Title text: If you live in the Northern hemisphere, anyway. In the southern hemisphere, due to the coriolis effect, babies are born nine months BEFORE they're conceived.
Horoscopes purport to predict someone's personality or future, depending on the position of planets and stars at the time of their birth and at present. Horoscopes commonly group people into twelve groups based on zodiac signs. The Zodiac signs are based on twelve constellations that follow the approximate path of the sun in our night sky. One's zodiac sign is determined by the position of the sun on their birthday, with each sign representing a specific approximately one-month period.
Today, horoscopes are admitted to be pseudoscience which is why the comic jokes about the fact that its horoscopes at least may be true (at least for someone born after a full term pregnancy). Actual horoscopes are typically so vague that they could be true for almost anyone regardless of their sign. Note that this horoscope is tailored for an audience in the United States, as most cultural references are centered on "Western" culture, and several won't even work in Europe, for example. With the principle understood, it is easy to apply local traditions for more accuracy in non-Western cultures, however.
Since the 12 category zodiac signs in horoscopes are based on birthday dates, Randall can do some informed guess about the context of someone's conception (i.e., what was happening nine months before they were born, apart from the obvious), depending on the sign. For example, Virgo are born between August 23 and September 22, so based on a 9-month gestational period, they were likely conceived shortly before Christmas, leading to the guess "You may have been conceived while a Christmas song played". Randall also phrases his "predictions" as possibilities ("you may have") rather than declarations, acknowledging that unlike actual horoscopes, his don't necessarily apply to everyone. See detailed description in the table below.
The title text refers to the Coriolis effect which occurs to a body that is moving on an object that is spinning. Since the Earth is rotating this leads to the fact that something that is moving on Earth feels a force (the Coriolis force) which causes the moving object to be deflected to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. This effect is the reason that weather systems (most clearly seen for hurricanes) rotate in one direction in the northern hemisphere and in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere. There is also a common misconception that the Coriolis force in respect of the Earth affects objects on a much smaller level, such as the direction water will spin down a drain in the two hemispheres (see also 843: Misconceptions). The Coriolis force can also be experienced on a much smaller scale, for instance if you try to walk on a spinning carousel.
Randall plays on the misconception to make a joke involving reversing the flow of time. So whereas babies are born nine months after conception in the northern hemisphere (clockwise) the Coriolis effect is the reason why babies are being born nine months before in the southern hemisphere (counterclockwise). This may also be a play on the scientifically inaccurate principle used in the first Superman film, in which Superman reverses time by flying around the earth at high speed in the opposite direction of its rotation.
In reality, the relevant difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is that the meteorological seasons are a half-year out of phase between the two. This renders some of the "predictions" (such as a hot day in August or people trapped by snow in January-February) invalid for the southern hemisphere.
The humorously misinterpreted Coriolis effect explanation of a 9 month shift in the other direction actually functions correctly as an offset for the seasonal predictions. An easy way to count backward 9 months is to add three months. Adding 9 months (or going backward three months) will perform the correct seasonal offset for a southern hemisphere birth with respect to a northern hemisphere person's point of view.
Cf. the Weird Al song Horoscope for Today which also makes vague guesses, only they refer to bizarre events and tasks.
