Some geek statistical humor:



xkcd via Flowing Data

Category: Humor, Markets, Mathematics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “Correlation”

  1. CNBC Sucks says:

    Republican Ritholtz, I have concluded that I am a more effective blogger than you. You generate many, many more page views than me, and you make people think more, but I deliver a much more simple, concentrated, compelling message that cuts through belief systems which impair objective and critical thinking. Since you are more naturally liberal than me – you call yourself a “liberal Republican” while I call myself a “registered Republican” – you put more subtlety into your communications. This is the type of liberal subtlety that failed to hit home with me when for thirty years, I did not realize liberals Norman Lear, Carroll O’Connor, and Jean Stapleton were making fun of racist Republicans like me when they sang the “All in the Family” theme.

    A case in point in my argument is your cartoon that probably only a person who has taken graduate level statistics courses (or at least paid attention through an entire undergraduate semester) would understand. I of course do understand, but the average American probably would not. For that average American who is puzzled or perplexed by your liberal elitist cartoon, I instead offer the idea that large-breasted women tend to be Democrats:

  2. CNBC Sucks says:

    You put it back on, Barry! And you didn’t delete my comment.

    You really do believe in free markets! You’re the best, Ritholtz!

    Will someone else please comment before I get in trouble?

  3. “Well, maybe” pretty much says it all. Just because two things appear together (the sun and the rooster crowing; Obama and financial armageddon; etc.) does not prove any causative link.

  4. Whammer says:

    Gosh, Curmedgeon, I sure wish McCain was president about now. He’d have it all under control……..

  5. 10 cc says:


    Didn’t you hear? He’s on CNBC calling for an investigation of the financial crisis. LMAO.

    Soon as I saw that I had a vision of his buddy Gramm staring at a TV screen somewhere saying ..”Johnnnnn! Shut the fuck up”.

    Guess Mr. Keating Five has no sense of irony either. Or maybe senility has finally set in and he forgot it ever happened.

  6. dsawy says:

    If you had to wait until a graduate level course in stats to learn that correlation does not imply causation, I’d say you should ask for your tuition to be refunded.

  7. John from Concord says:

    With XKCD half the fun is often in the mouseover text. You’ve lost it here — the original reads “Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’”. Link here:

  8. franklin411 says:

    Boy…geek is right!

  9. gorobei says:

    Oh no. “Correlation does not imply causation” is going to become the rallying cry of people who didn’t, and still don’t, understand statistics. Worse, it will be used as the “reason” all this fancy financial modeling was wrong, which is nice and easy, because you neither need to understand the models nor the statistics involved.

    Even the much maligned EMH basically says computed means of interesting financial timeseries are worthless, else you’d be scooping up alpha for free. No means means no correlations, so the pithy little phrase is rather inoperative.

  10. philipat says:

    Lies, damned lies and statistics?

  11. rileyx67 says:

    Yes, “CNBC Sucks”, I did get your tongue in cheek, but only after your last sentence which caused me to laugh aloud, re-read and realize your real intent. And Barry is the best, and CNBC DOES suck.

  12. AGG says:

    And now for some causation that correlates quite well with the big picture:
    March 9 , 2009

    Investigation Shines a Harsh Light on the Conduct of Madoff’s Lawyer in a Prior Ponzi Scheme Case
    Madoff and the Sorkin Affair

    The story is at Counterpunch and its hot. No wonder Madoff is working a plea deal. There’s a whole society of consistent crookedness under that rock. And somebody should take a hard look at the judge on Madoff and the judges portfolio. What was it that Patrick Henry said about the constitutional convention, huh judge?

  13. philipat says:

    And Barry is the best, and CNBC DOES suck.

    AGree with the former but would qualify the latter that CNBC Europe is much better quality. The guests are not selling something and there is more time for deeper discussion of issues. That having been said, CNBC needs in general, for reasons of quality control, to remind guests of their views expressed on earlier appearances. Ned Riley for instance? Also, recently CNBC Europe seems to be going out of its way to cultivate more US viewership and is dumning down. No disrespect meant to those in these threads! What was that about correlation and causation?

  14. gorobei says:


    Yep, if you don’t mind lying, you can make all the statistics you need.

    And, as every trader knows, if the people paying the money decide on a “rational” statistics-based compensation structure, you are going to be laughing all the way to the bank. Heck, you don’t even need to lie: just concentrate on arbing the formula versus the market prices.

  15. Kyle says:

    Contracting HIV has a strong chance of making you gay.

  16. flipspiceland says:

    @cnbc sucks:

    Bodacioua Ta-Tas are a welcome eye-soothing sight anytime, but would forsake them for a “total woman”, and being a Leg and A– man myself, your allusion to Biel’s quads is particularly embracing.

  17. Whammer Says:

    March 9th, 2009 at 5:31 pm
    Gosh, Curmedgeon, I sure wish McCain was president about now. He’d have it all under control……..


    This is a perfect example of how thinking with your reptilian political brain never gets you to the truth. My comment was that Obama and financial armageddon, although appearing roughly simultaneously in time, did not necessarily have any causative link.

    How does one get from that to thinking I wished McCain was President?

    Crocodiles have an extra eye-lid that is clear, but fuzzy, allowing them to imperfectly see underwater. Pretty much like the prism of looking at the world through political biases. You can see somewhat, but the view is always a bit murky.