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Articles Associated with Keyword: experiment

Analysis > Saturday, 27 February 2010 19:47:44 EST

How To: Mysterious Light UFO's

Keywords: experiment

Dude!  I just looked out my window and saw this mysterious green glowing UFO hovering close by!

Mysterious Glowing UFO

It's not photoshopped.  All you need is a window at night.  Turn off any other light source so that there's no other reflection interfering with your shot.  Then you just use a common keychain light:

Keychain Light

You could also use a laser pointer.  Just shine it on the window, and take a picture of the reflection.

The reason I bring this up is because I was thinking about how simple it can be to fool people sometimes.  These days we have photoshop, and we can use it to create impressive images.  But it's often the case that you don't really need to resort to the fancy bells and whistles.

I'm thinking specifically here of the famous fairy pictures from 1920.  A lot of thought has gone into analyzing how these girls were not adept at the practice of photo manipulation, a much more complicated procedure back then, and how it seems unlikely that the pictures were tampered with. 

But all the girls did was pose with fairy cut-outs.  A simple trick that would baffle you if you were expecting a complicated and involved process.

I think it's good to remind ourselves every once in a while that it's best to start out looking for the simpler solutions before making things more complicated.
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Analysis > Thursday, 11 February 2010 14:52:39 EST

A Dumbass Study: The Meaning Of Life

Keywords: study, experiment

Any study has a set of built in assumptions.  Identifying those assumptions is important for understanding what the results are telling us and whether there might be other explanations for the conclusions of the study authors.

That's why I think the ability to understand statistics and how studies work, at least at a basic level, is very important for understanding the kind of information on new studies and statistics that we're constantly subjected to.

I've talked about this a few times before on this blog.  For illustration today I want to present something on a bit of a lighter note.  A few years ago I myself performed a study in my spare time.  The grand purpose of my study was no less than to figure out the meaning of life. 

How in the world did I design a study to answer such a large question?  Read on and I'll tell you!
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Musings > Monday, 25 January 2010 23:20:31 EST

How Microwaves Relate To Critical Thinking

Keywords: personal experience, experiment, statistics, uncertainty, randomness

I want to relate to you an incident that happened to me a while back.  I was going to melt some peanut butter in my microwave for a recipe, but the moment I turned the microwave on, it started sparking inside.

Alarmed, I quickly pressed the stop button and took my bowl of peanut butter out to examine it.  The bowl was one that I'd used before, no metal on it and completely microwave safe.  I'd melted peanut butter in the microwave before, and never had such a thing happened.

Perhaps there was something wrong with the microwave, I thought.  I filled a mug with water, put it inside, and turned the machine on.  Nothing happened, it worked just fine.

Then I tried the peanut butter again: sparks.

I performed the comparison over again just to be sure.  Only the peanut butter sparked.

What the hell was in my peanut butter that was making the microwave spark??
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Analysis > Thursday, 7 January 2010 07:28:44 EST

A Dumbass Investigates The ShamWow

Keywords: shamwow, experiment, product

What better way is there, I thought to myself, to set my new blog in motion than to critically analyze a series of claims that really don't matter that much to anybody?

Why, of course there is no better way!  What kind of a dumbass would I be if I limited myself to talking about things that actually mattered?

In all seriousness though, I believe that critical thought should be applied to any claims that come your way.  One thing I want to encourage is a curiosity about information that applies to the little things, as well as the big ones.

The claims made about the ShamWow have been subjected to some critical analysis on the Internet, but I couldn't find anybody who did a very thorough job.  To me, this seemed like open territory for examining the issue in detail and separating the truth from the hype.  So let's have a look at my analysis of the ShamWow:
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