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Causality is difficult to determine. Although it is easy enough to observe event A and then event B and conclude that, assuming a plausible relationship exists between the two, A somehow caused B to happen, how do we prove this? I …...

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The New PSP

Filed Under , , on June 13th, 2015

The New PSP

By Seth Kabala

Causality is difficult to determine. Although it is easy enough to observe event A and then event B and conclude that, assuming a plausible relationship exists between the two, A somehow caused B to happen, how do we prove this?

I recall a slide from a data analytics MBA course I took a few years ago, where the charted topography of a certain mountain range almost perfectly overlayed that of the S&P 500′s performance over time. Or was it the Dow Jones? Doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the ability to identify events that, while they might not directly cause another event, have an influencing, predictive quality to them. To this regard, I give you the case of the 3D puzzle and the clogged toilet.

Amy bought Will, our nine-year-old, a treasure chest 3D puzzle. He loves those things, seems to have an innate ability to visualize the finished product and formulate an approach on how to get there. I predict he will have a career in at least one of the following fields: architectural design, graphic/artistic design, or world/alternative galaxy design, where he is our overlord and supreme ruler, requiring  the logging of no less than five hours of Plants vs. Zombies play every day.

Though Will had excelled at past 3D puzzles, assembling them in a matter of minutes, this one gave him troubles, for the next day, I came downstairs to find the puzzle unfinished and spread out on the living room floor in front of the TV–Will’s version of double-screening, I guess. Next to this, he had placed his open package of blueberry breakfast biscuit things that are hard and you can dip into yogurt. (I’m feeling John Grisham’s aversion to detailed research this morning, so blueberry breakfast biscuit things they are and shall forevermore be!)

Despite the perilous hazards set in front of my half-asleep body and 10%-open eyelids, I managed to avoid stepping on the hard, plastic, sharp pieces and even avoided crushing the blueberry breakfast biscuit things into dust with my heel, effectively juking the whole mess. I congratulated myself on having passed the middle-age reflex test and continued on to the bathroom to start my morning routine.

Meanwhile, in the interim between when I left the bathroom, dressed upstairs, and returned downstairs, Will, I suspect, for he is frequently guilty (or somebody. The eternal cold-case of the mysterious Not Me), had clogged the toilet. Wouldn’t go down at first. Had to plunge four times, watching the thing like a homicide detective analyzes a crime scene, my adroit eyes on the lookout for a rogue poo that sought to remain in the bowel.

I conquered the second domestic pitfall that threatened to flush my good mood down the sewer and headed off to work. Later, I returned to find the treasure chest completely assembled, and here is my hypothesis: having encountered a road block in his ability to visualize the right steps to take to assemble the treasure chest, Will took a break, dropped a massive deuce, and, mental and physical blockages cleared, mental prowess restored, powered through to complete the assembly.

Unlike the relationship of a mountain range’s topography to the performance of a stock market index, I believe scientific evidence (somewhere) shows a connection between dropping a good deuce and the subsequent improvement of problem-solving skills.

Amy and I need to discuss adding a new subject to the kids’ curriculum: problem solving and porcelain (PSP). Great new acronym for the resume, right?

Yes, Ma’am. I am not only proficient at the playing of portable gaming systems; I poop good, too. 

 

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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