Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brian and Bec's Amazing Race Audition Tape

Note: 'amazing' here is a description of the RACE, not the tape.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mr Crook

You ran as a National and now you're all "i am an independent". That is some lameass BS, dog. You take their money and you eat their publicity and now you want to have your cake and eat it too.

I don't care about politics but I damn sure care about douchebags, and you're one*.

*i already knew that though, on account of you're a politician

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sniffle Sniffle

I'm not crying, I'm getting a cold. :(

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

probability zero is not impossible, or is it

Last night at the ol' quizzor, the question arose:

Suppose identical twins marry identical twins. Will their children be identical?

the answer they were looking for was 'no'. The answer I put down was 'maybe, but it is very unlikely'. We were marked wrong - but given a bonus beer (small consolation at the time, but finishing 3 points clear at the end meant it was an ideal trade). The quizmaster's defense? 'it is no more likely than you being identical to your brother!'

In fact, it's half as likely (given that I'm male and so is my brother we've got a little extra chance built into the formulation), but both are still possible. Yes, they're unlikely: but the probability is positive.

That led me immediately to thoughts of the difference between 'probability zero' and 'impossible'. Despite what you were told in school they are not one and the same.

Choose an integer at random. Assuming you can do such a thing (not a very reasonable assumption....but whatever), the probability for a specific integer is zero. Not 'very small', but zero. So every event has probability zero - and so whatever you chose had probability zero. It was impossible, and yet it happened. How miraculous.

There are plenty of cases in mathematics where this comes up, but very few in the real (ultimately finite) world. However, too many people take this real-world intuition and drag it, kicking and screaming, into the abstract world and treat it as fact.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

`Unaustralian' is unaustralian??

In an odd turn of events I found myself watching Lateline last night. Why is this odd? Because I hate so-called `serious' current affairs, and don't care to watch the schoolboy bickering of middle-aged millionaires.

But tonight it was about SPORT! So I made an exception. Specifically, it was a discussion of perhaps the biggest story in Australian sports history. Big enough that it made me care for a fleeting moment about Rugby League. Bigger in some sense than Tiger Woods, and bigger in every sense than the Starcraft Betting Scandal.

For anyone out of the loop, the Melbourne Storm was caught engaging in rampant salary cap breaches and covering it up. They were punished about as harshly as they could be, short of cutting off all the players' feet. They were stripped of two premierships, three minor premiership, and any chance of making finals this year.

The discussion was interesting and led to deeper questions: how did the NRL allow them to get away with it for 5 years? More important, were the players oblivious, or complicit?

But one thing stood out to me. A former NRL Player Warren Boland and the ABC sports dude (just made a freudian typo, and called him a `dud') Peter Wilkins - no, not the Entertainment Guru who falsely accused Jeff Goldblum of dying last year - came on to discuss it.
PETER WILKINS: Yes and there was a sad irony tonight. Just before the Footy Show on Channel 9 they're promoting the Anzac Day NRL matches involving the Melbourne Storm, they're talking about Australian values and sacrifice in this ad and then here we are with something un-Australian, something slimy, something underhand.
I got an australian value for you. PISS OFF. How tired can one sentence be? Not only does it misuse `irony' and use that old chestnut `unaustralian', but name-checks the ANZACs, the ol' diggers. Well done old man, you're officially out of touch.

Can the word `unaustralian' be used without irony? Maybe if you're talking to a 55-year-old CWA member who's too busy running her B&B to actually think for a second about what an `australian value' is, or a Young Labor/Liberals/Family First kid who's too afraid to call you out in case he ends up looking silly because nobody else has the guts, either.

Well I'm neither of those things. GRAGRARHG

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Quarter

It has been precisely (enough) three months since last I wrote here.

For all the hectic nature of the year's end and the new year's beginning, it's all so structured that it flies by and there's little room for anything but experiencing it. For those wondering, it was pretty good. Pretty standard, which means pretty great. I love Christmas.

I started playing squash once a week, and rediscovered my nontrivial anger problem. The good news is I'm better at it, and I'm able to keep it on the court. For now.