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Science Is Not Always Right
PostPosted: Mon 19:12, 02 Sep 2013

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Science Is Not Always Right
Man was born barefoot, but everywhere he is in sneakers.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau did not say that, because he died in 1778,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], around a hundred years before the advent of athletic shoes and about two centuries short of the birth of sports shoe giants like Adidas,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], Nike and Reebok.
Since their birth however,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], these companies have managed to create a market of over billion globally for shoes that help us walk and run better than millions of years of evolution equipped us to.
It was science, they said, billions of dollars of it. We needed protection while running, in the form of cushioning and arch support and even motors.
Then something strange happened. Science - real science - came up with a startling conclusion: Heavily cushioned shoes were actually increasing our chances of injury. You see, for millions of years we had been landing on the balls of our feet while running; in the space of a few decades, we switched to landing on our heels because they were now cushioned. The result was a multiplication of the impact forces our bodies took,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], increasing the risk of repetitive stress injuries across various joints in the body. In other words, a few decades worth of scientific progress (funded and touted by the shoe giants) was wrong. Science 1, Marketing 0.
There was no mea culpa from the companies however. Instead they coolly did an about-turn and discovered the concept of barefoot-like running. Multi-million dollar ad campaigns announced new shoes that were lightweight, minimal and thin-soled. Of course,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], they were all duly supported by research.
Walk into any high-end electronics outlet and you ll see scads of products that have forsaken wires: WiFi-capable music docks, wireless home theatre systems, and what have you. (Apple,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], being Apple of course, even has a name for it: AirPlay. )
Sure, they eliminate the tangle of wires sprouting from and between our devices,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], but that convenience comes at the cost of sound quality. Because wireless music comes into contact with the other wireless information that swirls around us these days: cordless telephones,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], WiFi networks, even microwave ovens. True, some of this can be handled by nifty software algorithms, but some will end up subtly compromising the sound.
If that weren t bad enough,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], we now also have wireless video. Like Intel s Wireless Display that claims to be able to deliver video sans wires to computer monitors, and another heavyweight consortium of hardware makers like Samsung, Sony, Philips and Intel again (you have to give it to the company for fighting to stay relevant) has WirelessHD.
But here s the thing. First gen Wirelesshd products max out at around 4 gigabits per second of bandwidth, less than 40 percent of the now common HDMI cable standard and just 20 percent of Apple s DisplayPort cables.
This is a battle wireless can never win; no matter how much better it gets, physical cables will continue to beat it multiple times over.
Leave out the Fi for fidelity and you re just left asking, Why?
Modern food processing started in the early nineteenth century as a way to preserve and send meals to expeditionary troops thousands of miles from home. As science advanced,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], the benefits of the technology became available to civilians, allowing ordinary folks to enjoy foods from around the world,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], even to ready-to-eat packed foods that require little or no preparation, What started as a way to preserve exotic or seasonal foods for later consumption soon became the default way to consume even local foods. With luck,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], we can avoid the West s mistakes.
To switch back from body to sole,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], remember the massive Reebok street hoardings with pictures of athletic female derrieres? The shoe being advertised was called Reetone,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], and it promised to tone wearers bottoms by just being walked about in. In September this year the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a US million settlement on Reebok for fraudulent advertising. But by then it had already sold over 15 million pairs globally.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC s Bureau of Consumer Protection said of the shoe s advertising, Reebok s claims didn t withstand scrutiny. Consumers expected to get a workout,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], not worked over.
Science has it fervent followers. But remember, like priests and godmen who twist religious belief to their own ends, Science has no shortage of people willing to exploit our faith.


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