(49 replies, posted in Episodes)

Basically, if the incidence of the disease/defect is very low, even with a super accurate test the number of false positives will swamp the number of actual cases.

So, in the case at hand, if we test an appropriate sample of 10,000 people, 9999 of them won't have the disease, and the test will correctly tell us that in 9999 * 0.999 = 9989 of of the cases.  However, the test will also throw up 10 false positives.  Put that together with the one actual positive in 10000, and your chances of being that one are 1/11, or a hair over 9%.

I remember reading that they gave this question to actual doctors, and like 40% of them got the wrong answer.


(49 replies, posted in Episodes)

Yeah, conditional probability in general is something that human beings are *really* bad at.   I assume everybody knows the medical one, usually phrased as a test for a disease, or a rare genetic condition?

Assume that you're being tested for a rare genetic condition.  The test is 99.9% accurate, and errs on the side of over-sensitivity, so there are only false positives, never false negatives.  Let's also say that the condition is very rare, only 1 person in 10,000 has it.  If you take the test and get a positive result, what's the actual chance you have the condition?


Answer:  just over 9%


(49 replies, posted in Episodes)

TechNoir wrote:

Also, the Monty Hall problem has a pretty simple explanation which better highlights the mechanics of it if you just exaggerate it for clarity.

The solution is that if you get a choice of 1 of 3 doors, and after selecting one, another is shown to be empty, you should change your selection to the remaining one.

Instead imagine there being 100 doors. You select one as containing the prize/whatever. 98 of the others are then opened and shown to be empty. One door remains. In this case it is more obvious that the chances of your first choice being correct is not as good as the possibility of the last remaining door being the winner.
The same principle applies to the 3-door scenario, although less obvious.

Dunno why, I've always loved the Monty Hall problem.  TechNoir is right that you can exaggerate it to illustrate the effect, but I think you can make just the standard version of the problem more intuitive/comprehensible if you look at it from Monty Hall's perspective, which is sort of what Mike is getting at in the commentary.  This issue comes up a lot in Bridge (the card game), where it's called "Restricted Choice".

Your original choice of Door 1 straightforwardly has a 1 in 3 chance of being right.  If your original choice was correct, then Monty Hall could have opened *either* Door 2 or Door 3.  It wouldn't have mattered, since the prize isn't behind either one.

However, your original choice had a 2 in 3 chance of being wrong.  In that case, Monty Hall's choice of which door to open is restricted.  If he shows you Door 2, it's because he had to -- the prize was behind Door 3, so he couldn't have chosen it.  If he shows you Door 3, then that's because the prize was behind Door 2.

So there's a 66.6% chance that Monty Hall's choice of door was restricted, and therefore a 66.6% chance that the prize is behind the door that Monty Hall didn't choose to open, and therefore you should take the offer to switch.

How's that?

Teague wrote:

Whoever the fuck this guy is — what he said.

Unfortunately, every single word of this is absolutely true.

Teague wrote:

Thanks, Marty. Fixed.

Abbie wrote:

as long as we keep visiting you guys have to keep doing the show

This ain't the show. Just to be clear. wink

"I am shocked, *shocked*, to find that podcasting is going on in here!"
"Your commentary, sir."
"Oh, thank you very much. Everybody out at once!"


(108 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Many Polynesian languages have two first person plural pronouns: one hearer exclusive and one hearer inclusive

So you can distinguish "we (me and someone else, but not you) are going to do something" from "we (a group of people that includes you) are going to do something".  Always thought that would be really handy.


(108 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Boter wrote:

A rich man living in California who'd grown up in South Africa ended up losing his entire fortune, went crazy, and proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States (and later Protector of Mexico).

No, not a prediction of Elon Musk's future, though the surface-level parallels are amusing. Emperor Joshua Abraham Norton I dealt in rice, made a bad gamble, began wearing a uniform, issuing proclamations, and even corresponding with foreign royals, and the citizens of San Francisco went along with it. He died homeless and penniless but his funeral was one of the most well-attended of the time.

You don't mention one of the most significant things that Emperor Norton did:  he issued his own money, which, again as part of just 'going along with the joke', was accepted as legal tender by stores in San Francisco. 

