I have all the assignments for the week turned in and next week's quiz for chemistry! Amazing, right? I'm working on reading the history chapter and answering the learning objectives for homeopathy now. I'm also reading my brain book. I think I need to add it to my references but I'll check that once I've posted this. It's called Keep Your Brain Alive and has exercises that help the brain work better. I have not gotten to that part yet. I can read this book standing up in the kitchen so the kids can't interfere with that while I cook dinner. LOL The learning objectives will be much harder to answer. They are written so you have to read the entire chapters. This is NOT a complaint because the questions are very good ones. Given the subject matter, I think they are quite important things to know. I just won't be able to answer most of them unless a way to read the books come to me. This particular book has 2 text books. One has 1835 pages and the other has 1113 pages. They remind me of the dictionaries we had as kids we used to kill bugs. LOL This one class wants me to read 4 chapters, 2 in each book. I need to get to work on breakfast. My children who were playing with blocks peacefully are now having a war over them and they are EVERYWHERE. Okay, time to go cook and improve their spirits. I leave you with a discussion post about errors. Have a great day!
Option 2: Random and Systematic Errors
You likely had to conduct measurements that involved random and systematic errors. How did you address them? What did you do to reduce errors?
I actually have quite a bit of experience with this topic from my days in the military. My job was to write intelligence reports about threats that existed in all manner to our country. One of the biggest problems what understanding the source of the data. Imagery and signals were considered reliable but both had systemic issues. Quite often a building was labeled as a headquarters when it wasn't. The only way around such errors were to evaluate the location against other indicators – multiple images, signals, human reporting, etc. Using this we were able to reduce the chance of errors such as hitting an embassy or a school when we thought it was something else. Many times we had what was called “single-source reporting” and that is always looked at as MAYBE reliable. If it's a person doing the reporting, the person is given a reliability rating based on previous reports. If no previous reports exist, they are given a “reliability cannot be assessed” rating. On all reports that get published, the reliability of the data must be included so the end user know how reliable the data is. While this data isn't acquire through surveys, as this chapter focuses on, it is data that is collected in very strict manners based on the type of collection in question. Sometimes you get so many sources that are very reliable and can say yes, that is where the terrorist is hiding and we can go get him. Other times the data is too sketchy to determine so no movement is done until more data can be collected. The system is obviously filled with ways to commit an error both systemically and in a random way. While the examples above are mainly systemic, random things pop up like computer crashes where the server drops the database and you no longer have access to the information. Sometimes people would use a source and get the reliability wrong, etc. There is a reason “intelligence” is easy to blame for military and political errors!
I had a really long example written up but I can't find any research to back it up because it was all based on experience. Instead, I'll use this example. My children, as all do, get rashes. Some rashes such as a diaper rash, the doctor looks at and just says “use diaper cream”, mine actually issues a nice one based on zinc and works well. An issue that is systemic in the health system (way too many mothers get sent to the ER over a measles scare because their child is not vaccinated, one recently was bug bites but the doc called it measles). My daughter got a rash in her diaper area over a year ago and I was afraid of the same misdiagnosis so I did a trial and error on getting her back to health since the zinc cream did nothing. Worwood has a nice chart in her book that discusses which oils are safe at which ages. I always consult that before doing anything because searching for a cure can cause more harm if done with negligence. I looked up which oils were good for skin. I eventually had luck by making oatmeal baths (clark) and then putting a cream on her that contained lavender and tea tree oils in a coconut oil base. In this case, the “random” was not knowing what kind of rash it was. It sprang up out of the blue and simply didn't want to go away. The systemic was using things that are known to work but I had to find the right combination that would work on this specific rash.
Systematic is when you design a system, computer program, etc. You could describe it as the "plan of action" or in medical terms, the "get well" protocol. Random errors are things that turn up that were not taken into account - like the saying "throw a wrench into the cogs". The machine was "working perfectly" until an outside force caused something unexpected to happen.
A great example would be how the military does a risk assessment while crafting the plan to do anything from going to war to making a pot of coffee safely. You write out the directions taking as much into account as you can. You include in this plan as many "what ifs" as you can. In the example of making coffee, what if the carafe shatters (have a spare on hand or use shatter-proof). A systematic error would be one where it can't really be avoided but you take as many steps as you can to reduce the effects of that error. In the coffee example, you could say something like the pot being close to the edge of a counter because there is no other place for it. It would be an error because it's a safety issue. Someone could touch the hot carafe to knock the whole thing to the ground potentially burning someone. A random error (and don't laugh because this actually happened to some computers where I worked) would be water coming through the ceiling onto the outlet causing a short. This random error could be mitigated by making sure the roof doesn't leak (or in my real-life example, making sure transportation isn't washing their trucks INSIDE). One thing I learned is ALWAYS do a risk assessment before writing up any plan or instructions because you want to reduce errors or risk of injury/death/loss of property.
As you point out in your definition above, error can never be eliminated. You can plan for as much as you can but what you measure in the end will be different that what your plan said it would be. Everyone tried to get as close as possible, which is generally best but error cannot be avoided.
Worwood, V. (1991). The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. New World Library.
Clark, D. (2011). Herbal Healing for Children: A Parent's Guide to Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses. Healthy Living Publications.
I am currently a student at American College of Healthcare Sciences earning my Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine. This blog is my journey of juggling mom-life with student life. My husband is a truck driver so I'm essentially a single mom all but 3 days a month. It's a challenge but we will get through this. I complete this degree on 18 December 2019 and will take one additional semester and then be done for a while. My children need more attention from their mommy but I can't wait on getting this education done. I will do what I must for now.