Over the course of the last year Improbable has attempted to address the question of whether the number of new patents for golfballs might or might not be used as a continuous gauge for human ingenuity. With the recent publication of December’s figures, The full results are now in.
Highest monthly level : 11 golfball patents
Lowest monthly level : 2 golfball patents
Yearly total : 98 golfball patents
Arithmetic mean (per month) : 8.17 (approx.) golfball patents
Median : 8 (monthly) : golfball patents
Mode : 7 (monthly) : golfball patents
Rate per day : (bearing in mind that 2012 was a leapyear) : 0.2678 (approx.)
Days per golfball : 1 new golfball patent every 3.7347 days (approx.)
 Is the rate likely to increase or decrease?
• • • • Based on the need for new golfball designs.
• • • • Countered by the increasing difficulties in perfecting such a (relatively) simple device.
• • • • Observing the facilitating effects of technological progress.
• • • • Standing on the shoulders of previous inventors.
 Are there a finite number of conceivable golfballs?
 With sufficient effort, might we oneday arrive at the best of all possible golfballs?
• • • • Or instead develop a branching taxonomy of gofballs?
 Drawing on post-constructural interpretations of materiality, can we meaningfully contrast golfball epiphenomena manifested in transformational causal renderings of co-occurrent assemblages with the corresponding contextual modalities of their spatiotemporal articulated relatedness – or not?
With regard to forward-looking statements: Historical data should not be taken as an indicator of future performance. The Golfball Index may go down as well as up.
While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate(ish), no guarantees for the currency or accuracy of the information are made. Representations of data are provided ‘as-is’ without express or implied warranty of any kind, including but not limited to fitness for a particular purpose, or warranties regarding satisfactory quality, security, compatibility, security or accuracy.
Many thanks to all the resourceful golfball inventors across the globe, without whom none of this would have been possible.
Note: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future” Niels Bohr (1885-1962)