There are a whole lot of very significant issues that one can engage with by reflecting on that.

Probably lucky that I was in super-important work meetings basically all day yesterday, but from what I've seen of the summary/overview...jesus.  Having grown up in the DC area, anybody who went to Georgetown Prep is automatically an asshole until proven otherwise, but this guy really seems like a Major League bellend. 

Also helps being all out of tears because of the fucked-up clown car crash that my adopted country is at the moment.


(325 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Teague wrote:

Vibes don't get enough love.

Not quite the same, and the marimba probably gets even less love than vibes, but....

Song: Playgirl BGM
Artist: Yoshihide Otomo
Something: Cool jazz on speed, female moans, video game sound effects, and an overdubbed sax player who sounds eventually like he's trying to blow his liver out through the horn.  Just madness.  Never fails to put a smile on my face.


(27 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I think the obvious one for the last few years (post Game of Thrones) was Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber series.  I googled it a couple of weeks ago thinking "Geez, how can nobody have ever even tried to make this?" and saw an announcement from more than a year ago that the Walking Dead guy was doing it for TV, but nary a peep since then.

Didn't realize there was a thread for this, so I'll repeat this request I made in passing ages ago in another thread:

I have this really hazy memory of a near-future sci-fi...police show I think it was...from like the early-mid 90's maybe.  It was on TV -- might have been a short-lived series or a movie-of-the-week failed pilot.  Don't think it was a feature film.

All I remember about it is that there's a running sub-plot about how everybody's trying to get tickets for 'the concert'.  It's this big deal, and they never really let on what it is until the end, when somebody finally says something to the effect of "Man, I wish The Who would have a 'farewell tour' and actually mean it".  I remember just about falling off the couch laughing, since they'd been doing farewell tours since like 1982.

Ring any bells with anybody?  Googling is getting me absolutely nowhere.

Just had something yesterday jog a memory of one of the first examples I can remember of trolling on the internet.  Of course then we (or at least I) didn't call it trolling -- it was in fact an April Fool's Day prank -- but it's still one of my favorites.

It was about 1990 or 1991 I think, just after I started grad school.  I didn't even have a dial-up modem then (you know, tying up the phone line.  Plus even local phone calls were hideously expensive, relatively speaking), so for me getting on the internet meant going in to campus, down to the basement of the Science Center and getting on a terminal to look at Usenet newsgroups (plus the occasional e-mail list).  No graphics, and if you wanted to search FTP sites, you could use Archie. 

This of course was still the era of the 'mixtape', a concept that you youngins might actually know about courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy, and you'd commonly see posts on the various rec.music.* groups along the lines of "I wanna do a mixtape for my girlfriend [Name].  Can people suggest songs that have [Name] in the title?"

Anyway, one day I saw the following post in rec.music.misc, cross-posted to like 30 other newsgroups as well, which was just about the ultimate sin: "I'm putting together a mixtape for my girlfriend, and I'm looking for pop or rock songs that have 'love' in the title, or are just about love generally.  Can people help me with suggestions?"

Needless to say, the nascent internet went completely apeshit.  Eventually though, someone pointed out the time/date stamp on the post -- midnight on April 1. 

Like I say, still love that one.


(980 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Kibouchi wrote:

I've seen the first season of Broadchurch and loved it. There was only one season at the time.

Ah, yeah, just realized the ambiguity.  I haven't seen Broadchurch at all, so would be interested to hear views.  I meant I've only made it through the first two episodes of Season 10 of Doctor Who, having bailed on Season 9 after one episode and heard that the rest of it wasn't good. 

Unlike the last go-round, didn't really recognize any of the actors who people were talking about as being in the running, so I don't have any real expectations one way or the other beyond "Thank fuck Steven Moffat is leaving".


(980 replies, posted in Off Topic)

So, any Broadchurch fans? 

[Only made it through the first two episodes of the recent series so far, having bailed after the first episode of the previous one.  Kind of not super-impressed, but I guess it's better than The Phantom Menace.  Maybe that's the reason for the good reviews.]


(980 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Faldor wrote:

The new episode was actually pretty good. I'm not sure how to process that.

Aarrggghh.  Dammit, Faldor, don't do this to me again this season!  tongue  Just when I'd gotten to Stage 5, Acceptance, in the Doctor Who Grief Cycle. 

