(Submitted by reader Nick Ward)

Listening to your segment on Skepticality reminded me of a TOMBC micro-moment:

In high school, my friends and I were very nerdy, so we timed our watches to the beginning and ending bells for classes.  Near the end of class one day, a teacher was mocking us, saying: “You guys don’t time your watches to the bell do you?! Like you sit there and say ‘3, 2, 1…’…” and right after he said “one” aloud, the bell rang.

We all sat around dumbfounded for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. My guess is that, since we were at the end of class, we were at least within 60 seconds of the bell, so we’d be looking at a 1.6% chance (at worst) that the second he chose would be the moment of the bell.

Below are the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 199. Take a look and leave your comments below.

The author of this story recognized at least part of what makes this story easy to explain. I am sure that it was absolutely hilarious when it happened, but it is one of those things which is more expected than unexpected.

The author doesn’t state what prompted the teacher’s comment, but I suspect that the teacher noticed one or more of them looking at their watch(es). As a teacher myself, I was often very distracted when, with about 5 minutes to go, students began to pack up their belongings. And when one student did it, others followed. Pretty soon the whole class has that “it’s time to go” feeling and students start walking out the door while I continue to lecture.

So, the chances that the bell would ring at any moment precise enough to be as funny as this was is actually very, very high.