Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Failing to repeat failure

Does failing to repeat a failure result in success?  Nope, it's just failing twice.  I've been frustrated for the past few weeks since determining that the most exciting part of my field experiment had failed.  I know the adage that negative results are still results and should still be published, blah, blah, blah.  So I planned a field day to set up a duplicate experiment under the same field conditions, essentially repeating my failure so I'd have enough negative results to publish.  And what do you know, I failed again!  Monday I was shocked to discover that the plants at my experimental site had put on two months of growth in two weeks.  The end effect of this mammoth growth is that the field conditions in no way matches the conditions of last springs experiment, so it's not at all possible to repeat my failed experiment.  

I had to scramble to deal with these unpredicted conditions, and have decided to throw logic and methodology into the wind and start a new and different experiment, which I also wont be able to repeat based on my program schedule.  So, the end result will be multiple unrepeated field experiments with uninteresting and negative results.  Yeah for science!