Tag Archive: family

(Submitted by Skepticality listener Misty Wegman.)

First of all, I do not believe in horoscopes or any such nonsense but in this situation it makes the story better. Feel free to take it out if it gets too messy.

I was born on June 2nd and my dad was born on June 3rd. This makes our astrological signs “Gemini” or Twins. He is an identical twin. I gave birth to fraternal twins. He is a twin-twin and I am a twin that had twins.

It gets better. My Aunt (father’s-sister) had identical twins. My mother’s Aunt had fraternal twins too (which is where I got them from). After my mother divorced my father, she married the boy of boy/girl fraternal twins. So I have twin second cousins, twin cousins, 2 twin dads and I’m an astrological twin that had twins.

What are the odds of more twins being born in my family?

Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 000.  Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog ICBS Everywhere, and Insight at Skeptics Society.

Well, I would say that the odds of more twins being born might be pretty good, but not much higher than in anyone else’s family. Of course, one would have to define and learn quite a few things before even trying to come up with an actual number, including what is meant by “family” (siblings? offspring?) and the ages and intents of those involved.

But there are a few things to talk about nonetheless.

First, the author notes that two of the cases of twins are identical, and one case is a step-father. Identical twins occur as randomly as astrological signs and one has no blood ties to a step-father, so these factors are independent–they have no influence on whether twins will occur in a family. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, do run in families, as hyperovulation is a genetic trait, although one does not receive genes from aunts/uncles. If genetics are to blame, the author’s chances of having fraternal twins on a subsequent pregnancy is now double. In addition, the age of the mother is a factor–the older the mother is, the more likely fraternal twins will occur.

All of that said, fraternal twins can also be the result of fertility treatments. This introduces a controllable factor that can increase the odds of twins dramatically. If fertility treatments are involved, genetics can’t be blamed.

According to Babycenter.com and several other online sources, the most recent data shows about 1 in every 30 births today are twins (about 3.3%), with only a about 10% of those being identical. So, about 3 in every 1,000 births will be twins born under Gemini.

Having that many twins in a family depends on many factors such as the size of the family, but I do love the idea of introducing someone as a twin twin with twins (yes, I know author isn’t a twin herself, but I took some license).

Raging Rapids Rescue

Years back, when I was still married, my ex-wife and I visited Schlitterbahn, a water park near Dallas, Texas, with her family and our daughter. While our daughter enjoyed various activities with her grandparents, my then-wife and I went on their park-circling raging rapids ride.

The ride puts you on a borrowed inner tube, raft, or a variety of other available floating options as it batters you through artificially-choppy waters, under bridges, through tunnels, around sharp bends, etc. It has only a couple of entry and exit points, and you’re otherwise essentially “locked in” once you get on until you reach one of these points.

My wife was wearing one of her typical black hair band clips. I honestly don’t know what its real name is, but it was long, black, covered with teeth, in a single piece, and went essentially from ear to ear. Anyway, to make this part of the story short, while riding along together on one of the rafts, the band came loose and slipped off her head. She made a desperate grab for it, but it bounced off her hand, off the back of her leg, and into the raging waters behind us. She was pretty disappointed, partially because she was counting on it to hold her hair that day, and partially because she was fond of it (even if it was cheaply-replaced plastic).

As we approached the next entrance/exit point she decided to call an end to our ride after the loss of the hair band, and we climbed off the raft in slightly (though still frothy) waters and walk up the stairs to dry land. For the hell of it, I decided to drag my feed along the ground as I walked toward the stairs and carefully lifted my feet up each step, just in the ridiculous off-chance that I might catch the hair band in this absurdly fast-moving large body of water.

And sure enough, just as my feet broke the surface, there was the hair band, precariously caught around my ankle as I lifted it to safety. My ex and I were both notably startled and considered the situation, and the band, exceptionally lucky.

Within a few months the band was broken and forgotten and never played any important role in our lives beyond this story. If someone was looking out for us, they clearly had strange priorities.

Busy Day for Toledo Family

(Link submitted by friend of the blog, Nancy Matson)

Families sometimes have strangely scheduled and often inconvenient birthdays. Sometimes people are born too close to a major gift-giving holiday, increasing the financial strain and reducing the flow of gifts. Others end up with family members closely clustered together, with the same result. But in one much happier reversal of Bleak Winters, a Toledo-area family experienced something much more precise:

FOUR birthdays all on January 4th, across four generations.

That’s right, Richard Stiff’s family started off the tradition with his (now-passed) father Marshall being born on January 4th, 1924. Richard, himself was then born on the same day in 1947, his daughter Julia following the pattern in 1978, and her daughter Kourtney following up the rear (for now) in 2011.

The family claims this was entirely unplanned timing and seems to enjoy the family connection, with various family traditions each year to celebrate the connection. Their biggest challenge appears to be simply the difficulty in finding appropriate birthday activities in the chilly month of January.

[SOURCE: Toledo Blade via Yahoo! News]

One of our favorite people, Julia Sweeney, gives a little perspective on how her view of coincidences changed, and arguably became more fun:

Julia hits the nail on the head about what we do here. It doesn’t matter why coincidences happen, only that they do, and they’re frakkin’ cool when they do. And they’re even more fun when you remember to submit them to us! Hint, hint. Hint.


Okay, that’s enough hinting.

(See what I did there?)