NA T USE
[MARCH 7, 1907
17°•o at Moyeni, Basutoland, on August 23. The mean yearly value of the absolute maxima was 86°.9, and of the corresponding minima 41°.6. The mean temperature for the year was o°.9 below the average. The stormiest month was October, and the calmest was April. .
We have also received the official meteorological yearbooks for South Australia (1904) and Mysore (igo5). Both of these works contain valuable means for previous years.
Forty Years of Southern New Mexico Climate.-Bulletin No. 59 of the New Mexico College of Agriculture contains the meteorological data recorded at the experimental station from 1892 to 19oi inclusive, together with results of temperature and rainfall observations at other stations in the Mesilla Valley for most of the years between 1851 and i8go, published some years ago by General Greelv in a " Report on the Climate of New Mexico." The station is situated in lat. 32° 15' N long. 1o6° 45' W., and is 3868 feet above sea-level. The data have a general application to those portions of southern New Mexico with an, altitude less than 4000 feet. The mean annual temperature for the whole period was 61°•6, mean maximum (fourteen years) 76°-S, mean minimum '40-4, absolute maximum 1o6° (which occurred several times), absolute minimum 1° (December, 1895). The mean annual rainfall was 8-8 inches: the smallest yearly amount was 3.5 inches, in 18i3, the largest 17.11 inches, in 1905. Most of the rain falls during July, August, and September. The relative humidity is low, the mean annual amount being about 51 per cent. The bulletin was prepared by J. D. Tinsley, vice-director of the station.
Meteorological Observations in Germany.-The results of the observations made under the system of the Deutsche Seewarte, Hamburg, for 1905,. at ten' stations of the second order, and. at fifty-six storm-warning stations, have been received. This is the twenty-eighth yearly volume.. published by the Seewarte, and forms part of the series of German meteorological year-books. We have frequently referred to this excellent series, and the volume in question is similar in all respects to its predecessors ; it contains most valuable data relating to the North Sea and Baltic coasts. We note that the sunshine at Hamburg was only 29 per cent. of the possible annual amount, and that there were 103 sunless days ; the rainfall was 25.9 inches, the rainy days being 172 in number.
Distribution of the estimates of the dressed weight of a
particular l king ox, made by 787 different- persons.
41, q3, the tir,t and third quartiles, ,Land at 25' and 7;" respoctively.
in, the median or middlemost value, stands at 5o'.
The dressed weight proved to be 1198 lbs.
According to the democratic principle of " one vote one value," the middlemost estimate expresses the vox po puli, every other estimate being condemned as too low or too high by a majority of the voters (for fuller explanation see One Vote, One Value," NATURE, February 28, p. 414). Now the middlemost estimate is 1207 lb., and the weight of the dressed ox proved to be 1198 lb. ; so the vox populi was in this case 9 lb., or o•S per -cent. of the whole weight too high. The distribution of the estimates about their middlemost value was of the usual type, so far that they clustered closely in its neighbourhood and became rapidly more sparse as the distance from it increased.
Diagram, from the tabular values.
The continuous line i< the normal curve v i,h p.e.=37.
7 he broken line is drawn from the observations.
'I be lines connecting them show the differences between the observed
and the normal.
But they were not scattered symmetrically. One quarter of them deviated more than 45 lb. above the middlemost (3.7 per cent.), and another quarter deviated more than 29 lb. below it (2.4 per cent.), therefore the range of the two middle quarters, that is, of the middlemost half, lay within those limits. It would be an equal chance that the estimate written on any card picked at random out of the collection lay within or without those limits. In other words, the " probable error " of a single observation may be reckoned as x(45+29), or 37 lb. (3.1 per cent.). Taking this for the p.e. of the normal curve that is best adapted for comparison with the observed values, the results are obtained which appear in above table, and graphically in the diagram.
Degrees of Estimates the length of
Array o -too" in lbs. ,
Excess of Observed over
5 10 15 20
11 2 5
35 40 45
70 q3 75
1074 - 133 1109 - 98 1126 St 1148 59 1162 45 1174 - 3 3 Its[ 26 1188 - 19 1197 10 1207 0 1214 ' 7 1219 + 12 1225 + 18 1230 + 23 1236 + 29 1243 + 36 1254 + 47 1267 + 52 1293 + 86
-go - 70
- 29 -21 -14
+ 7 +14 +21 +29 +37 + 46 +57 +70 + go
IN these democratic days, any investigation into the trustworthiness and peculiarities of popular judgments is of interest. The material about to be discussed refers to a small matter, but is much to the point.
A weight-judging competition was carried on at the annual show of the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition recently held at Plymouth. A fat ox having been selected, competitors bought stamped and numbered cards, for 6d. each, on which to inscribe their respective names, addresses, and estimates of what the ox would weigh after it had been slaughtered and " dressed." Those who guessed most successfully received prizes. About Boo tickets were issued, which were kindly lent me for examination after they had fulfilled their immediate purpose. These 'afforded excellent material. The judgments were unbiassed by passion and uninfluenced by oratory and the like. The sixpenny fee deterred practical joking, and the hope of a prize and the joy of competition prompted each competitor to do his best. The competitors included butchers and farmers, some of whom were highly expert in judging the weight of cattle ; others were probably guided by such information as they might pick up, and by their own fancies. The average competitor was probably as well fitted for making a just estimate of the dressed weight of the ox, as an average voter is of judging the merits of most political issues on which he votes, and the variety among the voters to judge justly was probably much the same in either case.
After weeding thirteen cards out of the collection, as being defective or illegible, there remained 787 for discussion. I arrayed them in order of the magnitudes of the estimates, and converted the cwt., quarters, and lbs. in which they were made, into lbs., under which form they will be treated.
r_ O. 1949, VOL. 7.51
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