Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the trouble with scientific measures and accounting

A friend in NZ sent me this story recently. Posting it here for others to see, and so I don't lose it in email history:

A small story by Lobsang Rampa in his book Chapters of Life (strongly recommended for reading at least once in life time)

…………. Einstein dealt with theories. He theorized according to the facts available at the time, but you see, we must not always be led astray by what appears to be the obvious, because the obvious is not always so obvious. For instance, a scientist was studying the behavior of fleas, he thought he could correlate the behavior of fleas' psychosomatic patterns with that of humans. After all, fleas thrive exceedingly well on human blood, so our scientist went in for the study of fleas, an itching process, if I may say so. With great care and the expenditure of much time, he trained a medium-sized flea to jump over a matchbox every time he said, ‘Go.’ Then when the flea had the idea, the scien- tist pulled off two of the flea's six legs. ‘Go,’ he said. The flea jumped again, and was able to repeat the performance although not so successfully as before. The scientist grunted, with satisfaction, and pulled off two more of the six legs. ‘Go,’ said the scientist. Feebly the flea did so, and the scientist nodded his approval. Reaching for the flea he pulled off the poor creature's last two legs. Unfortunately now that the flea no longer had legs the scientist could shout ‘Go’ endlessly and the flea would not move. The scientist, after many tries, nodded his wise old head and wrote in his report, ‘A flea's hearing is in its legs. When it loses two legs it cannot hear so well and so does not jump too high. When it loses all six of its legs it becomes completely deaf!’


alexis.lebedew said...

Welcome to my world!

Scott Leslie said...

I like this story, and when I was younger I enjoyed a number of Rampa's books, but presumably you are familiar with the somewhat dubious nature of his claims -

Leigh Blackall said...

:) Hi Scott, and thanks for the link. I had no idea of his background, and after reading that, I like him even more :)

But really, this story - whether by him or by another, stands alone don't you think?

Interesting though.