# When geeks run out of coins

1. May 30, 2004

### Chen

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.

2. May 30, 2004

### i_wish_i_was_smart

i have done the same on my Ti-83 plus, fun times fun times

3. May 30, 2004

### Grizzlycomet

That's me in a nutshell

4. May 30, 2004

### i_wish_i_was_smart

Geeks All Over The World Unite

5. May 30, 2004

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:

6. May 30, 2004

### franznietzsche

You're my hero

7. May 30, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
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. May 31, 2004

### DarkAnt

wow, thats just sad and the worst part is...I've done the same thing

9. Jun 1, 2004

### jimmy p

Does it ever land on its side?

10. Jun 8, 2004

### franznietzsche

that'd be one tough probability algorithm...

11. Jun 8, 2004

### baffledMatt

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

12. Jun 8, 2004

### phatmonky

[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

[/ultimate nerdom!!]

13. Jun 8, 2004

### Chen

Flipping a coin is just as random, so it doesn't really matter, does it?

14. Jun 9, 2004

### phatmonky

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. Jun 9, 2004

### baffledMatt

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:
:rofl:

Matt

Last edited: Jun 9, 2004