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Look-Elsewhere Effect analogy

  1. Mar 7, 2012 #1
    Would it be an appropriate analogy to say that the look else where effect is like shooting pool without calling your shots?

    You will eventually hit a ball in if you just keep hitting the cue ball hard enough into all of the balls, but its not because you were aiming for that ball into that pocket and so you can't conclude that you are a good pool player.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2012 #2
    Err, sort of. It is really a slightly annoying technical problem quite specific to the way particle physicists have decided to present their results, but it is sort of analogous to the 'trials factor' kind of scenario you present (i.e. that low probability events are quite likely to happen if you repeat your experiment lots of times). This is of course well explained by xkcd: http://xkcd.com/882/

    The look elsewhere effect is kind of like a continuous version of this effect.
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