The best set of infographics ever

At Bloomberg Business Week, Vali Chandrasekaran makes me incredibly happy by creating a series of six infographics demonstrating the ridiculous connections you can make when you start confusing correlation and causation. Did a conspiracy of baby Avas cause the U.S. housing market to implode? Was Michele Bachmann's candidacy doomed by the end of Staten Island Cakes? Are scientists raising the global average temperature in order to increase their own research funding? Find out here!


  1. One the other hand if I hear another pencil neck or proto-neck beard remind me of that I’m going to lose it.  All it does is betray the utters snug ignorance.

    It’s very very simple.  If your observability is crap, your correlations are also crap, just noise.  No big astounding insight there.  If however your observability is good then your correlation(s) represent a signal, data, whatever.  If you have extremely good observability then a single solitary observation may be iron clad proof of whatever.

    1. Yes, you have ironclad proof of an observation.  Causation, on the other hand, remains entirely unproven.

  2. Anyone want to place bets on the time until some right wing mouthpiece references this BW article as evidience that scientists are increasing the global temperature to increase their research budgets?

  3. The only word I can think of to describe the name “Ava” is the word “gauche”.

    It’s spoiled by association for me, thought.

  4. I’m not up on statistics, but none of these graphs indicates to my untrained eye the slightest hint even of correlation. Comments from statisticians, please?

  5. The dangers of pedagogy: I decided to
    play with Google correlate to show how correlation is different from
    causation. I downloaded personal spending on durable goods from and asked what search terms correlated. Top result (correlation 0.93): “orchard credit card”:
    Durable Goods Personal Expendiatures – Google Correlate

  6. There’s correlation and substantive and pertinent correlation, such as the several recovered black boxes from those aircraft involved in the 9/11/01 attacks, thanks to persistent FOIA  requests from the Pilots/911 organization, which clearly demonstrate that no hijacking ever occurred (aircrew cabin never having been breached as the black boxes track opening and closing of various doors on aircraft.

    Now that’s correlative.

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