NCBI ROFL: The case of the disappearing teaspoons.

By ncbi rofl | February 18, 2010 7:00 pm

teaspoonsThe case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute.

“OBJECTIVES: To determine the overall rate of loss of workplace teaspoons and whether attrition and displacement are correlated with the relative value of the teaspoons or type of tearoom. DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study. SETTING: Research institute employing about 140 people. SUBJECTS: 70 discreetly numbered teaspoons placed in tearooms around the institute and observed weekly over five months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of teaspoon loss per 100 teaspoon years and teaspoon half life. RESULTS: 56 (80%) of the 70 teaspoons disappeared during the study. The half life of the teaspoons was 81 days. The half life of teaspoons in communal tearooms (42 days) was significantly shorter than for those in rooms associated with particular research groups (77 days). The rate of loss was not influenced by the teaspoons’ value. The incidence of teaspoon loss over the period of observation was 360.62 per 100 teaspoon years. At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a practical institute-wide population of 70 teaspoons. CONCLUSIONS: The loss of workplace teaspoons was rapid, showing that their availability, and hence office culture in general, is constantly threatened.”

Read the full article here.


Thanks to Ralph, Ed, and Audun for today’s ROFL!

Photo: flickr/sunshinecity

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: BMJ week.

  • Matt T

    Update: Teaspoon Half Life will be playing a Coachella this year. Great band.

  • Joseph Hertzlinger

    There’s an obvious explanation: The teaspoons have been bodily taken up to the Land Where Teaspoons Are Eternally Blessed in a Rapture of the Teaspoons.


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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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