Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Bloggers beware!

The usual hazards of frequent blogging - aching shoulders, eye-strain, a grumpy spouse - have been joined this week by a fresh menace; 'Laptop Thigh'.

Laptop thigh or, to give it its medical term, erythema ab igne (which I think roughly translates as flame-grilled, medium rare), is a discoloration caused by sitting with a hot computer on the lap for extended periods of time.

Since laptop casings can reach a toasty fifty degrees Celsius, it's hardly surprising they can get uncomfortable; most of us, though, would  have the wit to move if that's the case - it's hard to imagine getting so carried away in the white heat of composition that you are willing to fry.

And sure enough, the cases decribed in the BBC article are those of a law student working for six hours a day and a 12-year-old who developed discoloured skin after playing games for hours every day - presumably as obsessively as the boy who collapsed after 24 solid hours of World of Warcraft.

Fortunately for those lacking the wit to move a hot object off their burning legs, it's not the end of the world;

'Dr Bav Shergill, a consultant dermatologist at Brighton University Hospitals NHS Trust, said that people who developed the rash should not be overly concerned.

"I would expect it to resolve fairly quickly, with no long term consequences."'

However, the doctor is a lone voice crying in the wilderness - the media won't let a story like this get away so easily. Consequently, tonight's news websites abound with warnings of skin rashes and discoloration, vying to create a scare story of epic proportions.

And, by popular acclaim, the Daily Mail wins hands down with the inevitable 'cancer risk' and a headline memorably describing the unhappy victim as 'Toasted boy'.


  1. Old news

    Puts on Four Yorkshiremenhat .
    Way back in the 70's they were known as 'corned beef legs' caused by huddling up to the fire or radiator in T'winter (central heating not being as effective as it is now) or for some of us non-existent.

    I recall laying in front of the fire /boiler doing my homework, so close that the cat couldn't get in front of me and had to sleep on my arse and my little brother banished to the other end of the room to do his home work under the one radiator that we had.

    'corned beef legs', I had em

    Now don't get me started about Nylon sheets and Nylon pyjamas.

  2. God bless the 'Daily Mail'!

    Has the 'Express' found a way to link this to rising house prices yet?

  3. PC, tell me about it! My school was heated by the original 19th century cast iron radiators - stone cold for most of the time but with occasional blast of boiling water through the system.

    If you were lucky enough to be near one when this happened, you jammed yourself up against it for dear life, whatever it did to your skin.

    We just thought everyone's legs looked like that - in fact they probably did in '76-'77.