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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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          Published on July 15, 2019

          10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

          10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

          Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

          Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

          At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

          You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

          That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

          So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

          1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

          Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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          Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

          2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

          Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

          This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

          However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

          3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

          I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

          With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

          4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

          This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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          Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

          For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

          5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

          A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

          It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

          6. Walk as Much as You Can 

          Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

          Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

          When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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          7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

          How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

          But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

          For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

          8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

          No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

          When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

          9. Practice Self Care 

          Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

          The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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          10. Embrace Learning 

          You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

          Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

          I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

          Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

          If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

          Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

          So start making your life better — today!

          Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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