Sunday, April 10, 2011

The hair helmet effect of fuzzy hair - the endurance eggsperiment

A fuzzy and a straightie, both weighing 60 kgs, fall from the second floor of an art hotel at the same time onto their heads – who will be most injured?

I’m like a jelly fish in the midday sun, I’m that transparent. You can see where this is going: Is fuzzy hair a natural helmet? Are we more protected from head injuries by the absorbent cushioning of springy hair? Is this why we’ve survived for millions of years despite the oppression?

I posed my initial question to a properly qualified bona fide nuclear physicist.

While perplexed, he did answer: “the fuzzy hair would increase the air resistance of the person, so reduce their acceleration and terminal velocity, thereby reducing the speed of impact.” Aha!

While I was waiting for the official response, I also threw the question open to the general rabble and I received this answer from a suitably unqualified lawyer (unqualified in the realm of physics not lawyering). I think he makes some very valid points that bear repeating.

I would suggest that the frizzy person would have some - marginal - protection.  Firstly the afro hair would likely provide more wind resistance - slowing the fall. 

“Secondly - curly hair is basically like a small spring - albeit of far weaker than metal material.  The hair of the straight haired person would likely not be pointing directly against the concrete (unless you dive head first) - but first let's assume you dive flat - the length of hair would not oppose the concrete - only the width would.  With a curly-haired person, no matter which angle their head hit the ground it would have hair directly at its length opposing the concrete and providing spring like resistance.”

Clearly, my friend has missed his calling, instead of driving a desk filthy with acronyms, he should be out in the Californian desert packing crash test dummies with semtex alongside the beret-wearing dude from Myth Busters.

Now, not satisfied with these theoretical musings, I decided to run my own experiment. Meet our two boiled eggs. One with realistic fuzzy hair simulator via the medium of an orange kitchen mop, and the other with a pseudo indie-pop cut – neatly drawn on to replicate the closeness of straight hair to the actual skull.

Note this experiment was performed under rigorous laboratory conditions (including the compulsory wooden floorboard base) and meets Australian scientific ethical standards. Only two egg-people were hurt during this eggs-periment.

Both eggs were dropped from the same height at the same time.

The damage speaks for itself. The straightie egg broke its chin and possibly its jaw, while the fuzzy egg looks good enough to, well, eat.

Conversely, we can therefore assume that curly hair provides protection from falling objects as well. Think birds and meteorites – although not hail and teenage boys urinating from skyscraper balconies as the liquid element flattens the helmetty protection.  

So what is the plain English lesson from all this scientific research and high-tech wizardry?

If you’ve got curly hair and you fall out of a window – relax!

Also don't be surprised if the airforce starts trying to recruit you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The numbers are with us - and that scares some hairbrush-touters

It’s official folks – the straighties are trying to kill us off. Why, you ask? When they have all the power suits, the jobs with golden handshakes, and the negatively geared properties in old-money suburbs, it hardly seems worth it. Because dear curlfriends we have the numbers – as recent revolutions in Eygpt and Tunisia have proven – it all eventually comes down to sheer volumes or a meteorite hitting the earth.

According to question and answer website, more than 70% of the world’s population has curly hair. It’s a pretty intimidating stat for those straight-haired, straight-hemmed folks who until now have been able to guard their ivory towers via a moat of humidifiers. Slowly, slowly though, they’ve noticed that folks like Obama (who should surely let his fuzz free) have been taking positions of power and low and behold fuzzies like Therese Rein have actually succeeded in business. Fearing the turning tables or even the ones just outside the toilets, they’ve had to up their efforts.

Exhibit one: just this week, I spied a Hoyts ad giving away hair straighteners with tickets to movies aimed squarely at teenage girls and love-lorn women with low self-esteem.  The aim here is to get to the young and vulnerable to believe that if they had conformed to the norm and flattened out the fuzz they too could a) be as good looking as demented ballerina; and b) snare an Ashton Kutcher type and live hairly ever after.

Exhibit two: the emergence and growing popularity of hair straightening fluids that appear to have been created by a crew of evil scientists from KAOS. The Age reported recently a product called Brazilian Blowout, which was outlawed in December last year in Australia, but is still readily available globally that contains formaldehyde. Now formaldehyde is a very useful chemical, if you’re looking to manufacture a car, disinfect against parasites, or embalm a body, but its affect on humans is less helpful. It’s known to cause all manner of irritations and allergies and more seriously it is listed by the World Health Organisation as a probable carcinogen i.e it could give you cancer. An overseas study has also linked formaldehyde to reproductive problems in women – not only are they trying to kill us off, they’re trying to make sure we can’t reproduce any more little fuzzies.

