Big part of the data analytics scientists is to find data correlations. By establishing links between events you can be aware of their triggers in order to get access to better decision making.
Yes, correlations are the key concept in the data analytics but we know correlation doesn’t imply causation. Having this in mind, the Purdue University in Indianapolis held “Spurious Correlations” contest among students and scientists from all over the world. The entries were extremely bizarre and funny like the correlation between ministers` salaries and the price of vodka or the amount of ice-cream sold and deaths by drownings. The winner of that very contest discovered the correlation between the number of storks sighted and the population of Oldenburg Germany. Funny enough, Ron Malzer – the author of the winning entry somehow managed to explain his correlation with the highest rate of adults reading Immanuel Kant in Oldenburg.
Well done for Ron Malzer but our true start in bizarre correlations is Tyler Vigen, a student of Harvard Law School who present himself as a statistical provocateur. He created software discovering correlations in public data and his effort led to unusual findings.
Correlation: US spending on science & Hanging suicides
Correlation rate: 99.79%
Correlation: Divorce rate in Maine & Consumption of margarine
Correlation rate: 99.26%
Correlation: Consumption of mozzarella & Engineering doctorates
Correlation rate: 95.86%
Correlation: Number of people killed by dogs & Online revenue on Black Friday
Correlation rate: 99.56%
Correlation: Films with Nicolas Cage & Female editors on Harvard Law Review
Correlation rate: 85.54%
Now we feel like Tyler Vigen is a genuine statistical provocateur and his book “Spurious correlations” is one of the funniest in the field of statistics and data analytics.
If we take a look at the politics we will find a pool full of misleading correlations. A recent instance is the Brexit referendum in the UK which ruled out that the majority of UK citizens would like their country to leave the EU. Nigel Farage, UKIP leader and one of the key Brexit supporters told the voters that leaving the EU will lead to GBP 350 million more per week for the national healthcare system.
Thinking of misleading political correlations we couldn’t resist the temptation to share this cartoon which appeared to be sad and funny at the same time.
For more bizarre correlations do not miss http://www.correlated.org. They promise fresh surprising connections every day!