Archive for ‘Polls’

February 27, 2012

What’s your position on representation?

by James Thorniley
December 8, 2011

Poll discussion: The Monty Hall Controversy

by Lucas Wilkins

The latest Jellymatter poll has been up for a while now, time to discuss what the correct solution is. As well as sounding like a question from a Voight-Kampff test, it is a “double trick question”, based on the Monty Hall problem. It was a little mean of me to post it with my own agenda in mind.

For me, the interesting thing about the Monty Hall problem is vehemency of those who argue for “switch”, option. The argument is nearly always unjustified. Whilst arguing this I will talk about how the problem has been stated in the past: It’s history shows how quickly someones brief, informal argument can change into an unintuitive answer to a ill-posed question and then into a dogmatic belief.

December 6, 2011

Poll: Cups and a pea

by Lucas Wilkins

You’re walking down a back alley and find a man with the archetypal three cups and pea. You decide to gamble with him in a game of ‘guess where the pea is'; after all the odds are reasonable and he has assured you that he will demonstrate that at the pea is under one of the cups. He places the pea under one of the cups and shuffles them rapidly and you choose one of the cups. At this point the man overturns one of the cups you did not choose – there is no pea underneath it. He then asks you whether you would like to choose the other upright cup instead…

November 23, 2011


by Nathaniel Virgo

It seems like there should be a word that goes in the bottom-right here:

Energy Power
Entropy ?????

However, as far as I’m aware no such word exists, so we’ll have to make one up.  Does anyone have any good ideas?

To be clear, what I’m after is a general term for any quantity whose units are entropy-units-per-time-unit, i.e. JK^{-1}s^{-1} or \text{bits}\cdot s^{-1}.  The term “entropy production” is currently in use for the rate at which systems create entropy, but I want a word that can also refer to the rate at which systems extract negative entropy from their surroundings. (You can have a power loss as well as a power gain.)

The only thing I can think of is “empowerment”, which sort-of makes sense but is icky.


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