Miraglia, E. et al
At the end of 2019, PhD student Alex Dreyer was on track to finish grad school early, and they had just gotten engaged to their partner and met a fun new group of friends. They considered all of this to be enough evidence to confidently formulate a hypothesis and publish it on Twitter; “2020 will totally be my year!”. In 7 months of data-collection, Alex has not found any evidence to support this hypothesis. Below they share their results.
Figure 1. PhD completion will be delayed
Alex was set to finish their PhD ahead of schedule as long as they had a few productive months at the bench. One week after finally having their mice approved for testing, the lab shut down due to COVID-19. One mouse, not sure what to do without Alex’s helicopter parenting, ate several of its cage mates, leaving them without a viable amount of animals for their experiment.
Figure 2a. Engagement fell apart
Chronic stress (like the kind that people might feel during a global health crisis) negatively impacts relationships in any context, let alone when people are unable to blow off steam away from their partners. The isolation became too much for Alex and their partner, who split up and are now stuck living together post-breakup. One surprising finding was that something as small as “improper use of the toaster” could kick off the fight that would spiral into the untimely death of their love. They recorded in their notebook that young lovers should be warned to NEVER try the toaster grilled cheese trick. Alex now has to deal with the end of a relationship, living with an ex, and cancelling a wedding.
Figure 2b. 82-year-old COVID-denying grandma lives in Florida
Alex was especially happy to be getting married soon because their beloved grandmother is in her 80s and Alex always wanted for her to be able to attend their wedding. Unfortunately, on so many levels, Alex’s easily influenced grandmother has been convinced by her atrocious Facebook feed that COVID-19 is a government conspiracy, so she is refusing to take appropriate measures to stay safe. She was last seen on Facebook, posing maskless with her fellow faded Floridians in a crowded restaurant.
Figure 3. Cool new friends turned out to be not so cool about this whole pandemic thing
Alex wasn’t keen on going out much until they met a fun and seemingly smart group of friends last year who helped them break out of their shell. Unfortunately, their levels of social and physical distancing were not reduced in the midst of a global pandemic. Analysis of their Instagram pages showed no statistical difference between drink-clinking brunch boomerangs between 2019 and 2020.
Figure 4. Their scientific research hypothesis may also be, unsurprisingly, wrong
Now that they are finally back in the lab and had a few weeks to get their mouse experiments up and running again, Alex has been rigorously testing their cell-culture-based findings in the animals. Thus far, they have not been able to find any evidence to support their hypothesis outside of those flasks with little hyper-mutated completely-biologically-non-representative cells in them. Their whole thesis was completely refuted by an inability to reproduce their findings in the animal model, even when using the most cherry-picked statistics. Go figure!
Discussion and Conclusion
The results speak for themselves, no discussion necessary. 2020 sucks! Alex does report, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps the greatest confounding variable to ever impact the investigation of a hypothesis.