gathering data


At my house we have a large quantity of Legos. Our original collection was fairly substantial, and my mother has doubled it several times over by buying up other people's treasured childhood collections that their parents were selling cheap at garage sales. Right now, they are all arrayed on the floor of my brother's bedroom, because he's not home to object or anything.

Apropos of very little, Stan asked me how many Lego pieces I thought there were in total. "Um, a lot," I said. He found a pencil and a couple of scraps of paper and thrust them at me and told me to guess how many.

I stared at them for a moment while Stan turned his head and covered his eyes for good measure. Mentally, I estimated what I thought was a quantity of 1,000 Lego bricks, and counted approximately six such regions. Then I noticed that the Legos were not distributed with a uniform depth and added another 2,000 to my estimate. Finally, I don't even know precisely why, I wrote down "8,500", folded my paper in half, and gave the pencil to Stan.

He scribbled something quickly and then we compared our guesses. One said "8,500".

And the other said "8500".

We are spooky.
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I think you were both enraptured in the Legos.

There are only 6700, tops. Count and see if I'm right.
There might be some legos in my basement. If so, I might send them your way. Be advised they're all themed sets though, like a space shuttle and an airplane. And a bunch of pirate stuff.
Oh, if you don't want them we'd be happy to take them. You can never have too many space shuttles. Or pirates.

We've not yet been bored enough to count them, but I feel that we must at some point.
Oh, but you have to bear in mind that there are a whole lot of very teeny tiny pieces, and furthermore that they inherently tend to filter towards the bottom of the pile, so you can't see them. That said, we'd really have to count them to know for sure, or at least begin counting to get a more reliable estimate.
Me too! So much of our childhood was spent playing with Legos. They're the best.