|A classic 1970s Boffin with a maroon wool interior and corduroy finish|
(photo by Srv007)
Noun. Slang. Mid-20th century.
1. An elderly naval officer. M20
2. A person engaged in backroom (especially scientific or technical) research, a technical expert.
Now also, an intellectual or academic. M20
Also: boffinry, boffinery noun boffins (sense 2) collectively; the activity of a boffin. M20
We all owe a lot to boffins and their boffinry, so it's about time you lot just backed off and left them alone. Yes, boffin sounds a bit like boff, and boffinry sounds even more like buffoonery, but that's no excusing for hitting them or pinning "Kick Me" signs to the back of their anoraks. Stop it. Show some respect. And above all: have some gratitude.
Gratitude, I say? How so? Well if it wasn't for boffins and their boffinry, we'd all still be swivelling sticks for fire and ignorantly pushing salmonella-coated food into our flapping, ape-like cake-holes. How so? Jillian Clarke, that's how so. This veritable boffin took the lab-time to research the utterly preposterous Five Second Rule. You know it, don't you? The rule that states that food dropped on the floor won't be contaminated if picked up within five seconds. You've done it, haven't you? You've dropped a slice of bread on the floor (butter-side down) and picked it up and eaten it, reassuring yourself that your actions are not in the least bit questionable because the Five Second Rule says so. Admit it. No one is here to judge.
The sheer fatuity of the Five Second Rule is breathtaking, and you can almost see Clarke's eyes rolling with exasperation as she sets out to save us from ourselves. While studying Advanced Theoretical Boffinery at Hans Blascheck's University, Illinois, Clarke studied the validity of The Five Second Rule by dropping bits of food on the floor for varying amounts of time and then analysing them. Her results are astoundingly obvious:
- 70% of women and 56% of men are familiar with the Five Second Rule, and most of these use it to determine whether or not it's safe to consume food dropped on the floor
- Women are more likely than men to eat food that's been dropped on the floor
- Cookies and candy (biscuits and sweets) are more likely to be picked up and eaten than cauliflower and broccoli
- If the floor surface does contain microorganisms, then food can (shock horror) be contaminated in five second or less
So that's it. The lesson is clear: stop mindlessly eating food that you've dropped on the floor just because you scooped it up within five seconds. Since publication, Clarke has been awarded an Ig Noble Prize for her research and other boffins and replicated her results (because we really needed convincing that it's not a good idea to pick up that ice-cream we just dropped in the car park). Some have gone so far as to suggest it should be a Zero Second Rule: in layman's terms - don't eat anything from the floor. Therefore, join me please, in saying thank you to the boffins of the world. Thank you for saving us from ourselves, keeping us safe, and protecting us from our own stupidityness.
|"Why-oh-why must I save them from themselves?"|
(photo by BizJournal)
Are you a boffin?
Do you like boffins?
Have you ever hit a boffin or pinned a demeaning sign to one's back?
Do please grunt in the comment box below.