Monday, May 21, 2012

Last word

One of the sections of New Statesman I most enjoy is This England, which supplies little snippets of the poignantly weird, stupid and ridiculous kinds of behaviour that this scepter’d isle seems to produce in such abundance. I thought had found a candidate in this week’s New Scientist, until I saw that it comes from New South Wales. It is one of the questions for The Last Word, and it made me laugh out loud:

“Could anyone explain why I can hold an electric fence between finger and thumb and feel only a tiny pulse in the finger, yet my wife can touch the same spot and feel a much larger pulse through her whole arm? If I touch my wife with one finger on my other hand as I hold the fence, I feel a solid shock through both arms and across my chest and my wife feels a massive shock leaving her shaking and weak. Footwear type does not seem to play a role.”

That last line is a stroke of sheer genius. Well, can anyone indeed explain it? One is tempted to imagine it has something to do with living in Australia, but somehow I don’t have too much difficulty seeing this sort of thing going on in our own beloved South Wales either.

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