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March 18, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Mad Science – Time to Get a Grip

Most people reading this have probably taken a bath before. This first experience probably occurred as an infant whereby your family took pictures of you naked in the bath, and then distributed these photos—without your verbal or written consent I might add—in family-album form. Charming.

There are many possible reasons why you may have taken a bath more recently. You may be the daredevil of your flat, who exhibits a reckless abandon for electricity bills and the budgets of your flatmates. You may be a ‘real bloke’ who likes to watch your gastrointestinal effervescence travel through an aqueous medium. You may even be a narcissist—not that anyone could blame you—who bathes  in your own, perfectly scented, so-called ‘filth’ in order to help preserve your awesomeness (incidentally both the water and taps provide potential reflective surfaces for you to gaze at). Or you may be like me, who
bathes when standing up in a shower just seems like a smidgen too much effort.

Regardless of your motivations for bathing, if you are exceptionally observant and intelligent you may have noticed that your skin goes wrinkly if you stay in the water too long. If you are unequivocally a genius, you may have noticed that this only appears to happen to your hands and feet. If you are a pleasure to teach because of your inquisitive nature, you may have even questioned why this might be.
The short answer is that it’s your body’s way of getting a massive grip. How was this discovered? Basically, some people with obviously far too much grant money did a study whereby people with far too much free time (but not quite enough to become an unpaid science columnist) let their hands simmer for 30 minutes in water and then tried to pick up marbles. What they discovered was that the wrinkly hands provided better grip. Also, Science found that  individuals with nerve damage in their fingers do not experience this wrinkliness. This is probably due to the fact that all people with nerve damage feel compelled to apply Olay moisturiser liberally. The conclusion drawn from these studies is that it’s your brain that decides that your fingers and feet go wrinkly, not the water itself.

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