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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hands Up, Baby. Hands Up.

I have a confession to make. I'm a rather shallow news reader.

Unless it is celebrity news or has an interesting headline, chances are, I'm not going to read about it. I subscribe to the "no news is good news" school of thought. The more nonsense I can stay away from the better.

But every once and awhile a headline comes along that intrigues me. Usually it's based on some quirky study that was piloted by someone, somewhere who I presume is even quirkier for even thinking it up in the first place. It's intrigue is broken down into two parts: wacky results and a sense of wonder about why the study was conducted in the first place.

Enter this study. In this article, the claim is made that finger length is a good indicator of SAT performance, just like some other length is a good indicator of some other kind of performance. I'm not saying anything else on the latter. You can do the math. Then again, check the lengths of your fingers before you do because the odds may be against you.

It breaks down like this; researchers found a "...a clear link between high prenatal testosterone exposure, indicated by the longer index finger compared to the ring finger, and higher scores on the math SAT. Similarly, they found higher literacy SAT scores for the girls among those who had lower prenatal testosterone exposure, as indicated by a shorter ring finger compared with the index finger. The researchers also compared the finger-lengths ratios to all the children's SAT scores and found that a relatively longer ring finger-indicating greater prenatal exposure to testosterone-meant a wider gap in scores for math versus literacy (writing and critical reading)."

In short, no pun intended, longer index fingers in boys meant better performance on the math portion of the SAT's, while girls had better performance on the literacy portion of the SAT's if they had a short ring to index finger ratio. I don't know what this means for boys who are good in literacy and girls who are good in math. Certainly there are good researchers that could have devoted time and money to something more productive, but what do I know. I'm just an average girl with average size extremities to prove it.

So I decided to conduct a study of my own, using ten little Indians subjects, also known as my own fingers. Looking at my own little piggies, I noticed that my ring finger was indeed, shorter than my index finger. This coincides with research results as I always scored far better in the area of literacy than I did in mathematics, so much so in fact, that my guidance counselor assumed something must have "happened to me" when I took the math portion of the SAT.

If my extremely small sample is to be trusted, that would mean little ol' me proved the research right. But what now? Where do we go from here? What does knowing this information say about mankind? Should we try to stretch out toddlers fingers in the hopes it will stretch out their potential knowledge as well? And what about our ten little piggies, who are currently all pissed off and on their way to the market as I type this? My second toe is taller than my big toe. So there. Do you know what that's an indicator of? If you judge solely by me it's either a precursor of extreme sarcasm or a poor sense of balance, you choose.

And really, why stop at our fingers and toes? What does a bigger nose say about people other than possibly their ethnic background? Perhaps Pinocchio would also like to weigh in on the issue. There's also eye size to consider along with height, weight and super size. Scratch the last one. I'm just really hungry.

No, this is is what I like to call a "just because" type of study. No reason, no real results. Just because we can.

So ahead, give someone the finger today. Tell them Janet gave it her "freakishly average thumbs up stamp of approval" to do so.



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