"Mathnet: The Case of the Deceptive Data Part 4" The Mathnetters get a call from Mr. Hoover asking them to meet him at the garage again. They bid farewell to Mike Pliers, who says that he enjoys watching them work. He's never seen a detective working before without a script. The Mathnetters go talk to Chief Thad Green and then head to the secret meeting place. Debbie, the head of the computer division, is already there, briefing Mr. Hoover. Debbie has been showing him a glitch which suggests that there's something wrong with the ratings system, although Mr. Hoover still isn't sure the system has been tampered with. Debbie points out something odd, about 20% of Vicious Vinnie's alleged audienc is 55 and above. Mr. Hoover suggests maybe he just appeals to old people. George asks again if the people who are in the sample know their viewing habits are being recorded. Mr. Hoover says that they do and the boxes that record their information are tamper-resistant. The boxes report what people are viewing to their computer system. The Mathnetters think that perhaps something is wrong with the sample. The Mathnetters ask for a list of his sample, but Mr. Hoover says it's secret. The Mathnetters finally get him to agree to give them a list of eight homes that are recorded as watching The Vicious Vinnie Show. They head to check them out. The first person they talk with, a young man, says that he watched it once, but now he's watching The Monotone News. He used to watch The Mike Pliers Show. He thought about writing a letter to his congressman, but he has trouble writing. And the congressman has trouble reading. They next interview an odd young lady with strong opinions. She, however, used to watch Mike Pliers as well and she and George share a program slogan. She now watches a nature show since Pliers was taken off. They interview several more Vinnie "viewers," but they all say they were watching something else. After they talk to seven people, they all have the same story. They visit the eighth person on the list, an elderly woman who at first thinks they're selling something. She seems to make a pass at George, but it was actually on behalf is a friend. George, in any case, is married. They ask her about Vinnie's show and she says she found it unwatchable. She too used to watch Mike Pliers, saying that he made Mister Rogers look like a "Cat-Bungler." She says that they should tell the Hoover people to leave her alone. She says they've been harassing her. A few weeks ago, somebody came by and fiddled with her TV set. She provides them with a description and says that he was wearing a three-piece uniform. Kate asks if he had a mustache, but the lady says he didn't have any facial hair at all. They go to check her television set and someone has broken the seal on her ratings box. That means someone could have altered the ratings.moreless
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