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145:110... 132:114... 114:101... what does this page of numbers mean?
November 3, 2013 6:10 PM   Subscribe

At the local dog park, someone apparently found two Post-it notes, covered in strange number pairs, and pinned them to the lost&found board because, well, they look like they might be important! Since then, there's been much speculation about what these numbers might be for, what they might mean. Rather then type it all out, I have an image of the notes themselves, here.

If there's something particularly juicy that would benefit from seeing the entirety of both notes, I will go back tomorrow and grab them... if they haven't already been picked up by the CIA or something....!
posted by The otter lady to Grab Bag (86 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
Someone training for a race? Maybe those are their times.
posted by lunasol at 6:14 PM on November 3, 2013


Page: line numbers?
posted by cestmoi15 at 6:14 PM on November 3, 2013


I would assume that it is a code that gives out words based on page and line number, or in my opinion word number, as suggested. It wouldn't be hard to decode, but it would be the trick of knowing which book they were based on.
posted by Scott Marinich at 6:17 PM on November 3, 2013


x,y coords for minecraft?
posted by armisme at 6:39 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's interesting about the note you can see in full in the photo is that the numbers are steadily descending. The rate isn't perfect at all, but it looks like a trend. That seems like a piece of evidence against it being a code, and more like it being a record of something - I was with Lunasol at first, abt the race times, except I don't see why there would be three numbers on each side - seems like running times would be either in hour:minute or just in minutes. It looks like there's a lot more variation in the other note, though...so maybe I'm wrong?

I also started wondering if it could have something to do with geocaching - but I don't know anything about that and on first glance it also looks like the number breakdown doesn't work.

Fun question! I hope you (we) figure it out.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:45 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I concur that the top one is a record showing a decreasing trend (in columns from top to bottom, then left to right). My guess is blood pressure readings. The numbers seem to be in a plausible range for blood pressure; the initial diastolic being over 110 is apparently dangerously high, so the person would presumably be in treatment, which makes it make sense that (a) they're monitoring their blood pressure and (b) it's going down. (But I have no knowledge of medicine; maybe an expert would see immediately why this guess is implausible.)

I have no clue about the bottom page.
posted by stebulus at 6:52 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was intrigued by the blood pressure theory, but there isn't enough of a spread between many of the numbers for them to be viable blood pressures.
posted by itstheclamsname at 6:58 PM on November 3, 2013


Good guess, but they're probably not blood pressure readings - the systolic would probably read higher. See this chart. Also, usually they are written with a slash / not a colon : as in 152/91, or the more enviable 120/80.
posted by hush at 6:59 PM on November 3, 2013


Ok, then... maybe it's a bookie's notes? Over/under for basketball games, with moneyline?
posted by stebulus at 7:02 PM on November 3, 2013


book code for a message is ... plausible but unlikely - the pattern of numbers doesn't match most examples I've seen. Same with betting lines/bookie notes. It also doesn't match any geocaching puzzles I've seen.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:18 PM on November 3, 2013


In every number pair on the front Post-it, the first number is greater than the second number. Are these sell:buy figures? (The number pairs on the back Post-it mostly seem different.)
Are they odds on a game? The numbers seem too large for your typical, "I'll give you 8 to 5 on Fleabiscuit in the first race."
Is it some kind of calendar thing? (1 for January 1st, 2 for January 2nd, and so on. 145 is the minimum number of characters you need to denote 24 May.)
I got curious and typed out the numbers on the front Post-it. (Feel free to proofread.) (I'm assuming we are looking at one sequence of number pairs that wraps at the bottom edge of the Post-it, and not three columns of number pairs... maybe I'm wrong.)
145 110
147 112
138 108
147 114
141 108
143 110
143 112
131 110
132 111
132 114
127 109
128 114
119 108
120 108
121 108
121 114
116 109
113 110
114 110
111 104
112 104
122 105
117 102
119 106
124 105
125 101
126 107
There are a several repeated values in both columns, and the numbers don't increase or decrease steadily. (So, not likely to be the results of a science experiment.) The average ratio between the numbers is 1.1704%, with a high of 1.318182% and a low of 1.061404%. The ratio does not increase or decrease steadily.
'Blood pressure readings' is a tempting theory because the numbers are in the right range, but wouldn't a bp of 110/104 be un-viable?

