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Went in there with the aim of exploring the trees question, and hypothesized there might be relationships between that and obvious demographic questions. The "crankiness" bit was much more driven by exploratory analysis.

We take a fairly pragmatic approach to the multiple comparisons problem you're highlighting. If p-values are < 0.00001 we don't really worry unless we're doing a crazy amount of analyses. And when we do get p-values that are borderline (like .01) and we're doing multiple comparisons we'll mention that there may or may not be something actually happening there (as we did in our post about Baltimore parking tickets: http://blog.statwing.com/baltimore-parking-tickets-revisited...).

For what it's worth, I think ceph_'s comment and link below (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116165781554501615.html) about the relationship between trees and gentrification is the best available guess as to what's ultimately driving these attitudes. But yeah, it's probably a combination of a lot of things, many of which aren't actually about trees per se.

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