Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is the p-value of chocolate?

Eric sends this link about the benefits of chocolate.
Drum roll, please: The higher a country's chocolate consumption, the more Nobel laureates it spawns per capita, according to findings released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And guess who leads the pack? The Swiss, of course, closely followed by the Swedes and the Danes. The U.S. is somewhere in the middle of chocolate consumption and Nobel Prize winners per capita. To produce just one more laureate, the nation would have to up its cocoa intake by a whopping 275 million pounds a year, according to Dr. Franz Messerli, who did the analysis.

"The amount it takes, it's actually quite stunning, you know," Messerli chuckled. "The Swiss eat 120 bars - that is, 3-ounce bars - per year, for every man, woman and child, that's the average."
Bad Dad, a PhD in Chemistry, says that these are fighting words:
"I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume," said Eric Cornell, an American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in 2001.

"Personally I feel that milk chocolate makes you stupid," he added. "Now dark chocolate is the way to go. It's one thing if you want like a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize, OK, but if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate."
I was inspired to make our own ice cream after watching Eric make it with his daughters.  He recommends the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.  For the past two years, we've been making all of the ice cream we eat at home.  Our chocolate flavor uses 1/3 of a bar of Trader Joe's "pound plus" (500g) dark chocolate (72% chocolate) per quart of ice cream.  (That pinch of salt and dash of vanilla in the recipe makes all the difference.)

We have to make a double batch because it's time, again, for a certain spooktacular birthday party.  The birthday girl wants chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream.

I wonder if I can administer cognitive tests to the birthday party guests before and after chocolate consumption?  Now that I am taking two Coursera statistics and data analysis courses, I can crank out the (often meaningless) p-values in R.

What are you doing to help our nation achieve total world (Nobel) domination?

1 comment:

  1. Mr Hunting Creek agrees about the dark chocolate, while having no Nobels, does sport three degrees, two from Berkeley. I have one from Cal and another from UCIrvine, and I can attest to lots of chocolate consumption while earning said degrees. Statistical analysis is fun in that you can correlate almost anything ;)


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