A recent study found that Americans could deal with heat waves by … spraying themselves with water and turning on their electric fans. You’d be forgiven if your initial reaction was a facepalm over how obvious that conclusion sounds, because that’s what this reporter initially did. But remember the lesson of the treadmill for shrimp : Every time a comedy-show host or conservative-radio shouter makes fun of money wasted on a seemingly ridiculous study , there’s always more to the story. Fox News viewers got heated up about spending taxpayer money on duck penis research , but I defy you to read about the actual science and come away not believing that’s money well spent. As obvious as cooling off with fans and water sounds, it’s not obvious to all public health departments. There’s a widespread misconception that fans make heat worse when it’s above 95 degrees, according to Ollie Jay, one of the scientists behind the paper, who studies heat stress at the University of Sydney. That’s just wrong, he said. Get Grist in your inbox Always free, always fresh Ask your climate scientist if Grist is right for you. See our privacy policy It’s especially galling for […]

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