If you have ever watched TV in the late 90's gaunteed you saw the commercial about the little boy asking the Owl how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop. This has boggled my mind since those commercials aired however everytime I get a hold of a tasty tootsie I forget about my questioning and enjoy the treat. I made it a goal this year to stay focused and perservere untill I came up with the answer to this lifechanging question!
I began my expirement on the 20th of April. With a rasberry tootsie pop in hand and a group of friends behind me I began to attempt the impossible. I had called in reinforcements just in case my old habbits returned and prevented me from following my accomplishing my goal. My Girl Scout troop was glad to help me live this dream. We each had a tootsie pop and general rules for the licking processs. Each lick would count as one lick, and if you were to slip up and put the entire lolipop in your mouth at once then it must be counted as two licks.
Immediatly different strategies emerged. My leader was using the two lick process to go quicker, writing down her tally at each interval of 20 so as not to forget. Jillian quickly lost track of the number she was on and went straight into the pacifer method of simly sucking on a lolipop. Lia, got halfway until she lost count as well and went into the pacifier mode. I was at 1020 licks before i had to take my lollipop and head home.
It wasn't until I was home did I begin thinking about all of the variables that go into this experiment. Many people have done this before me and have gotten numbers from anywhere to 432 to 1600. This means that there are some hidden factors that go into this experiment. After thinking about it for sometime I came up with ALOT of hidden variables.
First off, the size of the tongue of the participant. If you have a bigger tongue than that of the next person who does the experiment then that would throw off dissolving rates of the candy. Than there is the length of time that the lick takes as it slides down the candy. And of course the edge that the tootsie pops have on them, if it is a better idea to spend equal time licking the edge especially or if its better to lick the edge longer than the regular sides. There is also the problem of the tootsie roll itself in the middle; a lot of the tootsie rolls are unevenly spread out inside of the candy. When should the experimenter stop counting, when they get to an exposed form of the tootsie roll or in the dead center where all of the candy has been dissolved. Another variable would be if you put your tongue back in your mouth after each lick, or not. The difference of moisture and surface temperature would affect the rate of the dissolving. I am pressed to wonder if the flavors have a different make up as well, if the color pigments would cause a difference in data gathering.
With all of these variables its difficult to think if they are dependent or independent of each other. My lollipop experiment is still in progress as I type this blog report, but after I finnish tallying and dissolving all of the candy from my lollipop i will make a comment about how many licks it took me.