That is the title of a new research paper, by Lim, Hellard,and Aitken, and here are some of the key results:
Subjects 70 discreetly numbered teaspoons placed in tearooms around the institute and observed weekly over five months.
Main outcome measures Incidence of teaspoon loss per 100 teaspoon years and teaspoon half life.
Results 56 (80%) of the 70 teaspoons disappeared during the study. The half life of the teaspoons was 81 days. The half life of teaspoons in communal tearooms (42 days) was significantly shorter than for those in rooms associated with particular research groups (77 days). The rate of loss was not influenced by the teaspoons’ value. The incidence of teaspoon loss over the period of observation was 360.62 per 100 teaspoon years. At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a practical institute-wide population of 70 teaspoons.
For the pointer I thank Tord Mule, guitar shredder.