It’s a busy weekend with celebrations for Lunar New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dragon; Super Bowl Sunday, whether you’re interested in the game or a Taylor Swift sighting; and Valentine’s Day coming up.

Coinciding with Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival, we’re experiencing unusually mild weather in Toronto. We got a teaser for spring on Friday — the kind that tricks you into thinking winter is over. It reached a record high over 15 C here yesterday, during what has been a less snowy and more grey winter than usual.

As the days get perceptibly longer, and with the “spring forward” time change one month from today, we’re getting ready for a spring makeover. Keep an eye out for The Conversation Canada’s new homepage and section page layouts, which we plan to launch this upcoming week.

And if you haven’t already, please take our reader survey, available for just a few more days.

Enjoy the weekend reads below, and we’ll be back in your inbox on Monday.

Lisa Varano

Deputy Editor

Weekend reads

It’s the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac − associated with good fortune, wisdom and success

Mario Poceski, University of Florida

According to the Chinese zodiac signs, each year in the lunar cycle is associated with a particular animal. The cycle repeats every 12 years.

The divine matchmaker in Chinese mythology − Old Man Under the Moon − who helps couples find love

Megan Bryson, University of Tennessee

Young people in China are no longer settling into marriages arranged by their parents. But they are still looking for blessings from Chinese gods to find everlasting love.

Higher, faster: what influences the aerodynamics of a football?

Giuseppe Di Labbio, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

A football’s dimensions, pressure and texture affect its aerodynamics, i.e. the forces exerted by the air on the ball as it flies.

Lamar Jackson is the NFL’s MVP. He’s also the NFL’s most valuable negotiator.

Ryan Clutterbuck, Brock University; Michael Van Bussel, Brock University

Despite being without a long-term contract extension and representation, Lamar Jackson was able to advocate and negotiate the most lucrative contract in the history of the NFL. Here’s how.

Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theories are the result of two sets of hardcore fans colliding

Melissa Avdeeff, University of Stirling

This Super Bowl sees the convergence of two emotional fandoms: Swifties and NFL fans.

Americans spend millions of dollars on Valentine’s Day roses. I calculated exactly how much

Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University

Coming to grips with the economics of roses can be a thorny issue.

The Conversation Weekly podcast

Chatrawee Wiratgasem via Shutterstock

How a place’s ecology can shape the culture of the people who live there – podcast

Mend Mariwany, The Conversation

Michael Varnum explains new research on the role ecological factors play in the differences between cultures. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.