With the Nobel Prize ceremony now a few days behind us, it might be worth asking, "Where the fuck do all these smart-ass people come from?" I mean, I certainly don't know any Nobel-caliber people. Do you? Don't lie to everyone — it's unseemly. Of course you don't know any Nobel winners, and, if you don't start hanging out with people who eat chocolate all the time, odds are pretty good that you'll forever be stuck hanging out with stupids until the day you choke to death on a Werthers.
A "study" that appeared recently in the New England Journal of Medicine (it was published as a "note," not as an actual peer-reviewed study) has correlated countries' rates of chocolate consumption with the number of Nobel Prizes they've scored. According to study author Dr. Franz Messerli, of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University in New York, there is evidence (disputed evidence) that flavanols in green tea, red wine, and chocolate can help "in slowing down or even reversing" age-related mental decline. Messerli built a very rickety bridge from these flavanols to Nobel-prone countries, and found, after examining a country's per capita chocolate consumption, that those countries with the most Nobel winners generally had the highest rates of chocolate consumption. The correlation, based on data from major chocolate producers on sales in 23 countries, is, Messerli explained, "surprisingly powerful."
Of course, it's only a correlation, but consider this: Switzerland, a country made entirely of chocolate, gingerbread houses, and laundered money, led the world in both chocolate consumption and Nobels. Coincidence? The U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium are all in the middle of the pack in Nobels and chocolate eating. China, Japan, and Brazil are all at the bottom. Sweden, the host country of the Nobel Prizes, has only a moderate appetite for chocolate, but has produced 32 winners, which Messerli attributes to what those in the organized sports racket call "home cooking." The Swedes are cheaters, is what he's trying to say, but, really, they're only cheating themselves by not eating more chocolate.
Messerli concedes that chocolate probably isn't making people smarter, but suggests that smart people know how fucking awesome chocolate is and regularly avail themselves of its mental health benefits. Sven Lidin, the chairman of the Nobel chemistry prize committee, told the AP that, though he didn't think there was any direct cause and effect between chocolate and Nobel prize-winning, the study made him giggle. Messerli also calculated the amount of chocolate, per person, that a country would have to eat to produce one additional Nobel winner — 14 ounces each year. That's nine Hershey bars, or one melted chocolate bubble bath. Choose your choices.
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