Tuesday, 4 November 2008


According to this news story on the BBC some scientists claim they can trace a relationship between the development of autism and higher than normal rainfall in the first three years of a child's life.

Beats the hell out of me... Maybe there is some truth but I think this is where you begin to wonder about two unrelated facts being misconstrued. There was some survey a while back that found that schools that had a blazer as a compulsory part of its uniform had better GCSE results. So recently my sons old school has reintroduced the blazer as part of it's uniform. I'm at a loss about this supposed link - my sons school is a high school in an area of selective education - i.e. we have local grammar schools as well. Those have retained the blazer throughout so at the time of the survey a school with pupils who failed the old 11plus (as we called it) who didn't have a blazer in the uniform was compared to schools with the top 5 - 10% of intellect (i.e. the grammar schools) and who retain the blazer.

Hello!!!! The blazer has nothing to do with it, perhaps making kids take an antiquated test and labeling them a failure at 11 and making that divide evident between them and those that passed via institutionalised segregation might have something more to do with it. But I notice all the high schools reintroducing blazers - so lets watch those GCSE results soar as a result of this action...

Two facts then equated to make a new "truth" without further consideration. Maybe there is something in this autism report but I really think it needs a massive amount of further research. Surely autism would be very high in Ireland then - is that true does anyone know?


  1. Oh, you wouldn't want to be born in the rainforest, then! Solution? Save the children! Cut them all down!

    I do think that there are some instances where the cause isn't clear but there is such a strong correlation that it warrants further investigation even though it seems odd, but when you're talking about small minorities (such as autistic kids) or tiny fractional changes in grades (eg at schools with blazers) then you're really clutching at straws to begin with.

    You never know, though... maybe with all that rain the kids were better earthed during their formative years, drawing electrons away from their neural pathways, effectively rewiring the way they think. It's possible... but you'd need to do a further study to assess the type of sole material in the kids shoes.

  2. I think you may be onto something there... do you think I could get a grant to research both the linkage between GCSE results and sole materials and autism, rain and sole materials?

  3. I'm actually seeing a connection where if you wear a BLAZER you're more likely to accept standing out in the rain, hence you're more likely to grow up autistic...

    ...oh, except that 0-3 year olds don't usually wear blazers. D'Oh!

    If you can get funding, let me know who from. I have a bridge they might just be interested in...

  4. But the report does say 'higher than normal' so always having a high level of rainfall wouldn't be higher than normal?

    But for goodness sake, who even comes up with these ideas to study in the first place? Let's you and me think of something obscure and get a big grant to study it. Something to do with guitars and obscure groups maybe?!