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DENNIS KELLY (DJKELLY)
+1
From: United States
Posts: 774
I can't believe it! I completely agree with Robin. (Has nothing to do with his recent generosity poked in my direction) You have saved me lots of typing, Robbo
[Last edited by DJKELLY, 2011-02-05 21:31]
STAMP OUT QUICKSAND
2011-02-05 19:36
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rtedwards
From: United States
Posts: 43
For those of you who don’t publish research results frequently, there is a well-known cycle to these things that has been described in humorous terms. I couldn’t find the original reference, which is pretty funny, so I am posting a paraphrased and annotated list of the acceptance cycle colored for this particular situation. You may notice some amusing similarity to the Kübler-Ross grief cycle.

Stages of response to new information that questions conventional wisdom

1) What a stupid question, everyone (the experts, my uncle, the guy on talk radio) already knows you are completely wrong and no matter what you find it won’t be interesting.
2) I don’t believe you, your methods were flawed (sheesh, you had methods!? my opinion don’t need no stinking methods)
3) Well, maybe there is something to this (Christ, does this mean I’m going to have to change? I’m not comfortable about this, I’ve kind of staked my reputation on the opposite)
4) Hmmm, this is how it seems to be (Seems like the tide has turned, I don’t want to be caught out looking stupid)
5) Don’t be stupid, we’ve always known that ‘s how it is (If I berate these people loudly enough maybe everyone will forget all the times I’ve argued just the opposite)

Reading other sites I’d say most people are pretty interested and appreciative, but a proportion are either emerging from phase 1 or firmly embedded in phase 2. Many people just don’t understand the necessity of blind studies or a consistent experimental design. Don’t expect that to change; we will see any number of surveys asking people to compare one or the other and proffer their opinion and the results will be seen as equally as valid (or more so if more than 8 people weigh in on the poll) as this study. And so it goes….

I do have a couple technical questions. I reread the study and although mention is made of an ANOVA analysis, I don’t see where the significance is reported. Looking at the box and whisker plots it is clear enough, but if the analysis was done a line statement that no significant differences among means or medians or whatever was found would be appropriate.

Also, it seems this design screams out for a nested repeated measures ANOVA. Although these quickly get beyond my modest statistical training, it seems it would offer some information about variance within the testers and razors that might be interesting.

And finally, really getting down in the bushes now, data are plural, datum is singular, and average is misspelled in the table.

Thanks again for this study, I look forward to the next one with the new razors.
Rick Edwards
2011-02-05 21:29
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconRobert_Pross:

significance of the RPF Data
1-Way ANOVA Test by Friedman
Signifakanz p=0,0464
" Are means signif. different? (P < 0.05)" = Yes


That's what Robert sent me in an e-mail.

I think that we must be careful to not stray too much into statistical tenacity. As Robin and others so eloquently pointed out, the conclusion of this study is quite basic and simple. The BBWs in the study were apt to sharpen the razors in the study. The setup of a blinded study with standardized data collection, is of such outrageous overkill for making such a limited claim, that it is very tempting to read much more than that in the data set. The more we distill further conclusions, the more we will have to deal with the limitations of the experimental design. In the end, there is little to no tradition in the straight razor community for using BBWs as finishing hones, hence there is no common knowledge about their specifications and the variance thereof, there are no finer points known to overcome certain aspects of that possible variance. There are no specialists. None of that can be addressed by applying statistics. But maybe our study can be the starting point for the BBW to find a more realistic place among other celebrated and accepted finishers, such as Coticules, Thüringers, Charnley Forets, Arkansas, Chinese and Japanese finishers. Our data indicates that it belongs there. All these stones have their user bases, some small and some large. As I've pointed out earlier on in this thread, even if a hone has the capacity for a certain result, it is nothing without a user base that keeps the procedures alive. For BBWs procedures haven't even fully matured yet.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-02-05 23:19
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rtedwards
From: United States
Posts: 43
Bart,

Thanks, that info is useful. You make good points and I agree with all of them. I do think you are being too modest in the quality of your data though. I make a living asking questions about messy phenomena in nature. It has been said that we natural science types have physics envy because, unlike a chamber of gas or light moving through space, biology just does whatever the hell it wants during our experiments and leaves us with very messy data sets. I know the cost of getting useful data and so every number is potentially precious, which is why I try to extract every piece of information from the data possible.

