Five Links #038
Moth statistics; inflating lesbians
Correlation is not causation ..
I have found the correlation vs causation mental model an easy one to keep front-of-mind, and it never fails to help me appear smart in meetings. Being able to whip out the ‘ol ‘correlation is not causation’ catch-phrase at the first sign of someone presenting statistics is a good way to appear wise without making any real contribution to society.
And now I can upgrade that snarky manoeuvre.
It turns out a clever statistics wizard has found a correlation between those people under 60 that have died in the UK and those that have watched the 1984 Ghostbusters movie. It’s not clear to me if they have to have died from COVID-19 related reasons or simply from any cause, but none-the-less it seems that seeing the weird couch scene with the gropey hands statistically reduces your life expectancy.
Except for that whole lack of causal connection thing.
I have checked the underlying dataset myself and the graph plotted above is correct. People under 60 who watched the 1984 Ghostbusters movie are twice as likely to die as people who watched the 2021 Ghostbusters movie. The overall deaths in Britain are running well above normal.
I don't know how to explain this other than movie-caused mortality. I was told by everyone that the 1984 Ghostbusters movie was safe and amusing, and never anticipated it could be so dangerous to young people! It appears the 2021 film is MUCH safer, and strongly preferred, but this fact has been hidden by conspiracy
That escalated quickly ..
There has been a lot of talk about inflation lately. Whether it’s transitory or here to stay, and what that means for the common people like you and I.
I thought the below image - of two Zimbabwean bank notes printed 12 months apart - summed up the obvious consequence pretty well.
2022 Goals ..
I’m going to start each day in January with a 2-minute plank. I will report back on just how many abs I develop in that time.
I started with 2-minute plank challenges simply because I wanted to experience what happens when you stop procrastinating and make stuff happen (almost like an achievement mentality). Now that I have completed it, I strongly feel that challenging yourself makes you realize how strong your willpower is!
Wait till you hear me do it ..
A little while ago I shared this moth joke by Norm Macdonald. I keep coming back to it for a little pick-me-up. Time and time again it makes me laugh. You should give it a go and see if it tickles you as well.
So I really enjoyed this piece by Malcolm Gladwell on why he doesn’t think Macdonald is all that funny. He references the moth joke for starters, which is got my attention. But I particularly enjoyed his exploration of how the disconnect between his feelings on Macdonald’s comedy and that of comedy experts shows the elements of good critique.
There’s another “famous” Norm Macdonald appearance on Conan, in which Macdonald tells an excruciatingly long joke about a moth. The punchline is so far removed from the story’s opening that you need GPS to find it. Did I find it funny? Kind of. But comedy insiders love it, because if you’ve actually done comedy, and realize how fragile the relationship between comic and audience is, you realize just how much chutzpah it takes to launch into a story with an impossibly distant punch line. The insider watches that, and says — how on earth did he pull that off? The outsider changes channels.
I realize that’s a somewhat unpopular position to take these days, when we have created entirely new media platforms that have as their reason for being the desire to showcase the opinions of people who aren’t experts in the field they’re opining about. Twitter invites me to tweet out my instant reaction on Norm Macdonald: he’s not funny. But catering to the impulses of the uninformed is kind of a dumb way to conduct civil discourse in a society.
The point of the critic (an insider) ought to be to explain to the outsider why he or she is mistaken or misinformed. My favorite kind of review of anything — book, movie, art — is the one that has as its starting premise: You may not like this. But here is why you should. What I found really valuable, after Macdonald’s death, was not watching his old greatest hits on Youtube. It was reading the eulogies written for him by people who appreciated his genius. The ones in The Ringer and the New York Times were particularly good, because they took precisely this approach. They explained him to people who might never have taken him seriously in the first place. I like this approach way more than criticism that takes as its premise I do not like this. Let me tell you why. How does that help the outsider? As an outsider I don’t need reasons to dismiss something. My ignorance of the subject is already doing a good job of that. I need reasons to take seriously something that I would otherwise dismiss.
Worth a read if you can spare the time. But first, the moth joke.
(via Trevor McKendrick)
Bon vivant goals ..
Last year we had the exploding whale as the final link of 2020.
This year it’s a quick heart-warmer to finish out 2021.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Break. If you’re struggling for conversation with boozy and overfed family members this Christmas, why not tell them about Five Links?