Food For Thought: Why Correlation Better Not Be Causation

Tyler Durden's picture


We can only hope that the chart below, which shows a rather disturbing linkage between consumption of chocolate (in kg/yr/capita) and Nobel prize laureates per 10 million of population, is simply a good confirmation of the old adage which everyone these days seems to forget (especially those who look at "black box" models and predict the outcome of the presidential election with 75.304% accuracy in hopes of signing even better book deals) that correlation most certainly is not causation. Of course, for the vast majority of people who have no idea where statistics ends and heuristics begins, there is nothing greater in life than a high R-squared, which is why we expect that the next generation of Americans will be even fatter (if that is even possible) for one simple reason: their proud parents will fed them intravenous chocolate in hopes of creating the next Economics Nobel prize winner.

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Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:31 | 2944436 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

I can see a new bigger better hoveround in the future!

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:45 | 2944467's picture

At no cost to me!

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:02 | 2944497 redpill
redpill's picture

'in hopes of creating the next Economics Nobel prize winner.'

And it's worth repeating that when you say "Economics Nobel prize" you're actually referring to the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which is sponsored by the oldest central bank on the planet and actually is not a Nobel prize at all.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:14 | 2944635 Matt
Matt's picture

So, what is Sweden doing right, and what is Germany doing wrong?

Or does the panel vote in favor of their own people, and are they discriminatory against Germans?

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:15 | 2944637 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

+1   A prize for guessing right for your sponsor.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:34 | 2944438 malikai
malikai's picture

Seriously guys, we could solve all our problems if we only knew where to look:

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:41 | 2944458's picture

I give you the candy line up.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:35 | 2944441 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Talk about fat: I've never seen a photograph or video that Gov Christie was in that didn't appear to be cropped.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:24 | 2944657 cheetahbaby
cheetahbaby's picture

And as ice cream saled increase thr murder rate increases. All good things to know.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:36 | 2944445 ILikeBoats
ILikeBoats's picture

Not to worry, American chocolate is pretty adulterated, and does not meet the definition of acceptable quality European chocolate. Actually under Euro standards for what ingredients constitute chocolate, what most Americans eat is not "chocolate".

Best/cheapest good chocolate?  Aldi's, the discount grocery store, has true imported chocolate from Germany for about $5/lb.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:47 | 2944469 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

American chocolate, an oxymoron,  should be called by its scientific name - Sugar.


Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:35 | 2944558 patb
patb's picture

you mean High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:41 | 2944565 mercenaryomics
mercenaryomics's picture

Sugar?  You meant corn syrup.  

Its the corn lobbies that keep US sugar prices high w/ tariffs and then stuff our fatasses with their pseudo-sugar. 

Edit: beaten by Patb 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:37 | 2944684 cheetahbaby
cheetahbaby's picture

So, the correlation is really that between cocoa consumption and Nobel Prize winners. (seeing as how real chocolate has a higher cocoa content than the grocrey store swill) Great news! I will set off to eat yet another deluxe 90% cocoa bar of chocolate. Organic, ethically produced and all that for extra measure. I'll be in the running for the next Nobel go round for sure! 

Oh, yeah, bummer----statistical error times 2: causation is not correllation, and ecological error. Yeah, well, just in case, that Green and Black is unwrapped and ready for immediate consumption. 

Even if not brain food, chocolate is nevertheless a vegetable, and who can go wrong with that?  

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 10:37 | 2945948 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

the cocoa bean itself has amazing nutrition content. Most of that is lost when it is cooked and made into chocolate.

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 01:22 | 2945701 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

Yes, Aldi does have good chocolate.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:53 | 2944483 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

If you draw a line from "Germany to China", and another line from "Sweden to China", it looks earily similar to a cone of distruction on Weather Underground.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:06 | 2944498 Blazed
Blazed's picture

Ah, so with Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cameroon being responsible for around 2/3 of world cocoa production, and it now shown that it may actually be all about consumption, we can finally expect them to start having a few Nobel Laureates. Whew, was starting to feel guilty or something for noticing the lack Nobel Laureates from that region of the world.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:18 | 2944529 TN Jed
TN Jed's picture

In keeping with the "correlation is not causation" thought, as a courtesy reminder Hurrican Sandy asks that you remember to reset your stone calendars in 47 days.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:57 | 2944594 machineh
machineh's picture

The correlation in the chart is real simple: the cultural bias of chocolate-munching Europeans, preferentially doling out awards to themselves and other European-settled countries.

If a Chinese committee awarded the Nobel prizes, there would be a correlation with tofu consumption.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:14 | 2944633 Essential Nexus
Essential Nexus's picture

Krugman probably eats alot of chocolate...

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 01:23 | 2945702 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

I would think Larry "jabba the hut" Summers might eat a lot of chocolate too....along with his diet coke.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:45 | 2944823 Tombstone
Tombstone's picture

The Nobel prize has all the credibility of the Big Zero.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:55 | 2944845 blindman
blindman's picture

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company 2 reviews - Hershey, PA
service and overseeing banquet events including meals, coffee breaks and snack bar. Job Functions: Assisting with hiring, scheduling, performance evaluations...
not Nobel quality work but it is a job.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 17:04 | 2944871 blindman
blindman's picture

Monday October 29 12:01pm
null interviews c.a. fitts
Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America 1/4
[KR362] Keiser Rerport: Wall St. Vomitorium
etc.... ongoing

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 21:05 | 2945382 blindman
blindman's picture

the depth of the insight of this post is perhaps
beyond the capacity of the literate populations
and audience so exposed?
such is life; time will tell even though
she has no voice, so to speak.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 21:22 | 2945410 blindman
blindman's picture

as it is language is a bitch
and insight is a prick.
reminds me of a song, funny,
with no mention of chocolate;
this , electrically stimulating connection
to this.
Les Triplettes de Belleville

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 12:10 | 2946058 Svendblaaskaeg
Svendblaaskaeg's picture

Mann made Nobel Prize get hit by IPCC bus

How about a:Everybody Draw your own Nobel Prize Day? - its only fair..

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