Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall is here, and so is conditional probability

Colors have definitely changed over the past month, and the trees at the university are barren. The grass is covered in all shades of yellow and red, which makes orange. Our front court is now nicely framed by a warm-colored shrub. Our two bicycles are at the lower right.

To celebrate the changing colors we made an Ethiopean dish called "doro wat," which is like a cinnamon chicken stew with a hard boiled egg added to spite the hen. Our injera (the bread used to eat the food) turned out more like a crepe than anything else! But it still was tasty! Next time we will have to prepare the injera batter days in advance so that it can have the proper fermentation.

Tonight I schooled Carla in conditional probability. We played a game called Monty Hall. Ten cards are face down, one of them is an ace. Carla picks a card at random and I uncover eight of the other cards that are not aces. She can then keep her choice or pick instead what is hidden under the unflipped card. Carla said that in that case it will be a 50-50 chance she wins, so she will always keep her choice. My eyes bugged out of course because the best strategy in this game is to always switch. With this strategy one will win 9 out of 10 times (in this particular scenario). So Carla played this game five times and won none of them. Then it was my turn. I could literally hear her begin to respect conditional probability.

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