Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Examples of Questionable Causation

An early AP Statistics practice exam had cricket chirps per minute as the explanatory variable and temperature as the response variable. Does this mean that we might blame the chirping of crickets for global warming?

Perhaps we can investigate whether dead manatees cause powerboat registrations. The two values seem to have a strong, positive linear relationship.

I read somewhere that as teacher salaries in a state increased, so did total liquor sales. Hmmmmmmm.

Going back to global warming, it was recently pointed out that the frequency of pirate attacks is inversely associated with ocean temperatures. Could an increase in pirate attacks spell the beginning of a new ice age?

What other spurious relationships have you found?

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