Although not necessary to appreciate the results of this study, which are pretty straightforward and clear, further analysis of the variance structure of this data set might help you and your team optimize the next experiment. For example, we always, always want more replication, but replication of what? There is obvious variation among the testers and more people next time would be great, but at a significant cost. There is variation among the razors, and although the new Revisors might alleviate concerns that the steel was a limiting factor in the final edge, there will always be some variation among razors, they are handmade and variation is inevitable. Then there is variation from one side of a face to another and variation in the shave from one day to another, and variation in the hones and so on ad infinitum.

The answer to all this uncontrolled variation is more replication: more people, more razors, more shaves, more hones, etc. And the costs of more rapidly escalate beyond any practical budget. I suspect, without knowing for sure, that a bit more of an exploration of your data would reveal where the major sources of variance were, that they were not evenly distributed among all possibilities, and you could use those data to strategically increase your replication on the next experiment while holding costs down.

I find it remarkable that one of the most common criticisms leveled at this study is that only 8 guys took part and therefore the study is invalid compared to strong opinions based on anecdote. I am pretty new at all this and I’ve read everything I could find and I have missed any other systematic tests that used a blind, replicated design with any number of subjects, much less more than 8. Like many endeavors straight shaving is full of opinionated people with adamant and totally contradictory notions of what is and isn’t. Anecdote and opinion, especially of experienced people with good insight, is invaluable. But for a beginner to have a chance of wading through all the conflicting noise and false “data” you have to follow postings of key people back in time repeatedly to try to distinguish the truly knowledgeable from the cranks and know-nothings or people with an agenda. It’s time consuming and even then, having figured out who is full of bullshit and who isn’t, you are often left with so much unclear information that it is hard to make informed choices as to how to proceed and where to spend your money. Be as modest as you want, but studies like this are a breath of fresh air and a beacon of clarity in a fog of roiling confusion.

I made the choice to buy a coticule to learn to hone on and I haven’t regretted it. Like most people I don’t have unlimited money to buy one (hah, or even 12) of everything that is out there to try (Ok, I have five coticules, so sue me) and I’ll take a modest, limited but properly executed study over cacophony any day.
Rick Edwards
2011-02-06 00:12
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Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
That's a good point, Bart.

BBW were so universally under-appreciated/disrespected that we had to do a blind shave test, involve people from around the world, and do this report just in order for it to be seen as capable of finishing a razor that will shave well and with the properites that we've come to expect.

So, the extent that we went to do that may lead people to think there's a claim being made that it's better than something else. However, that couldn't be further from the point.

There are a few guys who want to hone their own razors who literally cannot afford anything more than a BBW. All we did was demonstrate that it's likely a viable option for them. Better or worse than others? I'll leave that up to someone with more time on their hands than I have.
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-02-06 00:19
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconrichmondesi:

So, the extent that we went to do that may lead people to think there's a claim being made that it's better than something else. However, that couldn't be further from the point.


Indeed. You haven't lost your talent for summarizing something that takes me a whole page to explain:blush: .

iconrtedwards:
I know the cost of getting useful data and so every number is potentially precious, which is why I try to extract every piece of information from the data possible.


I see your point, and that is one of the good reasons why we have a research section on Coticule.be. There we can get knee deep into data and blasphemous hypotheses without upsetting half of the straight razor community and getting all distracted by the subsequent questioning of our motives. (This thread is a good illustration of that kind of distraction :rolleyes: )

If we opt to publicly discuss the less obvious readings from our experimental data, it will be regarded as further proof of an agenda that doesn't exist in our minds, but strongly in the the minds of those who see their status at the straight razor community endangered by a scientific approach of this hobby (and their businesses).
I know that working behind closed doors suggest elitism, but I don't think that Menlo Park (see Thomas Edison) would have functioned so well as a public discussion forum, if you catch my drift.

If you are interested in analyzing our data set further and in discussing it with Robert (who made the diagrams and performed the Friedman calculation) and others, let us know and we'll add you to the Research Team, for the duration of this project and others, whatever your interest. "Researcher" is not some kind of title of honor on this website. It is a team of people doing research outside the spotlights. We try not to make the group too big, and members can shift in and out the team, based on what's going on at a given time, and on individual time to spend.


iconrtedwards:

But for a beginner to have a chance of wading through all the conflicting noise and false “data” you have to follow postings of key people back in time repeatedly to try to distinguish the truly knowledgeable from the cranks and know-nothings or people with an agenda. It’s time consuming and even then, having figured out who is full of bullshit and who isn’t, you are often left with so much unclear information that it is hard to make informed choices as to how to proceed and where to spend your money.

