Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Monty Hall Problem

I've had a problem with Monty Hall for quite some time now. I'm not the only one though -- apparently there are a lot of really smart people who do too. In fact so many people have a problem with him that they named a problem after him.

What is "The Monty Hall Problem"? It's basically a math problem and as it turns out has nothing to do with the fact that he's Canadian. Suppose you're on a game show and the host tells you to choose between three doors and one has a car and the other two goats behind them. You choose door 1 and the host then reveals that behind door 3 is a goat and gives you the chance to switch to door 2. Should you switch? It might surprise you to hear what the smart people of the world will tell you (assuming also that you'd prefer a car to a goat).

This question was made famous in a Parade Magazine column in 1990 by writer/playwright/world's smartest person Marilyn vos Savant. As it turns out, Ms. vos Savant didn't frame the question and its assumptions properly and her answer set off a firestorm of controversy/criticism. Read all about it at the links provided above.

As a side note, if you're wondering how I came across this , I'll tell you. I'm watching football and a commercial came on for Cialis or Plavix or some drug (whichever one is for heart disease, not ED) and there was some guy hawking it who claims to have invented the artificial heart. He looked just greasy enough to not be real, but also just unattractive enough to not be an actor, so I decided to ivestigate. It turns out that this guy is the real deal. He did in fact invent the world's first artificial heart and did the first transplant at the University of Utah. Then he married Marilyn vos Savant, but not necessarily in that order.

Welcome back to the KennedyConspiracy. There have been some changes around here. I've deleted all the old posts. I'll miss some of them. There was the one with the joke about Greg Ostertag that I liked. There was one about the one-legged broadway dancer that was so classic. Other than that I will shed no tears for those deleted posts. You'll notice also that this has become a true conspiracy. Between the time I named this blog and now, I took criminal law and learned the definition of conspiracy. There are two of us now, but we're not planning any crimes so I guess the name is still only half right (unless you count crimes against intellecutal honesty).

We've added a radio station (thank you Informant). You'll find the podcasts EconTalk and A Way With Words as well as a music station. I highly recommend these podcasts and I'm sure I'll be posting about them along the way and adding new ones.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the conspiracy reloaded
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