Friday, October 31, 2008

Blackout and Baby Boom

Time and again, couples who have a lot of children have been poked and teased about not having a television during their child-bearing years. Well, I stumbled upon an amusing newspiece, among all the tiring political and other grim news here and around the world, that seems to enforce this thought.

We all know through experience that electricity, while a good thing, can be quite a distraction. A blackout forces us to spend time with the people around us because there is nothing else to do. I have fond memories of blackouts during my childhood - like playing with other kids in the neighborhood or swapping ghost stories with friends and family in the dark by candlelight. So whether it is engaging in great and memorable conversations or other more interesting activities, a blackout can be a good thing. :)

Winter blackout results in Dutch baby boom

By Saeed Ahmed,CNN

A small cluster of villages in eastern Netherlands has found itself in the midst of a mini-baby boom -- nine months after a power outage plunged its residents in darkness for two chilly days.

"It was cold in the houses," said Anneleas van Eijkeren, spokeswoman for the municipality of Maasdriel. "They went to bed early to keep warm. And nine months later, we have this -- a little bit more babies."

Forty-four percent more, to be exact. Residents gave birth to 26 babies in September, compared with 18 in September 2007.

Maasdriel is a collection of 11 villages with a population of 24,000. Ten of the 11 villages lost power for 50 hours in December after the blades of a helicopter accidentally sheared the cables providing electricity to the area.

"Some people went to other cities, but a lot of people stayed in their house with low temperature," Van Eijkeren said.

The community is battling a declining birth rate, like the rest of the Netherlands -- which ranks among the lowest in the world.

And while the power cut method worked well, Maasdriel doesn't plan on a deliberate repeat.

"Don't even joke," Van Eijkeren said, laughing. "In Holland, we would like to have more inhabitants -- but not in this way."

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