Weblog entry #100 for dkg

half a minute for science!
Posted by dkg on Wed 25 Sep 2013 at 21:41
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A friend is teaching a class on data analysis. She is building a simple and rough data set for the class to examine, and to spur discussion. You can contribute in half a minute! Here's how:
  1. get a stopwatch or other sort of timer (whatever device you're reading this on probably has such a thing).
  2. start the timer, but don't look at it.
  3. wait for what you think is 30 seconds, and then look at the timer
  4. how many actual seconds elapsed?
The data doesn't need to be particularly high-precision (whole second values are fine). The other data points my friend is looking for are age (in years, again, whole numbers are fine) and gender.

You can send me your results by e-mail, (i suspect you can find my address if you're reading this blog). Please put "half a minute for science" in the subject line, and make sure you include:

  • actual seconds elapsed
  • age in years
  • gender
Science thanks you!

 

Comments on this Entry

Posted by Anonymous (62.210.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 09:10
27 seconds, 27 years old, male.

I counted what I thought was 30 seconds while waiting, I hope this is OK. If it is not, you should specify it in the instructions.

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Posted by Anonymous (88.149.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 09:15
48 seconds while counting, 33, female

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Posted by Anonymous (94.198.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 09:16
Oops. I counted, too. Apparently my counting is slow.

54 seconds, 31m.

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Posted by rjc (131.111.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 10:23
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The same question here. Counting allowed or not?

rjc

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Posted by Anonymous (207.172.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 11:46
33 seconds, 37 years, male

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Posted by Anonymous (173.38.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 12:00
38 seconds, 29, male

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Posted by Anonymous (178.238.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 12:09
33 seconds, 40, male

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Posted by Maulkin (24.37.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Sep 2013 at 15:22
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31 seconds, 30 yrs, Male

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Posted by Anonymous (85.182.xx.xx) on Fri 27 Sep 2013 at 07:46
29.2 s, 32 yrs, male

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Posted by Anonymous (129.13.xx.xx) on Fri 27 Sep 2013 at 08:45
``start the timer, but don't look at it.''

My timer is a big wall clock. I don't look at it, I just count the 30 audible ticks. ;-) There's more than the visible world. I might even feel the vibration each time the seconds hand jumps forward ... Well, I might not be able to smell it ...

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Posted by Anonymous (78.232.xx.xx) on Sat 28 Sep 2013 at 13:09
You may not be able to smell it, but have you tested how it tastes? ;-)

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Posted by Anonymous (67.137.xx.xx) on Fri 27 Sep 2013 at 22:06
Is she going to use this to point out how ineffective this kind of data is when you don't take into account things like who is a musician and who is not? (This information would greatly change how the data is interpreted, which would definitely change the results.) Science could greatly benefit from some critical thinkers!

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Posted by dkg (76.202.xx.xx) on Sat 28 Sep 2013 at 04:47
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yes, these data will be used to spur discussion -- not just about how to present and think about the data themselves, but to ask about what information might be missing from the data, how the data were collected, what experimental controls might be appropriate for future attempts at data gathering, what alternate hypotheses might also account for whatever patterns (or lack of patterns) are shown by the data, etc.

I completely agree with you: we need critical thinkers, not just number-crunchers.

A rough and simple data set like this is a conversation starter, not a scientific exemplar. But you still need the data set to start the conversation :)

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Posted by Steve (2.120.xx.xx) on Sat 28 Sep 2013 at 10:01
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Have I outed my age before? Hrm.

32 seconds, 37 years old, male.

Steve

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Posted by Anonymous (50.129.xx.xx) on Sat 28 Sep 2013 at 12:33
38 s, 36 years, male

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Posted by Anonymous (87.218.xx.xx) on Sat 28 Sep 2013 at 20:17
28.50 seconds while counting, 34 years old, male

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Posted by Anonymous (89.180.xx.xx) on Sun 29 Sep 2013 at 09:43
34s, 36yrs, male

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