That is a very keen observation of the concept Internet Forum. It's a fantastic concept, in the sense that it worldwide connects people with a mutual interest, without almost any restrictions on social, economical and educational background as long as one can understand the language used on the forum, and write it a bit. But that highly democratic nature is also a weakness. There is no formalized accreditation of expertise, and it is extremely easy to mimic expertise, certainly when the forum is large and the moderation team has become contaminated with that behavior as well. The only alternative we have is to produce well crafted, clearly documented publications, that will eventually be recognized for their value. In spite of those couple spelling errors (I'll see to them on Monday), I think we have done well.

Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-02-06 02:01
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Mike Shaw (kg4ghn)
From: United States
Posts: 57
So when is this getting added to the sharpening academy? :thumbup:
~Mike
2011-02-06 02:20
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconkg4ghn:
So when is this getting added to the sharpening academy? :thumbup:

The article can currently be found in the Heritage section.

It's not the most appropriate place. In the new website layout (it's another work in progress) it'll receive a more fitting spot.

The Sharpening Academy only contains hands-on articles about sharpening razors and other stuff, so it's not the best place to put it either. But an article that deals with honing procedures for the BBW might follow later this year.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-02-06 02:26
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DENNIS KELLY (DJKELLY)
+1
From: United States
Posts: 774
I just recieved an old Ern, sharpened it with my normal routine and finished with the BBW. It was remarkably smooth and comfortable, definitely very mellow. I had zero tingle even with alcohol. Nice job researchers.
STAMP OUT QUICKSAND
2011-02-06 03:00
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Emmanuel Giannoulakis (emmanuel)
Advisor
From: Greece
Posts: 942
I would like to add my experiences coming from the past concerning the BBW.
Bart a little time ago ID for me one of my heritage vintage coticules.
As i remember my father was finishing different razors on different surfaces ,i mean coticule or BBW.I know surely he was finishing a 6/8 Tiger on the Coticule but a 6/8 Kama always on BBW.With this knowledge i was always sure that coticule and BBW have the same grade.I never ask him the reason because i prefer the paler hones for slurry watching.And I was wondering when some sellers described the BBw as 4000 or 6000 grade. So i hone a 5/8 Blue Bell on the blue side
of the posted picture but with coticule slurry ,due to i havent a blue one.The only thing I noticed is that it took longer ,but the result is exactly same as the coticule, maybe smoother.
Best regards
Emmanuel
Emmanuel Giannoulakis
from Athens Greece
2011-02-07 23:42
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rtedwards
From: United States
Posts: 43
iconQuote:
If we opt to publicly discuss the less obvious readings from our experimental data, it will be regarded as further proof of an agenda that doesn't exist in our minds, but strongly in the the minds of those who see their status at the straight razor community endangered by a scientific approach of this hobby (and their businesses).
I know that working behind closed doors suggest elitism, but I don't think that Menlo Park (see Thomas Edison) would have functioned so well as a public discussion forum, if you catch my drift.

If you are interested in analyzing our data set further and in discussing it with Robert (who made the diagrams and performed the Friedman calculation) and others, let us know and we'll add you to the Research Team, for the duration of this project and others, whatever your interest. "Researcher" is not some kind of title of honor on this website. It is a team of people doing research outside the spotlights. We try not to make the group too big, and members can shift in and out the team, based on what's going on at a given time, and on individual time to spend.


Bart,

I was quite serious when I said the statistical tests that you could do on this data set quickly exceeded my modest skills. I know how to interpret the results of the statistics and some of the more complex tests that could be applied, but we have two full time statisticians in our outfit and we meet with them regularly with long lists of questions and requests. I have long lost my ability to write SAS code, simple as it may be, and although I keep telling people I will learn R, I never seem to get round to it. I can see from this response Robert and the other team members have things well in hand so I won't waste anymore bandwidth about the stats. except to say I'd be interested if you wanted to share any more details. It's fun you know, to ferret out where the uncertainty lies in this highly personal shaving sport. I believe that YMMV applies to no other endeavor more that it does to shaving, but I am also confident that one of the reasons everyone's mileage varies as much as it does is the uncontrolled conditions under which we all pursue the elusive perfect shave and the very human capacity for bias and self deception, intentional or otherwise.

If you need another subject for any further testing or editing or proofing manuscripts or the like, I'd be happy to pitch in as time allows. I'm in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, so mailing things can take a couple days extra and a couple dollars more, but our mail system works really well up here. I am a rank beginner though, having only started straight shaving and honing my own blades a little over four months ago. But if you need a naive subject to spread the skill distribution of your tests out, I'm your man :D

Don't sweat the spelling. I am a terrible speller by nature. But the more eyes who read a ms. critically the less is allowed to sneak through. It is an excellent effort.
Rick Edwards
2011-02-08 08:10