Friday 26 March 2010

Airport game

Waiting for a flight can be really boring, especially when we have to be there two hours earlier. If you are at an international airport, there is a very simple game you can play using the scientific method for non-scientific related activities.

The scientific method is a powerful and simple algorithm to separate what works from what does not work. There is a series of steps, and if you follow them, you will be able to say you deduced something scientifically, which means you have been working towards "truth" (if it works, you will know it works; if it does not work, you will not lose your time in that direction). These steps are, basically:

1) observe
2) guess what is happening
3) deduce something (from what you think is happening)
4) check if it works

So, when you are at the departure gate of an airport you can play a game, trying to guess where is a certain flight going. The rules are:

a) Watching at the screen where the destination is displayed is strictly prohibited until the last step.
b) You have to observe the people who is waiting at a certain departure gate. You cannot speak to them, nor ask them anything. Just observe them from where you are. You can also listen to the language they speak and their accent if you are near enough. You can check which newspapers and books they are reading, what are they wearing, etc.
c) Guess what is happening. If you are in Dublin and you see a lot of Irish and Spanish people with children and T-shirts, the flight is probably going somewhere in the Spanish seashore (some of them coming back from holidays, some going on holidays). If you see Asian, Indian, African, American and English people with briefcases, probably the flight is going to a metropolis like New York or London.
d) Make a hypothesis: using the information you have, guess the city they are flying to.
e) Check your hypothesis: read the destination in the concerning screen. Were you right?

You can, for example, add three points if the city was right, and one point if the country was right. Then, you can compete with a friend to see who is best at this.

However, I found this game interesting even when playing alone. Confirming our hypothesis is always rewarding. And if you are wrong... it is so funny seeing the difference between reality and what we think!

Have a good trip!