A new book finds wildly random connections between things
Hardened scientists should stop reading immediately.
The rest of you might enjoy a new book from Perigee, simply titled Correlated, in which author Shaun Gallagher promises to reveal “surprising connections between seemingly unrelated things.” For example, he reports:
- People who have been on blind dates are more likely to have business cards.
- People who have smoked marijuana are more likely to have flown first class.
- And people who think bills should be split on dates are less likely to be married.
The data used to draw these conclusions comes from more than 1 million responses of 36,305 people who answered questions on Gallagher’s website, Correlated.org. But he admits to flouting statistical rules like having a random sample (the people who answered his questions were self-selected) or addressing confounding variables (maybe pot-smokers fly first class because they’re rich and have extra money to spend on both those things). In his introduction to the book, out July 1, Gallagher outright says that his work “is not intended to stand up to professional scrutiny,” but rather is meant to be thought-provoking and plain old fun.
The whimsical statistics he presents on each page certainly put a new twist on “There are two kinds of people in this world …”, like people who have actually used a fire extinguisher and those who have only looked at them hanging on walls—or people who can’t bear to have foods touch on their plate and those who can go on living when the beans meet the rice.
Here is a sampling of other pseudo-scientific, delightful, totally unimportant findings from Gallagher’s book:
- 24% of people say they have deployed a fire extinguisher
- People who say they bruise easily are more likely to have read books by William Faulkner.
- 60% of people say they’ve never been in a fistfight
- People who have bumper stickers on their car are more likely to have square danced at some point.
- 30% of people say they have nice handwriting
- People who keep diaries are more likely to bring their lunch than buy it.
- 70% of people say they like to write lists
- People who can moonwalk are more likely to prefer creamy salad dressings over oily ones.
- 21% of people say they’ve never been bitten by an animal
- People who prefer Miss Piggy over Kermit are more likely to have tattoos.
For more where this came from, you can pre-order the book.