Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Clicky Data v1.0

As we sift through the Clicky data Corky presented yesterday, let us not forget the Clicky that came before.

Clickin' the Night Away

Hey, everybody!  Do you remember Clicky [1]?  Well, we finally got around to analyzing data, so here goes.  But first, a brief summary.

Matt, Alemi and I came up with the idea for Clicky in the beginning of April.  Perhaps "idea" is a bit too generous... it was really just a passing thought:  "Hey wouldn't it be cool if we had an internet Ouija board?"  It was just a stupid lunch-time discussion that wouldn't have gone anywhere had Alemi and Matt not taken it as some sort of challenge.  So after a few hours that night we had Clicky.

To say we had some goal with Clicky would be an overstatement.  But, if anything, we were kind of hoping to see some sort of Brownian motion.  We figured if we had lots of people pulling on the same dot, some kind of Brownian walk would show up.  This was grossly overestimating how many people actually view this blog and it turned out that most of the time Clicky was moved by one person at a time.  Anyway, what we did end up finding was more interesting than just a Brownian random walk...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anatomy of an Experiment I - The Question

Warning: picture has little or no relation to this post.
I realized the other day that I've seen a lot of people talk about research results, but it is much more rare that I see someone talk about how we do research.  I think that may be because, to us as scientists, the process is second nature.  We've been doing it for years.  Other folks may be less familiar with the process though.  With this in mind, I'm going to do a short series of posts focused on how we do an experiment.  Not the results, not so much the physics, but the process that we go through to create, setup, and carry out an experiment.  As my example I'll use a short little experiment that I built from the ground up in the last few weeks, that I'm currently in the process of (hopefully) wrapping up.  Today I'll talk about the driving force behind almost any experiment: The Question.