A million bucks to study alternatives for the road to gridlocked agony known as I-26?

Gee, that's almost as much as Clemson pays Chad Morris per season ($1.3 million) to coordinate its football team's offense. And he's produced a mere five total touchdowns in his three games (all double-digit losses) against South Carolina.

But don't assume that the million-dollar tab of the ongoing Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments' research project for the Federal Transit Administration is too steep.

After all, as road-tested colleague David Slade reported in Sunday's Post and Courier: "That study would hopefully lead to federal funding for a project that could get moving by 2017."

The worthy goal is to get I-26 traffic moving at a faster clip with "a transportation alternative that's affordable and convenient."

The highly likely choice: rapid-transit buses with lanes of their own, though commuter rail and light rail are supposedly being considered, too.

Still, while that $1 million will be a bargain if it cranks up an I-26 fix, some studies seem like a state-the-obvious waste of money and time.

For instance:

Assorted educational experts persist in re-discovering that kids who learn to read at an early age are much more likely to succeed academically than those who don't.

Hmm. Wouldn't you have to be a slow learner not to already know that?

Yes, it's reassuring to know that the Charleston County School District is among the educational entities now stressing early-childhood literacy.

But what took so long?

Numerous studies confirm that talking on hand-held cellphones while driving increases accident rates - and that texting while driving is even more perilous.

Did we really need a study to figure that out?

The beat goes on

A new study from Hanover (Germany) Medical School warns that headbanging (violently propelling your noggin back and forth to the thumping of heavy-metal rock) raises the risks of "carotid artery dissection, mediastinal emphysema, whiplash injury, and odontoid fracture."

Citing a blood clot in the cranium of a 50-year-old German enthusiast of a very loud English band, the researchers add: "This case serves as evidence in support of Motorhead's reputation as one of the most hard-core rock 'n' roll acts on earth, if nothing else because of their contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury."

Proof has proliferated over the last few years on the debilitating long-term effects of American football's headbanging, which is usually inflicted from helmet to helmet.

Again, not exactly a candidate for the greatest-sports-upsets list.

Recent research also shows serious cumulative damage from the repeated headbanging of futbol. So brace yourself for head-to-soccer-ball ("headers") and head-to-head bangs in today's Germany-Brazil World Cup semifinal.

As we rasslin' devotees realize, the head butt remains the ultimate headbanger. The late Bobo Brazil's "Coco Butt" was an especially devastating "finisher."

OK, so some studies are enlightening. They can even help clear the air on controversial political issues.

Or is that muddy the water?

Both camps in the escalating battle over cruise ships in Charleston tout conflicting "facts" of their own.

Another study stalemate: Scholar John Lott has long churned out data backing his assertions that gun control doesn't work - and that Americans are safer when more of them are armed. He even entitled one of his books "More Guns, Less Crime" (seriously).

Yet a study released by Boston Children's Hospital last year asserted that states with the highest number of gun laws have the lowest rates of gun deaths due to homicides and suicides.

Certifiable imbalance

Meanwhile, ideological adversaries routinely accuse each other being stupid, intellectually lazy and/or downright crazy - and try to support those charges with "studies" of their own.

However, my own study of voting trends definitively concludes that a contagious denial disorder drives the relentless expansion of the Nanny State.

How else to explain the persisting, insidious, liberal delusion that government can take care of us all from cradle to grave while our record national debt soars ever higher into the danger zone?

But while we conservatives should challenge ruinous regulations that might or might not counter climate change, when and why did some generally right-minded right-wingers start disputing evolution?

That really does make our side look ignorant and/or kooky.

And Frank Bruni's gushing tribute of a column in Sunday's New York Times makes Charleston's mayor look good (see Page A11).

Then again, study the photos above so you can draw your own conclusion about Bruni's curious contention that Joe Riley "vaguely resembles Jimmy Stewart, only lankier."

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.