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Thread: Simple puzzles to stump people

09192007, 07:12 AM #111

09192007, 07:14 AM #112
Yes Santtu that is correct.
My wife and I made a game to teach kids about nutrition. Please try our game and vote for us to win. (Voting period: July 14  August 14)
http://www.revoltingvegetables.com

09192007, 07:39 AM #113
Well with doing few mathematical exercises, you could probably catch on fast. After a while, it's easy to recognize when some statement is given in the language of mathematics. Usually the whole situation is then completely described in the statement given and no outside influences are allowed, except for knowing how to calculate, of course.
It doesn't mean that mathematicians wouldn't care about the real life! It's just that it's impossible to transfer the whole world to the language of mathematics with all it's nuances. That's why the world is there, to be lived and experienced. Using mathematics, one is bound to consider only limited aspects of it an any one time, or the problem would be illdefined. I believe that mathematicians are often extremely interested of the applied parts, i.e. where the theory meets the world. Sometimes some concepts are generated more for the mathematical community rather than for the public.
One analogy could be that of businesstobusiness sales and selling to consumers: both are needed.
In short, mathematics is for welldefined problems, but humans excel in illdefined problems. There's also interesting mixes of the two such as recommendation systems, neural nets, pattern recognition etc.. the methods may be strict, but in the end, it's the human who judges how well a problem is really solved.

09192007, 07:42 AM #114
Even here, interpreting the problem statement is where a lot of the problem lies.
Some people may interpret the problem to mean that your neighbor is about to have a second child (a misinterpretation, but seems to be common), instead of already having two children.
I guess Santtu already posted the spoiler, but I have always been fascinated by how people make mistakes. It would have been interesting to see what other answers people came up with.
Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
Robot Fusion
"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
"[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
"[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

09192007, 07:45 AM #115

09192007, 07:47 AM #116
Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
Robot Fusion
"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
"[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
"[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

09192007, 07:53 AM #117OberonGuest

09192007, 11:24 AM #118
Darn, I haven't gotten any of these right... I've only managed to make myself feel stupid. I must be the thickest person here. I just don't think this way, there's too many variables, and too many specific technicalities and rules that affect the answer that aren't immediately apparent. How do you manage to think like this? You'd have to be a rocket scientist.

09192007, 03:08 PM #119
This is what I said. "My neighbor has two children. One of them is a boy. What is the probability that the other child is a girl?"
I admit it's easy to misinterpret a problem the first time it is read, but I don't think the wording is unclear. Isn't it clear that the neighbor already has two children?My wife and I made a game to teach kids about nutrition. Please try our game and vote for us to win. (Voting period: July 14  August 14)
http://www.revoltingvegetables.com

09192007, 03:12 PM #120
A lot of these problems have success rates of 1 in 10 or something, despite the initial appearance of being "simple".
I didn't get the Monty Hall problem the 1st time I saw it, either.
But the basic idea to understand is Conditional Probability.
Besides that the way to think about a probability problem is to imagine running a whole bunch of "experiments" of the problem statement in parallel, chosing the parameters according to known probability distributions.
I may post something more detailed after work (unless someone beats me to it) or if I have some down time. I've been really busy today.
Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
Robot Fusion
"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
"[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
"[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield
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