SPUG: Stick Riddle

Fred Morris m3047 at inwa.net
Thu Jan 2 18:57:11 CST 2003

Adrian Hands wrote:
>m3047 at inwa.net (Fred Morris) writes:
>> my gut tells me Michael has found it.
>You realize it was
>the modification (norm_rand) to make the first break occur close to the
>middle that increased the probability to nearly 100%.
>Then, the modification to make it blindly choose the "left" piece,
>instead of the "longer" piece,
>for the second break, resulted in it picking the "longer" piece 1/2 the
> 1/2 of ~100% -> ~50%.

This is the crux of the djinn's counsel: to break the stick once and then
again (two whacks with one blade), instead of taking a double-headed
cleaver to it (one whack with two blades).

Hearing the djinn's call, the acolyte mutters aloud: "who's ever heard of
an axe with two heads?", forgetting for a moment that their stature as a
mathematician raises them above human concerns for practicality.

>It seems unlikely to me that the "friend" based his answer on the idea
>that it's easier to break the stick in the middle.

This is irrelevant.

(Do you know the apocryphal story of how Gauss added up the numbers from 1
to 100?)


Fred Morris
m3047 at inwa.net

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
     POST TO: spug-list at pm.org       PROBLEMS: owner-spug-list at pm.org
      Subscriptions; Email to majordomo at pm.org:  ACTION  LIST  EMAIL
  Replace ACTION by subscribe or unsubscribe, EMAIL by your Email-address
 For daily traffic, use spug-list for LIST ;  for weekly, spug-list-digest
     Seattle Perl Users Group (SPUG) Home Page: http://seattleperl.org

More information about the spug-list mailing list