I play chicken with men on the street

Originally posted on mathbabe:

Lately you’ve seen a string of articles about how women say sorry too much. We’ve got yesterday’s New York Times opinion piece entitled Why Women Apologize and Should Stop, we’ve got Amy Schumer’s amazing-as-always skit on accomplished women apologizing for everything including existing, and even academics are weighing in.

This is not my problem. I don’t apologize as an automatic response. I learned that early on, when I got my first teaching evaluation; I had apologized exactly once to my (all female) class about not being prepared, in a summer semester where I met with them daily for 10 weeks, and at the end of the summer they all mentioned that I came to class unprepared. I had never come unprepared a second time, nor had I ever mentioned being unprepared a second time. That experience cured me of apologies more generally.

But I remain curious about how men…

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Hannah and her sweets

Originally posted on God plays dice:

Apparently students in the UK have been protesting against the following question on a GCSE math exam (see e. g. coverage at The Guardian):

There are n sweets in a bag. Six of the sweets are orange. The rest of the sweets are yellow. Hannah takes a random sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. Hannah then takes at random another sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. The probability that Hannah eats two orange sweets is 1/3. Show that n²-n-90=0.

The probability that the first sweet is orange is $latex 6/n$. Now there are five orange sweets left out of $latex n-1$, so the probability that the second sweet is orange, assuming that the first one is, is $latex 5/(n-1)$. Therefore we need to solve $latex (6/n) times (5/(n-1)) = 1/3$. Multiplying it out gives

$latex {30 over n(n-1)} = {1 over 3}$

and we can…

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The most mathematical flag: Nepal

Originally posted on God plays dice:

Do you like geometrical constructions? Then you should like theflag of Nepal, which is the only non-rectangular flag of a nation, is actually defined bya Euclidean ruler and compass constructionin their constitution. See astep by step drawing of the constructionorthis video from Numberphile.

The flag of the state of Ohiois also non-rectangular, but sadly their laws only describe it as “burgee-shaped”. It might be possible to extract a construction fromthe picture in this brochure from the Ohio secretary of state, but it looks like many of the points are specified but their position in a larger rectangle. Ohio’s flag is analytic geometry; Nepal’s is synthetic.

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In an awesome turn of events, signs with rap lyrics are turning up all over Atlanta



Originally posted on Breslanta:

They’re perfectly placed and look like signs the city put up themselves.

All over Atlanta, two dozen signs have gone up in places that have been mentioned in rap lyrics. From the Georgia Dome to Zoo Atlanta to parts of town that the general public doesn’t typically visit, these signs were being discovered seemingly everywhere in the past few days.

It turns out that they were part of a bigger project that came to Atlanta when New York street artist Jason Shelowitz was invited down for the A3C music festival, 11Alive.com said.

(Also read: See the Hawks’ Christmas Day uniform mock-ups)

“The idea was to make the signs look like standard municipal street signs, so that they blend into the landscape,” he told Creative Loafing. “If I wanted them to stand out I would have made them a wild color, but I didn’t want them to be…

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An email from “Ted Wells, Esq.”

Here is an email I received from “Ted Wells, Esq.” (It’s not really from Ted Wells, and the only reason I want to make that clear is because I’m scared the all-powerful Roger Goodell will levy and arbitrarily harsh punishment.)

Dear Greg,

Please help me calculate a probability.  I have been asked to investigate whether Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have conspired to break the rules by using under inflated footballs.  This allegation was made by two different opponents in 2014 and has roots going back over 10 years according to AJ Feely, who allegedly played in the NFL.  Some background data for the probability I need you to calculate:  Based on data provided by Rotowire, Tom has handled 3399 snaps over the past 3 years, an average of almost 71 per game.  If we extrapolate from this to his entire career of 238 games including playoffs, he has handled approximately 16,898 snaps during NFL games.  And before every offensive snap the football is handled by a linesman, an NFL official, who places the ball on the line of scrimmage.

So here is what I need you to calculate:  What is the probability that the Patriots have been using under inflated footballs for an extended period of time, perhaps over a decade, perhaps almost 17,000 offensive snaps, when there have been zero – ZERO – instances in which a game official who handles both team’s footballs over 140 times per game noticed that a Patriots ball might be too soft?  I have also asked Warren Sharp to calculate this for me, but he currently is preoccupied trying to get a gob of peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.


Ted Wells, Esq.

85% is a unicorn – on predictions in the National Hockey League postseason


Great unicorn picture

Originally posted on StatsbyLopez:

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.40.25 PM

On February 20, the National Hockey League announced a partnership with software company SAP. The alliance’s primary purpose was to bring a new enhanced stats section to NHL.com, built in the shadows of popular analytics sites like war-on-ice and the now dormant extra-skater.

It was, it seemed, a partial admission from the league that it’s best metrics were hosted elsewhere.

“The stats landscape in the NHL is kind of all over the place,” suggested Chris Foster, Director of the NHL’s Digital Business Development, at the time. “One of the goals is to make sure that all of the tools that fans need are on NHL.com.”

One tool presented in February was SAP’s Matchup Analysis, designed to predict the league’s postseason play. The tool claimed 85% accuracy, which Yahoo’s Puck Daddy boasted was good enough to make “TV executives nervous and sports [bettors] rather happy.”

There’s just one problem.


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