Beats me... They could very well be some kind of coordinates.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:28 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps someone thought your dog park should be more inscrutably sinister, like the dog park in Night Vale.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:40 PM on November 3, 2013 [31 favorites]


Timings (in seconds or minutes) of two segments of an exercise?

145s up the hill, 110s down?
posted by sparklemotion at 7:47 PM on November 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Blood sugar level readings, before/after insulin injection?
posted by aspen1984 at 8:35 PM on November 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Some of the numbers on the 2nd postit are not blood pressure, and they don't show the same pattern.
52:115
101:90
15:85
87:3?
posted by theora55 at 8:40 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those look like university course numbers to me. That's how my university (US) encodes courses. The fact that the second parts all start with 1 reinforces my impression.
posted by bricoleur at 9:08 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


FWIW they look to me like they were all written at a single sitting, rather than being something incrementally added to as a series of health/exercise/science readings.

There also seems to be a lot less variance in the second number column on the front post-it. Yet the one behind seems really different in character yet obviously part of the same set.

In short, I have no idea.
posted by Rumple at 9:13 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would guess a runner taking their pulse rate in some sort of zone training or recovery training. Some of the scratch on the second page (I can't make all of it out) seems to be different ways of calculating MHR. This is only a guess.
posted by 99percentfake at 9:14 PM on November 3, 2013


book code for a message is ... plausible but unlikely

It's not very plausible really: you'd need a book with more than 100 lines per page, with all the interesting words in lines 110 - 115.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:38 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I just did a quick graph of this (because graphing data sets is what Tiggers like best!)

On the first page there is some correlation between the two numbers (r2= 0.49 -not a super strong correlation) such that if the first number goes up by 1, the second number goes up by 0.16, and, extrapolating, when the first number is zero, the second number would be 89.

My guess is that the first number is heart rate after they finish doing what they're doing (running a lap or some such) and the second number is what they're heart rate looks like a minute later.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:45 PM on November 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


How about music tempo compared to pulse rates? Runner seeing if s/he works best with which songs?
posted by b33j at 9:45 PM on November 3, 2013


Psalms?

Maybe a prayer schedule for the week or month? Read the first Psalm, and then the second one? Repetition wouldn't matter, as some Psalms may be more important/holy than others.

There are 150 of them, and the numbers don't go past that. Though they don't conform to a missal or anything like that.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:54 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


As someone who has reviewed hundreds of thousands of vital signs, I can freely assert with no trepidation that these cannot possibly be heart rate, blood pressure, or glucose readings. I like the course number theory.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 12:15 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Upon further reflection, this looks like notes of grid coordinates you would take in a video game. I had a similar list back in the day for navigating around EverQuest. Kids these days with their smartphones and in game maps wouldn't understand.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 12:21 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


If they are course numbers, they probably are in the current catalog for a nearby college and form a cluster or two according to the person's major. You may be able to guess the person's major, likely age, likely sex, etc.
posted by pracowity at 1:41 AM on November 4, 2013


Another possibility is a series of uphill and downhill sums in a GPS-enabled smartphone exercise app for a runner. At the end of each session, the app tells you how many feet you have gone uphill and how many downhill.
posted by megatherium at 4:00 AM on November 4, 2013


The number after the colon is always lower than the one before it. I think these are pairs of heart rates, taken by a runner or other athlete to measure the effect of their training. The first measurement is taken during or immediately after exercise. These numbers (145, 147, 138...) seem quite reasonable for a younger person beginning an exercise program. The second number is their recovery heart rate, usually taken a minute or two later. The difference between these numbers is an important indicator of cardiac health. The overall downward trend in both numbers shows that the individual is getting fitter over time.
posted by embrangled at 5:53 AM on November 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Possibly some programming or calculation notes? Similar to those found near the bottom here

I don't know what the exact list is for, but this contains numbers ranging from

200 199
200 198
200 197
...
100 199
100 198
100 197
...
1 199
1 198
1 197

As such, all the numbers listed on the post it appear as pairs on this list. Whatever it is.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:39 AM on November 4, 2013


Ooooh I think embrangled could be on to something! These are all reasonable heart rates for someone moving. The only thing is...147 for a maximum? Maybe for a slow power walker? What kind of fitness level would this indicate I wonder?

omgwhatafreakingfunpost
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 7:51 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it's heart rates then this person almost dies on pg. 2 when their heart rate reaches 15.
posted by hamsterdam at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2013 [26 favorites]


The only thing is...147 for a maximum?

