William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Global Warming Increases Disastrous Music: A Scientific Paper

A scientific paper in a grand tradition (notice the scientific formatting and use of p-values): the custom is to read only the Abstract; only the brave and bored should venture further.

ABSTRACT

  • Global warming has reached unprecedented, dangerous levels. This is beyond question. Soaring temperatures are causing an increase in weather- and climate-related FEAM-tracked disasters (P < 0.001), thus stressing both the economies and the psyches of Western Civilization. These environmental and economic stressors are beginning to take their toll and have resulted in a rapid, unprecedented increase in musical awfulness (P < 0.001). If these trends are allowed to continue, music will soon have devolved into a debauched state so awful that hearing a pop tune will cause irreversible brain damage.

INTRODUCTION [0]

It is well established that anthropomorphized global warming is causing an increase in the number of weather- and climate-related disasters. Oxfam has discovered that by 2015 rampant global warming will harm 375 million people each year [1]. The United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warns against disastrous events “spawned” by global warming [2]. At a London scientific conference on climate change, scientists warned that tsunamis might soon wash across Great Britain [3]. Other reports conclude that as global warming becomes more destructive, not only will property be damaged, but jobs will be lost [4].

Galea et al. report that disasters “are traumatic events that are experienced by many people and may result in a wide range of mental and physical health consequences.” They find that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common of these afflictions [5]. Importantly, the authors point out correlates of PTSD such as increased anger, external locus of control, and weaker coping ability.

The Climate Institute has damning evidence in their report A Climate of Suffering: The Real Costs of Living with Inaction on Climate Change that “climate change is here, now” and that “extreme weather events also pose a serious risk to public health, including mental health and community wellbeing, with serious flow-on consequences for the economy and wider society.” [6]

Fedorikhin and Patrick show that intense emotions, such as those caused by climate-induced PTSD, can lead to poor choices [7]. The British Psychological Society says mental illness evinces symptoms such as “holding unusual beliefs (delusions) and experiencing strong fluctuations in mood.” [8]

Weidinger and Demi have observed that dysfunctional psychosocial behaviors [PDPB] were highly correlated to admitted patients who listened to music with negative lyrics or themes [9]. North et al., found for well over half of a large sample of British adolescents, that “listening to music was preferred to other indoor activities but not to outdoor activities.” [10]

The ties are thus clear: anthropomorphized global warming causes disasters, and these disasters bring on PTSD, which then causes abrupt and radical changes in mental health. Since music is so important to younger people, and younger people are responsible for the creation of most of the music that is heard, an important clue to climate change may be had in the changes of popular music through time.

A quantitative measure of popular musical change is developed which shows conclusively that because of the stresses of climate change, music is rapidly grower poorer.

METHODS

Data on anthropomorphized climate change was quantified by the annual mean temperature anomaly from GISS [11]. Anomalies were multiplied by 100 K for emphasis. FEMA supplied the number of declared disasters for each year from 1953 until the present [12]. Data on disaster count from 1946 to 1952 was simulated by multiple imputation [13].

The poorness of popular music was quantified by Briggs [14] as the ratio of unique words per pop song, and the absolute number of words per pop song. This measure was probabilistic and computed for the top-rated pop song of every year, as rated by Billboard. A low fraction of unique words or a large number of words per pop song does not guarantee badness, but it does say that a song with a low fraction of unique words/high word count is more likely to be bad than songs of opposite content.

Further, the words used in pop music are growing increasingly vile, crude, guttural, devoid of all literary merit, and just plain ugly.

Regression models were used to quantify the relationships between these variables. Statistical significance, a concept that cannot be disputed, was taken at a test level of 0.05. The statistical methods used here match exactly those used in other papers showing links with global warming.

RESULTS

Figure 1 shows that our main hypothesis is likely true. As the temperature has soared (black line), the number of disasters (red, dashed line) have concomitantly increased. But then so has musical badness (green, dotted line; divided by 10 to fit on the same graph).

Global warming increase bad music

As the temperature soars to unheard of heights, the number of disasters tracked by FEMA also increased. A regression model shows that this relationship, as pictured in Figure 2, is highly, oh so highly, statistically significant, with a p-value of 5 x 10-11. For every degree centigrade increase in the global temperature, the number of disasters goes up by 52 on average, which is a lot.

Global warming increase bad music

As we have seen, disasters cause PTSD and other mental illnesses. These illness are born most heavily on the creative; namely, pop music composers. These debilitations inhibit creativity and block neural pathways with access to English vocabulary, such that composers’ only recourse are to base animal instincts. The relationship between disasters and musical badness is conclusive and statistically significant with a p-value so low (< 0.0000001) that it has to be believed. Every disaster increases musical badness by 5.6564, on average.

Global warming increase bad music

Even controlling for temperature anomaly, the number of disasters increased musical badness (P = 0.001114). Temperature remains independently predictive (P = 0.000749), which says that it’s not only disasters that are driving people crazy: temperature itself might be boiling brains.

