Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peanuts and Poppers


I'm supposed to be studying for my comprehensive exams, which are tomorrow. However, I am posting a post here instead. I need to take a break anyway, because I have some Reese's Pieces and Peanut M&Ms, and they were in my pocket for a long time so they're warm and squishy now, so I need to wait for them to be cooled down by the sweet, sweet air conditioning before I can eat them, and I can't study without eating chocolatey snacks contemporaneously *.

Here is a list of facts:

  • According to my reading, many independent sources (Popper, Khaneman, Tversky, Peanuts' Linus) contend that the "most random" string of five letters is: 01101. From now on, when someone asks what my favourite number is, I will say "01101". Then it will no longer be random, because it has special meaning, being Phronk's favourite number. So if someone is like, "pick a random number from 01000 to 01200!", and I say "01101", they will say "that is not random! That is simply your favourite number!" TAKE THAT KARL POPPER! PWNED!!!

  • I've decided that all of my blog posts will contain at least one sentence that is all in capital letters, ends with an exclamation point (or interrobang (‽)), and is less deep and/or thought-provoking than it looks.

  • I was walking down the hall today, and heard a very loud radio. I wondered what someone would be doing blasting a loud radio in the middle of a public hallway. Then I looked, and saw that the radio sound was coming out of a man's mouth. His voice sounded just like it was coming out of a radio. I dunno what it was...maybe a hint of static, a weird hollow-type sound, or a booming too-happy DJ style of talking.

  • * Contemporaneously should not be a real word.



15 comments:

Dead Robot said...

the radio sound was coming out of a man's mouth

Too much time playing Silent Hill...

Erica AP said...

I always write things in caps that have little meaning. It's the new wave of blogging, don't you know??

Shora said...

I think it should be a real word, but it should be spelled with a Canadian "u" in it.

Contempouraneously

SharkBoy said...

ahhh... that kind of poppers...

madamerouge said...

I have a different kind of poppers... in a small vial, in my nightstand drawer.

Mitzzee said...

madamerouge that is so bad!

i always thought it WAS a word! LOL

sarah said...

You lost me at "the most random string of 5 letters"... How would you calculate the "most" random? You can measure randomicity? And why would that even matter? Like how would you use that practically? I don't understand your discipline! But I gotta say that I laughed at your little scenario you painted. You are so smart as to confuse me and so hilarious as to make me giggle. Good combo!

Salem said...

the radio sound was coming out of a man's mouth

Too much time playing Silent Hill...


I was thinking maybe Susan Dey

Phronk said...

Yeah, or Stephen King's "Cell".

Sarah: Yeah you can measure randomness. It has practical uses, like if you want to assign people to two groups randomly...gotta make sure the sequence you assigned them in is actually random. Not sure if the sequence here is based on any mathematical measures of randomness or not...it may just be an intuitive thing. If you change any 1 to a 0 or vice versa, it just "seems" less random (e.g. 01111).

I'm going to go take a popper now ( don't even know what that means, I just want to fit in)

sarah said...

I guess assigning random groups is important...ish? But there are like degrees of random? Like we need these groups to have a random rating of 5 versus these groups to have a random rating of 2! Any more randomness and we're in big trouble!!!! And by intuiting randomess, that kind of makes sense. But wouldn't adding in like some Ks or some Us or even an X or a 5 or something make that series of letters more random? So I guess for making random groups of people you would randomize it by difference and try to split them up according to characteristics like age, sex, occupation, race, etc to achieve randomnicity? Which criteria would you use? I guess it would depend on the reason you want to put these people into groups. AHH! My unwillingness to concentrate on my thesis is making me think too hard about this stuff again and I know I'm not making any sense right now!

I'll leave you with this: According to my calculations, you are the most random. I think you're much more random than 01101. So there!

Jason said...

I'm glad I don't have exams. Good luck with them though.

Phronk said...

Thanks Jason!

Sarah: Well yeah, assigning truly random groups is crucial for experiments (like those in psych and medical trials). For example, let's say you're testing a drug's effectiveness on memory. You split people into two groups, RANDOMLY (maybe by a coin flip, or a computer's random number generator), and give one group a sugar pill (a placebo), and the other group an identical pill except for the fact that it contains the drug. You then test both groups' memory performance.

If there's a difference between groups, you know the drug caused a difference in memory. If group assignment was not random, we could not make this causal interpretation. For example, let's say they tested the drug group in the morning and the placebo group in the afternoon (i.e. they were assigned based on time of day rather than randomly). Are the differences in memory because people tend to perform better at memory tasks in the morning? Or do "morning people" have better memory in general? Or was it actually the drug that caused the difference? Without random assignment, we have no way of knowing.

There's no need to worry about things like age, gender, etc., unless those are of specific interest. Coin flips and computers don't care about age and gender. The whole point of randomly assigning the groups is so these individual differences even out (in the long run), so you can be sure that any difference between groups is ONLY due to whatever you divided the groups based on.

Scientists usually don't really think about the degree of randomness or anything (but maybe they should)...they just flip their coins or whatever and assume it was random enough.

As for the number sequence, I assume they were limiting themselves to sequences with only two possibilities in each position (like in binary with 1s or 0s). In that case, I guess 10010 would be equally random.

Look! You're learning stuff while you procrastinate!

sarah said...

Oh... I get it now. It's methods for experimenting... Makes perfect sense. I could so be a psychologist. You probably want me to take your comps now for you, rght? I will but it will cost you.

Phronk said...

You can write the rest of my comps for me. I don't have money, but I can pay you in..hmm...well...I have a few beer bottles in my pocket?

Phronk said...

That was supposed to say bottle CAPS.