This is gonna set me back to at least Stage 3, Bargaining.

I think broadly speaking I'm somewhere in between on this.  The formula is starting to drag a bit, but I found it interesting enough, and I'm still on board for Spiderman, Thor 3, etc.  They must be doing something right though, if we're saying "yeah, the formula is dragging a bit" and we're on movie number 11 or whatever, not movie 3. 

Kibouchi wrote:

For him to go evil and start attacking other sorcerers is not believable. There's no tipping point or direct connection. I'd have liked to see the stakes raised, and for him to lose someone he loved, either directly, or maybe even just as a result of Strange having to mess with time.

Remember though that at least some of these post-credit scenes are like "Next time, on Doctor Strange..." (like the Civil War preview in....Age of Ultron?  That scene is like halfway through the movie.)  I wouldn't assume that there's no story between the end of this movie and what happens there.


(325 replies, posted in Off Topic)

How about some batshit crazy sample-dense Golden Age hip hop?  Been ages since I saw something on YouTube, etc. and went "I have to have this record.  I don't care what it costs."  I think they sold like 6 copies back in 1991.


(16 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Pretty much all I saw this year were a handful of tentpoles, most of which didn't particularly move me one way or the other.  Just the few that I have any particular thoughts/opinions about include:

Civil War 
I have absolutely no idea why, since I've never really had anything invested in the character, it wasn't a book that I read much of as a kid, I don't feel very strongly about the other movies, etc., but for some reason it brought me a great deal of joy to see Spiderman done in a way that felt exactly right. 

Star Trek Beyond
At the time I really hated it, for the same reason I really hated the other new Trek films, but I think I've finally just gotten to the acceptance stage of the grief cycle.  (ST:ID is still idiotic though.)

Fantastic Beasts
This was very weird.  My kids loved it of course and my not-really-into-HP/superheroes wife also really liked it, but I left the theater feeling spectacularly, cosmically indifferent.  It wasn't a sense of corporate cash-grab hollowness, or too-many-cooks incoherence or anything like that.  It was like there was just this epic blandness at the center of it.  For a movie about fantastic beasts I didn't find it remotely fantastic, or magical, or wondrous, and I didn't feel like the leads had any charisma or chemistry. But at the same time I didn't dislike it, which is what I would have normally expected to happen in that situation.   

And of course Batman vs. Superman I said more about here.

Trey wrote:

La La Land
This is a tough one.  I loved the setting, the story, the cast, the cinematography, the choreography, the art direction, everything.  All of which meant nothing every time one of those godawful plonking unmemorable "songs" started.

Ah, hell.  I am really sorry to hear this.  This isn't quite out in the UK I don't think, and I was vaguely looking forward to it.  (And because my wife really wants to see it we'll probably actually get off our asses and go.)  But nothing, and I mean nothing, sets my teeth on edge more than bland, mediocre movie musical songs.  Well, forewarned is forearmed....


(2,056 replies, posted in Off Topic)


Wow.  What a strange and terrible movie. 

The thing that hit me most was the way it had this weird, dream-like (but not in a good way) quality.  It was like, I literally understand every word that the characters are saying.  (The movie was in English after all.)  But every time I tried to actually think "OK, what did that sentence just mean?" or "How does what's going on in this scene relate to something else that's happened in the movie?", I just had no idea.  It was exactly that sense of untethered bafflement that you get in dreams:  "Wait, I was on a boat earlier.  How did I get on to this train?  And why is my old high-school girlfriend here?", etc. etc.  (Funnily enough, the last movie that I really remember coming away with that same feeling from was Batman and Robin.)

I think I concur with the general opinion that Ben Affleck is actually one of the better things about the movie, but in general a lot of the other creative decisions didn't work for me at all.  I have no idea why they decided to play Lex Luthor the way they did.  Now granted, I don't know much about him as a character beyond what's in Challenge of the Superfriends, but a kind of watered-down Joker mark 2 wasn't what I was expecting.

