The Slop Factor with a mention of Edmund Burke-from 2014
by Albert 1

# 1. 5/5/04 9:31 AM by Casey
Not a bad analogy at all, actually quit interesting.

Editor's Note: check your mail-please confirm reseipt and I will send more.

# 2. 5/5/04 3:47 PM by Michael - Provo
Did you mean 29.47?

Precision available and necessary depends on what exactly you're measuring, of course. In either science or the other aspects you analogize.

For instance, if astronomers can measure a galaxy's distance to within an error of +/- 25%, that is said to be dang good.

But at the same time, they can measure redshifts (and therefore recessional speed) in the spectrum of hydrogen to amazing precision (errors ~ 10-5 I think, or better).

Likewise, there are some things we can and should know/do exactly. And there are things where the bounds are not so tight.

I wrote a big thing on this once, from a quantum mechanics point of view. I'll see if I can find it and make it "net-worthy." :)

Editor's Note: I dont know if you were taught slide rule but the principle is called the significant digit,

A decision is often made to interpolate the least readable but still recognizable gradation on the log scale of a slide rule.

An analog to digital comparator circuit does this with any digital measureing device.

# 3. 5/6/04 5:02 PM by Michael - Provo
Yeah, right off the bat in physics classes they still teach sig figs (as I call them for short), on the principle that we can't really know a calculated solution to better precision than that of the data (measurements) going into the calculation.

Nobody mentions or thinks of the slide rule aspect. :)

Editor's Note: No slide rule under glass "In case of power failure break glass" :)

When the neutron bomb hits all microchips will be zapped . Slide rules and abaci will rule once more.(the spell checker knew "abaci")

# 4. 5/27/09 10:05 AM by Jay - OR
Thanks for keeping me in mind. I can say more about Edmund Burke, but I have a feeling I should save it for another of your columns.

At this juncture, let me point out that he wrote--and brilliantly I believe--some fifty years before Darwin was born. His use of the word "evolution" is somewhat different than the use to which it has evolved, heh heh. He was a true conservative, not a mossy rock.

Editor's Note: I AM about five minutes from driving to Barnes and Noble to learn more about Burke.

Something this critical is not to be left to Wikipedia. Thanks Jay.

# 5. 4/1/10 12:28 AM by little john
thumbsup.gif The accuracy of a good approximation is a far better answer than the precision of a statistically perfect error. (to a loaded question of reverse psychology?)

just musin'

maybe an AXM original quote???

Editor's Note: That was on a CD on Quantum Mechanics I was listening to yesterday concerning scientific measurements when Heisenberg's principle was involved of the induced errors due to the measurement process.

You stated it well.

Thanx John.

# 6. 7/12/12 3:59 PM by little john - Mt.Morris,N.Y.
thumbsup.gif Thanx for reposting. Interesting and intriguing...

The pig "slop" of too much tolerance can be just as grating as too tight a tolerance that makes the wheels and axles, "squeal" when rotated.

The right tolerance is a snug fit but not binding... Lubrication of connecting rods and main bearings in an internal combustion engine is critical to performance and the vibrations and noise that one used to see with improperly rebuilt engines...

A crankshaft out of tolerance is like a sloppy defect despite the main bearings. RPM's , high RPM's could make the whole thing "go away" at the most crucial point in time... One just never knows, we just approximate the optimum tolerance, and try to equilibrate from there...

It may be "time" for a major overhaul. New pistons, rings, bearings and a new "crank" not shafted, or warped by arrogance of power...(and don't forget new gaskets--- especially the head gaskets on both the left bank and the right bank of a Buick V-8.)

Remember I am talking engines here, not politics, or am I?

Editor's Note: The word orthostatic comes to mind as appropriate here.

Your examples show me how well you got it.

Thank John

# 7. 3/20/14 1:58 PM by Tom Dey - Springwater, NY
Interesting topic, Albert. And then there's the two contributors to uncertainty in the displayed value of a measuring instrument: We chose to differentiate them by taking "precision" to refer to the differential sensitivity of the instrument and "accuracy" to refer to max error in its calibration set point(s). I would always remember our agreed lexicon by ascribing "accuracy" with the concept of absolute. On complicated builds of measuring instruments (in our case imaging satellites) we would have this giant spread sheet enumerating all (?) the contributors that would affect the reliability of the output image (pixel response values) and hence the correspondence of the image to the "real" object. We were VERY conservative in our tolerancing on the build of the hardware...requiring typically 3 sigma probability of within tolerance on each contributor. The delivered imagers typically performed far better than required and for a MUCH longer time than required life. We called it "delighting the customer."

Editor's Note: This lesson on the philosophy of precision measurements was introduced to me by a German born instructor of the Norden bombsight

He taught math at RIT in the,50's.

He called it ' The Significant Digit '.

When estimate functional precision in using a linear slide rule of accuracy is relative to the accuracy of the operator's eyes.

I guess that is why digital computers rule the world of metrics.

I always was slow in math and trig but pretty good in punching numbers into a hand held calculator.

I still have a suspicion that discussing the benefits of fuzzy math fits into this theme somewhere.

I liked your previous relate to the sound of computer generated music.

I feel the apparently random error in human music performances has a reproducible logic of it's own.

# 8. 3/20/14 5:59 PM by Tom Dey - Springwater, NY
Interesting discussion! Reminds me also of how Olympic Figure Skating is judged. I think it has three critiques: technical, difficulty and interpretation! The Soviets were known for their technical perfection...the U.S. for interpretation. Skaters would try extreme difficulty...but great risk of flubbing it completely. I especially like the "interpretation" aspect because it is near impossible to put an overt metric on it. It's more of a feeling than a quantitative gauge. I'm sure you all have witnessed this --- especially when enjoying some art (or science!) that you are familiar with. Sometimes it flows with feeling and humanity...other times it's flat, mechanical but vacuous.

Editor's Note: In my own experience music has been the media that best expresses this including vocals.

I have extremely broad tastes in this area although I don't claim any expert knowledge of any particular genre.

Most sensory experiences rely on interpretation of complex vibration.

Even your own field of astronomy deals with color and it's permutations.

This interchange,will go into my permanent WOTL archive.

A good possibility of integrating some of our thoughts here into a future effort.

Thanks Tom

# 9. 1/17/17 9:26 AM by lj - mm
thumbsup.gif Thanks for reposting...

"Slop of inaccuracy", in the news, has made the phrase,


and given it new meaning, with some of what I see???

Ostentatious OrthoStatics of Outrageous Outbursts???

Editor's Note: I Am a big fan of Deming's contribution to ISO

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