When geeks run out of coins

  • Thread starter Chen
  • Start date
  • #1
977
1
I needed to flip a coin today to decide on something, but I could only get to a coin if I got up from my chair. So eventually I just wrote a little program to echo a random number... not that it's complicated but I think fetching a coin would have been easier. :wink:
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
i have done the same on my Ti-83 plus, fun times fun times :biggrin:
 
  • #3
That's me in a nutshell :biggrin:
 
  • #5
BoulderHead
Chen said:
I needed to flip a coin today to decide on something, but I could only get to a coin if I got up from my chair. So eventually I just wrote a little program to echo a random number... not that it's complicated but I think fetching a coin would have been easier. :wink:
You see, it's just like I always thought; often it's more work to be lazy then not. Some people expend more energy trying to avoid work then it would take to just do it. :rofl:
 
  • #7
Tom Mattson
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,549
8
Chen said:
I needed to flip a coin today to decide on something, but I could only get to a coin if I got up from my chair. So eventually I just wrote a little program to echo a random number... not that it's complicated but I think fetching a coin would have been easier. :wink:

A program, eh? Now that would be a lot easier than predicting the outcome by approximating the flick of the thumb as a delta function and solving the equations of motion, taking the fluctuations of the local air pressure into account.

Thanks for the time-saving tip!
 
  • #8
193
0
wow, thats just sad and the worst part is...I've done the same thing
 
  • #9
jimmy p
Gold Member
370
49
Does it ever land on its side?
 
  • #10
1,430
6
jimmy p said:
Does it ever land on its side?

that'd be one tough probability algorithm...
 
  • #11
153
0
A PSYCHOLOGICAL TIP
Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No - not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you're hoping

Piet Hein

Do you get the same effect with your random number generator?

Also, you can visit http://www.random.org/flip.html and flip coins from across the world - but be wary of the Belgian Euro! http://www.guardian.co.uk/euro/story/0,11306,627496,00.html

Matt
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #12
member 5645
Chen said:
I needed to flip a coin today to decide on something, but I could only get to a coin if I got up from my chair. So eventually I just wrote a little program to echo a random number... not that it's complicated but I think fetching a coin would have been easier. :wink:

[nerdom ]Actually, writing a REAL random number generator would be
incredibly difficult.
Doing:
Label A
Rand(1,2)
Pause
Goto A
on your TI83 is not actually random :eek:


[/ultimate nerdom!!]
 
  • #13
977
1
phatmonky said:
[nerdom ]Actually, writing a REAL random number generator would be
incredibly difficult.
Doing:
Label A
Rand(1,2)
Pause
Goto A
on your TI83 is not actually random :eek:


[/ultimate nerdom!!]
Flipping a coin is just as random, so it doesn't really matter, does it?
 
  • #14
member 5645
Chen said:
Flipping a coin is just as random, so it doesn't really matter, does it?

No it is not.
Flipping a coin is truly random. Your hand, minute changes in the air, friction on the table, etc. all add to the randomness and none of those events will ever be perfectly replicated again.

A computer (I've read of some that are supposedly trying to actually generate real random numbers, but this isn't part of this conversation) does not actually generate a TRULY random number. It does not have the means to. I can explain more, but google will come up with a million links explaining why - but if you sit and think for a short moment, you will realize that there is no way for our conventional computers, and especially a TI-83, to truly generate a random number at this present time.

Here's a decent link quickly addressing the issue: http://www.cs.sunysb.edu/~skiena/jaialai/excerpts/node7.html
 
  • #15
153
0
But you could argue that choosing the random seed is adding some element of true randomness into the problem (providing you don't know how the algorithm works so have no idea what seed will produce what result - maybe you should roll a dice? :uhh:). Of course, this only really holds if you only draw one random number so I guess "best of 3" is out of the question.

Hehe, this reminds me of something I read in Numerical Recipes:
One of us recalls producing a 'random' plot with only 11 planes [i.e. really bad], and being told by his computer center's programming consultant that he had misused the random number generator: "We guarantee that each number is random individually, but we don't guarantee that more than one of them is random." Figure that out.

:rofl:

Matt
 
Last edited:

Related Threads on When geeks run out of coins

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
3K
Replies
14
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
32
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
31
Views
4K
Top