Weekend Links: How Much Candy is Sold for Halloween, Why Believing in Ghosts Can Make You a Better Person and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

All the Candy That’s Sold During Halloween Week, in One Massive Pumpkin

Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina writing for Vox

We can all agree that Halloween and other seasonal candy is a fun ritual. I like chocolate as much as my Vox colleagues who recently ranked their favorite Halloween candies. And a bit of candy here and there is no problem for our health. But we’ve reached a point where the amount of candy in circulation is excessive — and symbolic of our sugarcoated environment.

Grandma Was Right: Sunshine Helps Kill Germs Indoors

Kathleen O’Neil writing for NPR

Even before Florence Nightingale advised that hospitals be designed to let daylight in, people observed that sunshine helps keep you healthy. But there was not much research to explain why that’s the case, especially inside buildings.

Why Believing in Ghosts Can Make You a Better Person

Tok Thompson writing for The Conversation

Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives?

When it Comes to Your Child’s Extracurriculars, Experts Say Focus on ‘Building a Life and Not a Resume’

Thomas Oide writing for the Boston Globe

As college admissions and school performance become more important and competitive, parents and students have made extracurricular activities a priority. But is having your child participate in as many activities as possible really what’s best for college admissions and, more importantly, their growth and mental health? How much is too much? We asked the experts.

In a First, Astronomers Find a Blazar That Circles Every Two Months

Chelsea Gohd writing for Discover Magazine

After 10 years of observations, scientists have confirmed a two-year cycle in the gamma-ray brightness of a blazar, or a galaxy with supermassive black holes that consume mass a produce high-energy jets as a result. Blazars are the most energetic and luminous objects that we have identified so far in the known universe.

Five Ways Adults Can Get Involved With Local Science

Gaia Cantelli writing for ScienceSeeker

You love science. You think it’s cool. But science is not your job – so what can you do if you would like to find out more? Going back to college and getting another degree in molecular biology is probably not on the cards. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved with science while balancing everything else you have going on in your life. Here are some hot tips on how to get started!

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