I never know where I am going to get my inspiration. Some days it is OK to ask me and on others, it is probably best just to accept it and let it be. Today is one of those.

Thursday, June 21, 2018, is World Orgasm Day. Yes, you read that right.  The website, globalorgasm.org, tells me that on each and every day the men and women of the world have over 2.5 billion orgasms. That’s over 100 million orgasms per hour, every hour or 1.5 million per minute.

What I find really interesting about that statistic is the statistic itself. I wonder how anyone knows?

When I was interviewing clever people at C&L one of my favourite questions was: approximate how many litres of orange juice is drunk every morning in the UK? I also asked them to talk me through their thoughts as they were working it out. But this is on a whole different scale.

Think about it and I will go and make a coffee while you work out your answer.

I am quite useful at maths and arithmetic and as I have a degree in statistics I know how to manipulate data to fulfil Mark Twain’s edict that there are, lies, damned lies, and statistics.

I know how to confuse you with averages, means, medians and correlations. But my favourite trick is the confusion that correlated data is not necessarily causal. Simply said just because two pieces of data move in the same direction it doesn’t mean that one is causing the other. Can you see how easy it is to confuse the unsuspecting?

I can show you a graph that shows that divorce rates in Maine correlate with the US per capita consumption of margarine.  But it doesn’t mean that eating less margarine has caused the divorce rate to drop. Nor is it the other way around that the threat of having to eat margarine has caused couples to stay together?

Getting cause and effects right can be more than a statistical anomaly and humorous aside. Sometimes it is very serious.

This is an example from Wiki.

For example, in a widely studied case, numerous epidemiological studies showed that women taking combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) also had a lower-than-average incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), leading doctors to propose that HRT was protective against CHD.

But randomized controlled trials showed that HRT caused a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of CHD.

Re-analysis of the data from the epidemiological studies showed that women undertaking HRT were more likely to be from higher socio-economic groups (ABC1), with better-than-average diet and exercise regimens.

The use of HRT and decreased incidence of coronary heart disease were coincident effects of a common cause (i.e. the benefits associated with a higher socioeconomic status), rather than a direct cause and effect, as had been supposed

We use data all the time but with the rise in fake news, data can sometimes be misplaced as well as misused.

There is a website that purports to use data to debunk myths (http://www.cracked.com/pictofacts-794-19-commonly-held-beliefs-debunked-with-statistics/). Here is one example.

Statement: Mexican immigration into the US is higher than ever and we should build a wall? Right?  Wrong! The actual number of Mexican immigrants is at its lowest since 1990. In fact, more Mexicans have returned than entered since 2000.

Whenever I can, I double check statistics I have used but this time I am in a hurry and so I have to leave it as it is. This time you will just have to believe me. Are you going to tell your friends this over lunch or should you be a bit more careful about who and what you believe?

Meanwhile, while you check that Mexican data for both me and President Trump, estimate the orange juice statistics, I am going to think about how they estimated that 1.5 million people per minute are having an orgasm right now.

Have a good night!