-fly list.)

    “Chubby kids get bullied more often”: This latest study confirms other research that chubby children are more likely to be the victims of bullying than normal-weight children. Because somehow there was doubt?

    Perhaps some solution-oriented studies (to stop bullying, and to encourage exercise) would be more helpful.

  • “Study: Physical activity can boost student performance”: Research shows that physical education and recess are good for kids because they improve fitness (and thereby decreases bullying?) and helps kids concentrate.

    Apparently this study was actually needed, because so many schools have cut P.E. and recess due to “increasing educational demands and tough financial times.” Despite the fact that increased educational demands and tough financial times would increase the need for exercise.

  • “Cell phones may raise risk for teens driving at night”: Because reams of evidence about the risks of daytime phoning/texting/driving drunk and blindfolded just aren’t enough.

    “Goldman Sachs creates committee to review its business practices”: In other news, “Foxes create committee to review hen-house guarding practices.”

    “Flavored tobacco pellets are denounced as a lure to young users”: Sadly, another study that is likely needed despite the obvious and despicable tactics of the tobacco industry.

    Because selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco isn’t enough, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is test marketing Camel Orbs, and other “dissolvable tobacco products,” the New York Times reported.

    A study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, says Orbs, which are packaged very much like Tic-Tacs, are made of finely ground tobacco with mint or cinnamon flavoring, and are packed with nicotine. The pellets dissolve in the mouth, like breath mints. Mmmm … cinnamon-flavored dissolving tobacco pellets.

    R.J. Reynolds responded by calling the Harvard School of Public Health researchers totally uncool. And repeating that they are just offering choices to adult smokers, who have apparently been clamoring for a candy-like tobacco product.

  • “Neanderthals and humans interbred, fossils indicate”: See any given reality TV show. Or football game. Or see what the scientists discovered: Cave drawings, which translate into, “Me Hot or Not?” A Neanderthal social networking site that rated humans’ looks.