Probability and Sockistics

You may have wondered how much you’re going to use the things you learned that were taught in the probability and statistics part of math class. Some people really liked the probability and statistics class. Other people really disliked the class. I was somewhere in the middle, somewhat more towards the like side of things.

Now that I am older and wiser more experienced in life, I can tell you that you will use those concepts.

Because I have young active children, it’s always a race to fold the laundry before someone jumps or climbs on the bed and knocks over the piles of neatly folded clothes. Because of that, some things do not get folded.

Or even sorted…

Like socks.

Story Problem:
Some Guy has 4 different sets of 3 pairs of socks each. If he just tosses all his 24 socks in a drawer without sorting them, what is the minimum number of socks he must grab each morning to ensure that he has at least one matching pair?

Assume there is no difference between left and right regarding the sock pairs.

Also assume the effects of friction are negligible.

Okay, pencils down. Trade papers with the person next to you and mark +10 points for the answer “5″ and 0 points for anything else.

Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; There is no secret that is a match for you.

Ezekiel 28:3


I’m sure this has been done before, but – so that I can honestly say I haven’t seen it anywhere else – I didn’t look it up to check.


image confusing the word force with the word forks with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker

Non-image version
Luke Skywalker: Ben, I can’t get the hang of these chopsticks
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Well then, use the forks, Luke

I think it fits well with Luke’s attitude in Episode 4. He whines a lot and can’t do much for himself.

Then I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will use force against you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath.

Nehemiah 13:21

Winternet Theme

It’s December, the start of the winter quarter. We don’t have snow here yet, but I decided to make this quarter’s theme a snowy one.

It’s not really a new theme – all I did was replace the images.

Anyway, here’s a slightly new look. Expect some tweaks in the days to come.

He gives snow like wool;He scatters the frost like ashes.

Psalm 147:16

The Never-Ending Blog

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because

Read the rest of this entry »

Driving Tip: Intersection Order

There’s a four-way stop on our way to church. Most of the time, the people who go through that intersection are familiar with it and know how to handle a 4-way stop – taking turns and all that.

But last week, there were some people who did not quite understand when they could go. In the interest of the public good, I am writing this blog post to educate drivers who may be wondering about when to drive through the intersection.

Everyone knows how the 4-way stop should work – a person goes in the order he arrived at the intersection. First one there has the right of way. If two people get there at the same time, the more aggressive driver gets to go first.

But aggressiveness was not the problem we had that night. People were not smart. They weren’t bad, just very inefficient.

Here’s a diagram of the set of cars just before it was my turn:

diagram of 3 cars going through an intersection

Car #1 was supposed to go first, which he did.
Car #2 was supposed to go second, which he did.
Car #3 was supposed to go third, which he did but that doesn’t matter for this.

The problem was that Car #2 waited until Car #1 had gone completely through the intersection. You’re both going straight through; your paths will not cross – start driving as soon as you can.

I probably wouldn’t have thought much about it, but then it was my turn. I’m Car #1:

diagram of 3 cars going through an intersection

We were turning left, and the guy to our left was turning right. We should be able to both go at the same time without any conflict. I was before him, so I went. He was next after me, but he waited until I had finished my turn before he started driving.

While that’s technically correct, it is also technically annoying. Sometimes there are 15-20 cars in line. If everyone waits until the other car has gone completely through the intersection, the guy at the end of the line could be idling for twice as long as he should be.

Take advantage of your blocking, people.

If I were Car #2, I would have made my turn as soon as Car #1 started turning. If I were Car #2 and the order was really 1-3-2, I still would have gone as soon as Car #1 started turning. Some people might think that is cutting, but he can’t go until Car #1 gets out of his way. Keep the pipeline full. Out-of-order execution makes microprocessors run more efficiently; the same concept can make intersections better.

My wife and I agree that it should be made into a roundabout. That way, we wouldn’t have to stop much of the time.

When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.

Job 23:9

Watch Your Step

A Grand Entrance

We went out to eat this past weekend. Nothing fancy, just a coney island – a step above a greasy spoon. Near the end of the meal Beta had to use the facilities, so we walked to the restroom area.

Beta is on the small side. So when he has to open doors, he really puts some effort into it. He put his weight into it and shoved the door.

The only problem was that someone was leaving the restroom at that exact moment, so Beta went flying headfirst onto the bathroom floor.

Of all places to be lying on the floor, the bathroom is one of the last ones I would want.

But we washed our hands thoroughly and everything was fine.

A Blaring Misstep

This one is several months old, but I think that doesn’t matter.

We used to have the baby’s changing table near the foot of our bed. That was back when Gamma was higher maintenance and his crib was in our room.

One morning, he woke early. I figured I’d change his diaper and take him downstairs so my wife could keep sleeping. So I grabbed him and made the 5- or 6-step walk from his crib to the changing table.

Little did I know that Elmo was lurking in the shadows.

Chicken-dance Elmo, to be specific.

His hand, the one with the On switch, was right where my foot landed the step before the changing table.

Elmo took that as his cue to start blaring the chicken dance song, in the dark wee hours of the morning. Not only did he play the chicken dance, but he laughed at me.

He laughs at everything, it seems, but this was not funny to me. My wife needs her sleep, especially during those days of having an infant.

Notice I said Elmo’s hand has an On switch. Not an On-Off switch – just an On switch. It’s loud and I can’t stop it. My wife wakes up and wants to know what’s going on. I tell her just to go back to sleep and I take Gamma and Elmo out of the room.

Elmo has since been banished. He is not allowed in our room anymore. But I think he’s been scheming with the telephone because it seems to ring every time my wife wants to nap.

for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

1 Corinthians 16:9

Decades of Baby Names

Some of you may be wondering what I did with that extra hour last week when we moved our clocks back.

Wonder no longer.

Remember how I went through all the baby names from 2009 and combined the various spellings together to get the real counts?

No? Well, your loss…

Anyway, last week I went through the names for the last 109 years (1900-2008) and re-counted each year’s names. Now you can see that alternate spelling are not new. Sure, there are a bunch of ways to spell names now, but that’s no different from how names were 60 years ago. The names have changed, but the variety is still there.

Go check out 1950. But in case you don’t, here is a snippet:
2009: 10 ways to spell Jayden and Aiden.
1950: 7 ways to spell Gerald and Darrell.
2009: 9 ways to spell Carly and 8 ways to spell Hailey.
1950: 9 ways to spell Catherine and 7 ways to spell Karen.

Go visit Some Fun Site for baby names since 1900.

But David did not count those twenty years of age and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel as the stars of heaven.

1 Chronicles 27:23