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On infant mortality - Sex and Sums and a Controlled Dose of Rock and Roll [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Richard Clegg

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On infant mortality [Oct. 28th, 2011|11:15 pm]
Richard Clegg
On twitter I casually posted "Have you noticed that people usually give a weight when announcing births but almost never when announcing marriages or deaths." webcowgirl pointed out, almost certainly correctly, that this is because birthweight correlates with infant mortality. I would be willing to lay money this is where the tradition comes from. But you know, in this day and age we can do better. I solemnly swear that should I ever have the misfortune to produce offspring instead of a birthweight I will announce thus:
"Accounting for birthweight, gender and age of parents, a cumulative distribution function for the infant's age at death is attached as figure 1."
See, if we're going to predict mortality, thanks to the wonders of science we can do better than just weight. I urge any prospective geek parents to try this, indeed I'll even offer to help with the graphing.

This is probably why I shouldn't have children (amongst other reasons).

Tonight I am packing glowsticks... alas, in a sad statement on my life right now, this is not because I'm off to a 2002 themed club but because I'm going to spend Halloween weekend underwater in a flooded quarry in Wales.
link

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ivory_goddess
2011-10-29 10:35 am (UTC)
A friend gave birth prematurely, and when the birth announcement was made, the weight given was metric, not imperial. I've always assumed that was on the grounds that the standard 'x lbs y oz' figure in this case would have been quite scary.

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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 10:19 am (UTC)
Actually, I do get frustrated with the imperial measurements commonly used. Every time I read them I think "Gah, your child has been on this planet one day and I'm already angry with it!"
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[User Picture]From: puritypersimmon
2011-10-29 01:04 pm (UTC)
You can also use the information to establish yourself within the mum birthing hierarchy : anything under 5lb elicits sympathy and concern; 5-9lb, a slightly bored nod; anything over 9lb, wincing respect.

A flooded quarry in Wales sounds a very Halloween appropriate destination to me ;-p
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 10:25 am (UTC)
If I had a baby it would be born in metric.

The quarry was definitely Halloween appropriate. It's scary enough going to the loo in the dark by trudging through a carpark in the rain (because the accom is not ensuite) but so much worse when there's skeletons and spiders decorating the place.
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[User Picture]From: puritypersimmon
2011-10-31 06:46 pm (UTC)
If your baby was born in metric, I'd have no idea what size it was!

I'm not sure a Welsh quarry and dank loo are as scary as a troop of pre-schoolers trick or treating, tbh.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 06:56 pm (UTC)
On the other hand if the baby is born in imperial loads of other people won't know. Indeed until a few years ago myself.
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From: random_redhead
2011-10-29 05:29 pm (UTC)
the weight correlates to the volume of the child and therefore the suffering endured during labour. weight and length of labour and home/hospital/drug regime are crucial aspects of the equation ;-)
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 10:25 am (UTC)
I'm just going to have to deal with a lot of dead babies to get this equation right!
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[User Picture]From: ravensthorpe
2011-10-29 05:51 pm (UTC)
...because I'm going to spend Halloween weekend underwater in a flooded quarry in Wales.

You got a new lair?
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 10:25 am (UTC)
My previous lair was insuffiently rainy.
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[User Picture]From: ravensthorpe
2011-10-29 05:55 pm (UTC)
Death weight must have some correlation to mortality too bearing in mind that most people die of illnesses connected to runaway cell growth and/or hearts giving way under the strain of high pressure arteries.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 10:21 am (UTC)
I would have thought even in these times of NHS cuts very nearly 100% of people are dead at their own funeral.
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[User Picture]From: owlfish
2011-10-31 11:59 am (UTC)
Given how busy most parents of newborns are, it could be a real public service to produce a website which would generate this graph for them. Even better if it includes 90 pages of appendices and footnotes.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2011-10-31 02:20 pm (UTC)
Heh... I'm imagining the abusive emails I'd get right now.
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[User Picture]From: d_floorlandmine
2011-10-31 09:22 pm (UTC)
Excellent!
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