How Random Is Random?

This Chap is led to ask the question by his recent international travel experience, which involved TSA’s “Random” testing, of some sort, both departing and returning. And while the Chap was standing there watching his handbag being swabbed, he began to wonder — what are the odds that true “Random” testing would lead to two “Random” checks in a journey? Flattering though it may be for someone in the Gubmint to consider the Chap warrants additional scrutiny, the statistician in him got to wondering… Or to put it another way, at what point on encountering yet another request to “step to the side” might a Chap question the uniformed person’s assertion of “randomness”?

Just as a side note – my spell checker just suggested that uniformed was incorrectly spelt and suggested uninformed. This chap thinks that in many cases they might be synonyms?

To continue! Now, this Chap’s statistics are of a more specialized, psychological-type thing. Fortunately, the Other Chap, being a certified Math Whiz, may be presumed to have the Chops to figure this one out. We have every confidence. So, take it away, Maestro!

No pressure there then ….

No. None at all.

Have to see that this chap was immediately reminded of another chap, back in the 70s when hijacking was prevalent – including bombs on board. Turns out his knowledge of stats was – to say the least – rudimentary.

Go On

Well, I wasn’t intending to stop!

Anyway, suffice to say, said chap had yet another chap as a good friend who was very fearful of flying in these times. To quote him ….

I am so afraid of flying these days. I just don’t want to fly knowing there is such a high probability of a bomb being on board the plane and that I might die.

The statistician had a think and came up with his solution, suggesting that all the other chap needed to do was always carry his own bomb with him …. because though the chance of one bomb being hidden on a plane was getting higher every day … the chance of two bombs … well now – that was close to zero. Problem solved.

Wow. Brilliant. Did it work?

Graham. Seriously? Now I see why you reached out!

As far as I can see, the stats support the idea that as far as random selection is concerned there is indeed reason to be suspicious, but still in the area of possibility. Now – next time you go through LHR – and you are pulled aside, it might well suggest that there is something more than randomness going on.

Pick a person. Any person. Just not me, again.

Sometimes You Overlook The Obvious

This chap just had a read of this. It is a Russian propaganda guide to stealing your roommates Burrito.

It struck him that they missed the obvious one:

“Roommate mysteriously falls from radioactive park bench, dies of broken neck. D-Notice issued.”

Never eschew the obvious. Or the unbelievable. Both can defeat the application of Occam’s Razor. Not that it can’t be misapplied, of course…

Continue reading “Sometimes You Overlook The Obvious”

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

… then at least say it differently.

The Chaps do admit to a continuing love affair with language —

“a continuing love affair with language;the sound of their own voices” — fixed that for you, you’re welcome

Have it your own way. Couple that with a love of the pithy insult — yes, this definitely reflects our feelings.

and you’ll understand how our interest was piqued by a recent tweet from The Canary. Apart from being rude enough to call the UK Foreign Secretary ‘a bag of gas

No argument from this quarter

and illustrating it thusly

it prompted one David Simon (he of “The Wire“) to retweet with a most delightful addition — a preamble describing Boris as a “Low-bottom taintsniff.” Witness a literary lion in action! We love it.

The Other Chap may perhaps recall a gift of a wall chart of Shakespearian insults?

itself giving rise to a rather nice mug.

Perhaps we should offer it as some sort of prize for something?

We did. I won.

A Different Kind of Pizzagate

The Future of Pizza Ordering According To Cambridge Analytica. Is this in our ‘not too distant’ future?

Picture the scenario – the other chap is now working at a well known Pizza company…..

“Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza?”

“No sir – it’s Google Pizza.”

“I must have dialed a wrong number.  Sorry.”

“No sir – Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month.”

“OK.  I would like to order a pizza.”

“Do you want your usual, sir?”

“My usual – you know me?”

“According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses – sausage – pepperoni – mushrooms and meat balls on a thick crust.”

“OK – that’s what I want.”

“May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta – arugula – sun-dried tomatoes and olives on a whole wheat, gluten free, thin crust?”

“What?  I detest vegetables.”

“Your cholesterol is not good, sir.”

“How the hell do you know?”

“Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.”

“Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza!   I already take medication for my cholesterol.”

“Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly.  According to our database, you only purchased a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drugsale Network, 4 months ago.”

“I bought more from another drugstore.”

“That doesn’t show on your credit card statement.”

“I paid in cash.”

“But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.”

“I have other sources of cash.”

“That doesn’t show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law.”

“WHAT THE HELL? ! ! ! !”

“I’m sorry, sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.”

“Enough already!  I’m sick to death of Google – Facebook – Twitter – WhatsApp and all the others!!   I’m going to an island without internet – cable TV – where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me !!”

“I understand sir – but you need to renew your passport first.  It expired 6 weeks ago!”

Redundancy

Apparently the other chap has a friend in town who has brought with him his ‘mini uke’. This chap was just wondering if the ‘mini’ is redundant?

I’ll see your mini-uk and raise you a ‘biggun.

If Trump Wants A Grand Parade…

Then a grand parade, by golly, he should have.

Of course, in a version suitably sized to the attendance at his inauguration, and tailored to both his musical taste and knowledge of military technology. The Chaps are happy to offer a preview.

So, a grand-ish parade, then.

At best…

No, no need to thank us. Our pleasure.

You can read the original story here.

Did you note the marching on that Naval chief?

Certainly did. Cadet Bone Spurs could probably do as well.

Well, if it were not for him being who he is…