And just before the day is out, some valentine's links

I’ve always hated the day myself but at last have some equanimity on the subject. So here, in order of reading:

– Vaughan at Mind Hacks goes to town with a puntastic post on romance in the labs:

Psychiatrist Donatella Marazziti and her colleagues measured levels of a protein that transports the neurotransmitter serotonin in the blood of 20 people who had recently fallen madly in love, 20 people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and 20 healthy comparison participants…

She found that the group of patients with OCD and the recently love-struck were no different in terms of the serotonin transporter protein, suggesting the brain began to function markedly differently as love blossomed.

So love is an obsession, a compulsion. (And is it only me who thought that the previous post, “Faking a labour of love”, was about something other than the subject written about?)

Moving swiftly on, how about love as slavery… K at Flickering Lamp has an excerpt on The Way to Love:

People have become so much a part of your being that you cannot even imagine living a life that is unaffected or uncontrolled by them. As a matter of fact, they have convinced you that if you ever broke free of them, you would become an island–solitary, bleak, unloving. But the exact opposite is true. How can you love someone whom you are a slave to? How can you love someone whom you cannot live without? You can only desire, need, depend and fear and be controlled. Love is to be found only in fearlessness and freedom.

Want to buy roses as a statement of fearless and free something-or-other? Well either you should or you shouldn’t ensure they’re from Kenya.

The UK government says buying flowers from developing countries creates jobs and reduces poverty.

A recent study indicated roses flown to the UK from Kenya produced fewer emissions than roses grown in Holland in heated greenhouses.

But campaigners say some workers suffer long hours in poor conditions.

What’s an ethical consumer to do? Don’t ask me, I don’t even like cut roses.

However what I do like is dispensing with valentine and adopting friendship – as well as doing it yourself. Marja-Leena does both:

Hauskaa Ystävänpäivää!

This morning, on the way to school, there was a young man at the crossing wearing a black sweatshirt emblazoned with large white letters:


and, front and back, a bright red perforated and bleeding heart. I pointed him out to the boys with some amusement and, perhaps, approval. Unfortunately this was too much for the young man in question who then stood stooped and sideways on to us exuding embarrassment and pink cheeks.

Fearlessness. That’s the key. Or one of them. Possibly.

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