October 19th, 2011


nought as queer as folk

"It is known that cultural representations, in the form of stereotypes, can influence functional health. We predicted that the influence of cultural representations, in the form of salient holidays, would extend to birth timing. On Valentine’s Day, which conveys positive symbolism, there was a 3.6% increase in spontaneous births and a 12.1% increase in cesarean births. Whereas, on Halloween, which conveys negative symbolism, there was a 5.3% decrease in spontaneous births and a 16.9% decrease in cesarean births. These effects reached significance at p < .0001, after adjusting for year and day of the week. The sample was based on birth-certificate information for all births in the United States within one week on either side of each holiday across 11 years. The Valentine’s-Day window included 1,676,217 births and the Halloween window included 1,809,304 births. Our findings raise the possibility that pregnant women may be able to control the timing of spontaneous births, in contrast to the traditional assumption, and that scheduled births are also influenced by the cultural representations of the two holidays."

Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on Birth Timing
Becca R. Levy, Pil H. Chung, Martin D. Slade
atheist teacher

Letters from an Atheist Nation, ed. by Thomas Lawson

Pharyngula tangentially mentioned another blogpost about this e-book. Charles Chilton Moore was a firebrand atheist active around 1900, when he published the Blue-Grass Blade, a progressive newspaper that promoted freethought, prohibition, women's suffrage and other progressive ideals. In 1903, he asked his readership to send in short essays on the topic "Why I am an atheist" and ran dozens of them in the newspaper. Editor Thomas Lawson has collected these essays and published them as this e-book.
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