DISCUSSION

A possible difficulty is that our temperature anomalies are exaggerated because we multiplied them by 100 K, so that the range of change is really only between roughly 0.2 and 0.8 C so that instead of showing a dramatic increase, the anomalies actually show a remarkable stability in global temperature. We dismiss this criticism out of hand because multiplying numbers by constants does not change the p-values, i.e the statistical significance.

Some have complained that the number of disasters tracked by FEMA also correlate with the increase in FEMA’s budget, and that it is now more easy for a mishap, no matter how minor, to be classed as a “disaster.” Population, too, has increased since 1953 and so has the value of property, so that any weather- or climate-related mishap is more likely to be classified a “disaster.” But these criticisms have the hidden assumption that the federal government does not know what it is doing, or that it is purposely misleading the public, when it reports its statistics. For this reason, we also dismiss this criticism.

All that is needed for a theory to be considered scientific is that it be statistically significant and for a plausible causal pathway to exist. We have scientifically demonstrated the statistical significance between increasing temperature and increasing musical badness, mediated by an increase in climate-caused disasters. We have also provided a plausible mechanism for how global warming causes the insanity that is today’s pop music by citing scientific papers in the accepted way.

Therefore, global warming will drive the population mad through an intense barrage of awful, atonal, crude, childishly limited and harmful popular music. Our cry is: Quod erat demonstrandum!

———————————————————————————-
[0] This research was funded out of the author’s own pocket. Grants and other loose money may be given using the Donate button to the left. Willie Soon suggested this research.

[1] Global warming disasters will affect 375 million every year by 2015 — Oxfam.

[2] FEMA statement.

[3] Tsunamis.

[4] Jobs.

[5] Sandro Galea, Arijit Nandi, and David Vlahov, 2004. The Epidemiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after Disasters. Epidemiologic Reviews. Volume 27, Issue 1, Pp. 78-91.

[6] Climate Institute. See esp. this.

[7] Fedorikhin and Patrick.

[8] British Psychological Society.

[9] Weidinger, CK and AS Demi, 2007. Music Listening Preferences and Preadmission Dysfunctional Psychosocial Behaviors of Adolescents Hospitalized on an In-Patient Psychiatric Unit. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 3–8, January 1991.

[10] North, AC, DJ Hargreaves, and SA O’Neill, 2010. The importance of music to adolescents. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Volume 70, Issue 2, pages 255–272, June 2000.

[11] GISS.

[12] FEMA disasters.

[13] I.e, I made them up.

[14] Musical badness.

23 Comments

  1. Great article, but I fear people may not recognize satire when they see it.

  2. This explains why my Pandora “Conga Radio” channel is now playing “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles. Clearly an effort to escape the Hot 21st century and return to the Cool 1960s.

    Nothing to do withe FEMA. It’s the Internet! Self healing.

  3. These illness are born most heavily on the creative I suggest “These illnesses are borne most heavily by the creative”.

    Also, I suggest a keyword list just below the Abstract.

    There! It’s now been peer-reviewed too! (To find the error I had to peer at the paper).

  4. Who were the peer reviewers for this paper? And what were their opinions on Gilbert O’Sullivan’s awful song called “Alone Again (Naturally)” and the Captain and Tenille’s odious “Muskrat Love”?

  5. This is appalling pseudoscience—the authors’ conclusions are absolutely not supported by these data. The correct conclusion is that the increasing badness of music is damaging the collective human psyche, evidence for which can be found in humanity’s increasing willingness to engage in environmentally damaging behavior.

  6. I think I am developing pre traumatic stress syndrone by worrying about all these potential disasters.

  7. William: surely you know that correlation does not equal causation?

    In fact, today’s bad music is a direct result of decreasing US oil production. You undoubtedly used as a model a GCM (global classical music). Its well known that GCMs cannot capture regional responses.

    This graph proves conclusively that good music is tied to US oil production, and thus NOT to global warming.

    http://boingboing.net/2009/11/11/graph-compares-rock.html

    I expect the editor of your paper to immediately throw himself on his Parker pen, after emailing an apology to Trenberth.

  8. I knew it!!!

  9. From the abstract:”If these trends are allowed to continue, music will soon have devolved into a debauched state so awful that hearing a pop tune will cause irreversible brain damage.”
    It is clear to me that you are overestimating your certainty here. The above should be revised to state that “hearing a pop tune MAY cause irreversible brain damage.”

    Besides, as has been alluded to by others, it is not clear whether AGW causes bad music or whether bad music causes AGW. The science is definitely not settled.

  10. View from the Solent

    4 October 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Does this mean that as the temperature continues its inexorable rise, what remains of western music will abandon the major scale and revert to the Phrygian mode of Attic Greece?

