The common cold

I found out yesterday that a common cold virus is rampaging through the UK. One newspaper estimates around 10 million people have caught it. Given that the population of the UK is around 64 million, that works out at around 1 in 6 people. I have to tell you that I am one of the 10 million.

The medical description of a cold is that it is an infection of the Upper Respiratory Tract (URT). To pass the time, I have been thinking about how this URT malfunction might be distributed. One has to think in terms of population figures to get at this. So, for example, more people in the Tyneside and Newcastle area in the northeast of England have colds than do people living in the WHOLE of Scotland. Indeed, the number of people in Scotland who have colds is less than the population of Ipswich (in England).

The population of Greater Manchester is 2.5 million (2,500,000) which is roughly 35 times the population of Scotland. In Greater Manchester about 415k people have a cold now. So, the number of colds in Greater Manchester equates to half the population of Scotland. Incredible. Mind you, kilt-tremble could be developed as a measure of the severity of a cold. Obviously this index could only be obtained at the moment of sneezing.

Still, a variation of the Kilt-Tremble measure would have to be developed for Sassenachs south of the border; I am not suggesting for a moment that English people don kilts, since no cultural offence is intended towards the Scots. The English equivalent of Kilt-Tremble could easily be measured in women, providing they were wearing a short-ish pleated skirt. For the lads, this would involve a moment of cross-dressing in the research lab or doctor’s surgery. Of course, the extent to which the Heisenberg uncertainty principle would kick in cannot be predicted at this point [Heisenberg thing states, roughly speaking, that the act of observation may have an effect on that which is observed]. So some supplementary research may be required to follow up the extent to which Kilt-Tremble measurement amongst English males leads to subsequent transvestite tendencies. There is clearly the kernel of a Ph.D. research topic in this. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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