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Sunday, February 14, 2016


Oooh hallo dear English hearing visitor, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/twitter account/podcast which speaks to you in Eng?ish a language that is to real English what the new Twitter timeline is to something someone really wants. Aaand that does it using the voice of a dumb human controlled via a wireless-voodoo trick. Aaaand that tells you mesmerizing science stories while, at the same time, is writing a manual about how to survive in case a pandemic of the “camomile virus* ravage the world letting all the infected in a deep state of calm and serenity so that you suddenly find yourself in the dire situation of not having anymore anyone to fight with about how overrated and useless “Gravity” is aaaand also about your weird theory according to which “gluten free pasta” means that gluten -after corrupting pasta guards with an autographed picture of the juicy "Miss Tomato 2015" and some basil’s leaves- well, it, the gluten, manages to break free from the pasta prison and now lives, disguised as a protein bar for crossfit maniacs, in a minimarket in South Carolina.

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Weeeel this time, dear listener, you’ll hear a 2011 story appeared on the journal Social Science & Medicine. The story's about how on Valentine’s Day [the phoniest, most artificial and trivial of all the fake festivities of the world (and that’s why the dumb human created a collection of love products right for the occasion and even wrote a love e-book!)] there’s a sensible increase of child births.

by sNg & @sciencemug

The story goes like that. Professor Becca R. Levy, Pil H. Chung and Martin D. Slade are scientist of the School of Public Health of Yale, and they think “cultural representations, in the form of salient holidays” (Levy et al, 2011 (P)) can influence birth timing. They in fact predict that, on Valentine’s Day, spontaneous, cesarean, and induced births would peak because this day is associated with positive feelings and events like “love, flowers(P) and the rest of the cheesy stuff (and even if the researchers don’t mention it, well, chocolate too must be one huge deal in all this births story).

On the contrary, then, the Becca’s science-gang foresees a decrease in spontaneous and non spontaneous births on Halloween, ‘cause of the negative associations linked to this festivity (like witches, skeletons, death, ghosts, bad movies, not so bad movies, candy induced gain of weight, candy induced dentist bills and so on and on).

So the Becca’s trio digs into a specific dataset. This dataset is stuffed with all the birth-certificate informations of the United States in the week before and after Valentine’s Day and Halloween in the decade between 1996 and 2006 (as Becca&co explain in the paper, they stop in 2006 ‘cause “2006 [is] the most recent data year available from the National Center for Health Statistics at the time of [their] study in 2010(P)
And we’re talking of big numbers here as you can imagine dear listener: almost 1 million and 7 hundred thousands births during the Valentine’s Day window, and over 1 million and 8 hundred thousands births during the Halloween’s one.

Soo, what  do the scientists find?
The answer after the break. 

It’s Valentine’s Day and you are lonely and desperate for a date? Try “Chocotenin” the innovative product which formula is a mix of the most refined cacao seeds from Ivory Coast and the secretions of the back of the most toxic frogs of Mexico.

Chocotenin (by sciencemug)
by sciencemug
You’ll share the wellness that only munching chocolate can give you with what only bufotenin can offer, that is a wide range of vivid hallucinations among which, statistic says, you should also find a romantic one.
“Chocotenin”, and your Valentine’s Day will reach a whole new level of sadness!
(“Chocotenin” is also available in the form of candy bars for Halloween, eggs for Easter and whatever you want for whatever occasion/day you need it). 

So what do professor Becca’s and her science associates find out after checking the dataset of births in the US in correspondence of the two weeks centered on Valentine’s Day and Halloween from 1996 to 2006?

Weell, dear listener, the researchers find out that they are right, namely that on V-day, as respect to the week before and the one after it, births go up overall by 5%. More precisely the increase is of the 3.6% for spontaneous births, 12.1% for cesarean, and 3.4% for induced births.

As foreseen, besides, on Halloween the trend is