According to the Heart Foundation, a heart rate of 147 is within the recommended training zone for anyone between 20 and 50 years old. Maximum heart rates are a lot higher but most people wouldn't reach max during a run in the park.

If it's heart rates then this person almost dies on pg. 2 when their heart rate reaches 15.

Page 2 doesn't follow the same pattern at all; I think it might be something else entirely. It would be great to see a picture that shows all the numbers.
posted by embrangled at 11:49 AM on November 4, 2013


The colon separater reminds me of a bible/scripture reference. The only problem I have with this theory, is I'm not sure why the person keeps jumping back and forth with the references...unless the person is a pastor and needs specific references for a speech or bible study class, not a study period where you would expect the number to increment somewhat sequentially.

Spreadsheet references commonly use the colon as a divider, but then I would expect to see letters and numbers (like in Excel, for example). But maybe it is something similar? Some kind of database record list?
posted by Eicats at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2013


I am wondering if it's heart rate to something like steps taken/distance/some other readout from a pedometer or fitbit.
posted by troika at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2013


Looks like basketball scores to me.
posted by malocchio at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2013


I spend a lot of time monkeying back and forth between multiple excel spreadsheets for work, and when I'm working on a project I always have post-its lying around to jot down row/column locations. This doesn't look like exactly that, but it's the first thing I thought of.
posted by phunniemee at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2013


If they're basketball scores, the second team is on one hell of a losing streak.
posted by embrangled at 1:49 PM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


There is a cottage industry in New York of "lucky" numbers for playing the various lottery games, perhaps this was someone copying such numbers from a pal who bought the scammy book containg them.
posted by vrakatar at 1:55 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It could be weights recorded for two different people, or one person's recorded weight and corresponding ... something. Average minutes of exercise? The first column in particular goes from 145 down to 119, then creeps back up a bit, and that and the larger-sized jump of loss in the first few days is consistent with a concerted weight loss effort.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2013


I went to the trouble to graph this as if it were a series of (x,y) coordinates.

I really wish I could tell you it makes a graph of a dick or something, but sadly it doesn't really look like anything.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


Possibly Bach Cantatas, but that's gonna be an awful lot of music.
posted by Namlit at 3:18 PM on November 4, 2013


Graphing the numbers against each other as x and y values yields a mishmash of nothing much, but here's a graph that plots them as two separate variables which change over time. If they're heart rates then the person is making good progress, with a possible spell of overtraining or illness around session/week 19 (when the lines veer a bit closer together and the peak heart rate starts going up again).
posted by embrangled at 3:20 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could they be golf scores? Maybe gross:net after handicap?
posted by payoto at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2013


Could also be scores for a card game or dice game, e.g. Tonk or Zilch.
posted by klangklangston at 3:30 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scores of any kind of two-player game seem unlikely because on the top note the right-side would be losing 27 games out of 30, which I would expect to coincide with larger differences in general in the individual scores.
posted by Anything at 3:33 PM on November 4, 2013


If it were only the first page, I'd wonder if it had something to do with weight loss. Current weight : goal weight in X weeks? When I had an eating disorder I used to write out my progress in a sort of similar way.

The other thing I can think of is attendance at some sort of regular event, divided by demographic (men/women?), or votes/answers to a two-question survey, either by date or among different samples of similar size.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:35 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


uh, not 27 out of 30, 27 out of 27
posted by Anything at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2013


Dimensions/measurements? They look a lot like notes I make to myself when I am optimizing a design.
posted by jpdoane at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2013


The one thing that I keep noticing is that on the top notes, all the numbers seem to have been written at one time. It's a consistent format and the same pen is used throughout so it's as if someone wrote them all down at once. So it seems unlikely that it's a running record of something happening over any significant length of time. It could still, however, be a running record that was transcribed from elsewhere all at once so maybe it doesn't matter.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:57 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


What does the note on the notepad to the right of it say? And can you go back and pin up your own post it saying "WHAT DO THESE POST ITS MEAN?"

