Archive for TV-show

a quincunx on NBC

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2017 by xi'an

Through Five-Thirty-Eight, I became aware of a TV game call The Wall [so appropriate for Trumpian times!] that is essentially based on Galton’s quincunx! A huge [15m!] high version of Galton’s quincunx, with seven possible starting positions instead of one, which kills the whole point of the apparatus which is to demonstrate by simulation the proximity of the Binomial distribution to the limiting Normal (density) curve.

But the TV game has obvious no interest in the CLT, or in the Beta binomial posterior, only in a visible sequence of binary events that turn out increasing or decreasing the money “earned” by the player, the highest sums being unsurprisingly less likely. The only decision made by the player is to pick one of the seven starting points (meaning the outcome should behave like a weighted sum of seven Normals with drifted means depending on the probabilities of choosing these starting points). I found one blog entry analysing an “idiot” strategy of playing the game, but not the entire game. (Except for this entry on the older Plinko.) And Five-Thirty-Eight surprisingly does not get into the optimal strategies to play this game (maybe because there is none!). Five-Thirty-Eight also reproduces the apocryphal quote of Laplace not requiring this [God] hypothesis.

[Note: When looking for a picture of the Quincunx, I also found this desktop version! Which “allows you to visualize the order embedded in the chaos of randomness”, nothing less. And has even obtain a patent for this “visual aid that demonstrates [sic] a random walk and generates [re-sic] a bell curve distribution”…]

Dexter on stage

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , on August 29, 2010 by xi'an

Staying “near” Hollywood (in Long Beach) has some unpredictable rewards: we had the pleasant surprise on the last and final day of our vacations to see a filming crew invade the street where we were staying and setting up the stage for filming an accident scene of the [gory] TV-show Dexter, which is a favourite of my son’s. The crew arrived fairly early while I was out running and we had been warned the day before to move our car to a back street. My kids had a great morning watching the preparation of the street, 20m from our house, and then the various filming stages, culminating with the arrival of Michael C. Hall who is playing Dexter (and who waived at them when parking in from of our rental place, presumably making those last hours the most memorable ones of their vacations, while Yosemite was undoubtedly the lowest time!). Here are a few pictures they took during the whole occurence. (The trucks appearing in the show  all mention Miami as this is where the action is taking place.)

While I did not watch the process for very long, catching the opportunity to work peacefully on the translation, I was rather surprised by the static nature of the game. The two cars involved in the accident were brought on a truck, the crash most likely taking place in a studio, and the aftermath of the accident did not seem to fill that much time in the show, despite requiring a full day of work…

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