Boffins are pondering one of Blighty's great unanswered scientific questions: Just why do Geordies insist on wearing the legal minimum of clothing even when a chill wind is whipping across the Tyne?
For the benefit of those readers not au fait with Tyneside apparel habits, the good burghers of the fine city of Newcastle will regularly brave icy temperatures dressed in nothing more than miniskirts, croptops and scrunchies - and the woman aren't much better dressed, either.
Accordingly, as part of Newcastle's ten-day ScienceFest which runs from 6 to 15 March, researchers will hit the streets in search of a concrete answer. Linda Conlon, chief exec of the Centre for Life and chair of the Newcastle ScienceFest steering group, said: "We decided to investigate the reputation Geordies have for not wearing a coat in even the worst weather. Is there a possible genetic reason for our bravery or is it simply because we like to show off our finery on a night out?"
Well, we at El Reg can offer some insight here, and confirm that the reason is cultural, rather than genetic. A member of our very own Strategy Boutique who's from that neck of the woods has been daaan saaarf for a few years now and recently bought an Aquascutum coat the better to survive the winter - absolute proof that as soon as you venture south of Watford and sup poncey Cockney ale your resistance to cold is seriously undermined.
Of course, we won't expose Phil to public ridicule by naming him, but will suggest that the sooner he gets back out in the sleet and Siberian wind in nothing more than a string vest and a pair of Calvin Klein boxers, the better. ®