Sunday, 3 November 2013

Control Freak

Sometimes I don't just obsess over the lack of controls on TV - I also like finding controls for mundane events in life. When the mild peril of "St Jude" threatened last week I had to put some new trainers on as my usual ones were wet from the previous night. My girlfriend suggested I should apply some waterproofing to them. I was skeptical so being a scientist I decided to conduct an experiment as follows;

a) Only one trainer was waterproofed, the other acted as a negative control.

b) It would be a blind experiment in that I wouldn't know which trainer was the test or control. It also meant I didn't have to apply the waterproofing.

I then walked into work and judged which shoe was the most wet. This was measured by looking at how much water was on each trainer.One had a lot of raindrops on it - the other had none. If "St Jude" had lived up to the hype I could have drained my socks into a measuring cylinder and judge wetness by volume of water from sock (assuming my feet are evenly sweaty).

Once I had the results I informed my "assistant" and she revealed which trainer had been waterproofed.
I can conclude that the waterproofing does indeed work. What's more tricky is finding a way to justify my girlfriend waterproofing the other trainer in the name of science.

*I assumed I didn't have some foot bias towards puddles but could have got around this by conducting the same walk with the waterproofing on the opposite foot (it would have to blind again). Of course I'd then have to assume there was the same amount of rain over the course of the second journey. A more controlled but less fun experiment would be to pour the same volume of water on each shoe and judge it that way.

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