Tyler Vigen, a Harvard Law student, has created a website that appears to demonstrate the truism: “53% of all statistics are made up.” That’s not precisely true of the “research” Vigen presents at Spurious Correlations (his correlations rely on actual data sets) but it does give some insight into the tools the data crunchers have at their disposal for spinning actual facts into what they want us to hear (often to the exclusion of more relevant information). Vigen says, “Empirical research is interesting, and I love to wonder about how variables work together. The charts on this site aren’t meant to imply causation nor are they meant to create a distrust for research or even correlative data. Rather, I hope this projects gets people interested in statistics and research.”

Here are some of Vigen’s best Spurious Correlations:

1. Number of people who tripped over their own two feet and died correlates with Civil engineering doctorates awarded (US)

 

number-of-people-who-tripped-over-their-own-two-feet-and-died_civil-engineering-doctorates-awarded-us

The more pressing question: Are the civil engineers tripping over their own feet or are they designing things that cause others to trip?