Most people working in paleomagnetism today have access to a high-speed computer, a fast and sensitive magnetometer, and sophisticated data-reduction programs. Until very recently this was not true.
This increased efficiency should have made our lives simpler, but, of course, it hasn't. Work expands to fill the time available to do it, as everyone knows; hence, our enhanced paleomagnetic efficiency has propelled a substantial increase in the number of steps used in routine demagnetization, in order to make use of principal component analysis [PCA; Kirschvink, 1980]. In most cases, one hopes, all this extra work is rewarded by “better” results. But, as this note will demonstrate, sometimes it isn't.