Approximately 563 minutes ago, I noticed this peculiar analysis of language use on Pharyngula that suggested that we use the phrase “N minutes”, where N is 5 or 10, with a slightly greater frequency than the web population as a whole. This made me self-conscious for a whole 18 minutes, so I thought I’d better sleep on it for about 480 minutes before taking 4 minutes to make a short post about it. Go on and read the Language Log — it’s short and will probably take you only 2 minutes to skim through it.
Now I’m thinking, because I’m an evil and devious sort, that since this is already a low frequency event where we use that phrase, we can easily muck with people’s heads while demonstrating an observer effect. From now on, everyone try to remember that whenever you reference a short estimated interval of time, and you are about to use one of the common multiples of 5, add one to it. We don’t have to do it every time, nor does everyone have to participate, but by adding a little verbal tic on top of a tic we can skew this analysis.
The experiment began 11 minutes ago. Keep it up.