CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Found 4 posts tagged ‘probability’

Yearbook Weirdness – December 10, 2021 (permalink)

Seems unlikely, but it's the same odds as getting any other hand.  From Richmond Technical's 1981 yearbook.

*For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#vintage photo #vintage yearbook #playing cards #probability
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Nonsense Dept. – May 17, 2016 (permalink)

We call hogwash where we find it.  There's a probability puzzle popularly called the "Monty Hall Problem."  Entire books have been written about it, but we feel compelled to establish that it is pure nonsense.  A contestant on Let's Make a Deal declares a choice from three doors (two hiding goats and one a new car).  Then the host reveals a goat behind a door not chosen and suggests the possibility of switching to the other remaining door.  On paper, this is a counterintuitive paradox in which the contestant is convinced of a 50/50 chance of success, when in fact switching doors offers demonstratively better odds.  However, theorizing about the puzzle is ludicrous, and the considerable debate over the years is meritless, for the simple reason that a game show is a piece of theatre tantamount to a magic trick.  The host of this purported gambling scenario obviously works for "the house" and knows where the car is hidden (presuming—which one cannot, in fact—that the car is not moved from door to door behind the scenes).  Based upon subtle facial expressions and tones of voice (neither of which can be tabulated mathematically), the contestant wonders about being manipulated (with good reason).  Creating truth tables or running simulations of possible outcomes is meaningless because there is no circumstance in the real world where any of the probability theory could possibly be relevant.  There's a reason why the game show does not allow the contestant to simply walk up to a door and open it to determine the outcome.  Just as a magician displays a deck to prove that it's well-shuffled (which it isn't, and that's why pains are taken to prove otherwise), the host opens a door with a goat as part of an elaborate psychological and theatrical presentation that "proves" the outcome is random.  The outcome is not random on a television show designed to entertain.  The contestant wins if the powers that be wish to give away a car during that episode, period.  There is no other conceivable consideration (sorry, mathematicians and statisticians!).  While we tip our hat to those who are capable of modeling possible scenarios ad nauseam, the "Monty Hall Problem" is no problem at all.

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
#goat #probability #monty hall problem #let's make a deal #math puzzle #door number one #scientism #monty hall #game shows #embarassing math #clueless #false statistics #the statistician is your enemy #believe nothing
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought – December 10, 2015 (permalink)

We encountered these books one after the other today — wild animals described by a Wolf alongside Hawkes' tenants of the trees.  We've seen enough examples like these to wonder whether a career could possibly be shaped by one's name, as in that meme about how a disproportionate number of dentists are named Dennis.  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry from Forbes tries to bah-humbug the fun by countering the report in the New Republic, saying: "Even if it were true that there were more dentists called Dennis, there would still be no evidence for having the name Dennis causing people to become dentists."  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry doesn't address what exactly caused him to write about probability over a career in dentistry, and we wouldn't dream of mentioning that another fellow named Pascal just so happened to have founded the theory of probabilities.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#vintage illustration #what's in a name #probability #dentists named dennis #pascal
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought – August 4, 2011 (permalink)

"All things are possible, and the longer they are in coming, the more probable they are."
—Gustav Meyrink, The Green Face
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#probability #gustav meyrink #all things are possible
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