Tag Archives: Probability

Litigation is a crapshoot (“Hot Bench” edition)

Meet the “hot” judges of the new syndicated TV show “Hot Bench” (Wikipedia article here). Unlike every other judge show in this well-worn daytime TV genre, “Hot Bench” features a panel of three judges and goes behind the scenes to show … Continue reading

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Chess piece survival rates

Someone on digg posted a variant of this question on Quora: “What are the chances of survival of individual chess pieces on average.” In reply, Oliver Brennan, a chess aficionado and computer programmer, posted this answer: Update (25 Oct. 2014): The excellent … Continue reading

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Truth and probability

Note: this is the second installment of our review of the paper “Bayesian reasoning in science” by Colin Howson and Peter Urbach. Following their short introduction on gambling odds (see post below for a summary), Howson and Urbach present the … Continue reading

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Probability 101 (independent events)

We recently stumbled upon this wonderful little quotation on page 107 of the book Chances Are … Adventures in Probability by Ellen Kaplan and her son Michael Kaplan (Viking Penguin, 2006): “Consider the sequence of independent events a1, a2 … an” : as … Continue reading

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Who researches the researchers?

John Ioannidis does, that’s who. His 2005 paper “Why most published research findings are false” created quite a stir in academia, and now Dr Ioannidis is at it again with a new large-scale research project, the Meta-Research Innovation Center, at Stanford University. … Continue reading

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Pascal’s Wager 101

Did you know that Blaise Pascal’s most important contribution to the theory of probability is the notion of expectation value? Briefly, the expected value of any given wager is the value of the prize multiplied by the probability of winning … Continue reading

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Are you a square or a sharp?

Check out this report in the Sunday Times about sports gambling. Here is one tantalizing excerpt: In the world of sports gambling, there are two types of people: squares and sharps. Squares make bets based on hunches, hometown favoritism, emotion. Nearly … Continue reading

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What is the probability of going pro?

Check out this interactive website at visual.ly which calculates the odds that any given high school athlete will go on to play sports in college or in a professional sports league. Here is a sample:

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What is the probability that a bill in Congress will become law?

Yes, it’s less than 0.01. Hat tip to Ezra Klein, editor of Wonkblog.

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Pop Quiz

From the math/science section of the G.E.D. high-school equivalency exam: Assume the probability of rain on each of the next three days is as follows: Tuesday: 30% Wednesday: 45% Thursday: 50% Based on the above probabilities, what is the probability … Continue reading

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