1. ALWAYS assume the equipment is calibrated. There's too much data to collect to waste time on such trivial matters, especially after the previously scheduled experimenter took half an hour extra into your scheduled time. (It seems she brought her six-year-old knob turner along, and had to retrieve him constantly, delaying her data collection.) It also is unnecessary to reset charge amplifiers and integrators after each run.
  2. NEVER bother to make backups of your control and data files on floppy disks or CDRs. It takes too much time, and costs too much. Also, when the hard disk fails, you have an excuse to get an incomplete and finish up next semester. You'll need the extra time, to reinstall everything and rewrite your program, before you start your data collection over.
  3. ALWAYS hold all equipment together with surgical tape. This adds flexibility to the collected data, by allowing you to pick a finagle factor to multiply results by (to counteract the stretchiness of the tape). It's also a good practical joke on the next person to use the equipment. It will constantly stick to her hands.
  4. NEVER keep track of computer filenames or subject's initials until you are ready to analyze the data. Here is an example of how to do this:

    Chuck: "Isn't it amazing how John Gurney Whittaker and Jennifer Geraldine Watson performed exactly alike on that entire month-long series of tests?"

    Cathy: "How did they do it?"

    Chuck: "I don't know...They don't even know each other."

    Cathy: "Wow, they even were widely inconsistent together on a week to week basis!"

    Chuck; "Hey look! They even have the same initials."

    Cathy: "Hey, didn't we use initials to make the filenames unique?"

    Chuck: "Yeah, we did. .... $*#%^@!!!!!"

  5. ALWAYS put the subject as far away from the equipment as possible. This causes maximum wear and tear on the cables and connectors to occur. That way, if a cable or socket fails, it's still under warranty. If the end of a cable comes off, stick it back on with surgical tape until you can afford another. But be sure to twist all of the wires together first!
  6. NEVER write down all of the settings of the dials and switches on the equipment. Especially ignore gain, filter, oscilloscope, and plotter settings. Then, after another experimenter uses the equipment, you will have the privilege of: Another good practical joke is to sneak in while your colleague is out, and turn all of the knobs, especially on the oscilloscope.
  7. ALWAYS publish results in the least usable, convertible, and verifiable units of measure. Examples:
  8. NEVER keep track of how the cables run between pieces of equipment. Polarity is never important. If someone removed the cables, just plug them in anywhere. If it seems to be doing something, you have it right. If smoke comes out, it's probably wrong. Remember, experience is proportional to the amount of equipment ruined. Your grant will definitely cover it (but probably won't cover anything else afterwards, including the experiment).
  9. ALWAYS make your subjects obey the most exacting and unusual schedule of events. Make them as uncomfortable as possible. But don't tell them about these events until they are well into the data series or training program. (Note that these methods can also alter your data, so you'll get the results you want.) Examples:
  10. NEVER understand the basic operating principles of your equipment. "I don't know" is the best excuse to use when asked how voltages measured by the computer over here indicate forces applied over there. This also allows you to use the wrong equation, if it makes your results more politically correct (or guarantees more grant money). It's also a handy excuse when something expensive gets busted. Ignorance of vectors is especially useful.
  11. ALWAYS attach subjects firmly to the apparatus. This way, they can't escape when they see those electrodes or that big syringe. It also helps to strap them in, in case they pass out. Use plenty of surgical tape to hold everything in place. The extra squirming caused by these devices can usually be filtered out by rejecting most of the data. You can even change the way the subject behaves this way, getting the results you want.
  12. NEVER keep the same equipment during the entire study. It's always best to upgrade. The changes in the data caused by changing equipment don't matter. University data processing policy is more important than accuracy.