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Ice Cream Sales “Lead” to Homicide: Why?

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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.

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          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 January 13, 2022

          How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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          How to Use Travel Time Effectively

          Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

          Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

          Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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          1. Take Your Time Getting There

          As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

          But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

          Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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          2. Go Gadget-Free

          This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

          If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

          3. Reflect and Prepare

          Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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          After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

          Conclusion

          Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

          More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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          If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

          Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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