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Mark It Down

Posted by Ogged
on 01.03.15

Drum makes predictions.


 

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Trips

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.03.15

There really is an LSD shortage. What a shame. Although like everything else fun, I can't imagine how it would fit into the omnipresent drudgery of my current life.

Via Jammies


 

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I Enjoyed It

Posted by Ogged
on 01.02.15

When football players are mocking other football players for being accused of sexual assault, that's progress, baby.


 

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Guest Post - Friday Puzzler!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.02.15

JP Stormcrow writes: Note: These puzzles take place in Logic Exercises Land where practical physical constraints do not come into play and the informational and opportunity costs of participation are zero*,

Warm up:
You have designed a device that protects eggs from breaking in a fall.
You have the device, 2 eggs, and a 100-story building. Determine the fewest number of "drops" you need to pinpoint the highest story of the building from which you can drop an egg using the device and not have the egg break break.
(Device unharmed by either a successful or unsuccessful drop. The eggs are identical in all aspects and are unharmed by a successful drop. Ground unharmed by a successful or unsuccessful drop.)

Main event:
You have:
100 economists or other "rational" automatons labeled 1 to 100.
100 briefcases lined up in a fixed order (or just labeled 1 to 100).
100 pieces of paper labeled 1 to 100. Each briefcase contains exactly one of these pieces of paper (distributed randomly).

Each autoeconomist gets to look in 50 of the 100 briefcases in any order (and the order in which they look need not be predetermined before they start). To win, all 100 must find their own number on a piece of paper in one of the 50 briefcases they open. They are offered 100-to-1 odds, Should they play? (A nice 100-to-1 payoff, but then the odds of winning with purely random guessing is one in 2100

(Econobots can strategize all they want beforehand, but after the first one starts opening briefcases they have no direct nor indirect means of communicating with each other--briefcases and papers are completely unchanged by being opened or looked at.)

Beaucoup metric fucktons of extra credit for determining their actual chance of succeeding using the "best" strategy.

*That note is intended to be a (surely unsuccessful) attempt to ward off questions of a certain kind. If we're lucky rtfs and/or snarkout will come along and provide an unambiguous statement of the problem(s). I've always depended on the precision and attention to detail of others.

Heebie's take: There is an update with hints. I'll check in after we go out for breakfast and see if it's a good time to post them.


 

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+1

Posted by Ogged
on 01.01.15

Happy New Year, one and all.


 

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More on my grandfather

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.31.14

The last time I shared, we'd just found out that my grandfather had completely changed his identity some time in his early 20s, in the 1930s. For the sake of story-telling, let's say that he was born Yaron Geebwitz, and changed his name to Aaron Geebie. (Being my mother's father, he and I don't actually share a last name, but it simplifies things.)

We were fairly sure that we'd located Yaron's older sister (now deceased), and that she had a son, who I'll call Eli. Eli is alive, in his 60s, and is my mom's first cousin. If we had the right person.

My mom and my uncle were in town, so we decided to call Eli and see what happens. We figured if it was the wrong guy, a short conversation and an apology would clear it up. We got ahold of his home number, and agonized over the script of what to say to an answering machine - how do you convince a stranger to call you back? We squabbled over how certain of our kinship we should sound. We made sure that the script emphasized the names of his mother and grandparents.

My mom left a message on his home phone explaining that Yaron Geebwitz was her father, Rosie was his sister, and Moses and Anne were her grandparents. We all sat back and twiddled our thumbs...

About ten minutes later, the phone rang. My mom put it on speaker phone and we all held our breath. My mom answered and introduced herself.

The voice on the other end said, "This is Eli! Of course I know who you are! Your father was Aaron Geebie! We loved him."

It turns out that Aaron visited his parents back in New York once or twice a year, for Eli's entire life. Eli said he knew his Uncle Aaron very well. They adored him, and he reciprocated. Aaron attended Eli's wedding, a few years after Moses and Anne had died, and met Eli's children born after that.

The secrecy was entirely one-sided - Eli had grown up seeing pictures of my mom and her brothers, hearing all about them, knowing about Aaron's double identity, and everything. There was full transparency with his family of origin. Moses, Anne, Rosie, and Eli all wanted to meet Aaron's family

We asked Eli if he had any idea why Aaron would keep the families separate, and he said he had none - he said his grandfather/Aaron's father was an incredibly loving, warm, guy (which sounds just like Aaron). Eli said his grandmother/Aaron's mother was a bit funny, but it's hard to imagine that was enough to cause a double life.

We were all completely boggled and shocked, and we all found Eli very likable and warm and pleasant. But the alleged estrangement from Aaron's family of origin makes much, much less sense now. It's the first time I've felt any sadness in this whole strange story - these lovely people, so many decades of relationships and celebrating milestones lost, for no apparent reason.


 

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Guest Post - Carry the News

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.30.14

Minivet sends along Where the Dudes Are.

A man's best friend is his dawg. Or his pal, bro or buddy, depending on preference. And, more relevant for this blog, depending on location. Revealed for the first time, thanks to the big data generated by gazillions of tweets: the geography of dudeness.

On a different note, we've got houseguests until Wednesday, at which point I'll have more free time to be online.


 

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And Another Thing About The Police Down South

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.30.14

Some of them appear to have a very sane, reasonable approach to policing and to the proper relationship between the police and the public. Most of you have probably seen the linked message from Nashville police chief Steve Anderson -- it's been all over FB -- but if you haven't, it's worth reading. It consists largely of a response to an email from someone complaining that the Nashville police response to demonstrations against police brutality was insufficiently brutal, and telling the complainer in the gentlest of terms to get his head straight and that the police are there to protect the population generally, including demonstrators.

It is immensely comforting seeing some official police statements that are clearly from the same planet I'm living on.


 

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SF/Oakland meetdown: Jackmormon & Blandings edition

Posted by Ben
on 12.28.14

Monday evening, that is, the evening of the 29th of December, 2014. Nominate locations (preferably in the east bay) in the thread.

Update: Hotsy Totsy at 8 seems like the emerging favorite/default.


 

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Guest Post - talking monkeys

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.28.14

E. messily rants: This article is super stupid! It makes a bunch of claims at the beginning about how "some monkey dialects can be just as sophisticated as human language" and then go on to list a bunch of examples of... single-word calls about different kinds of danger! Which is an interesting topic, but is not new or exciting.

The idea that different groups of monkeys use different calls is pretty interesting, and, if it's true (I can't hear the examples so somebody else should listen to them) the claim about word modification to add meaning is also pretty neat. But neither of those gets you anywhere near the same universe as "just as sophisticated as human language". The monkeys can still talk about a single category of events (something dangerous is happening) that are happening right now (not, hey, remember yesterday when all those snakes were trying to catch us? Hope they don't come back today!)

I investigated* the paper's first author and he seems legit. And I read the abstract of the paper itself and it also seems at least potentially legit, . So I assume this is another example of reporters blowing something way out of proportion and misunderstandng key ideas or whatever. But with sound files of monkey calls, so if you want to go to Sierra Leone and shoot the shit with the monkeys, you're all set.

*I googled him and looked at his NYU profile.

Heebie's take: No, no, they just didn't finish their sentence. "Some monkey dialects can be just as sophisticated as human language when it's not being very sophisticated." It just got cut off.


 

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