Saturday, March 17, 2007

A scientific analysis of things that suck vs. things that rock

Dave from Touch You Last has returned from his lengthy, unexplained absence from the blogosphere, bringing with him his latest find: Sucks/Rocks. Now, don't be confused like I was when I first read that title... I thought it was a site about things that "Suck Rocks." In fact, determines if something "sucks" OR "rocks." Dave's explanation of the process:
"the site will search for all instances of positive phrase relating to your term versus negative phrases relating to your term (‘Peanut Butter Cups are wicked!’ as opposed to ‘I can’t stand me no goddamn Peanut Butter Cups!’) It then takes these positive and negative hits, factors in some complicated maths, and comes back with a ranking from 0 to 10, with 0 being a black hole of sucking, and 10 being something that rocks more than anything that has every rocked before."
Now, being a scientist, I can't just go using any tool without first performing an assessment of reliability and validity. First, reliability demands that the tool give a consistent answer. Dave's analysis indicated that toques rock (with a score of 10) and american beer sucks (with a pathetic 0.3). As you can see from Figure 1, my analysis yields the same results:

Figure 1: Reliability Analysis

Thus, we can conclude that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable tool.

For something to be considered a valid tool, we have to make sure that it is accurate - in this case, that when Sucks/Rocks says that something sucks, it does, in fact, suck; and when it says that something rocks it does, in fact, rock. Since we know that things that suck, suck, and things that rock, rock, I decided to use the word "suck" as something that sucks, and "rock" as something that rocks for my validity assessment. Figure 2 demonstrates that Sucks/Rocks is a valid assessment tool:

Figure 2: Validity Analysis

Now that I have conclusively proven that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable and valid measure of that which sucks and that which rocks, I can use this new breakthrough in scientific analysis to test a few hypotheses. I decided to start out with an example for which we all know the answer, which will further strengthen my case that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate measure of suckiness and rockitude:

Figure 3: Canucks are superior to Leafs

Yup, as we all knew, the Canucks rock while the Leafs suck! I was a bit surprised that the Canucks only scored a 7 (as we all know that they are a perfect 10... I hope that my use of the word "uglification" near the word "Canucks" in my in-depth trade analysis didn't decrease their score!). I suppose there is bound to be some margin of error.

Another thing we already knew:

Figure 4: Females are better than males

Interestingly, when I tested the phrase "Flying Spaghetti Monster," I received this:

Figure 5: The Flying Spaghetti Monster works in mysterious ways

I'm pretty sure that this means that either (a) the FSM rocks so hard that he cannot be quantified, or (b) he used his noodly appendages to interfere with the tool, just because he can. I'm currently working on a grant proposal to investigate this line of research.

OK, so now that we know that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate way to make measurements and comparisons (except in cases where the Flying Spaghetti Monster chooses to interfere, which, of course, is true of all measurement tools), I feel confident that we can use it to determine definitively the answer to the age old question: Ninjas vs. Pirates?

Figure 5: The answer to an age old question


robb davis said...

This reaffirms my faith in science. Although, I think any ninja could destroy any pirate and therefore ninjas rock more. (Personally, I'd give a pirate a 6 or 7 max.)

Dave said...

You know, when I wrote that entry I didn’t feel like I really made the most of it. But thanks to you and Rebecca, the comic (and scientific) potential of Sucks/Rocks has been fully realized.

And also, thanks for metioning the phrase ‘sucks rocks’ too. For some reason that day, I could not find a way to explain that phrase without making a goddamn extra paragraph of extraneous info. My brain just wasn’t working.