Mythbusters 7x06 "Exploding Bumper" - Discuss and Grade

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Hermiod, May 13, 2009.

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Poll closed Jun 13, 2009.
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  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Technically true by a narrow definition, but meaningless as a value judgment. Precision isn't automatically better than the alternative. Sometimes it's a false standard. If you estimate pi to be 3 +/- 0.5, that's not very precise, but it's accurate (i.e. the correct answer is within the specified range). However, if you estimate pi to be 4.75608 +/- 0.000003, that's very precise, but very inaccurate.

    Another example of false precision is the myth that human body temperature is supposed to be precisely 98.6 degrees F. That's nonsense. It varies from person to person and moment to moment. But when the average human body temperature was measured, it was measured in Celsius and reported to be roughly 37 C. Then somebody mistakenly ignored the fact that that was an estimate, treating 37 as a precise figure and converting it arithmetically to its Fahrenheit equivalent, 98.6. The accurate way to convert the figure would've been to say that human body temperature averages around 99 F, give or take. But by treating it as a precise number, failing to round off the decimal that was merely an artifact of the arithmetic, the false impression was created that body temperature was an exact and unvarying 98.6. In that case, the blind pursuit of precision led to inaccuracy.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  2. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    That doesn't make it more precise, there's an infinite amount of graduation on th Celsius scale, just as with Fahrenheit. And Kelvin, which is the base SI-unit of temperetature is based on Celsius too.

    And btw. you can put as many smilies there as you want, but honestly I've never felt a need to eg distinguish between 24° and 25° Celsius, in everyday's life that's more than plenty graduation. You can measure the temperature as 24.7° Celsius with no problem, only if you just want to know whether it's warm enough to wear short pants outside or whatever, it doesn't really tell you anything that "25°" Celsius wouldn't...