Correlation, correlation

The team from the National Museum of Natural History and the University of Lyon recorded the occurrence and extent of toe mutilations from pigeons eking out their time in 46 sites across Paris.

They found that human pollution likely played a part in nearly all cases of missing toes and that pigeons living in areas with higher rates of air and noise pollution tended to have fewer digits than those that lived in leafier environs.

Perhaps most strikingly, the team noticed that toe mutilation “tended to increase with the density of hairdressers” – suggesting the birds often lose their extremities by getting them entangled in human hair.

We need to work out causation here. More hairdressers means shorter human hair out on the street, no? Less being left to float around the streets, certainly.

Thus, more likely, there are more hairdressers in tighter urban environments, the tighter urbanity causing the toe loss.

15 comments on “Correlation, correlation

  1. [The worstall mind]. — hold on these guys have just run some numbers and speculated some fluff that’s super easy to do with correlations and got a newspaper to print it. But put that aside: too easy. hmm The actual fluff you’ve invented would mean the opposite of what you say it would mean. I can explain it in what 40 words? Posts to site.
    Bravo Sir, why i’m a regular.

  2. No idea what the full paper says, but I’d guess they’d compared toe loss with density of kebab shops or pharmacies or some other retail.

  3. Off topic but over in Spudland our favourite tax moron shows tables that demonstrate that the top 1% earn 12.8% of all UK income and pay 29.6% of all income tax (despite all the unfair tax advantages they have) and yet concludes that they still aren’t paying their ‘fair share’.

    No doubt one of his sycophants will advance the argument that the 1% are probably hiding a lot of their declared income – even though there is no proof of this in any meaningful way.*

    (*Interestingly, Spud dismisses voter fraud because there is no proof of it in any meaningful way whilst advancing that there ‘must be’ massive tax frauds going on, despite no evidence, because he says so)

  4. But what do hairdressers do with all that cut loose hair? Where does that hair end up? Into the bins and dumpsters on the streets and areas populated by pigeons! Also this modern fad of shaving pubic hair adds to loose hair, but of course greatly off-set by the hipsters. This is complicated.

  5. I understand most hair gets recycled. Maybe the keratin has value or summat.
    OTOH there are some noxious chems at hairdressers, peroxides and stuff. I’d not like to walk about them in bare feet.

  6. Umm…don’t pigeons fly?
    Hence being mobile.
    How then can you correlate a pigeon attribute with something as localised as a hairdressing salon?

    I can recall many undergrad discussions on ‘scientific papers’ that could be spoofed to trick the (pre Internet) media. Sniff…yep, smells the same.

  7. The march through the institutions continues apace.

    ‘The team’

    Plural. Multiple people involved. And not one said, “This is stupid.”

  8. So the top 1% are actually the top 12%. So who are the real top 1%? They hide amongst us. Where do I get the glasses?

  9. Sorry, but this is bullshit.

    The problem of pigeons feet is that they’ve stopped living in their natural habitat (cliffs and the like) and are living in the urban cliffs of buildings in the city.

    As for their feet, more likely it is caused by anti-pigeon netting and other devices to stop them shitting on buildings.

  10. My unscientific observation is that areas with lots of hairdressers (rather than a few posh hairdressers) tend to be – how do we put it – less gentrified? Which tends to also correlate with people dropping lots of litter.

  11. A First World problem.

    Why would anyone care about pigeons? Gamecock doesn’t.

    ‘Perhaps most strikingly, the team noticed that toe mutilation “tended to increase with the density of hairdressers”’

    Strikingly? A fvcking eureka moment !!!

    I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.

  12. ‘They found that human pollution likely played a part in nearly all cases of missing toes’

    Cos, you see, nature is a clean machine. Very pristine. No germs or fungi in nature.

    Fairies come out at night and wash everything.

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