Science Friday, Suze-style is a continuation from last week.
Here is a compilation of the data:
Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and more specifically a printed version from the seventies or earlier, reported the ratio for popped to unpopped popcorn as 27:1. When I tried the experiment using a 4.5 quart pot, oil, good popcorn and a gas flame, I measured the ratio as 26:1.
Note that experiments trumped theory in approximating the published value. I was surprised by the standard deviation for the four measurements (or three, if Dorothy's second experiment is properly considered confirmatory). The variation in the ratio most likely derives from both the input and protocol.
While the data set is a little small to be able to say much, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Whirley-Pop produces exceptionally fluffy popcorn. First, the largest measured value was achieved with a Whirley-Pop. Second, the largest estimate was made by a theorist who uses her Whiley-Pop exclusively. Assuming that rigorous testing would bear out the anecdotal evidence, what features of the Whirley-Pop make it so prodigious?
Now that you mention it ...
Jenn C. asked, "So, how would you define the person who says "Someone must have figured this out already, I'll go look it up?"
- A pragmatist.
Jenn C. continues, "And what is the person who wants to define the parameters of the experiment (how are you popping, what variety of corn are you using, what is the acceptable number of unpopped kernels in your sample size) before entering the discussion (other than annoying)?"
- A really good empiricist.