Category Archives: Just for Fun

Do Emergency Room Visits Increase During a Full Moon?

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Photo from Time and Date

Nicole Kell

Many clinicians believe there may be more emergency room visits during a full moon. Some refer to this phenomena as “full moon madness”.  World Journal of Surgery published the results of a survey in 2011 that found “more than 40% of medical staff believe that lunar phases can affect human behavior, even though most studies find no direct correlation between the full moon and hospital admission rates.”

These types of false associations are a common consequence of the human mind’s skill at rationalization and pattern formation. It is why humans invented science: we need objective measurement to be sure we are not fooling ourselves or being fooled by others. This association has been addressed in several published studies, with the majority, and in particular those with better data, showing no association.

Happy Halloween! The Origins of Spooky Season

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Image from

The myths surrounding the origin and meaning of Halloween can be misleading or, even, some might say, Satanic. Some speculate that the holiday is connected to Satan- Christian Broadcast Network founder Pat Robertson said the holiday is a “demonic ritual” and “a night when the devil rejoices.” Spooky black cats and the Hocus Pocus movie aside, the holiday has its roots in early Celtic religious traditions and Catholicism. 

Halloween falls on October 31st every year. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve, and Allhalloween. The earliest roots of the Halloween tradition are from the Gaelic festival of Samhain. During this festival, people believed that the boundary between the Otherworld and this world could be crossed. It was thought that the souls of the dead could go back and revisit their homes. Dressing up in costumes may have been one way to disguise oneself from the Aos Si, which were spirits or fairies that could cross over from the Otherworld. It is believed that this holiday merged over time with the early Christian church’s All Saints Day. 

Even the carving of Jack-o-lantern has its roots in an Irish myth about “Stingy Jack” who cheated the Devil. After “Stingy Jack’s” death, God would not let him into heaven and the Devil would not let him into Hell. The legend goes that Jack roams the earth with a piece of coal in a carved-out turnip. Carving faces out of turnips and large beets and placing the finished product in windows or near doors could frighten away “Stingy Jack” or any other wandering evil spirits. 

Eventually, Irish and Scottish immigrants helped bring the nuances of this Autumn holiday to the United States. Pumpkins, which grow well in North America, replaced turnips to give us our current Jack ‘O Lanterns. Wearing costumes has morphed from a custom intended to disguise oneself and to ward off spirits into a celebration of the characters and things that people love. While Halloween has roots in pagan holidays and folklore, it has gradually become a holiday which celebrates dressing up as beloved characters and asking strangers for candy.

Moved by Music

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Source: Virgin

Andrea Hernandez

Have you ever listened to a song that shifted your mood? Music creates emotions. We can feel happy or sad just by listening to the beat and tempo. This interpretive process is similar to how we can recognize other people’s feelings by their facial expressions, body language, and tone.

There are two types of emotions we can experience when we listen to music: perceived and felt. Perceived is the emotion we recognize from our surroundings. Felt is the emotion an individual experiences. A psychology study found that listening to sad music can be a pleasant experience. The researchers believe music is a safe stimulant that has no direct relationship to an actual threat regardless of the sadness intensity. This study also found that sad music is multi-faceted when it was previously believed to contain only unpleasant emotions.

Current studies are looking into music therapy to alleviate symptoms of depression and for people who live with dementia. To date, studies suggest music may alleviate symptoms of depression in the short-term.