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Blog: Plutonium

    Posted by Plutonium on 4th November 2012 at 21:14
  1. NOV
    04
    2012

    10 out of 10

    It's been a while since I posted here, I know.

    Well, I've just completed a Computer Marked Assignment in my OU course. There were 10 questions. You are allowed three goes at each question (only two for some), but your mark goes down each time you get the answer wrong.

    I got all 10 questions right on my first attempt. Whoopee!

    Now I'm going out to get some beer.
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  2. Posted by Plutonium on 19th August 2012 at 07:34
  3. AUG
    19
    2012

    When my number comes in

    Bruce Springsteen sang, on his Nebraska album, "now mister, when my number comes in, I ain't never gonna ride no used car again".

    Leaving aside the semantic issues of the triple negative, this illustrates a contrast between the UK and US lottery systems. In America, each ticket has a single serial number, and whichever serial number is selected, is the winning ticket. Hence "when my number comes in", rather than, for the UK, "when my numbers come in". In ...
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  4. Posted by Plutonium on 11th August 2012 at 11:40
  5. AUG
    11
    2012

    The Perils of Probability

    Human beings' brains are not wired very well to deal with probability. Even mathematical experts sometimes get it wrong.

    A common mistake among gamblers is to assume that, if there has been, say, a run of occasions when the roulette ball has stopped on a black, then the next time round it is more likely to stop on a red. Assuming there are equal numbers of black and red slots on the roulette wheel, and the wheel is not biassed in some way, next time round it is still only 50% likely ...

    Updated 11th August 2012 at 11:44 by Plutonium

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  6. Posted by Plutonium on 28th July 2012 at 09:03
  7. JUL
    28
    2012

    Monty Hall II

    Well, there have been some interesting comments on my last post, but what I think we need to do, is review the situation.

    In the Monty Hall problem, most people's reasoning would be: there are two remaining closed doors, so there is a 50% chance that the car is behind one or the other. Therefore, the your chances of winning the car are not improved by swapping doors, they stay the same.

    In reality, there is still only a 1/3 chance that you picked the right door to start ...

    Updated 28th July 2012 at 09:04 by Plutonium

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  8. Posted by Plutonium on 20th July 2012 at 08:36
  9. JUL
    20
    2012

    The Monty Hall problem

    While we're on the subject of probability, how about one of the most controversial problems in Mathematics, one that has caught out even professional mathematicians.

    You are on a game show. The compere shows you three doors. Behind one door is a brand new car, behind two of the other doors are goats. You choose a door. The compere then opens one of the other two doors, to reveal a goat behind it. He then asks you if you want to stick with your original choice, or switch to the other ...

    Updated 20th July 2012 at 08:37 by Plutonium

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