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  #1  
Old 24 December 2016, 03:26 AM
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Icon81 Killer Christmas? Deaths Spike Around the Holidays, and It's Not the Cold Weather

It's called the Christmas effect. For years, doctors have noticed a spike in deaths in the U.S. right around the Christmas holiday in countries that celebrate it.

Now researchers in New Zealand say they can cross off one possible reason: the weather.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health...t-cold-n699291
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  #2  
Old 24 December 2016, 04:56 AM
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They've found the same deadly effect of Christmas down under, where it's the beginning of summer on Dec. 25.
Well, this much is wrong to start with. Summer starts in December, presumably the 1st of December, not the 25th.
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  #3  
Old 24 December 2016, 05:23 AM
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I have heard (and have no cite for, and have no time to look now) that deaths due to domestic violence rise at Christmas time due to the extra stress :-(
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Old 24 December 2016, 02:23 PM
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Well, this much is wrong to start with. Summer starts in December, presumably the 1st of December, not the 25th.
Depends on your definition. Official start of summer/winter (depending on hemisphere) is at the solstice, which, while not the 25th, is a whole lot closer to the 25th than to the 1st, as it comes on the 20th, 21st, or 22nd depending on the year.

Metereological winter [ETA: or summer] starts at a different date, which varies with location, not to mention in practice varying by individual year.
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Old 25 December 2016, 12:39 AM
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This is interesting. I know I've heard that the "Suicides Spike Around the Holidays" thing is a myth--in fact, the rate actually drops a bit--but hadn't heard about this. Supposedly the drop in the suicide rate is chalked up to, well, just because someone's mentally ill doesn't mean they are completely unaware of basic social graces. They know that Christmas is supposed to be a happy time for people and even if they're miserable, they don't want to ruin the holidays for everyone else. Plus, the general message of Christmas hope might convince them to hold on a little longer.

Unfortunately, it goes back up in January, because there are no longer holidays to hold on for and too often, well, bitter reality sets in and it becomes harder to hold onto hope.
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Old 25 December 2016, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Depends on your definition. Official start of summer/winter (depending on hemisphere) is at the solstice, which, while not the 25th, is a whole lot closer to the 25th than to the 1st, as it comes on the 20th, 21st, or 22nd depending on the year.

Metereological winter [ETA: or summer] starts at a different date, which varies with location, not to mention in practice varying by individual year.
Officially in Australia Summer is the months of December, January and February, so here it does start on 1 December.
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Old 25 December 2016, 02:42 PM
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Officially in Australia Summer is the months of December, January and February, so here it does start on 1 December.
Interesting. I (obviously) didn't know that.
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Old 25 December 2016, 02:47 PM
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I think the "delaying seeing the doctor" explanation makes a lot of sense. No one wants to spend Christmas at the ER and regular doctor's offices are almost invariably closed for at least a few days around the holidays. I know the year my husband ended up having a serious illness with what could have been major consequences his first symptoms occurred just before the Labour Day week-end and we delayed going to see a doctor until the following week. We were told we should have hastened ourselves to an ER and not waited the way we did.
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Old 26 December 2016, 10:13 AM
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I think the "delaying seeing the doctor" explanation makes a lot of sense. No one wants to spend Christmas at the ER and regular doctor's offices are almost invariably closed for at least a few days around the holidays.
Last year we spent 2 hours on New Year's Eve at the local urgent care since the doctor's office was closed, along with everybody else's doctor's office. My husband needed antibiotics and waiting 3 days would not have been wise.
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Old 26 December 2016, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Interesting. I (obviously) didn't know that.
I was quite gobsmacked a few years ago to learn that the season change was officially different dates in different places. It was one of those odd things that I had just taken for granted all my life and had never even thought that anybody would do differently.
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  #11  
Old 26 December 2016, 02:29 PM
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Given that the seasons are set by the position of the sun, declaring a different date almost seems like declaring that PI shall be equal to 3 instead of 3.14159 etc.
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Old 26 December 2016, 05:55 PM
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Well, again, it depends on whether you're talking about astronomical seasons, metereological seasons, or, I suppose, cultural seasons.

It seems unlikely to me that metereological summer and winter start on the same date all over Australia; and in practice they don't start at the same time every year. So I guess a date of December 1 for the whole country must be a cultural date. But seasons do have that sort of meaning, also.
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Old 26 December 2016, 10:19 PM
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We need to have a date when the newspapers can print a front page article about the first day of summer complete with a huge photo of people on the beach (bonus points if they are Scandinavian tourists in bikinis for some reason).
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Old 27 December 2016, 12:04 AM
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Yeah cause a large part of the country doesn't really get a winter, not one that many of you would recognise. The town I grew up in, for example, there would be three days where you would put a jumper/sweater on in the morning and take it off by lunch time. And that would be it for winter. The locals would say "well that was winter for this year" And that was for those that lived there. If you were from elsewhere I doubt you would have bothered. With the warm clothes that is.
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Old 27 December 2016, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Well, again, it depends on whether you're talking about astronomical seasons, metereological seasons, or, I suppose, cultural seasons.

It seems unlikely to me that metereological summer and winter start on the same date all over Australia; and in practice they don't start at the same time every year. So I guess a date of December 1 for the whole country must be a cultural date. But seasons do have that sort of meaning, also.
I agree it is a cultural date as the meteorological solstices and midpoints between them are the same world wide. The earth is the farthest from the sun and closest to the sun at the exact same time for all of the world. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice

ETA: Distance from the sun isn't really the right term, but it is the easiest when I'm drinking Scotch. :-)
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Old 27 December 2016, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dasla View Post
The locals would say "well that was winter for this year"
Or as the statement from far northern Minnesota goes "Summer is very nice here. Especially if it comes on a weekend."
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Old 27 December 2016, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
I agree it is a cultural date as the meteorological solstices and midpoints between them are the same world wide. The earth is the farthest from the sun and closest to the sun at the exact same time for all of the world. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice

ETA: Distance from the sun isn't really the right term, but it is the easiest when I'm drinking Scotch. :-)
But it's arbitrary, and not universal, to consider solstices to be the start of the season. So the solstices and equinoxes are universal, but their significance in determining seasons varies. In many countries, for example, the summer solstice marks midsummer, not the beginning of summer. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer
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Old 27 December 2016, 12:44 PM
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If the solstices were used logically as season markers, shouldn't the solstice that's the longest day be the middle of the Summer and not the beginning?
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Old 27 December 2016, 01:30 PM
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ganzfeld, as erwins points out, in some cultures that is indeed Midsummer's Day.
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