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Texas pig weighing

Can't recall when I first heard this explained but it stuck with me and I marvel at how often the system is used.

This is how it works: First you find a strong plank and a fallen log that you can balance it across. You put your pig on one end of the plank. Then you find a big stone to put on the other end that balances the pig.

Now you guess how much the stone weighs.

There is some sense in this. It's easier to make a guess at the stone than it is to get a grip of something as slippery as a squirming pig.

Over the years I've seen this technique used in all kinds of circumstances, some of them claiming to be 'scientific'.

Next time someone quotes a fact or figure, check how far back up the research you need to go to reach the plank and log stage and find out what they are really guessing the weight of.

- Ben Crossley