"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

About A Brain, III 

Some of the oldest conventional wisdom around is that a clean house is a Good Thing. It probably is, but those silly scientists can't ever just leave well enough alone! The problem is compounded by the media, who paint every new bit of research as a black-and-white fact about How You Should Change Your Life. Even the BBC, which is about as good as mass-market journalism gets these days, occasionally does something really stupid.

Today, in the Health section, right next to each other, are two very conflicting articles. One describes research (which, by the details given, is likely crap) showing that messy households are linked to lower intelligence in children. There does not appear to have been a control for income or education. The second highlights hyper-clean houses as a possible cause of asthma in children, and gently blames cleaning products for all sorts of other ills. I've seen some of the older research here, and it's pretty unconvincing.

So, we have two articles from a reputable source, simultaneously telling us that in order to raise smart, healthy, successful children, we must do so in a house that is either messy or clean. Useful, huh?

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