hans4300: October 2011 Archives

Super Bowl a Stock Market Indicator?
It has been observed that of the past 41 Super Bowl games, 33 have successfully predicted how the stock market with perform over the following year.
How is this done?

If a team from the American Football Conference (AFC) wins the super bowl, then the market is supposed to be a bear market. This is a general decline in stock prices across the market. However, if a team from the National Football Conference (NFC) wins the super bowl, then the market is supposed to be a bull market, meaning high gains are expected.
This is a classic example of causation versus correlation mix-up. Instead of a popular football game actually affecting how the stock market performs, it is probably due to some third variable. This third variable could be such things as investor confidence or doubt, swings in the overall economy, and many other economic factors.
This myth can also be looked at through the extraordinary claims perspective. This says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Supporters of myth try to answer this statement with facts. 33 of the last 41 super bowls were successfully predicted, including 28 out of 31 from 1967 to 1997. This correctly shows a correlation between the super bowl champion and the performance of the stock market, but it does not mean that it is the cause. Because this hypothesis can only be observed through naturalistic observation and cannot be manipulated in a laboratory, there is no way to prove a cause between the two factors.


Death By Asphyxiation

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In 1964 actress Jill Masterson painted her entire body gold while portraying a secretary in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The secretary in the movie was supposedly murdered by entire body asphyxiation, or the suffocating of the body's pores, when her entire body was painted in gold paint. The supposed murder stretched a lot further than a movie plot when Life Magazine published a "dead" Jill Masterson painted entirely in gold on its cover. It was soon believed that the actress had actually died from painting her body gold. This death scare shows an example of a falsely believed correlation versus causation, and extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

The extraordinary claim that Jill Masterson had died from skin asphykiation due to painting her body in gold required some extraordinary evidence. First off, Jill Masterson was still alive while this myth was circulating the media. This proves that the claim can in no way be true, because Jill Masterson had actually just retired from her acting career to spend time with her family. The claim can also be proven wrong by the fact that the body does not breathe through the skin, but instead through the nose and mouth. Even if all of your body pores are covered up, you can still breathe through your nose and mouth.
This myth can also be explained as false causation versus correlation mix up. People who incorrectly believed that Jill Masterson had died quickly jumped to the conclusion that It must have been from her body being painted gold. Just because Jill Masterson had died in a movie from skin asphyxiation due to gold paint doesn't mean that she had actually died in real life from the same cause.


A study conducted in the mid 1980's determined that a woman over the age of 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. It showed that women over 40 have a 2.6% chance of getting married, and a higher chance of being killed by a terrorist. This study has since been proven false, because it violates many of the six principles of critical thinking. One of the major problems found was in the group of women surveyed. Instead of using a random sampling of women over 40, the survey asked only women over 40 with a university education. This much smaller group cannot accurately represent the entire population of women over 40.
This study was also proven to be non-replicable. During the same time period, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a survey of all women over 40 and found that they had a 23% chance of getting married, instead of the 2.6% chance that the original study had suggested. The U.S. Census Bureau used a sample size of about 70,000 households, compared to the 1,500 surveyed in the original study. With both a smaller and less representative sample size, the 2.6% chance of a woman over the age of 40 getting married can be completely disregarded.


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This page is an archive of recent entries written by hans4300 in October 2011.

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