14th January 2005 - 12:22 AM
Hi Matt and tireiss,
Like all good Scientists you should test the theory. Make the box, buy some paper clips and do the experiment. I would say it would be "nice" to document the methodology (eg: settle the paper clips down by vigorous shaking side to side for a fixed period of time and fully pack the box, plus other details). The paper clips can be then counted. Yeah I know this is a real pain with 153K or so clips. I suggest weighing several and determining a mean weight. Or counting the entire box full and use this as a measure of one for the next box full.
In the end the experiment should be repeated several times and the results charted and the error limits determined along with mean and standard deviation. You can then compare this with the Theory. You will not only be spot on but it will be very hard for others to prove you wrong.