  11. Ulrich Elkmann

    4 October 2011 at 2:40 pm

    “The poorness of popular music was quantified by Briggs [14] as the ratio of unique words per pop song, and the absolute number of words per pop song”: these seem slightly doubtful criteria. Seeing that lyrics – even song lyrics, form a subset of poetry, and thus of literature in general, it would follow that Finnegans Wake qualifies as good, even great, literature by these standards. Likewise, the “Mad Aria” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor would rank higher than a blues sung by Billie Holiday (and don’t ask about Wagner. who has a lot of unique words, not to be found outside the German language – or in it). Limiting this to “top pop songs”, the greatest of them would be Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top”, Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements”, and the Decemberists’ “The Infanta”. And the null hypothesis seems to be that anyone would listen to music on the charts for the sake of the words in the first place…

  12. This study has serious merit, as most of the “good” music ceased around 1973 (just after Dark Side of the Moon). They tell me now that there was a big concern about Global Cooling in the mid-70’s, so the Cool~Good and Warm~Bad causations make perfect sense.

    And who can argue with very small p-values?

  13. Thank you, professor, for this thorough, scientific inquiry into the causative factors of musical badness, [or by, if Nomen Nescio is to be believed]. Your groundbreaking analysis certainly places you squarely on the path for a future trip to Oslo. May I be the first to pre-congratulate you for such an auspicious and noble endeavor?

    What I find oddly strange is how prescient of the looming effects of AGW was this song from the 1950’s.

  14. Gary,

    Muskrat Love “odious?” I think not, sir. What could be more cute and endearing then that sweet gurgling purr as the song fades to black.

    That being cleared up, I feel compelled to point out, Mr. Briggs, that your study does not go back in time far enough. Popular music has been declining in quality ever since Johann Strauss, the “Waltz King” stopped writing music in the 1880s, about the time the Little Ice Age ended. QED

  15. I usually have to use the well known reference you cite in [13], sometime around number 3 or 4. Very well done.

  16. I’m thinking the P value should be replaced with P-Diddy value.

    Also, you’re missing a key component of your hypothesis. You simply must devise a sufficiently pejorative term for those who refuse to see the truth.

  17. :”If these trends are allowed to continue, music will soon have devolved into a debauched state so awful that hearing a pop tune will cause irreversible brain damage.”

    The authors must have been listening to a lot of pop music to have damaged their brains so much.

  18. View from the Solent

    5 October 2011 at 5:54 am

    OT, but http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/oct/02/formula-justice-bayes-theorem-miscarriage?INTCMP=SRCH via
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/05/bayes_formula/

    A UK judge ruling on the use/misuse of Bayesian statistics in criminal trials. Not sure if it’s worth you’re commmenting on, or even if there is enough info in the reports to make it possible.

  19. Some corrections are necessary prior to publication..
    The major we suggest is to write correctly :
    .
    “Data on anthropomorphized climate change was quantified by the annual mean temperature anomaly from GISS [11]. Anomalies were multiplied by 100 just because we can.” instead of the variation chosen by the author.
    .
    Also we suggest an alternative interpretation.
    Namely : “Bad music may cause global warming”
    The proof goes like described in the manuscript with inversed spectral causality due to the right implementation of Borel’s metrics in the (semi-infinite dimensionnal) Banach space of disasters.
    It goes then : Bad music -> disasters -> global warming
    .
    The author will appreciate that his P values (for which he deserves to be commended) work either way.
    After these insights were properly taken in account we recommend publication.

    Signed : Reviewer 2

  20. Briggs

    5 October 2011 at 9:35 am

    Dear Editor,

    Thank you for your efforts in securing reviewers for our important new work. We have incorporated many of the changes (noted in the margin) of our resubmission. However, we wish to take issue with Reviewer 2.

    Even though the review is anonymous, because of the theory he suggests, we feel we know just who this is. Further, we know he is irked because we did not cite any of his papers in our work. We did not so cite because we believe his causal process to be exactly backwards. And because we are still irritated because we know that the reviewer sat on our last grant review board, rejecting our submission.

    Science, a real thing, a tangible entity, must be absolute. Only one theory can be true. We are presenting one theory, which has such amazingly low p-values, that it must be true. Therefore, Reviewer 2’s theory must be false.

    Thus, we will not be incorporating his suggestions into our resubmission.

    (View from the Solent,

    Thanks!)

  21. I think the bad music is angering the Sun God and making him hotter.

  22. William

    “And because we are still irritated because we know that the reviewer sat on our last grant review board, rejecting our submission.”
    and
    ” We are presenting one theory, which has such amazingly low p-values, that it must be true. ”
    is simply brilliant.
    You made my day :)

    =================================================================
    Dear Editor

    Even if we bow before such admirable p-values that must have been sent by the God himself and that were a lesson for us all, we recommend that the manuscript be rejected.
    Alternatively you may resign because you also know who I am.
    The author in his answer denies the Banach space which is established science . Actually incontrovertible if I may say so myself.
    Be very sure that if I don’t smack him in his face at the next international seminary on bad music financed by who you know in Seychelles, it will only be because he will not be invited.
    And to be absolutely sure that we are not misunderstood, WE will be sitting on YOUR grant review board next year.

    Signed : Reviewer 2

    P.S
    You will receive our next manuscript in 2 months. Our NEW p values will shame the upstart B.!

  23. Surely for [13] you meant “Unpublished ad hoc projections”

Comments are closed.

© 2014 William M. Briggs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