(I also assume this is a transcribed list.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:20 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know that these would be recordings of an exercise, would they? If the figures were feet, then that's a long distance to go in a single set. If they're seconds, then the person would probably still be there, wasted, under a hedge.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:30 PM on November 4, 2013


I went back today to try and grab the notes, and they were both gone-- along with the additional note to the side of it, Eyebrows McGee, which had an arrow pointing to the notes saying "NO CIA CODES!!" The board was blank of any extraneous postings. I checked the top of the trash, but for obvious reasons I am not going to dig through the trash at a dog park... I will make effort tomorrow to hang out at the park until some of the 'regulars' show up, and will quiz them to see if they saw anyone come to claim the notes, or if there's been any other explanation for them. Kicking myself now for not grabbing a better shot when I could, but I just kind of went "huh", snapped the pic, and only later thought, "I shall ask the Hivemind!"
posted by The otter lady at 5:20 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, if you just want to idly bullshit about this, there is a MetaTalk thread. Please limit comments here to answering the question posed. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:58 PM on November 4, 2013


My first thought was, someone's off their meds.
posted by Dasein at 6:11 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


About 25 years ago, when I lived in Greenwich Village, some unknown person who I suspect was a paranoid schizophrenic used to leave scrawled-on looseleaf papers in the visible front slot of free-newspaper dispensers in my neighborhood. They were covered with enigmatic numbers in groupings that almost looked like calculations, except they didn't make sense. There were also a few scribbled notes, similarly nonsensical and dissociative, but apparently written with great urgency. It seemed the writer believed he or she was being watched/interfered with by shadowy and sinister forces, and these forces would somehow see the posted messages and be warned off. I collected these papers, trying to make sense of them, or at least understand what kind of delusions the unfortunate writer was having, but nothing ever came of my efforts.

This kind of reminds me of that, except that it lacks the urgent and unhinged handwriting. It's just possible that there really is no comprehensible meaning to these numbers and they only mean something to the writer, who is trying to get a message out but doesn't realize how cryptic it is to everyone else.
posted by ROTFL at 6:16 PM on November 4, 2013


someone's off their meds.

It's just possible that there really is no comprehensible meaning to these numbers

Having seen a fair amount of that sort of thing, I agree that's entirely feasible.

The colon's really puzzling - it's not a decimal system here.

I wondered if it's timing for a performance. For instance, you're directing a two-act play, and trying to get the timing to predictable intervals. But these intervals are too long for most two-act plays. If they're seconds instead of minutes, maybe it's voice-over timings for an announcement or set of commercials, or short performances like runway walks in a fashion show.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on November 4, 2013


Oh wait a sec. Found in a dog park? It might be dog agility event timing -- course times, or something like that. Maybe someone who actually does dog agility could verify whether these times could be meaningful course times, or anything else in agility.
posted by Miko at 7:53 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


There might be a bookie who is really pissed at himself for losing this.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:22 PM on November 4, 2013


Not sure if it provides any useful information, but I thought it was interesting to look at the 111:104 at the top right that seems to have been corrected. It contains a different style of "4" than everywhere else (possibly used to be a "1"?), and it seems like the "1" was added later since it's almost on top of the colon. Any idea why the "0" looks like that?
posted by caaaaaam at 9:00 PM on November 4, 2013


Maybe they are triangles? Too bad I'm on a cellphone right now.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:21 PM on November 4, 2013


Just a quick point - the numbers, perhaps, make more sense as performance or diagnostic results when viewed as three separate columns (different people, exercises, sessions etc).

The fly in the ointment is the post-it behind it, where the numbers don't fit the schema at all. Given the lack of labeling, the fact it's on a post-it note, I'm guessing either a) a crazy or b) something really quite trivial or personal - like counting the number of people:dogs in a set time.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:56 AM on November 5, 2013


pretentious illiterate mentioned geocaching earlier in the thread. While the numbers aren't coordinates, there are many caches which involve puzzles which have to be solved to find the actual location of the cache. I could see how somebody would jot puzzle-related numbers on a post-it note while looking at the puzzle on a home computer then head to a location to try to figure it out before finding the cache.

