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Paula Vs. Science


And of course, no show about science would be complete without our own Paula Poundstone’s continuing efforts to question the scientific method.


SAGAL: Amy, a new study by the London School of Economics says there's one activity that makes us so unhappy, the only thing we rank worse than it is being physically ill. What is it?

AMY DICKINSON: Is it done in the home?

SAGAL: No. Specifically - well, sometimes - some people do it in the home. I'll give you a hint. It's, like, hi-ho, hi-ho…

DICKINSON: Oh, working.

SAGAL: Oh crap. Yes, working.


DICKINSON: Oh, working at home?

SAGAL: Working is the word - no, working in general is the worst thing ever. The researchers...


DICKINSON: But wait...

SAGAL: Yeah…


SAGAL: It's been proved. Researchers sent questions to thousands of subjects at random times of the day via a smartphone app. And they asked what they were doing and how they felt? The people who answered at work reported being more miserable than everybody, except for the people who answered currently vomiting.


PAULA POUNDSTONE: So wait a minute. But they were people working at home or people just working?

SAGAL: People just working. They said...

POUNDSTONE: No, no, no. I’ve - Peter, again, I...

DICKINSON: Take it away, Paula.

POUNDSTONE: I'd like to know how they did the study. I...

SAGAL: Well, I just explained.

POUNDSTONE: OK, yeah. But – but to whom did they send the question? I…

SAGAL: Well, they apparently - they sent it to an appreciatively-random enough group of people they could get a good response.

POUNDSTONE: No, no, no, no.


POUNDSTONE: Are you working right now?

SAGAL: I am.

POUNDSTONE: Is it a step away from vomiting?


SAGAL: I'd have to vomit and see which I prefer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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