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Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 167

by Myrddin Wyllt (#46677333) Attached to: A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

The optimal strategy (as many posters have said) is R = 1/2, P = 1/6, S = 1/3 for the constrained player (A) and r = 1/3, p = 2/3 for the unconstrained player (B), and the value of the game is 1/6 in favour of B (pretty straightforward game theory). If a fee is charged on every round of the game, then $16.66 is the fair price. If a fee is only charged on rounds with a definite result, then the fair price is $23.07 since 5/18 of the time the result will be a draw. Fair odds for each player, if draws are counted as 'push' bets, are 8/5 for A and 5/8 for B. If B can choose the stake for each round, and is paid off at evens, he should bet 3/13 (23.08%) of his current bankroll to maximise his long-term expectation.

Comment: Re:Useless information (Score 1) 126

by Myrddin Wyllt (#46136541) Attached to: Can Wolfram Alpha Tell Which Team Will Win the Super Bowl?

This is a point that has been made several times in the thread, and I'm not sure I fully agree with it. Although the personnel at a team may have changed several times, they don't all change at once, and the team (especially in the wider sense of backroom staff and fans) retains a distinct identity over long periods. Significant events in the past, such as strings of defeats against another team, winning against the odds in key games and especially losing a key game that you looked certain to win, remain embedded in the psyche of a team for decades.
I would agree that the effect of such 'group memories' is minor compared with the value of current form, but to say that it has 'absoloutely no bearing' is, I think, incorrect.
(I am basing this argument on my experience of UK football, rugby union and rugby league teams, and to a lesser extent on observations of large european football teams such as F.C. Barcelona - I have no idea if this transfers to NFL franchises, and while I can't see why it wouldn't, I appreciate that certain factors could well diminish it's effect)

Comment: Re:Dummont (Score 1) 127

by Myrddin Wyllt (#35688358) Attached to: Robert Bunsen, Open Source Pioneer?

Dozens of people around the world contributed to the early development of powered flight, and even though the Wright Brothers were (probably) first, their excessive and draconian use of patents ensured their work was largely irrelevant to the development of the aeroplane. A lot of other people shared what they learned, which is why many of their machines quickly started to look like our modern idea of an aeroplane rather than the tail-first pusher-prop wing-warping monstrosity that was the Flyer.

I have no problem with giving the Wright Brothers credit for the first sustained heavier-than-air powered flight over level ground, but their subsequent actions had the effect of holding back rather than advancing the field of aeronautics, which is kind of the point TFA is making about Bunsen and patents. The only worse example that comes to mind is Matthew Bolton, who through his sharp business practices and political chicanery only narrowly avoided bringing the entire Industrial Revolution to a grinding halt.

Comment: Re:Get over it. (Score 1) 638

by Myrddin Wyllt (#35426672) Attached to: A Letter On Behalf of the World's PC Fixers

Imagine if you will, you find a lamp with a genie in it. You get three wishes. Most people wish for selfish things, for which only a bad outcome can happen (or so says TV). But you thought this through...

Yes, I have. I wish for an infinite supply of wishes.

I could never understand why people didn't just do that in the stories.

Because that would be a meta-wish, and before you ask, you can't wish that it wasn't because that would be a meta-meta-wish, and genies don't do those either.

Comment: Something other than TCP.. (Score 1) 108

by Myrddin Wyllt (#35249562) Attached to: Vint Cerf Says No To IPv7, Yes To InterPlanetary Web

* [...] Note that 120 sec is defined in the protocol as the maximum
* possible RTT. I guess we'll have to use something other than TCP
* to talk to the University of Mars.
* PAWS allows us longer timeouts and large windows, so once implemented
* ftp to mars will work nicely.

(Comment from an old version of tcp.c)

Comment: Re:Typo or ... (Score 1) 416

by Myrddin Wyllt (#33224218) Attached to: The Great Typo Hunt

-No, it's anodized aluminum.

Ah, the classic example of a typo - (allegedly). The story is that the word was misspelled on advertising in the ninteenth century, and just stuck. Some people disagree, but the fact that patent applications by the same firm use the spelling 'aluminium' lend creedence to the claim.

IUPAC did try to sort this out a while ago, but swiftly folded in the face of massive indifference from the American people. Seems a bit unfair to me, since we Brits got saddled with the US spelling of 'sulfur' in the same drive for standardization, and seem to have adopted it pretty universally.

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." -- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928