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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday


  • The Monty Hall Problem
    You're taking part in a quiz show where you're going to win either a Ferrari or a goat. You'd prefer the Ferrari. This is non-negotiable. You may be the world's greatest lover of all things goat, but in this instance you want to win the Ferrari.

    You will be presented with three closed doors. Behind one door is the car, behind the other two, goats - the goats that you don't want to win. The placement of car and goats has been randomly determined. There is no trickery involved here. The host of the quiz, the eponymous Monty Hall, will ask you to choose a door. He will then open one of the two remaining doors. There are two pertinent facts here. 1) Monty knows what is behind each door. 2) He will always reveal a goat when he opens the door.

    The question you have to answer is whether or not you increase your chances of winning the Ferrari by switching your original choice to the remaining unopened door.

  • The Brick Testament

  • Newsom in 2016! / Governor? Pshaw. SF's sly mayor will make a great president for Generation Tweet
    Problem is, Gavin Newsom is not nearly liberal enough.

    Didn't you know? Just ask the various surly bike messengers and coffee-shop anarchists and bitter homeless advocates of the City. They'll gladly tell you: Despite all his hotshot lip service about green jobs and organic public gardens and gay marriage, our fine mayor is actually just to the right of Attila the Hun, a slick and arrogant pawn of the wealthy SF elite, a guy who co-owns a snooty restaurant and hobnobs with the Gettys and most definitely does not drive a beat-up biodiesel scooter to his solar yurt while listening to Fleet Foxes on the hacked iPod he got at the Maker Faire.

    Wait, that can't be right.

  • A frankly thin contrivance for writing on the fascinating issue of subgroup analysis - Bad Science
    Welcome back to the only home-learning statistics and trial methodology course to feature villains. You will remember the comedy factory of the Equazen fish oil “trials”: those amazing capsules that make your child clever and well behaved. A new proper trial has now been published looking at whether these fish oil capsules work. They took 75 children with ADHD aged 8 to 18, split the group in half randomly, and gave each child either genuine fish oil capsules, or dummy capsules. They measured ratings scales, and a Clinical Global Impression scale, but there was no difference between the two groups. The fish oil pills did nothing, as in many previous studies, so this trial has not been press released by the company, nor has it been covered in the media.

  • House Republicans bring strange theories and wacky witnesses to climate hearings | Grist

  • Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe -- And Here's Why It Matters | | AlterNet
    Jonathan Haidt is hardly a road-rage kind of guy, but he does get irritated by self-righteous bumper stickers. The soft-spoken psychologist is acutely annoyed by certain smug slogans that adorn the cars of fellow liberals: "Support our troops: Bring them home" and "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

    "No conservative reads those bumper stickers and thinks, 'Hmm -- so liberals are patriotic!'" he says, in a sarcastic tone of voice that jarringly contrasts with his usual subdued sincerity. "We liberals are universalists and humanists; it's not part of our morality to highly value nations. So to claim dissent is patriotic -- or that we're supporting the troops, when in fact we're opposing the war -- is disingenuous.

    "It just pisses people off."

  • 'Why We Believe in Gods - Dr. Andy Thomson - American Atheists 09' by Andy Thomson -



"No conservative reads those bumper stickers and thinks, 'Hmm -- so liberals are patriotic!'" he says, in a sarcastic tone of voice that jarringly contrasts with his usual subdued sincerity.

"It just pisses people off."

Of course. This is why my wife sports the bumper sticker, "Lobotomies for Republicans, it's the law."

RE: The Monty Hall Problem

It doesn’t say whether or not you have to dress up in a silly costume and act like a total freaking idiot to get chosen to play the game. I don’t think that abandoning every shred of my human dignity is worth it for a Ferrari or a goat, not even for both.

RE: Bumper Stickers

Generally speaking, the kind of car you drive says a lot more about you than some pithy bumber sticker. I mean, isn’t a “Support Our Troops” sticker on a 10 cylinder Tahoe sort of redundant? Or some hippie catch phrase on a Prius? Wouldn’t it just be easier to have another civil war to get rid of some of the bad blood between conservatives and liberals? Or how about we just split the country in two like India and Pakistan? I’d be willing to give the conservatives Mississippi and South Dakota. We get both coasts.

The Monty Hall problem was mentioned in one episode of Numb3rs. And also, in Leonard Mlodinow's The Drunkard's Walk. It's fascinating how simple the explanation is, but with most people it takes much more than it for them to finally accept it.

Or some hippie catch phrase on a Prius? Any Prius I've ever seen has a rather wealthy type of owner who generally prefers not to have bumper stickers on their nice car. The kind of cars with bumper stickers with "hippie catch phrases" tend to be old beaters.

The Prius is a bumper sticker in and of itself.


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