The Stupid Coin Flip Problem

I’m really not that interested in talking about this again, but I read a passage (about an entirely different topic) that made me think about this. Here’s the passage:

You can flip a coin 100 times and have it come up tails 60 times. It’s an unlikely result, but it happens. About 3 percent of the time, you’ll get 60 or more tails.

You can flip it again the next day, and it can come up tails 60 times again. This is possible, and no doubt has been done before. (Again. Don’t do this. It is so boring! Read more football instead. That’s a good use of your limited time on our doomed planet.)

If you flip the coin 100 times for 100 days, though, you’re not going to keep getting tails 60 percent of the time. Regression, the most powerful arm of probability, will tug the percentage back toward 50 percent. It just will. It doesn’t have a choice, and neither does the coin.

I’ll go over what stands out in the comment below.

Solve the Brewster’s Millions Challenge

Montgomery Brewster could receive a lot of money if he could overcome one challenge–namely, he had to spend $30 million dollars in one month–basically $1 million a day. In the challenge, I believe only a smart percentage could be given away. Additionally, if he bought or did anything of value, the value would be added to the remaining balance. This was from a movie, that most of you know, and maybe the amount would be different now. In any event, I like thinking about ways I would overcome this challenge. How would you solve this challenge?

Trump: Impeachment Thread–Is it Time?

This thread is for links and comments about on impeaching Trump. Should the House of Representatives impeach Trump? Should they do so even if the Senate won’t convict and remove him? The first thing I’m going to post is a twitter thread from Yascha Mounk, a political scientist who studies democracies. Mounk lays out the two key questions that one should ask, in my opinion Continue reading “Trump: Impeachment Thread–Is it Time?”

Should Schools Be Graded?

The DOE Superintendent and HSTA have complained about the Honolulu Magazine’s annual grading of public schools. Is their request reasonable? I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think there is a legitimate need to assess schools, and I also the demand for this information is legitimate, especially for policymakers, taxpayers, and parents. On the other hand, I’m have serious doubts creating a fair and accurate evaluation of schools. How do you define what makes a successful school? How do you evaluate or measure this? These two questions are challenging by themselves, but even if one could answer them, one would have to be able to separate various factors that would go into school success–especially the students and their families and the quality of the school staff. Schools with many ambitious students, with little physical, cognitive, social, or emotional problems, will have a greater chance of succeeding, then a school with large group of students who are unmotivated and have a host of problems. In my view, a fair and accurate assessment would have to separate these factors, and, again, I have serious doubts this can be done well.

Idea for News TV Show: The Accountability Board

General idea:

The show will feature a panel of journalists and pundits that represent at least the left and right. Panelists, lead by a moderator, will discuss issues, giving everything from general remarks analysis, predictions, etc. Some of these remarks will be summarized at put on a large board–picture at table with the top row with the name and picture of each pundit per column. In the rows below will a list of questions or issues. In the pundits column we will see some of their comments and/or a summary of their comments.

One of the main effects of the show I’d like to see is the reputations of pundits becoming linked to the degree to which their analysis and comments are reasonable, logical and fair. Ultimately, the rewards should come in the form of improved reputation and status, while punishments should have the opposite effect–e.g., the reputations of those who make outrageous comments, lie, etc. will take a big hit.

One format I’d like to use on the show is to present at least two types of narratives or theories about an individual or situation. For example, with Trump, the great dealmaker who Washington hates because he’s crude outsider that has made them look foolish, might be one theory. The other theory is that Trump is a conman, who only cares about enriching himself. Pundits will all stake on their positions on each theory. As new information comes in, the pundits can adjust their position. In these reviews, the moderator can bring up previous comments made by the pundits–both positive and negative. One variation is the entire panel can also vote on whether an individual pundit is being reasonable, operating in good faith, etc. And these comments can also be put on the accountability board as well. Basically, the idea is to hold a pundit accountable for their public statements.