PhilW wrote:To answer the specific point, yes it does help reduce any potential overall error, but I am uncertain to what degree. I expect the estimates might be quite different made in a room lit by candles compared with flourescent lights; of course it may be that the typical rooms we eat in fall in a narrow enough suitable range that this issue is minimal.
I think that's at least partly Julian's point - the human eye (or rather, the brain) is an excellent compensator and it does it automatically. Provided you have a standard to judge by, humans do a very good job of adjusting for ambient differences. A marked gradient printed on the placemats would simple make this even easier for most to do.
Would it be one where management completely fail to specify their full requirements, blame someone else when the resultant product isn't up to scratch and then fire the engineers who point out the failings and ways to solve it?
That reminds me of a joke.
A man is floating along in a hot air balloon and sees another man on the ground below. He calls out and asks, "Excuse me, but can you tell me where I am? I seem to be lost." The man on the ground replies, "You're in a hot air balloon."
The man in the balloon thinks for a moment and says, "You must be an engineer."
Surprised by this, the man on the ground replies "Why yes, I am, but how did you know?"
"Well," says the man in the balloon, "while technically correct your answer was completely useless and did not help me with my problem."
The man on the ground paused to think for a second, then replied, "In that case you must be a manager."
Stunned, the man in the balloon replied, "That's correct, but how could you have possibly figured that out?"
"It's very simple," the man on the ground replied. "You had a problem before you met me, we talked briefly, and you still have the exact same problem, yet somehow now it is all my fault."