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Showing posts from June, 2010

Odds of Winning the Lottery

I received a newsletter from a prominent financial and risk services firm where it was stated that the odds of winning the lotto are:

0,0000072 % with an average pay-out of R2,25 million
The chances of picking five correct balls and one correct bonus ball are only slightly better at 0,000429 %, with an average payout of R173 130,22
Not playing could make you R804 000 better off over your lifetime

This seemed a bit optimistic to me so I investigated the odds of winning the lottery while listening to Cryptopsy and Origin on the Jewtube Relapse Records channel.

How does probability work?
You divide the amount of desired outcomes by the total amount of possible outcomes. If you are casting a dice, you want one number out of six possible numbers. Thus, your odds of getting any one number of a dice are 1/6 or 0,166666667, times 100 to give you 16,6666667 %. For more on probability, see my Bayesian analysis post.

What are the chances of winning the lottery?
This problem could be sub-divided into a f…

The Demon of Descartes

South African author Joan De La Haye offers Demon Friday. Surprisingly, it's each Friday and it involves a demon from one grimoire or another. She also greets us as 'freaky darlings', similar to Vampira. Top class!

This is my own take on Demon Friday, except it's not always on Fridays and it doesn't feature real demons or pictures of real demons. Sorry.

These are all my posts on demons:

The demon of Laplace, regarding probability.
The demon of Maxwell, regarding thermodynamics.
The demon of Descartes, designed to invoke skepticism.
The demon of Morton, designed to make one aware of confirmation bias.




René Descartes invented the evil genius, or evil demon, to illustrate how far his skepticism stretched. The evil genius of Descartes presents a complete illusion of the outside world to the senses. In addition, Descartes's demon presents an illusion of a physical body to the senses. Similar to the Truman Show scenario, this demon keeps us captive in a simulated reality wh…

The Demon of Maxwell

South African author Joan De La Haye offers Demon Friday. Surprisingly, it's each Friday and it involves a demon from one grimoire or another. She also greets us as 'freaky darlings', similar to Vampira. Top class!

This is my own take on Demon Friday, except it's not always on Fridays and it doesn't feature real demons or pictures of real demons. Sorry.

These are all my posts on demons:

The demon of Laplace, regarding probability.
The demon of Maxwell, regarding thermodynamics.
The demon of Descartes, designed to invoke skepticism.
The demon of Morton, designed to make one aware of confirmation bias.



Maxwell's demon is a thought experiment proposed by James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell invented the demon to attempt to show that the second law of thermodynamics is only a statistical anomaly and not a rigid, unbreakable law. Like the law that prevents Ozzy Osbourne from taking a slash on the Alamo cenotaph.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics Revisited
Remember that the second law…

The Demon of Laplace

South African author Joan De La Haye offers Demon Friday. Surprisingly, it's each Friday and it involves a demon from one grimoire or another. She also greets us as 'freaky darlings', similar to Vampira. Top class!

This is my own take on Demon Friday, except it's not always on Fridays and it doesn't feature real demons or pictures of real demons. Sorry.

These are all my posts on demons:

The demon of Laplace, regarding probability.
The demon of Maxwell, regarding thermodynamics.
The demon of Descartes, designed to invoke skepticism.
The demon of Morton, designed to make one aware of confirmation bias.



Inspired by this medieval motley crew, I decided to offer a grimoire of demons closer to my heart. Or perhaps closer to my head.



Pierre-Simon Laplace as captured by the Wikipedia paparazzi.

Laplace's Demon
Pierre-Simon Laplace is famous for being both French and smart simultaneously. In this rare combination, he managed to contribute to the development of mathematics and sta…

Mortal Kombat Finish H.I.M

I love retro games.

Five reasons why Prince of Persia is awesome

This is a guest post by Sally Partridge. I'm a little confused because the last Prince of Persia I played consisted of a little pixelated Persian running zig-zag up and down stairs, hanging from floors and breaking through ceilings. Those were the days. Now apparently there's a film out: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.



1. Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake has left gay cowboy territory far behind and stepped into the realm of hot skirt wearing men ala Brad Pitt and Eric Bana in Troy, the fellas from 300 and even, although to a far lesser extent, Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

I felt a small twinge of guilt admiring Taylor Lautner's naked, bronzed chest in New Moon but that adolescent fantasy got swept through the door when Jake entered the scene. His burnished Persian bod is most definitely PG-rated, and at my age, totally achievable.



Gemma Arterton. Seems like they rounded up every thespian with a hook nose for this film.

2. Jerry Bruckheimer
One website dubbed legendary producer Jerry Bru…