Archive for digits

Le Monde puzzle [#818]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , , on May 1, 2013 by xi'an

The current puzzle is as follows:

Define the symmetric of an integer as the integer obtained by inverting the order of its digits, eg 4321 is the symmetric of 1234. What are the numbers for which the square is equal to the symmetric of the square of the symmetric?

I first consulted stackexchange to find a convenient R function to create the symmetric:

  function(y) substr(x, y, y)))}



and then found that all integers but the multiples of 10 are symmetric! only some integers involving 1,2,3 and sometimes zero would work:

> for (i in 1:1000){
+   if (i^2==flip(flip(i)^2)) print(i)}
[1] 1
[1] 2
[1] 3
[1] 11
[1] 12
[1] 13
[1] 21
[1] 22
[1] 31
[1] 101
[1] 102
[1] 103
[1] 111
[1] 112
[1] 113
[1] 121
[1] 122
[1] 201
[1] 202
[1] 211
[1] 212
[1] 221
[1] 301
[1] 311

If I am not (again) confused, the symmetric integers would be those (a) not ending with zero and (b) only involving digits whose products are all less than 10.

Anomalies in the Iranian election

Posted in Statistics with tags , , on June 17, 2009 by xi'an

While the results of the recent Iranian presidential election are currently severely contested, with accusations of fraud and manipulations, and with an level of protest unheard of in Iran, I had not so far seen a statistical analysis of the votes. This is over: Boudewijn Roukema, a cosmologist with the University of Toruń (Poland), has produced an analysis of the figures published by the Iranian Ministry of the Interior, based on Benford’s Law for the repartition of the first digit i in decimal representations of real numbers, which should be

f(i) \propto \log_{10}(1+\frac{1}{i})

for the proportion of votes for a candidate among the four in competition. Roukema exhibits a very unlikely discrepancy on Mehdi Karoubi’s votes, with an extremely high occurence of the digit 7. There is also a discrepancy for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s frequencies of 1’s and 2’s that is harder to detect because of the higher frequency of votes for this candidate in the Iranian Ministry of the Interior data. But looking at the most populous districts, Roukema concludes that several million votes could have been added to Ahmadinejad’s votes in those areas, if Benford’s Law holds…

I find this analysis produced merely five days after the election quite astounding, even though the validity of applying Benford’s Law in those circumstances needs more backup…