A Sweltering 134456.7 Degrees in the Shade

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2014-09-16 – I’ve gotten into the habit of looking at the dashboard of Kit’s truck when I want to know the temperature. My car doesn’t display temperature, but I have the habit. Today, I was out driving in my car and I looked down to discover that the temperature was 134456.7.

You laugh. Of course, I was looking at the odometer. My car has driven 134,456.7 miles.

We like to say we make data driven decisions, but we haven’t a clue. I recently read an article about a guy who was redesigning beer bottles so he could get more beer into his fridge. He claimed his new design would allow him to store 25 times as much beer as the standard design.

You wish.

I measured a standard bottle. If you packed a 12 cubic foot refrigerator, you’d have around 40 gallons of beer. If you did away with the bottle entirely and filled the refrigerator with beer, you’d be able to store only 90 gallons. How this guy thought he would store 1,000 gallons in the same space, I’ll never know.

Of course, he didn’t really think that. He didn’t really think at all. Maybe he entered something into his spreadsheet. Maybe not. But one thing is sure, he didn’t think about it.

This happens a lot.

I had to crunch a few number to be able to tell you how ridiculous the statement was, but I had a hunch, when I saw the 25, that he was on the wrong track.

These kinds of errors happen every day and the stakes are often huge!

Take the question of war, for example.

We’ve done this thing dozens of times. Every time, people die and billions of dollars are spent. Usually, the gains are slight or nonexistent. Yet, every time, we seem to think that going to war is a good idea. Our leaders put a case together to prove that is so.

I think they are using that case of beer I just told you about. And who wouldn’t want a cold one (or 25) when the air temperature is 134456.7!

* * *

Save October 1 for a day of truth.  It’s called Diogenes Day. Let your friends know. Find out more info by clicking the Diogenes Day link at the top of my blog page.

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