Some people reading these pages have asked about the Center for Extrapolated Data, which is referenced in a number of the posts. What is it? How does it work? Where do they get their data?

The short answer is – it’s magic. No, no, no. This is an engineering blog. There is a rational explanation for almost everything, something we can measure, calculate, or derive. But, for many of the situations that appears on these pages, data simply doesn’t exist – yet. However, we really know that it is true. So, we take data we have, and extrapolate it.

Let’s look at an example. We can state that the Center for Extrapolated Data has determined that an engineer has a 0.0032% chance of volunteering to make a public presentation when asked for volunteers at work, and of the extremely small number that do volunteer, about 38% of those volunteered only because they were scratching their head at the wrong time, and 61% volunteered because they were writing an equation to calculate the odds of being chosen to make the presentation, only to volunteer because they weren’t paying attention completely and thought they were volunteering NOT to make the presentation.

It turns out that 1% of the 0.0032%, or 3.2 out of every 100,000 engineers actually would volunteer to make a presentation.

How did we determine this number? We could lie and say that we surveyed a sizable number of engineers, or that we did detailed studies in this area. But that (the study, not the lie) takes time and money, something we try to minimize as engineers. Instead, we simply go by experience – what we’ve seen – and know that it will be backed up by what every engineer sees at work. Thus, about 3 out of every 100,000 engineers sounds just about right.

We add the .2 to make is seem more precise and engineering-ish.

The Center for Extrapolated Data is explained.