Tag: Probability

Coin tossing conundrum
This is from The Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects: Research in Recreational Math. It left me so puzzled it took me a while to get my head around it. It’s game – Flipping Fun – and the idea is that participants pick a set of three coin tosses (eg THH, HHH, THT and so on) […]

Ten Great Ideas About Chance: A Review
Unfortunately Ten Great Ideas About Chance is a disappointment. The central idea of the book is to look at ten key mathematicalphilosophical ideas in probability and, using the history of the idea, explain what they are about and why they matter. It’s not that the book doesn’t have some very interesting material, but it fails […]

What’s the evidence your numbers are faked?
Currently reading: Ten Great Ideas About Chance. It can be a bit of a frustrating read – a lot of the chapters about gambling and judgement appear to be poorly explained to me – especially if you’ve ever actually placed a bet on anything (I am far from a regular gambler – I’m not sure […]

Another go at modelling the Labour leadership election
I started doing this for fun and that’s still my motivation – so please do not take this seriously and even if I do slip into using the word “prediction”, above all – this is not a prediction. Anyway my aim is to model the potential outcome of the first round of the ballot of […]

The Sleeping Beauty Controversy
I am reading “The Best Writing on Mathematics 2018” and amongst the various fascinating articles is one on “The Sleeping Beauty Controversy” by Peter Winkler. the problem (Here’s a video link – which examines the problem but isn’t related directly to Peter Winkler’s piece) To steal Professor Winkler’s own description from the article: Sleeping Beauty […]

Correct mathematics but still strange
Imagine you had an ‘unfair’ coin that returned heads 70% of the time and tails 30% of the time and you played this game with a friend (who knows that the coin is ‘bent’): You each put £1 in as stake money every round and then toss the coin four times. If it comes up […]

How to win at “Deal or No Deal”
I have never actually watched “Deal or No Deal“, but I am assuming it is the same as the “Let’s Make A Deal” TV gameshow described in Ian McEwan‘s spy romp Sweet Tooth– which I have just read in the last 18 hours of plane flights, midair turn arounds (bad weather at the destination rather […]

More on Huffman encoding
As well as the basic form of Huffman coding, Huffman’s algorithm can also be used to encode streams to deliver compression as well as coding (at a cost of codes being not immediately decipherable). Once again, with thanks to Information and Coding Theory, here’s a brief explanation. With Huffman coding we can directly code a binary […]

Why isn’t the universe of infinite density?
Another speculation produced by Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Imagine the universe was infinite (along the “quilted multiverse” pattern – namely that it streched on and on and we could only see a part). That would imply, assuming that the “cosmological principle” that one bit of […]

How fair is my dime, part 2
Continuing my Bayesian experiment with a dime coin. Part one is here. So, let’s look at the posterior (outcome) probability density function after the next two tosses. First a head: Now we can see the results near the extreme possibilities (ie H= 1, H = 0) being eliminated completely. Interestingly, although, in reality, the evidence […]