May 21, 2014
If you read any of the research studies we sometimes publish, there's a phrase that by now should roll easily off your tongue: correlation doesn't equal causation. If you doubt that, look no further than Harvard Law School Student Tyler Vigen's hilarious blog, "Spurious Correlations." It's absolutely the most fun available online for science geeks. Betcha didn't know that:
- The number of suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation correlates with the number of lawyers in North Carolina (.993796), or
- The amount of money spent on pets (U.S.) correlates with the number of civil engineering doctorates awarded (.983038) or
- The marriage rate in Mississippi correlates with U.S. per capita consumption of whole milk (.992835)?
Just check the graphs! There are dozens, and you can even easily discover and plot your own.
|Marriage rate in Mississippi|
Marriages per 1000 people (US Census)
|Per capita consumption of whole milk (US)|
Here, Tyler Vigen talks about Spurious Correlations.