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Ice Cream Sales “Lead” to Homicide: Why?

Ice Cream Sales “Lead” to Homicide: Why?

In a study [1] done in 2009, it had been speculated that homicide rates were higher when ice cream sales were on the rise. In 2006, a similar study found that the rate of death by drowning was also higher when ice cream sales were hitting their peak. What gives?

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      Does our consumption of ice cream directly correlate with the rate of death? As we still have one hot month of summer left, I question our safety in light of this disturbing evidence.

      Surely if death rates are on the rise when ice cream sales are at their peak, there has to be a connection. Should we ban ice cream at once?  Or perhaps there is a different connection between the two that we aren’t seeing.

      Correlation isn’t the same as causality

      When two unrelated items are tied together, they are either bound by correlation, or by causality. In most cases, many correlations are just coincidences. But just because one factor seems like it influences another, it doesn’t mean that it actually does.

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      Correlation means X and Y change together

      In the case of correlation, it just may be a coincidence. Just because you were able to identify a connection, it doesn’t mean that the connection is actually there. For example, whenever Apple sales increase, like in the case of the release of a new phone, the rate of death by falling down the stairs also rises.

        Obviously this isn’t a direct connection. The sales people or the phone themselves are not actually pushing people down the stairs. But because Apple advocates get riled up into a frenzy every time a new phone is released, they trample each other to get their phone. Death by stairs is an outcome of the sale, but the sale does not cause the death.

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        Causality means X makes Y happen

        In this case the initial factor will indeed create an outcome. For instance, say there was a major leak in a pipe line, dumping millions of gallons of oil into the surrounding waterways. Not only will the environmental repercussions be vast, but the price of oil will go up due to a sudden drop in supply.  The oil spill directly caused the price of oil to increase.

        Consider underlying factors before drawing a connection

        In some cases, seemingly unrelated factors could actually be related on some level. In the event of homicide rates increasing alongside ice cream sales, the connection is the weather. On a nice sunny day, when many people are out enjoying themselves and cooling down with a bit of ice cream, predators are on the prowl. When it’s sunny, more people are outside, so there is a wider selection of victims.

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          There is no causal relationship between the ice cream itself and the rate of homicide, but the sunny weather brings the two factors together.

          Don’t draw connections too hastily.

          After finding a correlation, don’t be so quick to draw a conclusion. The correlation is just the first step. First, consider the underlying factors at hand that could be causing the outcome. Then, you can start drawing your conclusions and testing the water to see if it holds truth.

          Have you ever had a “lucky” pair of pants, pen, or some other item that you thought improved your luck? Chances are you did excel with the aid of your lucky charm, but it didn’t actually give you luck. Your boost of confidence and increased focus is what actually brought you success.

          Or let’s say that your boyfriend always seems extra happy on the days that he works with a certain female coworker. You try not to be jealous, but the connection is clearly there. So finally you bring it up, accusing him of having an emotional affair with his coworker. Little did you know that his coworkers husband would regularly bring in their kid, and it reminded him of how he’d like to have a family with you one day. So yes, he does seem happier on the days he works with her, but not for the reasons you initially thought.

          Just be considerate when drawing conclusions. You don’t want to be too quick to jump to the wrong one and make a connection where there isn’t one. Consider all of the factors before making a decision.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on September 11, 2019

          Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

          Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

          How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

          Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

          To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

          Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

          Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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          • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
          • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
          • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
          • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

          Benefits of Using a To-Do List

          However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

          • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
          • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
          • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
          • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
          • You feel more organized.
          • It helps you with planning.

          4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

          Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

          1. Categorize

          Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

          It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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          2. Add Estimations

          You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

          Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

          Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

          3. Prioritize

          To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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          • Important and urgent
          • Not urgent but important
          • Not important but urgent
          • Not important or urgent

          You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

          Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

          4.  Review

          To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

          For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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          Bottom Line

          So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

          To your success!

          More to Help You Achieve More in Less Time

          Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

          Reference

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