Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Many of those who are kind enough to visit these pages on a regular basis have noted my occasional microscopic examination of scientists who spend so much time and grants doing studies to learn stuff you and I knew all along but didn't get a penny for knowing, like there's dandruff in the air, or monkeys don't steal if you watch them, scientists doing grueling seven-year studies on tropical islands and suchlike, addressing urgent scientific issues in their bikinis.

Or enjoying all the free popcorn they can eat. Yes, other of those clipboarded individuals staunchly advancing the banner of truth have raised the summit of knowledge yet again. Putting differently sized issues like disease and world hunger on the back burner, in a questionably crunchy study funded by Purdue's Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, our dedicated seekers of wisdom have resolved an issue that has plagued mankind ever since prime time: unpopped popcorn.

In the most shocking aspect of their revelations, the team of certified popcornologists found that "the percentage of unpopped kernels ranged from 4 percent in premium brands to 47 percent in the cheaper ones." (47%!! Is it still that high? What has science been doing all these years?) And that there were "17 billion quarts of popcorn sold each year in the United States." Which means that the US is about up to its hips in popped corn. Here in Japan it only ever gets ankle deep.

The research will appear in the July 11 edition of the journal BioMacromolecules. Watch out for the unpopped ones at the bottom.

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