BrainDen.com - Brain Teasers # mmiguel

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## Everything posted by mmiguel

1. A funky looking piece of electrical material has a length of 2 cm on the x-axis, which is the axis of current flow. Assume a coordinate system where the object is sitting between x = -1 cm and x = 1 cm. The cross-sectional shape of the object is circular, with radius varying as a function of x like so: r(x) = 0.04 + 0.4*x^2+x^4 r(x) is in cm A differential volume of this material has a resistance of R ohms in the the direction of current flow, where R varies with distance from the x-axis. If the distance of the differential element from the x-axis is p, then R(p) = 2*sqrt(p) R(p) is in ohms What is the total resistance of the whole object for current flowing along the x-axis?
2. Mr. Wonka produced 100,000 Wonka bars this year, 5 of which have golden tickets inside of them. To appease his spoiled daughter, Veruca, Mr. Salt is willing to buy enough Wonka bars to ensure with probability >= 75% that he will have purchased at least one of those tickets. How many does he need to buy?
3. Thank you for your input in this discussion. Quote: "There seems to be a bit of a problem with the question. You have stated the properties of the random number generator, for example, that it is unbiased. However, if we were to make an objective interpretation, using an objectivist interpretation, I don't think we can say that the generator is unbiased if the experiment (i.e. seeing what number it produces) has never been done before, thus the only sensible interpretation would be a subjectivist one." There are two "experiments" under discussion here though, one of which has been done before (to determine distribution), and one of which can only ever be done once. The first is the one for which I laid out the uniform distribution, which I agree is repeatable (though only due to abstraction ultimately coming from a subjective perspective), and for which there should be no confusion. The second experiment is a unique measurement in the real world at a defined point in time. There is a distinction between the abstract model (first experiment) and a real, physical measurement that coincides with some trial of this abstract model. I believe the purpose of probability is prediction of such real, physical measurements. My problem is that the claim of objectivity in probability fails when applied to a statement of any single real, physical measurement, unless the absolute truth of statement is known. Relative frequency works fine if you are talking about a large number of physical measurements, but fails to say anything useful if applied only to any specific one (you can only assign it a value of 1 or 0, but only if you know which one it is). The Bayesian interpretation however easily applies to any specific measurement. I agree with your statement that the only sensible interpretation here is subjective, but I think that in general, the only sensible use of probability in general is inherently subjective. Quote: "Note that once the generator has output the 7, the experiment has not yet completed for Chris, so he cannot yet make an objective assessment." What part is not complete? Which of the two experiments? Quote: "To say "there is no such thing as repetition from a truly objective standpoint" is not true if we allow for abstraction, and we communicate for the most part in abstractions. You could, for example, say that there is objectively a repetition of things which are blue. " I think that abstraction itself is subjective. Let us ponder the concept of abstraction. Abstraction is the opposite of specification. It is essentially the removal of details. As an example, there could be a classroom full of children, each child is different in at least some of their characteristics (e.g. height, weight, name, gender, spatial position, personality, ...etc). Instead of thinking about each of them as completely dissimilar entities, which would be impractical, we can, from observing their common characteristics, abstract out the concept of student by removing from consideration details which we designate as not important. We make spatial position not important in the definition of the concept of a student i.e. a student may have any spatial position and still be classified as a student. We leave important characteristics, i.e. such as being enrolled in the school. By removing information (i.e. unimportant characteristics) we have established an abstract group of specific entities. Another example is numbers. Numbers are abstract concepts as well. You can communicate the concept of the number three by showing me three apples, then telling me to remove all characteristics associated with apples. What is the point of this rambling? ---> Abstraction is the removal of unimportant information, however the judgment of what characteristics are unimportant is subjective. Hence the concept of abstraction can only exist in a subjective perspective. All hypotheticals that we might imagine or define, come from real, physical observations which we have watered down (i.e. removed details i.e. abstracted) to form abstract objects for the sake of practicality (and this is very much a good thing). Your example: Repetition of things which are blue ---> remove all characterstics from the concept except those relating to whether the emitted/reflected light is within a certain frequency range (the blue range). So I agree, repetition is possible with abstraction, but I argue that abstraction itself is subjective, so I disagree about repetition existing from a truly objective standpoint. I know this is all largely philosophical, however I think it is important for understanding probability, since how one believes in this determines whether or not they would answer questions like the probability of the population mean falling within a confidence interval. Different beliefs about these philosophical details yield completely different answers to questions like that. It seems like you agree that probability is inherently subjective, although I'm not certain that you do.
4. Alice's question is specific to only the "trial/run of the experiment" mentioned above. Let's call that trial 1 (the one mentioned above where Bob gets a 7). Imagine that Alice noticed that something else important happened at the same time as Trial 1, which makes Trial 1 of dire importance to Alice, but any other trials throughout time are not important at all to Alice. In Bob and Chris's perspective we could have more trials: 2, 3, ...N and it is true that roughly 1/10 of the time the random variable could be 5. But this is a characterization of trials 1 through N and Alice only cares about trial 1. Is it possible we are actually considering 2 random experiments (which overlap in trial 1)? There is a random experiment related to the number that the machine spits out - and relative frequency is easily defined here. There is another random experiment for which repetition is not defined - the one that is important to Alice. Can relative frequency even be defined here? There is no possible repetition here, only the lack of knowledge on Alice and Chris's part. Going by relative frequency, and assuming complete objectivity, the probability by definition must be the number of occurrences of the event divided by number of experiments. The experiment only occurs once (by my definition above), and the event x=5 never occurs for any (of the one) times the experiment is run, therefore the probability must be 0 (as Bob stated). Generalizing this concept, although we as people, treat things as repetitions, and use that in our definition of relative frequency, there is no such thing as repetition from a truly objective standpoint (only from a subjective one). (On a side note, there is no such thing as true sameness from a truly objective standpoint). This implies to me, that any rigorous probability theory that can claim objectiveness must have only two possible values for any event (1 or 0, depending on whether the statement of the event is true or false). There is no probability theory in practice that restricts the values to 1 or 0 (that can be called probabilistic at least), and hence all probability theories must be subjective. All Objectivists would say the probability of heads in a coin flip is 1/2, yet this does not make sense because if they had more knowledge (wind currents, specific distribution of weight on the coin, tendency of flippers thumb to flip in a certain way, ...etc) then they would surely adjust their probability evaluation to reflect what they believe is more likely. My ultimate argument here is that all probability theories are subjective regardless of any claims to the contrary.
5. ## You live in Killville. Can you stay alive?

6. ## You live in Killville. Can you stay alive?

7. In my solution, the top horse races twice, the 2nd and 3rd to best horses race 3 times each (the max for any horse).
8. Whenever fractions are used, there is an implicit "of the" following the ratio being discussed. "One half of the pole is in the ground, another one third of the ______ is covered by water and eight feet is out of the water." What makes more sense to go in the blank based on common English? A.) pole B.) portion of the pole which is not in the ground Let's insert each and see which one looks more correct: A.) "One half of the pole is in the ground, another one third of the pole is covered by water and eight feet is out of the water." B.) "One half of the pole is in the ground, another one third of the portion of the pole which is not in the ground is covered by water and eight feet is out of the water." In this case, the word "another" implies that they are talking about the same thing i.e. the whole pole. If they changed the object to be something else, they wouldn't use the word "another" there.