It goes without saying that Stephen is clever, very clever indeed, but there was one QI fact on his show earlier this year — and repeated in the Second Book of General Ignorance — that I take issue with. That you don’t lose most body heat through your head as your mother warned you.
He says this ‘myth’ goes back to the 1950s when military scientists put subjects in (hatless) Arctic survival suits and found that they lost 40 to 45 per cent of body heat through their heads. The QI argument is that they would have lost just as much body heat through an uncovered arm or buttock.
And with that, Stephen pooh-poohed my old mum’s advice, but he totally missed the point. She was absolutely correct in saying that the heat from my body would be lost through my head, no matter how warm my coat and scarf might be, which is why she made me a wear a bloody balaclava as well.
I don’t think she thought that I would stay cosy warm if I wandered around naked in the snow as long as I wore a bobble hat or some other home-knitted monstrosity.
So I’m afraid it’s the klaxon for Stephen on this one. You do indeed lose most heat through your head if it’s cold and you don’t wear a hat.
There, I feel better with that off my chest. Happy New Year everyone.