Why Vegetarians Miss Fewer Flights – Five Bizarre Insights from Data

I dont know.

To be completely honest, the title of this episode of The Dr.

Data Show, “Why Vegetarians Miss Fewer Flights,” has a slight case of the click-bates, cause the fact is, nobody knows for sure.

The researchers have suggested it could be because the knowledge of a personalized or specific meal awaiting the customer establishes a sense of commitment.

But we actually cant conclusively answer the “why” for most of these insights or discoveries, at least not without further research.

Thats whats meant by the often-heard adage, “Correlation does not entail causation.

” Each of these discoveries, trends, or links in the data — whatever you wanna call them — are a correlation, and any explanation as to why theyre true would involve understanding causation.

When analyzing the data that businesses accumulate — that is, typical “big data,” rather than analyzing data collected specifically for experiments or scientific inquiry — we often only get the “what” but not the “why.

” However, it still helps predict — an airline can still use this discovery to help calculate, for example, how overbooked a flight is likely to be, even without understanding why it’s true.

Number four, people who like “Curly Fries” on Facebook are more intelligent.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Microsoft found that liking “Curly Fries” is predictive of high scores on a certain test designed to measure intelligence.

The researchers dont think its necessarily because you have to be smart to realize how great curly fries are — rather they suspect that some intelligent person was the first to like the “Curly Fries” Facebook page, and his or her friends saw it and thus seeing and liking the page spread through a network of relatively smart people.

By the way, regarding the “more intelligent” part, Im personally pretty skeptical about the paring down of human intelligence to a single number, but so-called intelligence tests probably do measure how good you are at some valuable group of skills that cover some but certainly not all of what we mean by “intelligence.

” Just saying.

Number five, men who skip breakfast have a greater risk of coronary heart disease.

Harvard University medical researchers found that men 45 to 82 who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk.

This isnt necessarily because of any direct health effects of the meal itself, but rather because eating breakfast may be a proxy for lifestyle.

People living a high-paced, more stressful life are more likely to skip breakfast and are also subjected to a higher health risk.

Again, thats largely just an intuitive hunch — as usual, there could also be other plausible explanations.

Number six, neighborhoods in San Francisco that exhibit higher rates of certain crime also have a higher demand for Uber rides.

This is not necessarily because criminals are taking Ubers, but rather, as Uber has postulated, because the crime is a proxy for non-residential population — those happen to also be the areas where there are more people who dont actually live there.

And finally, number seven, people who go to bars are a higher credit risk.

Canadian Tire issues credit cards and looks at how their customers use their card relative to their on-time bill payments.

It turns out that people observed spending at a drinking establishment are more likely than average to miss repeated credit card bill payments.

However, if you spend with your card at the dentist, youre a lower credit risk, less likely to miss bill payments.

And if you buy those little felt pads that keep the legs of your chair from scratching the floor.

lower credit risk, you’re a more reliable bill payer.

And in a related story, typing with proper capitalization corresponds with creditworthiness, according to a financial services startup company that analyzed how online loan applications were filled out.

Now, the reasoning behind these trends may seem intuitive and self-evident, as far as the kinds of personalities and how organized people are, but, again, remember to take such interpretations and hunches with a huge grain of salt.

This “freak show” of surprising discoveries delivers predictive value, but does little to explain itself, scientifically speaking.

This article is based on a transcript from The Dr.

Data Show.


Data Show.

This new web series breaks the mold for data science infotainment, captivating the planet with short webisodes that cover the very best of machine learning and predictive analytics.

Click here to view more episodes and to sign up for future episodes of The Dr.

Data Show.

Eric Siegel, Ph.


, founder of the Predictive Analytics World and Deep Learning World conference series and executive editor of The Predictive Analytics Times, makes the how and why of predictive analytics (aka machine learning) understandable and captivating.

He is the author of the award-winning Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die, the host of The Dr.

Data Show web series, a former Columbia University professor, and a renowned speaker, educator, and leader in the field.

Read also his articles on data and social justice and follow him at @predictanalytic.

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