And then of course at the end

when Superman supposedly gives his life to destroy the Krypton monster, it just feels completely phony and hollow.  For fuck's sake, we *know* he's not really dead because we've already seen the posters for Justice League.  And then they milk it for several scenes, and this pointless melodrama just goes on and on.  If you're gonna do that, you can't think the character's dead for more than like 10 seconds, like in The Avengers.  And why didn't they just give the spear to Wonder Woman again?

Funnily enough, though it comes basically out of the blue (like everything else in this film), I did like the idea that the motivation for the Justice League comes out of Bruce Wayne's guilt over Superman's death.

And then there's all the weird God vs. Man stuff, which is clearly supposed to be an Important Theme in this movie, and which for me didn't come off at all.  It's like the rest of the film actually, now that I think about it.  It's amazingly somehow both heavy-handedly ostentatious and diffusely incoherent at the same time.  People explicitly talk about it a lot.  There's whole scenes about it.  But I didn't get what point was being made.  It's like they said "OK, God vs. Man is going to be a big theme in this film", but then never decided what, if anything, they actually wanted to say about this opposition.   

So there's something about God, and absolute power, and absolute goodness.  And maybe Superman can't be absolutely good until he's not absolutely powerful, which is where the kryptonite comes in.  And then somehow this ties into courage, because Superman can't really do anything courageous, being invulnerable.  But then Batman....and now my head hurts.

And then there's supposed to be something thematically relating to parents and children I think, but I understand that even less well than the God bullshit (as Howard Beale would say).  Lucky both Superman and Batman's moms were named Martha though, right?

I do think though that they've maybe got something interesting to explore with Wonder Woman, even if I wasn't particularly excited about her scenes in the film.  This idea that The Great War (aka The War To End War) caused her to give up on humanity could lend a *really* interesting perspective to that character.  I would look forward to seeing that done well, though I have no confidence that it will be. 

Anyway, at least the movie seems like it'll stick with me, even if it's in exactly the way that dream about talking hotdogs sticks with me.  I guess that's something.


(10 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Teague wrote:


Movie Shelf #3

This photo reminds me that it's a crime against humanity that neither all the seasons of the original Muppet Show or Muppets Tonight is available on DVD.   sad


(81 replies, posted in Off Topic)


And in the UK it's going to be on Netflix, a service that I already pay for!  BWAHHAHAHAAHAA!!!!!!  IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA!!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!!


Seriously though.  Europeans-don't-get-fucked-over-in-media-distribution shock.  (I'm still pissed off about the hassle I have with all my Region A locked Criterion blu rays.)


(2,056 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Teague wrote:
  • Doc's demonstration with the model "fails" when the miniature Delorean rolls off the table and lights the oily rags on fire. This distracts us from the question of what does he think "success" is going to look like? Was the little car supposed to travel back in time when Marty jolted it with the car battery? Then what the fuck was the point of the car battery? ...what?

Squiggly_P wrote:

And the model car thing has always been a thing for me as well. What exactly was his best-case-scenario for that demonstration? Also, for some reason, I always thought that the oily rags were in a little bin that was actually labled 'oily rags', but apparently it isn't. Now I'm wondering where exactly I saw that joke.

I always assumed that it was just an absent-minded professor kind of joke.  I don't think Doc has actually thought any of the ramifications through.  It's just a question of "we've got to model the situation as exactly as possible", and that includes the electricity.  Really part of the joke for me, which you're sort of getting at Teague, is that all this effort has gone into this completely unnecessary demonstration.  It doesn't, and never could have, actually shown anything of interest.

Teague wrote:

Yeah.  hmm

There are answers to these questions, and nobody likes any of them. I'd lay out some of the major ones, but I'm at work and must resist writing a treatise.

As someone who recently enjoyed your and Ryan's treatise on the issues involved in being a VFX artist, I'll happily devote as many hours as necessary to absorb another one on color in film.


(5 replies, posted in Movie Stuff)

I really need to try and watch this again.  I got through about the first hour of it maybe a year or so ago but ended up feeling so ground down that I bailed on it.  I just had trouble getting past the "Let's watch 1950's Alpha Males!  Doing 1950's Alpha Male Things!! In the 1950's!!!!" vibe that the whole thing had.  And I had trouble caring much about any of the characters because it seemed like it was all just all one big dick-swinging contest.  So, The Right Stuff maybe, but for The Wrong Reason.