(Above: if you survived 2010, you deserve a merit badge. Go on, stitch it up according to this ancient tribal pattern, and wear it with pride).
What better way to leave the old year than a read of wacky, zany Piers "Akker Dakker" Akerman proposing Why Labor is a no-brainer.
Neuroscientists may have helped us understand why conservative voters have more common sense than left-wingers.
The research, sparked by an off-hand remark by actor Colin Firth, shows that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those from the Left.
“I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don’t agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something,” he said.
He may be regretting setting that challenge now. On the face of it, people who think as he does may suffer from a weak survival instinct.
Nota bene the clever Akker Dakker disclaimer: on the face of it.
Then it's on with the science:
Scans of 90 students’ brains at University College London, revealed a strong correlation between the thickness of two particular areas of “grey matter” and an individual’s political views.
Those who identified their views as right-wing has a more pronounced amygdala, a “very old, very ancient” part of the brain associated with emotion - particularly fear - while left-wingers had thicker anterior cingulates.
Phew, enough already with the science, surely it's time to get on with some standard Akker Dakker abuse?
Researcher and UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience director Geraint Rees said he was “very surprised” by the findings.
Why so? Conservatives are by nature innately concerned by threats posed to their survival and now the researchers have found evidence of their brains being hard-wired to accentuate those threats.
Surely it didn’t take a neuroscientist to work this out. Australian voting patterns acutely reflect the difference between those who care deeply about their fate and those who do not.
That's right Akker Dakker, there are people who don't care deeply about their fate, unlike those who stand like rabbits frozen in the spotlight of time, or like lemmings ready to jump off a cliff and head off to times of war for the joys of the killing fields ...
Well never mind the mixed metaphors, you get the drift, but how wondrous to see Akker Dakker turning to science for solutions. Who knows, at some point he might even begin - assuming he cares deeply enough about his fate - to contemplate climate science.
Akker Dakker is also bold enough to assay his own scientific theory:
It is possible that Labor voters might be able to be helped develop a greater awareness of the dangers inherent in their failure to assess the threats posed by their diminished survival instinct, but whether a remedy can be found is uncertain.
A lot of work has been done on rats and other rodents but if the emotional processing features of the amygdala have been damaged, the fear conditioning responses suffer.
While the research inspired by Firth’s flippant remark may point the way to understanding the neurology behind political choice, there is no guarantee that those who have a diminished sense of self-preservation will respond differently in the future.
Rats learn how to avoid electrical shocks but there is a core of Labor voters incapable of learning new behaviour when exposed to the same threat stimuli.
The commonsense gene favours conservatives.
On the other hand, proving that science can be twisted to suit any purpose - and as a way of explaining the exact context and tone of Akker Dakker's remarks, perhaps the News Copr header A thick brain means you're right wing might suit theorists of a different bent.
Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion - while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates - the section in the middle of the brain.
Thick brain, primitive, associated with emotion, quick to blinding rage, reeling rhetoric, and myopic stone age views worthy of a giant woolly mammoth, clustered around the camp fire chewing on gut fear?
Why that's Akker Dakker to a T.
It turns out that the story wasn't actually the result of an idle remark by Colin Firth - Akker Dakker can't be relied upon even on such simple matters when it comes to ripping off a story - so much as Firth commissioning the exercise as part of a guest turn editing a BBC Radio 4 program, Today (Brain 'link to political views' ) and it's been given a bit of a run in the silly season because of the way scribblers can throw in a reference to The King's Speech to prove their currency.
Naturally Akker Dakker throws in a reference to The King's Speech, and so will we - it's worth seeing if you're of the kind of demographic that enjoyed The Queen and The Madness of King George, though less well wrought than either of those films - and we also feel the need to throw in the irony that Colin Firth is by inclination in the unemotional school of political science.
Mr Firth – who recently declared he had ended public support for the Liberal Democrats – said he would like to have party leader and now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg subjected to the tests. “I think we should have him scanned,” he said.
Indeed, but not before we can get Akker Dakker scanned. We have a large wager that the size of his fear mongering, pandering amygdala will be ginormous, perhaps even humongous.
Meanwhile, in astonishing and late breaking news, it seems that amygdala volume correlates with the size and complexity of social networks in adult humans. That's right, it turns out that if you have a lot of friends on Facebook, you'll have a big amygdala volume, and so be a conservative.
You can find the results of that absorbing study in Amygdala volume and social network size in humans.
Here's a short summary so you can compare scientific notes with Akker Dakker:
Using 58 adults with varying sizes of Facebook friends, the scientists figured out how many people each individual involved in the study regularly interacted with. Then, they determined how many different groups of Facebook friends the person was in contacted with. Those two data points were compared to the volume of the amygdala and hippocampus, the later of which should not change in size depending on the size of the social network. The results showed that the size of a person's amygdala increased with more friends and more complex social networks. (more here).
Yep, Facebook friends = raging political conservative. QED.
Well it wouldn't be the silly season without people being silly, and poor old Akker Dakker is always unfailingly silly when he's not being stupid, and his attempt at year end humour would surely add tone and elevation to a university rag like Honi Soit.
Never mind, for even purer comedy, there's always the punch drunk Punch's list of its top 25 reads, Punch list: Another 25 top reads, New Year's Eve edition. Talk about a tautological repetition, or should that be an oxymoronic observation, seeing as how Punch and top read are somehow run together in the one sentence.
Oh roll me down the aisle like a jaffa at a Colin Firth movie, it's surely time to go and get pissed in the Australian way - not that any conservative with a well honed sense of fear would indulge in such a dangerous anti-survival strategy - and wish any stray reader the best for 2011, though no assurances regarding apoplexy can be made while reading the likes of Akker Dakker ...
As always, readers must enter such turf at their own risk, of brain damage or perhaps an enlarged pronounced hysteria laden amygdala.
Meanwhile, the tireless pond has been attempting to find out what it all means, what the year ahead might portend:
Like every numerological divination, there are good and bad sides to every prediction, one that is readily apparent if 2011 is treated as a UY13. One of the most notoriously unlucky numbers in any custom, ‘13’ can be read by many numerology experts as a sign that someone will succumb to the overpowering influence of dark forces in 2011, and the negative forces are indeed all-consuming in that particular year. With 4 and 13 being related (1+3 = 4), it’s easy to see how numerologists predict that any business with a ‘4’ prominently in their numerological conversion will be greatly effected one way or the other by 2011. Depending on which side of the “extreme revolution”- coin a 4-centric business lands, they could see financial profits or ruin at the hands of the New Year. (more bizarre nonsense here).
So many loons, on the full to overflowing intertubes, so little time.
Yep, it's boom or bust, or we wait for the world's end in 2012, thanks to brain deformed leftists, unlike remarkably addled columnists like Akker Dakker.
Still, take comfort. If you scrambled Akker Dakker's brain - please, try to scramble his brain even more than it's already scrambled - you might end up with a decent egg nog, and won't that the drink of choice on January 1st, 2011?
Well no, it's not, here, but if you do want some suggestions regarding your hang over why not head here? And we repeat our warning ... there is no known scientific cure at this moment for any damage incurred to the brain while reading Akker Dakker ...