We all want things to be clearly cut. It's not easy to process information that is inexact and to live in a state of constant uncertainty, so people tend to accept answers more readily than process theories.


u/TheCreatorLovesYou asked:

What is much less of an exact science than most people realize?

Here were some of the answers.

Diabeetus

Giphy

Diabetes management.

In theory, a certain amount of insulin will help get rid of a certain amount of carbs, keeping your BG stabil when you eat.

BUT, tons of things make your sensitivity to insulin higher or lower. The list is long, but here is some of it.

  • What kind of food you eat. Complex carbs make your BG rise and fall slower than simple carbs. Protein and fat slows it down.
  • Exercise. Usually it lowers your BG to do cardio, but strength training makes BG's go up, and then down. Oh, and what did you eat before you started the workout?

-Amount of food. On big eating days like Christmas, the rise in BG can last all through the night if you pig out.

  • Stress or disease.
  • For the ladies: Menstrual cycle.
  • For the ladies: Pregnancy.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Sleeping patterns.
  • Smoking cigarettes/quitting smoking cigarettes.
  • What kind of insulin you're taking.
  • Time of day. Some people need more insulin at night than in the morning for the same amount of carbs.
  • Weight loss/gain.
  • Other meds you might be taking.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So even though it's as simple as "Measure BG levels, act accordingly", sometimes the body is just wonky for no reason at all. It really can be a daily struggle.

tailfeather87

The Cost Of Weight

A lot of everyday structural engineering is like this. I deal with engineers a lot and there is a lot of "it's probably fine" attitude with them. The safety factor is so high in a lot of their engineering that it doesn't matter. For example, if somebody wants a deck to support 2000 lbs they don't design a deck to support 2000 lbs. they design a deck that will probably support 6000 lbs and call it good without numbers or calcs. That is not true for all engineering, I'm just talking residential construction, which is where I deal with those engineers.

locke314

This Is Why They're Always Wrong

Meteorology. Like - people make jokes that the weather guy is always wrong, but do you know how HARD that it is? We can spot patterns, guess about what they are going to do - but at the end of the day, the atmosphere has a mind of it's own and does what it wants.

Don't be so hard on the weather guy. They are trying their best!

I_like_clouds

An Econ Degree

Trading or the stock markets in general.

It's basically a bunch of people in suits thinking they know where the market will go, when in reality, they don't. And if they weren't at that job that'd be at the track betting it all on #7 or something.

And I say this as someone who is a trader.

lowstrife

Girl, Interrupted

Psychiatric medication.

There are only a few basic types, and they are not precision or super custom-tailored. Furthermore, it's all trial and error to find the right fit for the individual.

Which is not to say people shouldn't take them. They can really make everything better.

ArcticFoxBunny

Lest We Forget What Was Legal

Law. Jurisprudence can change. Sure, some rights are more or less established, but technology is bringing a lot of change to the table and in some areas people are not entirely sure of what it means. Aka. Labor law, criminal law, corporate law and intelectual property...

carolnuts

The Bake

In the spirit of this thread, baking is much less of an exact science than people seem to think. or maybe i mean that cooking is more of a science than people think it is, depending on how you look at it.

Obviously, there are things that will go differently if you put in an extra teaspoon of baking powder or allow your pastry to get slightly too warm or whatever. but those same types of things happen in cooking. if your cooking device isn't hot enough, you won't get the maillard reaction or if you heat a sauce too quickly or add too much acid, it can break, etc. both "types" of cooking are going to involved incredibly complex interactions of heat, ingredients, time, etc.

people go on and on about how baking is such a science, but i think it's really because the cooking process is much more contained and hands-off in baking than in "cooking." with baking (i'm making generalizations, but stick with me), you prepare everything (be it a dough or a batter or whatever), and if something it a little off, you can't fix it once its in the oven. you put it in and hope everything is right. you also can't taste as you go with quite as much ease as with cooking (though you can, it just isn't quite the same). if you're cooking a cream sauce on the stovetop, you can add a little of this and a little of that if you notice it going south and getting too hot or not thickening or separating entirely, but ultimately, the very intricate reactions of your ingredients are still happening.

the difference between cooking and baking, if there is one, is the degree of damage control you can do once the cooking process starts (not much with baking vs more with cooking), not how inherently "scientific" one is over the other. as a result, baking may seem more scientific because getting things right earlier in the process is more important. people are, rightfully, more afraid of what happens once that cupcake goes in the oven, so the prep part of it - the measuring and weighing, etc. - gets more attention.

axelehlinger

Life Voltage

Electronics.

Digital electronics and binary values for bits are assigned by ballpark voltages.

If you can make a power-supply rated for 10V that stabilizes around like 9.5V, that's usually good enough.

If you need 1200ohms of resistance but you only have 1000, that's usually good enough.

Pretty much everything in electronics is designed to work "well enough".

NorthDakotaExists

Rahcks

In a lot of cases, geology.

Observations of the subsurface are expensive, difficult to obtain, of varying precision, and various methods depend on varying levels of judgement calls. Everything is extrapolated from less-than-ideal data, and generally less of it than we'd like.

Not to say it isn't well thought out and the most reasonable possible interpretation - it is just that it is f---ing HARD.

It is particularly annoying when I see somebody with a high school level of understanding of "what science is" (hypothesis, independent and dependent variable, control, etc) who has read into one thing exactly far enough to find a single imprecision, then claiming that, say, the IPCC has it all wrong because they aren't doing proper science. I wonder why they don't apply the same standards to, say, slope stability analysis - suddenly best-available-data is good enough!

AngryT-Rex

Inconclusive

Giphy

DNA evidence. It's NOTHING like on the crime TV shows. You get a vague list of numbers and three hours of testimony about how you can't really tell anything from them.

Same with 23 and me and Ancestry DNA. The difference between a person and a dolphin is .1 and deciding if you're from Russia, which has borders that have been fluctuating for years, is nearly impossible. They update it all the time. My mother in law went from 25% British to 0% British in an update.

Its_Curse

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