Where Babies Come From


Regular readers of this blog will know that my chosen profession is that of “mad scientist”.  Now, while no one seems to dispute the “mad” part, some of you continue to doubt my scientific credentials.  So I have decided to demonstrate my scientific prowess with this post on some fascinating scientific discoveries made with through the magic of statistics.  For an earlier post on a similar topic, go to 100% of All Statistics.   Here are some interesting scientific facts…….

Storks deliver babies.

We have all heard the old wives’ tale that storks deliver babies.  Scientists had previously tried to explain babies by some obscure reference to birds and bees but now it seems the old wives were right.   Research in Germany demonstrate that the drop in the numbers of babies born is correlated to the number of nesting storks.  Clearly, when there are less storks, they can’t deliver as many babies.

From Sies, H. Nature (1988) 332:495.
From Sies, H. Nature (1988) 332:495.

 

Butter is Better

From Spurious Correlations (http://www.tylervigen.com/)
From Spurious Correlations (http://www.tylervigen.com/)

I think we can all agree that butter tastes better than margarine.  The research above shows that margarine is also a leading cause of divorce – as margarine consumption dropped, so did the divorce rate.  While the reason for this correlation is still debated, a leading theory is that most husbands prefer butter and resent being forced by their wives to eat margarine instead.  The resentment will build and grow until there is an argument over money or the kids or the mistress but it all started with margarine.  So remember, butter oils the marriage better.

 

Dangers of the Internet

We have all been warned about the dangers of the internet but honestly, it has been too much fun for us to take the warnings seriously.  However, it can no longer be ignored.

From "From Quarks to Quasars" (http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/correlation-vs-causation/)
From “From Quarks to Quasars” (http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/correlation-vs-causation/)

Hmmmm.  Let’s just say that it might be a good idea to start using Chrome or Firefox instead.

And finally,……….

Sweet Success

Screen-Shot-2012-11-20-at-4.46.58-PM1
(Image credit: New England Journal of Medicine) Franz H. Messerli, M.D.                                                                             N Engl  J Med 2012; 367:1562-1564

This last one is really relevant to me.  I have been trying for years to win a Nobel Prize but now I know that I have not been eating enough chocolates.  This graph is interesting in that the correlation is good for all countries except Sweden and Germany.  This can be easily explained.  Sweden has higher number of Nobel laureates than their chocolate consumption would indicate but then, let’s remember that the selection committee is based in Sweden (enough said!  Don’t want to prejudice my chances of winning).  And Germany’s poor performance?  Perhaps the result of too many hangovers from Oktoberfest?

So in summary, don’t let the storks roost, eat butter, use Firefox and gorge yourself on chocolates.  I hope knowing these scientific truths will help you improve your lives.

Editor’s Note:  This parody post was inspired by the website Spurious Correlations which was recently featured on the BBC.  This and other sources seek to demonstrate that correlation does not mean causation.  And oft quoted example is that there is a correlation between the rise in ice cream sales in a city with an increase in drowning incidents in swimming pools.  A spurious conclusion would be that eating ice cream increases your chance of drowning.  In actual fact, people tend to eat more ice cream during a heatwave.  The heatwave will also cause more people to go swimming which in turn will result in a higher incident of drowning.

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4 thoughts on “Where Babies Come From”

  1. Mr. Charleston,
    Thanks for your help. I need all the help I can get with this Nobel Prize Committee. I suspect that they are specie-ist (prejudiced against squirrels) and ageist (prejudiced against greys).

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