"Of course," he said, "3 percent error is important, because the total spread in the preference is only 4 percent. So we can't be really sure. But I'll tell you one thing: I bet I know how many people they asked."
Certain that Roscoe had never taken a probability and statistics "seminar" that didn't involve poker chips, I was about to learn otherwise.
"Here's my guess," he continued. "They talked to about 1,000 people. The error on 1,000 answers is roughly the square root of 1,000, which is 31.4. Thirty one over 1,000 is 3.1 percent, which of course is roughly 3 percent."
"Wait a minute, Roscoe," I jumped in. "The square root of 1,000 is 31.6, not 31.4."
"There you go, letting your education get in the way again. Any fool can remember that the square root of 10 is pi, which is 3.14. For 1,000, move the decimal point one place in the answer31.4, done deal."
Well, my math was more accurate, but seeing as how we were going to round off anyway, the difference did seem academic. And it did seem like a fairly reasonable calculation.