Divorce rate in Maine linked with per capita consumption of margarine


“Correlates” ≠ “linked”.

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I didn’t pay attention and thought this was going to be about individual consumption. That would have made sense to me because it is the food of misery and bad life choices.


trying to remember the mock country crock commercial where the hands have a verbal battle of sorts… now,wheres my youtube…does anybody recall such a film existing?

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Yep. That’s the whole point of the Spurious Correlations site. BoingBoing article from May. I’m not sure if there is a post quota these days on BB but there seems to be a lot of duplication.

…And @Jorpho types faster than I can while eating a burger…

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Correction: his typing speed is linked to your burger consumption.


o_0 I’m in trouble…

Makes sense to me. My wife and I use coconut oil and it has done wonderful things for our relationship.

Oh, wait, maybe this is a different thing… are they eating the margarine? Eww, gross!


You’ve both completely missed the point.

A post titled "Medical marijuana linked to reduction in drug overdose rates" by Mark Frauenfelder is immediately followed by a post titled ***“Per capita consumption of margarine linked to divorce rate in Maine”***… also by Mark Frauenfelder.

Yes, Mark does indeed know that correlation is not causation - he just said as much via this second post.

The entire reason he posted this silly margarine correlation story is to emphasis the exact same problem in the prior marijuana story. The difference is that most people reading the marijuana story wouldn’t think to question the correlation as being just a correlation - hence THIS headline immediately afterwards, to drive the point home without requiring people to read the entire article.


Perhaps this one?

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You’ve both completely missed the point.

No. You’re just bringing up a point I chose not to cover. While possible, there is less supporting evidence than there is on BB of duplicate posts and reuse.

Not necessarily spurious. It could be, that, say, local poverty correlates to both people eating margarine instead of butter and people getting divorced. In this case, I think that’s unlikely, but it’s a possibility. The more correlations you look for, the more you have to “discount” the p-value you get from them, which is a major problem in, say, psychology research. In the case of marijuana and drug overdoses, it seems like something fairly obvious to look for, so I wouldn’t imagine that it’s just a result of people going through all possible correlations between their variables fishing for a p-value, but the article I saw about that didn’t even quote their p-value, so while I can say that I wouldn’t discount that one too much, I don’t know if it’s good enough to take seriously.

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I think the rate at which humans breath decides how many kids one is going to parent …Talk about absurd correlates …

Dammit. Always with the spoilers.

The thread was just getting amusing, too.

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Screw schadenfreude. Privately laughing at confused or mistaken people is trollish and unproductive.

Sorry, I’ll need to see a chart illustrating that schadenfreude vs productivity correlation before I can accept it as fact. (Preferably with the effect of margarine-usage-while-privately-trolling factored in.)

I’m really looking forward to the definition of “privately trolling”. Also if you or @Glitch do come up with a chart, please include some standard deviations. I like those. They make my toes curl.


Is that something you can see if you go to the Boing Boing front page? Because who does that to themselves?

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Actually, it may have been part of a larger string of word association. In chronological order, his posts of that time:
WATCH: Speed bump overdose
Medical marijuana linked to reduction in drug overdose rates
Per capita consumption of margarine linked to divorce rate in Maine

Of course, this could just be a coincidence :slight_smile:

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