It seems death and loss of reproduction abilities aren’t the only side effects. A Geelong woman responded to The Age story stating that since she had the treatment early last year, half her hair had fallen out and it was still coming out. Clearly this is also a win for the straighties – if they can’t kill us, at least make us too bald to go out in public.

So, what can we do about this new campaign of terror? Firstly, those who’ve been burnt by this liquid and literally lost their frizz, do not settle (as much as it may be terribly tempting) for a lovely blunt bob wig, instead get yourself the biggest fake afro you can find. It will signal defiance and also play havoc with air traffic control visibility. And secondly, let’s hit back and send the developers of the straightening fluid a little powered formaldehyde on a hairbrush and see how they like it. Let’s face it, there’s no fear a fuzzy will use it instead.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fuzzies of the world unite and takeover!

Forget antagonising gingers, at least there’s some sympathy for their plight, but there is a discrimination lurking in the western world that is rarely discussed and even less debated. It’s a form of oppression so pervasive and omniscient that those who are affected by it suffer a comprehensive form of Stockholm Syndrome. So subtle and ingrained in our society that there is no public outcry about the sale of GHDs (Good Hair Days) hair straighteners – even the name is offensive to those of us with fuzzy follicles. But make no bones about it; curly hair is a crippling condition that can make it difficult to meet a partner, limit your career opportunities/job choices, and leave you open to public ridicule.

The biological difference between curly-headed people and straighties comes down to the simple fact that one group is better looking than the other. Hollywood holds a mirror to this real life beauty division. In any Cinderella story the frizzy ugly duckling is instantly transformed into a smooth glamorous swan by a few strokes of the straightener. Think Pretty Woman (in this case, she goes from a naturally fuzzy prostitute wearing a straight wig - because let’s face it, who’s going to pay for sex with a frizz-ball - to straightie for the bona fide date; Princess Diaries; Breakfast Club; Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  You don’t even need to go to the movies - shampoo commercials contain exactly the same stereotypes – fuzzy-ugly/ sleek-beautiful. Quite rightly young curly girls are taught that their hair is the ‘before’ waiting for a makeover. Is it any wonder that curly-headed people can’t find partners? They are self-conscious, paranoid that getting hot and steamy might cause a halo of fuzz around their face and only able to get naked in the dark lest their straight-charade be undone by their short and extra-curlies. I haven’t made this up. Research into online websites found that men with curly hair receive about 22% fewer first contact emails than men who describe themselves as having “medium straight hair”. But where is the public outcry? Where are the support groups with war cries like “real women have fuzzies”?  

Having coiled hair makes it difficult to get certain types of jobs. This is primarily due to what is known in certain circles as the Helena Bonham-Carter effect. Fuzzy-heads are wrongly assumed to be a little left of centre, a little zany - and quite without any basis – disorganised and untidy. The HBC effect directly translates to employers believing you are too wacky to perform a role.  Here are just some of the jobs curlies cannot get; newsreader (hair obscures graphics behind them), air hostess, actress (except as ugly duckling or madcap friend), fighter pilot (or any profession that requires a heavy duty helmet for that matter) and opal salesperson (I was almost sacked once for looking too untidy). Even if you manage to get a foot in the door, the HBC effect can also stop you from progressing in your career. While being ugly might help you appear smarter than a straightie, managers will be too afraid to give you too much responsibility in case you decide to convert the office into a sexually transmitted disease clinic or a tassel factory. I can’t say I blame them. The other day I saw a curly-headed woman engaged in the theatre of road rage and I was frightened. Her voluminous hair bounced like a blonde octopus off her head and she did indeed look insane in a way that no straighie could even begin to counter.

Being fuzzy can also lead to embarrassing public situations like being harassed by a fully made-up Ronald McDonald in Swanston St. We are prime targets for humiliation and bullying because a) clearly we don’t have partners to jump up and defend us; and b) even if we did complain, no one would believe us.

While these points may seem harsh they are facts and they must be buried no more. Especially considering climate change, the challenge for curlies is even greater. It’s not going to be pretty but in order for future generations not to be ashamed of their unruly locks, the hard yards must be done now. Celebrities like Nicole Kidman must BMX Bandit–it up, TV stations must create larger graphics behind newsreaders and the general public must be encouraged to slip on protective eyewear and hug a fuzzy. But first curlies have to throw away their hair straighteners and try saying positive things to each other – because unless we can love ourselves, what chance do we have of being loved by others.