If you want to memail me the location of the dog park I can check to see if there is a puzzle cache there, or nearby, which the numbers might relate to.
posted by valleys at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2013


If it was just the first sheet, my money would be on someone who has a high diastolic blood pressure and has their own blood pressure checking machine. They've checked their BP obsessively (erm, yes, done this too) and repeatedly over a very short period of time. Hence the systolic coming down from some exercise of exertion or stress, then starting to creep up again, while the diastolic remains largely unchanged. The numbers are not far off mine before the lovely socialist health care system here in England diagnosed me and put me on a few meds for life.

Of course, the second sheet totally throws this out of the window. If it is indeed the same type of readings as the first sheet...
posted by Wordshore at 5:22 AM on November 5, 2013


Just some random observations:

1) The paper in the back is different from the paper in the front, in that the digits are all lower and not similarly broadly "grouped" from what we can see, and so might be notations of, say, the successful, or best, or narrowed down, or otherwise significant ones that might have come from other earlier groupings/lists similar to the front paper.

2) Some of the number sets that we can see on the back paper (52:115, 15:85, 23:3?) have higher numbers after the colon (rather than before, like all the sets on the top page), so it seems that having a lower number in second position isn't a function of the overall task, exercise, or record, but perhaps just for the particular section of it represented by the top page.

3) The numbers before the colon on the top paper are mostly roughly descending, beginning in the 140s, going to 130s, 120s, then 1-teens, but near the end skips back to the 120s, suggesting these were overlooked, left out, or inaccessible and filled in a bit later?

4) On the top sheet, this group stands out to me: 119:108, 120:108, 121:108, both because of the static 108, and the three consecutive numbers before the colon. The only other example of consecutive numbers more than two in a row is 124:105, 125:101, 126:107. There are no consecutive numbers more than two in a row after the colon.

None of that rings any bells for me, except for feeling like it's seeking something via x-y coordinates, maybe... but mentioning just to throw in, in case it helps.

I would guess that when they were written, they were probably on a desk, since Post-Its don't really make for a great way to make notations while out and about. In other words, if I were keeping track of some sort of timing or location thing regularly while outdoors, I'd have a small pad or notebook. Personally, I do run into random indecipherable stuff like this on scraps of paper around my house, and it's always because of some game or puzzle I've played/worked on. I rarely can even remember what the weird list / squiggles / numbers / symbols were originally for, but this sort of looks like some of that stuff.

(I'm also sort of curious about the dog park. Before I got a dog, I thought I might take my dog to the park and hang out reading or doing puzzles or whatever on a bench while she gamboled and frolicked, but the reality is that if I even take her, I have to be right on hand in case of dog fights, her straying too far away, etc., and it's kind of nervewracking. Even trying to hold a to-go coffee or bottle of water is a bit much. Is it a dog park that mostly only dogs and their people use, or is a general park where it's okay to take dogs?)
posted by taz at 5:47 AM on November 5, 2013


Miko: Oh wait a sec. Found in a dog park? It might be dog agility event timing -- course times, or something like that.

Yeah, my first thought was flyball splits (time to the ball:time back would make sense, as the dog has to decelerate to get the ball, so the first split would be longer), but I can't figure out a way to get them to match normal flyball times, which would be on the order of 20 seconds per split, even for amateur races.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:18 AM on November 5, 2013


If they're basketball scores, the second team is on one hell of a losing streak.

Not implausible (particularly for high school teams), but we don't have to assume that they are all scores for the same team(s). Sports announcers often read a long list of scores, with the winning team first.
posted by malocchio at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2013


Though Devil's Rancher points out that those are abnormally high basketball scores. Not out of range for swim meets, though.
posted by malocchio at 7:35 AM on November 5, 2013


malocchio: "Though Devil's Rancher points out that those are abnormally high basketball scores. Not out of range for swim meets, though."

Ooh, I was just about to say that , after googling a few pairs of numbers, each result produced a couple of images of swim meets. I'm a swimmer, but don't know anything about competing. We have a lot of swimmers here, so hopefully one will weigh in.

