Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

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Eat me! Drink me!

Recently at work, a box of Quality Street chocolates appeared on one of the spare desks with a sticker saying "Eat me". At about the same time, the bottles of fruit squash that live in the Engineering kitchen gained "Drink me" labels.

Well, engineers being engineers we decided that these had to be sampled in the name of science. Since Engineering is a computing department, we bashed together a machine learning system out of various bits and pieces of code to try and find out if there's any relation between the ingredients of a chocolate or fruit squash and how much larger or smaller it makes you. A server was commandeered from PV to run the whole thing on (okay, so we swiped it without telling them. They've got too many servers anyway), and having fed it the list of ingredients for each chocolate we then set about the most important part: eating them!

According to the neural net, it seems to be primarily the amount of chocolate that affects things - the more chocolate in a given item, the bigger you get. There were some oddities in the results though: the toffee pennies despite completely lacking in chocolate had the largest effect. It looks like the toffee acts as a sort of multiplier - for example, 4g of chocolate has the same getting-larger affect as 1g of chocolate and 1g of caramel, or 0.5g chocolate and 2g toffee. Presumably there's some trace chocolate in the toffee penny. On the other hand, nut is more of a divider (it reduces how much bigger one gets), and the chocolates with fruit had much less of an effect on size.

On the fruit juice side, a glass of blackcurrant juice makes you twice as small as a glass of orange squash, but it's hard to tell why from the information. The best guess we came up with is that the orange squash is twice as concentrated as the blackcurrant, and so you only put half as much in a glass. The expert system after crunching the numbers overnight suggested that it's the fruit content that makes you smaller - this would explain why the strawberry delight didn't have any affect on size at all.

The chocolates are all gone, but the remaining fruit juice has been left in the Support kitchen. It's about time someone played a prank on them for a change...

Happy Rabbit Hole Day 2013!

The Quality Street was brought in by a colleague who received it for Christmas, and it really did have an "eat me" label stuck to it...
Tags: rabbit hole day

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