Many wrongs make a right

Let’s assume you have some analogue clocks, all of which are set at a random time. Assuming they’re all wrong by the minimum amount (i.e. if the clock is set at eleven o’clock and the actual time is 4am, it’s five hours slow rather than being seven hours fast), the average of all the clocks’ times will tend to the correct time as the number of clocks tends to infinity.



8 Responses to “Many wrongs make a right”

  1. Jon Willis on March 19th, 2008 04:05


    Are you sure? Isn’t the average time going to tend to 6 o’clock and the average difference will tend to zero?

    With love mate,


  2. Dan on March 19th, 2008 16:00

    Don’t think so, Jon. Assume the real time is 4am. Clocks will display times anywhere between twelve o’clock and 11.59, with an even spread across the times. For every clock that is an hour early (showing three o’clock, interpreted as 3am), there will on average be one that’s an hour late (5am). And for every one that’s five hours early (11pm the previous day), there’l be one five hours late (9am) By knowing the current time, you determine the time direction in which the clock is wrong, forcing this to be the midpoint and therefore the time to which the average tends.

  3. Tug on March 20th, 2008 07:07

    so are you saying the times are rectangularly spread on either side of the correct time?

  4. Dan on March 20th, 2008 18:48


  5. Jon Willis on March 21st, 2008 06:35

    So the average time will tend towards the current time, assuming that you already know the current time…

    I cannot think of any situation where this information is useful.

  6. Tug 2 on March 25th, 2008 07:06

    More pondering on the bus.

    This works because you are working on a modulo basis,ie 12=0, 13=1 etc?

    Ie any time on a dial has half the clock (or circle) on either side of it, each filled by half of the infinite samples. More cirle than rectangle as 12=0?

  7. Kumar Shah on March 27th, 2008 08:01

    Have you heard of the Central Limit Theorem Daniel?

  8. Rob on March 29th, 2008 09:51

    I’m sorry Dan, but this is just utter BS!

    What makes the clocks tend to the ‘correct time’ (whatever that is?) rather than some other, completely random time?


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