Table of Astrological signs
Here below is a table with data and explanation of the individual horoscopes:
|Astrological sign||English name||Birthday range||Expected conception||Horoscope prediction||Explanation|
|♈ Aries||The Ram||March 21 - April 21||June 14 - July 14||You may have been conceived after a 4th of July fireworks show||In the US the Independence Day is celebrated on the 4th of July, and this is customarily celebrated with huge fireworks. Fireworks are also often used in movies to depict the culmination of sex (i.e. the orgasm), and hence the potential for conception.|
|♉ Taurus||The Bull||April 20 - May 20||July 13 - August 13||You may have been conceived on a hot August day||In most of the northern hemisphere there are many hot days in August. Sometimes hot days increase lust, especially if it's too hot to go out or do anything else.|
|♊ Gemini||The Twins||May 21 - June 21||August 14 - September 14||You may have been conceived as the leaves began to change||In the northern part of the northern hemisphere the autumn starts at the end of this time period, so the leaves will begin to change color.|
|♋ Cancer||The Crab||June 21 - July 21||September 14 - October 14||You may have been conceived by people trying on costumes||This period ends 10 days before Halloween, so it is not unlikely that the people who conceived you (mom and dad) tried on their new costumes when they made you.|
|♌ Leo||The Lion||July 22 - August 23||October 15 - November 16||You may have been conceived during thanksgiving||Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US on fourth Thursday of November, which for only two out of seven years will lie before the 23rd of November. However many people are born before 9 months so it is not unlikely for someone born as a Leo to be conceived on this day.|
|♍ Virgo||The Maiden||August 23 - September 22||November 16 - December 15||You may have been conceived while a Christmas song played||It is very common for Christmas songs to be played in the month before Christmas|
|♎ Libra||The Scales||September 22 - October 23||December 15 - January 16||You may have been conceived after a new year's eve party||Since New Year's Eve always falls on December 31, and since the party goes on into the new year this fits with Libra. As it is very likely that people are together in a way that may lead to conception at this type of parties, there may even be rather more than a 30th part of the people that are Libra that are conceived at such a party.|
|♏ Scorpio||The Scorpion||October 23 and November 22||January 16 - February 15||You may have been conceived by people stuck inside after a long winter||This period is during the coolest part and towards the end of the winter in the northern hemisphere. People may even be forced to stay at home due to snow. When people have nothing else to do many babies are born 9 months later.|
|♐ Sagittarius||The Archer||November 22 - December 21||February 15 - March 14||You may have been conceived during March madness||Although originally the early part of the mating season for the European Hare, in which females fight off male suitors, in a US context this is an American college Basketball tournament .|
|♑ Capricorn||The Goat||December 22 - January 19||March 15 - April 12||You may have been conceived during a sexy Easter Egg hunt||Easter falls between March 22 and April 25 so most Easter Egg hunt, sexy or not, will fall in the relevant period to conceive Capricorn children. The goal of an Easter egg hunt can be to find as many eggs in a given time, or find a sequence of eggs, each containing a clue to the next. It is not difficult to think of adult variations on these themes. Most Egg hunts do not involve people who should make them sexy! On the other hand, the egg itself, as an Easter symbol, is a symbol of fertility.|
|♒ Aquarius||The Water Carrier||January 20 - February 18||April 13 - May 11||You may have been conceived on Mother's day||Mother's Day in the USA,and some other countries, is on the second Sunday in May, between the 8th and 14th of May.|
|♓ Pisces||The Fish||February 19 - March 20||May 12 - June 13||You may have been conceived at someone's wedding||It is not uncommon that people meet and even go so far as to risk conceiving a child at someones wedding, and June is widely reported as the most popular month for weddings in the United States. The tradition of a June Bride (late spring and beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere) may be an old one and hence explains the reference for Pisces which lies mainly in June. ABC claim that in the 15th and 16th century, May would have been the month for an "annual bath", and moreover June is named for Juno, goddess of the home and hearth.|
- [Above the frame:]
- With an actual basis in fact
- [A list with the name of each astrological sign in the first column (in gray) and a horoscope for each sign in the second column. Here given in table form]
Aries You may have been conceived after a 4th of July fireworks show Taurus You may have been conceived on a hot August day Gemini You may have been conceived as the leaves began to change Cancer You may have been conceived by people trying on costumes Leo You may have been conceived during Thanksgiving Virgo You may have been conceived while a Christmas song played Libra You may have been conceived after a New Year’s Eve party Scorpio You may have been conceived by people stuck inside after a long winter Sagittarius You may have been conceived during March Madness Capricorn You may have been conceived during a sexy Easter egg hunt Aquarius You may have been conceived on Mother's day Pisces You may have been conceived at someone's wedding
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