Thursday, 21 January 2010

Woolworths alignments

A researcher at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London has applied the techniques used by the kind of people who find mysterious alignments in the landscape to another mysterious and lost civilisation: the mysterious late-twentieth century Woolworths tribe.
"We know so little about the ancient Woolworths stores," he explains, "but we do still know their locations. I thought that if we analysed the sites we could learn more about what life was like in 2008 and how these people went about buying cheap kitchen accessories and discount CDs."
It's good that someone is highlighting the pseudo-science involved in finding mysterious alignments. Actually there are some very simple principles involved in this pseudo-science:
  1. Ignore any sites that don't fit the data
  2. Ignore any differences in age or culture of the sites involved (because obviously all churches were built on ancient pagan sites)


Makarios said...

You may be too young to remember Finagle's Laws. I, however, am not.

Finagle's Fourth Law of Experimental Procedure:

First draw your curve, then plot your data.

Yewtree said...

I like it. What are the first three laws? Looked up Finagle's Law but only got this Wikipedia entry.

Makarios said...

A fairly comprehensive consolidation of Finagle's Laws can be found at