Friday, May 14, 2010

(My cat on my new chair)

Of course, he’s using the worst-case scenario to prove a point on that end of the spectrum but there’s certainly the converse on the other end: I’ll call them the home flippers and bankers. Don’t worry, the money will never stop flowing…

We had a logic discussion on another puzzle that was presented by G.’s teacher and that the kids may have understood better than she. I reminds me of something pointed out in the article – we aren’t great with probabilities. Here are the basics from G’s class problem:

1. Two players will participate. One player will have all the odd numbers and the other will have the even numbers.

2. The winner will be the player that matches (odd or even) the final total/sum of two rounds of a random number generator.

3. The first round/iteration of the random number generator will be completely random. This result will be seen but does not mean a player has won anything.

4. The second iteration of the generator is programmed to select an even number two of every three ‘spins’.

5. All of these parameters are known by both players prior to the game beginning.

6. The prize is $20.

7. To play you pay $10 for the privilege.

8. There is no option after the first roll – you can’t vacate the game and have your money back.

9. The only question being asked here is this: Is the game a fair, or equally likely to be won, by either player when they pay their $10 to participate prior to the first number?

On the lighter side, I love Steve Nash. Always have. Having played my share of basketball in my youth I understand a few things. First, when you get to a certain level of repetitive play you sort out angles, distances, and power – or thrust, or whatever ratio we need to use – when shooting. We’ve seen it a million times at the NBA level when players show the innate ability to know where they are, spatially, and where the basket is. Second, for players who are pure shooters there are constants on the court and nothing moves: the three-point line, the free throw line, the basket. What I would anecdotally believe is that if you blindfolded a scorer after putting him at his chosen point along the three-point arc, that he would probably hit the rim 3 or 4 times out of 5 simply because the muscle memory when shooting from point x is pretty much hardwired into his system. But, if you give that guy only one eye – or, take one away – the lack of translation from the optics to your muscles will override what your muscles already know to be true. I don’t know how many shots these guys took during the shoot but, rest assured, NBA players probably only throw up an air ball, when unguarded on a gym floor, once in every 5,000 shots.

Lastly, for the week: they’ve decided to implement a Barnes Dance crosswalk at 7th and H St. NW in D.C. beginning this week. If you hop over and read the story and watch the videos, I’ll give you a bit of visual reconnaissance. In the first video, the Verizon Center – home of the Caps, the Wizards, the Mystics, and endless concerts, is located along the two-block span to the left of the screen. Crossing diagonally from where the camera is, are two blocks of restaurants and bars: hence, the endless pedestrian traffic in the area – all day and all night (there is also a Metro stop underneath the Verizon Center). I have only ever seen the diagonal crossing once in my life and it was in Denver way back in the late 70s; some of the comments to the story imply that it’s happening everywhere but it’s been a rare sight for me. I’m cool with it because I hate that intersection for all the reasons they used to justify the dance; bets on what happens once the traffic cops walk away after on week of keeping it safe?


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