Ignorance is Bliss, and Other Fallacies

October 19, 2013 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Alex and I were enduring a silence induced by a dozen oysters and two Abita Ambers. “You seem happy here,” I said.

“Just like everyone in New Orleans,” he said. “Louisiana always ranks near the bottom in education but near the top in happiness.”

Is that really true? And are the states ranking highest in education the least happy? It seems weird to think that there’s an inverse relationship between education and happiness, but you know what they say: ignorance is bliss.

To test this theory, I consulted several sources.

(All of the data that I gathered is shown in the table at the bottom of the post.)

As the following graph shows, there is a strong positive correlation between happiness and diplomas (r = 0.71).

Happiness vs. DiplomasSimilarly, there is a positive correlation between happiness and IQ, but it’s not quite as strong (r = 0.51).

These analyses suggest that the least educated states seem to be the least happy, and vice versa. So despite what you’ve heard, it appears that ignorance is not bliss.

Tune in tomorrow, when I attempt to show that:

  • Neither a bird in the hand nor two in the bush are worth as much as a partridge in a pear tree.
  • The ratio of prevention:cure is slightly greater than 1:16.
  • Fewer than 2.4% of the Earth’s population are worth their weight in gold (about $3 million for a 150-pound person), but more than 99.9% are worth their salt (less than $500 for table salt at retail prices).
  • Your thoughts are more valuable than a penny saved or a penny earned.

State

Happiness Rating

State IQ

Population % with HS Diploma

Alabama

64.2

94.9

82.1%

Alaska

66.1

97.5

91.4%

Arizona

67.1

96.4

84.2%

Arkansas

64.1

96.3

82.4%

California

67.4

94.9

80.6%

Colorado

69.7

99.2

89.3%

Connecticut

67.6

100.6

88.6%

Delaware

66.6

99.1

87.4%

Florida

65.8

98.0

85.3%

Georgia

66.1

96.9

83.9%

Hawaii

71.1

95.9

90.4%

Idaho

67.1

98.9

88.4%

Illinois

66.6

98.6

86.4%

Indiana

65.1

99.3

86.6%

Iowa

68.1

98.7

90.5%

Kansas

67.7

99.6

89.8%

Kentucky

62.7

98.3

81.7%

Louisiana

64.7

95.5

82.2%

Maine

67.3

99.4

90.2%

Maryland

68.0

99.9

88.2%

Massachusetts

68.1

102.4

89.0%

Michigan

65.6

97.4

87.9%

Minnesota

68.9

101.0

91.5%

Mississippi

63.6

93.8

80.4%

Missouri

65.5

99.4

86.8%

Montana

68.5

100.3

90.8%

Nebraska

68.5

99.2

89.7%

Nevada

65.2

95.3

83.9%

New Hampshire

68.4

100.9

91.3%

New Jersey

66.1

101.4

87.4%

New Mexico

66.7

94.8

82.8%

New York

66.2

98.7

84.7%

North Carolina

65.7

97.8

84.3%

North Dakota

67.4

100.5

90.1%

Ohio

64.6

99.7

87.6%

Oklahoma

65.2

96.4

85.6%

Oregon

67.1

98.8

89.1%

Pennsylvania

66.5

100.6

87.9%

Rhode Island

65.5

97.3

84.7%

South Carolina

65.2

97.0

83.6%

South Dakota

68.0

100.3

89.9%

Tennessee

64.0

96.7

83.1%

Texas

66.6

98.2

79.9%

Utah

68.8

98.5

90.4%

Vermont

68.6

101.2

91.0%

Virginia

67.7

99.1

86.6%

Washington

67.7

99.6

89.7%

West Virginia

61.3

94.9

82.8%

Wisconsin

67.3

99.7

89.8%

Wyoming

67.9

99.2

91.8%

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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