A little thought experiment….


As you may have heard, we had a spot of rioting here in the UK recently.  Some of the violence was caused by teenagers, and the police have asked the parents of the rioting teenagers to bring their children into police stations so that they can be charged.

So, it seemed like a good time for a thought experiment. To take part, toss a coin.  If it comes up heads, click here.  If it comes up tails, click here.  Many thanks!  Results tomorrow!


20 comments on “A little thought experiment….

  1. M says:

    Nice difference in heads or tails.

  2. amusegirl says:

    It was hard to do this as I HAVE two daughters who wouldn’t have been involved in this. Used my imagination to think what I would do with a child who WOULD be involved. I think if I had lived somewhere affected by the riots my answer would have been much less difficult to ponder. As it is, I had to use a LOT of imagination. I’m very lucky.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think the fact that such harsh sentences have been handed out for someone stealing a bottle of water and for incitement to riot but no actual rioting taking place swayed my voting on this.
    If the recent sentences handed down by the courts had been fairer and the question had asked about doing something more serious I would have been more likely to vote to turn my hypothetical child in.

    • Bren Strong says:

      +1 on this ^ I replied earlier – but this was my rationale.

    • Lazy T says:

      I agree, if I was sure the judges were not barking mad then I may have turned my offspring in. Then I noticed that ‘former wild-child’ Emma Toff-Body was being feted on TV and I was sure I had voted the right way.

  4. andyo says:

    I think many people, maybe most, won’t get up and go find a coin and will just select “randomly” by themselves, which is not really random, so just go here, you lazy bastards.

  5. dharmaruci says:

    i tried several coins, but they gave inconsistent results.

    eventually, a 20p coin (dated 2003) gave me three tails in a row,

    looking forward to read what the right answer is. hope i’ve got it, i usually do badly on these quisses.

  6. Jethro says:

    I would be interested to see the difference in results had the item stolen been of greater value

  7. diavoli says:

    I couldn’t take part, as all my coins have been stolen by teenagers.

  8. Gus Snarp says:

    You’ve got a bigger problem than coin tosses in RSS readers. I got the tails poll in my RSS feed before I got this post, so I had already answered it. Lucky for you when I got to this I got tails on my coin. But anyway, you’re likely to get a lot more people going to the tails question than the heads question, assuming everyone’s RSS feed works like mine.

    • Carl says:

      I subscribe to this blog through Google reader, and only this post appeared in the feed; I saw neither of the individual polls.

  9. Conan norton says:

    The riots were caused due to no jobs cut backs closing of youth centres low self-esteem poor families media dating buy this and that bankers big bonuses corruption in the government so how do we deal with this we keep youth centres open better teaching in schools forn a young age help those in poverty bang up corrupt MPs stop bankers big bonuses and get apprentaships restarted give the youth some thing to work for and see a positive future a head show them their his a lot out their they can do. The behaviour of the riots showed how so many conformed to copying what others were doing sheep leading sheep.

  10. Will says:

    I wonder if anyone’s answer to either question would be different without the context of the riots and looting — what if it was just an isolated incident of shoplifting during normal business hours? What if he/she broke in and took the bottle of water at night when the shop was closed?

    • Berber Anna says:

      Shoplifting might be different, if nothing was broken at all. S/he could take the bottle of water back to the shop and put it back on the shelf if it was still sealed, no harm done (I’ve reverse-shoplifted something myself once, when I’d bumped over a box of Vampire collectible cards and only noticed when I got home that some of them had fallen into one of my pockets). If s/he broke in at night, s/he’d have damaged property and alarmed people, which would warrant a trip to the police station.

  11. […] Richard Wiseman’s blog, he said that police have asked parents to bring in their teenagers for prosecution if they […]

  12. […] blogo de Richard Wiseman, li diris ke polico petis por gepatroj envenigi iliajn adoleskantojn por jura persekuto se ili […]

  13. […] – en goochelaar – professor Richard Wiseman zette een gedachte-experiment op via zijn blog, en behaalde dit opmerkelijke resultaat. read […]

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