As I do almost every day, I watch and run quality control tests on our programs before they go into replication. This past February I was watching a program from Athena called The Code. Episode three, which is called “Prediction” had a wonderful experiment that the host conducted with a jar of jelly beans and 400 office workers. It’s quite simple: he put over 4,000 jelly beans in a jar and asked for everyone’s guess of how many were in there. The guesses were all over the map from extremely low to 80,000. His point was that if you add up all the guesses and divide them by the number of guesses (the average) you would almost get the exact number.
I was speechless and wanted to try this out myself. Last week I bought a big jar and multiple bags of Starburst and counted each Starburst as it went in the jar. I then sealed the jar and put it in the kitchen asking people to email their guess to me. On Friday, I tabulated my numbers and declared a winner. My experiment did not work as well as The Code’s, but that may be because I only had 34 participants. I had guesses ranging from 98 – 928 which gave me an average of 339 pieces of candy. In fact, there were 430 and someone did guess 424. While I was a little bit disappointed, I was glad to have everyone’s participation and I’m glad I did it.
There are so many more fascinating ideas and experiments in The Code; check it out!
Lindsay is a DVD developer at Acorn Media, which means she watches TV all day. Away from work, she is plotting her next trip, playing with French bulldogs or has her nose in a book. Secretly wishes she could have an elephant as a pet.