I agree with Devil's Rancher about the basketball scores.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:04 AM on November 5, 2013


Could these be the last digits of a set of IP addresses?
posted by craven_morhead at 9:07 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could these be the last digits of a set of IP addresses?
Good call. It's possible - they are all whole numbers within the range of 0 - 256. However, the thing that makes me think they are not is that IP addresses are usually delimited with periods, not colons.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:21 AM on November 5, 2013


They don't make very interesting triangles.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:12 AM on November 5, 2013


if you had the original notes, you could check them for indentations made by whatever was written on the post-it immediately on top of them, and perhaps the post-it on top of that, like you were deciphering a palimpsest.
posted by bruce at 11:57 AM on November 5, 2013


I doubt that they're basketball scores, there's not much variation from one line to the next, and I think there'd be more randomness.

I could be wrong, but sports odds usually have numbers ending in 0.

I was looking at the margins between the pairs of numbers, and there's a steady decline then incline:

35 35 30 33 33 33 31 21 21
18 18 14 11 12 13 17 7 3
4 7 8 17 15 13 19 24 19
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Post-It notes suggests it may have been transferred to something more permanent later, such as a form.

I'm wondering if they might have been for some kind of city-sponsored survey of park usage, with the first number being the number of people who came to the park in some period of time, such as an hour, and the second number the number of dogs, with each of the three columns representing a day.
posted by jamjam at 7:57 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


These remind me of the probability ratios in HHGG. They could be a ratio of anything, really. If thy were all written in one sitting, they could easily have been copied from an ongoing log of some kind
posted by windykites at 7:12 AM on November 6, 2013


Scores of any kind of two-player game seem unlikely because on the top note the right-side would be losing 27 games out of 30, which I would expect to coincide with larger differences in general in the individual scores.

Unless they're not the same two teams, or someone following a particular team, but just a list of scores for some kind of statistical analysis, always presented in the winningscore:losingscore format. This would also explain the fact that they seem to have all been written in one go.
posted by Dysk at 7:21 AM on November 6, 2013


No word yet from anyone at the park about what they might have been or what happened to them... but my Mom had a theory that they might be stock prices... tracking a particular stock's opening : closing price? Or perhaps keeping track of two stocks throughout the day "Hmm, amazon.com is going up : microsoft is going down"?

That the second note had smaller numbers might mean it was older (when the stock wasn't worth as much?) or perhaps the person was originally counting how many points the stock had gone up "5 pt gain : 30 pt gain" but then decided that extra math was too much and just went to copying the exact price of the stock?

The dog park in question is pretty much a dog-people only park; I have sometimes seen people there without dogs (usually kids wanting to do things like ride their bikes on the trail (verboten) or break/mess with the structures and dog toys.) Drinking, smoking and making out in the woods also sometimes happen but for the most part it's way too crowded with dog-people who take a dim view of such hijinks.

I do know there is one official Geocache in the park, in the wooded area, but it's not a puzzle-cache, just a straight ammo-box find; there are a couple of waypoints because the GPS gets bounced by the tree cover, but it's nowhere near complex enough to need that many numbers.
posted by The otter lady at 7:27 PM on November 6, 2013


If it is stock prices, there are too many pairs, only a lunatic would own that many stocks and/or track even a few that closely. But it could be. I feel like we need to know more about the area these numbers were found in.
posted by vrakatar at 7:59 PM on November 6, 2013


I've been playing around looking for patterns in the occurences of different numbers. The part before the colon has a much wider range than the part after - 111-147. Also, there are few repeated numbers and none repeat more than twice. Here is an inventory of the numbers appearing, followed by the number of times each appears:

147-2
145-1
143-2
141-1
138-1
132-2
131-1
128-1
127-1
126-1
125-1
124-1
122-1
120-1
119-2
117-1
116-1
114-1
112-1
111-1

Meanwhile, the range of second-half numbers is much narrower -- 101-114 -- and many numbers are used much more than twice.

101-1
102-1
104-2
105-2
106-1
107-1
108-5
109-2
110-4
111-1
112-2
114-4

Only a few numbers appear on both first and second halves:
111
112
114

I feel like ruling out any sports timing because of all this - if it were progressive time variations, you just wouldn't have such a narrow range of possible numbers.
posted by Miko at 8:49 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The differences between consecutive pairs seem fairly structured. Most of the time the two numbers move in the same direction -- there are only 3 cases where they move in opposite directions. There are only 4 cases where one movement is not a multiple of the other. The second number never moves by more than 6. The first number moves by more than 6 five times -- and those movements are always 9, 10, 12 (and if the first movement is 9 the second is 4 or 6).

