The impact of temperature on the human passions is a well-established line both of scientific enquiry and of figurate speech - a cold rage, a warm feeling and a hot temper are all as familiar to us linguistically as - in a more directly experiential sense - are the effects of a cold wind on a bare posterior during a bout of ill-advised al fresco horizontal jogging in - say - Corfe Mullen in November.
Familiar as these things are, there can be contrary and even perverse effects - often of a gender-based variety - and it is by no means easy to establish a clear and unambiguous [cause and effect-based] explanatory framework. What inflames may also diminish, what chills may also excite. It is these anomalies or contra-indications in the passion-temperature ecosystem which a new research project recently undertaken by University of Afpuddle scientists is designed to study and understand. The £2.6 million Dorset Science Foundation grant will, hopes lead scientist Professor Calder Feete, help us better to understand, predict and control the effects of temperature - an "ill wind", so to speak, or even a stray draught as well as a hot flush - on human emotions.
Confused? Well think for example of the impact of a sudden chill on [a] a female chestal endpoint [the result is sometimes described as al dente] and [b] a male inter-dextral appendage [humida piscium tanquam inutiles]; potentially erectile for the one but deflationary for the other. Nature - you would think - at its most perverse. One is - so to speak - signalling interest, the other that it would be better to make a cuppa, watch Match of the Day and then read a book. Or take, for another example, the common duvet - too hot for him, too cold for her. Result: argument, stress and desultory lovemaking - perhaps only once a fortnight provided the kids are asleep and the central heating is still kicking-in.
So, obscene as the size of the grant may seem - when there are so many world problems to be solved - and obvious as the research outcome may appear to many, University of Afpuddle Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting Mr Grantham Capricorn believes it is money well spent. "Quite apart from the clear public benefit - research in Universities is often too remote from ordinary people's concerns to be justifiable - I mean haven't we found enough galaxies to be going on with already? - this research gets close to the heart of what is a real problem for many people: reading the signs. Is she signalling that she's up for it whilst he's suggesting that he's not up to it, or is it all just "blowin' in the wind"? It is research like this that makes elite Universities like ours relevant and commercially successful. If we can get to the bottom of the perverse and neutralising effects of temperature on vital parts of the human anatomy and find ways of eradicating bio-thermally induced neutralisation effects by reducing unintended semi-tantric contra-indications and ensuring life's ups and downs are more in sync, then we will have gone a long way towards improving people's lives and our own CONTRIK-69 decimated balance sheets. Who knows, one day there may even be a pill for it - or at least better-regulated air-conditioning".
Anyone interested in volunteering as a guinea-pig is asked to contact the Department of Cold Temperature Physics, University of Afpuddle. Applicants should be over 18 and should not suffer from inverted nipple and/or erectile dysfunction or be susceptible to hypothermia.