"You know how sometimes you come home after a few drinks and have a strange, overwhelming urge to clean everything?"
MC Serch was right. It was a white guy that started all that. And that white guy's name was… Felix Unger! Scientific American reports on a recent study asserting that the metaphorical association of white with "good" and black with "bad" has at its roots the human desire for cleanliness: "The colors white and black have carried layers of moral meaning since long before Americans' infatuation with cowboys and automobiles. Indeed, some scientists believe that our conception of blackness and sin may be entangled with a fundamental and ancient fear of dirt and contagion that remains deeply wired in our neurons today."
"There has been a lot of research about the optimal duration in a health-care setting, such as a hospital. In community settings, however, the evidence is a little less clear. But we currently recommend scrubbing all surfaces of your hands for at least 20 seconds. Singing two 'Happy Birthdays' takes about that long."
Kathryn Ireland, a Los Angeles-based decorator, said she brings stacks of brown paper bags from her local Trader Joe’s to her house in France.
Why? To remove wax from tablecloths, of course. (Running a hot iron over a bag laid on top of the tablecloth draws the wax out.) For while the French believe in long, candlelight dinners, they “don’t believe in brown paper bags,” Ms. Ireland said.