So my guess is that the numbers are tracking two positions in some kind of game, and there are some rules on what movements on possible (and the movements may be determined by chance, maybe a die roll).
posted by leopard at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


So my guess is that the numbers are tracking two positions in some kind of game, and there are some rules on what movements on possible (and the movements may be determined by chance, maybe a die roll).

For what its worth:
The largest movement of the first numbers in the pair is -12 and +10.
The largest movement of the second series of numbers is -6 and +6.
Of course, they both also have movements of 0.

The bad news is that the distribution of the movements for the first number do not look like any die or dice roll. The number 1 predominates too much. It is (8,3,2,0,4,1,0,0,3,1,0,1) in absolute values.

The good news is that the movement of the second number does look like a die roll. The number of differences (absolute value again) for 1-6 is (4,2,2,3,3,6) which is an acceptable random distribution.

Make of that what you will.
posted by vacapinta at 8:23 AM on November 11, 2013


Also, if you look at the graph posted earlier its is pretty clear that there is no correlation whatsoever between the first number and the second.

Essentially they are both doing independent random walks. The random walk of the second number could be simulated by a die roll (preceded by a coin flip to see if the walk is forwards or backwards). The first is a bit trickier than that and may move along an exponential probability distribution.

The thing about random walks is that it is a sequence of numbers where the value of the next number depends on the previous one - since it is the starting point. This leads me to believe that both of these numbers are tracking something over the course of a short time. For example, the total number of people/dogs in the dog park as someone mentioned. Or lots of things really. But more likely a fairly stable quantity of X and Y over a short period of time. It starts with 145:110 then certain numbers of X and Y arrive/leave - either independently or extremely loosely correlated - and this generates the next number. When Y's leave or arrive (or are added/removed or are born/die) they don't tend to so singly but often leave/arrive in groups of 1-6 for some reason.
posted by vacapinta at 8:56 AM on November 11, 2013


its is pretty clear that there is no correlation whatsoever between the first number and the second.

Essentially they are both doing independent random walks.


The correlation between the movement in the first number and the movement in the second number is 0.63. The movements have the same sign 16 times and opposite signs only 3 times (there are also 7 times where one movement is zero). So I don't think they are independent.

When the second movement is 6, the first movement is either 0, 1, 3, 6, or 9.
When the second movement is 5, the first movement is either 1 or 5.
When the second movement is 4, the first movement is either 1, 2, or 9.
When the second movement is 3, the first movement is either 0 or 5.
When the second movement is 2, the first movement is either 0, 2, or 12.
When the second movement is 1, the first movement is either 1, 3, 5, or 10.
When the second movement is 0, the first movement is always 1.

I don't see too much of a pattern here. The first movement doesn't appear to follow a die roll distribution, but it never exceeds 12 in absolute value (which would be 2 die rolls).

If X, Y were 2 independent numbers drawn from -6 to +6, and you shifted the first variable by X+Y and the second variable by Y each turn, that would describe the pattern pretty well... except for the 2 cases were X would have to be 9 or 10. Oh well.

(edited for clarity)
posted by leopard at 12:22 PM on November 11, 2013


Continuing with this model of the first number shifting by X+Y, the second number shifting by Y...

-Y seems to generally alternate: if we ignore the cases where Y = 0 (ie the second number is flat), Y switches signs from its previous non-zero value in 18 out of 21 cases. X seems more genuinely unrelated to its previous values.

-If X = 1, Y is always 0 (this happens 4 times; Y is never 0 otherwise).

-If Y = +6 or -6, the next value of X = 0 or +1 (this happens 5 times).
posted by leopard at 5:59 PM on November 11, 2013


Meta
posted by mlis at 3:20 PM on November 12, 2013


One pattern that does not seem to be mentioned already:

Looking at this chart, the top and bottom lines, with very few exceptions, move in parallel. That is to say, from the 1st number to the 2nd, both move up; from the 2nd to the 3rd, both move down; from the 3rd to the 4th, both move up; from the 4th to the 5th, both move down; etc.

No idea what it could mean or if significant at all.
posted by univac at 4:11 PM on November 13, 2013


Also, my comment in the META:

At least the first ten number pairs can be found in this data set referenced in this book as found through this Google search.
posted by univac at 4:21 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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