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Working late and thinking do not go well together

Well, having fixed up yesterday's problem with the program, which was easy in my currently alert and well-rested state. Today, I turned my attention to my own work. Two sets of data which were supposed to overlap were drastically not overlapping. Inidividually, they looked fine. Together, they were somewhere between disturbing and alarming, with healthy smatterings of unbelievable thrown in for good measure.

I sent Lucy (one of my group members who has spent some time at MIT actually learning how to do things properly. She's done some very good work, too) the problems I've been having, hoping she'd have some suggestions. I followed her suggestions. One of which was to check the calibration. I went to check my values against hers. As soon as I looked at my values, they looked wrong. I went back and checked the original values. They looked right. I had transcribed a value for calibration badly, leaving out a digit. Unsurprisingly, this had a significant effect. I fixed this up, and suddenly the data lines up nicely and believably, and I am happy.

This shows quite nicely why I believe that it is, in general, a bad idea for people to work late nights for long periods without enough sleep. Small mistakes can create much distress and confusion and can be quite hard to spot.


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