Thought Experiment: Choose a Number

Just a thought experiment. I’ve got a thousand people and I ask them all the following question:

“Choose a number between 0 and 100. The aim is to choose a number which is two-thirds of the average choice.”

A reasonable place to start would be to assume that everybody else randomly chooses a number anywhere between 0 and 100. Assuming a uniform distribution, the average of all the numbers chosen would be 50. Therefore you should choose the number that is two-third of that, which is 33.

What’s the possible flaw?

Energy Saving Day

Did anyone know it was Energy Saving Day in the UK today? I certainly didn’t, but I just found out on BBC News.

They’re hoping for a 3% reduction in the energy usage – the equivalent of taking a coal-fired power station off line for the day.

The hilarious thing is not that nobody even knew it was “Energy Saving Day” but energy usage today is actually up. As of 8:26, usage of power is 0.9% up on usual and overall, we’re 3.2% up on power usage from normal.

Apparently the National Grid is using this as a bit of a scientific experiment, to see how much we can reduce our energy consumption by.

I really wish the experiment the best with this, but there has been zero awareness of this “Energy Saving Day” and it looks terrible that energy consumption is actually higher. I’ll of course be turning off my TV, computer and other appliances when not in use as usual. If you want to see whether power consumption really goes up during commercial breaks in Corrie, here’s your chance.

29th February

It is of course a leap year this year, which means we get a February 29th! I’ve a friend who was born on February 29th; they’ve only had 4 birthdays!

In the UK, February 29th is the one day that a woman is allowed to propose to a man. This goes back to when English law did not recognise February 29th as a day, and given that it had no legal status, tradition can be broken with on this day.

February 29th, 1504 was successful for Christopher Columbus. His crew was marooned on Jamaica, without food and facing starvation. He found out that a lunar eclipse was due and so told the local chiefs that if they did not provide him with food, God would darken the moon. The lunar eclipse began as expected and the chiefs, beginning to panic, provided him with food.

Historic UK has some more info on the traditions and superstitions behind February 29th.

Windows Live Messenger Down

People across the world have been reporting that Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Windows Live sign-on is down across the world. Web Messenger also seems to be down, although Live Search still works.

I get the following message:

We were unable to sign you into Windows Live Messenger at this time. Please try again later.”

Don’t worry, it’s not you… its Microsoft! It does make me wonder whether we put too much trust in Microsoft and one centralised IM server – maybe something decentralised like Jabber is a much better way forward, especially with critical and important IM.

Oddly enough, I found out about the downtime when I saw the traffic from my blog doubling in one page and a few hundred pageviews on one of my old blog posts about MSN Messenger Downtime.

In the mean time, it’s a fantastic time to catch up on work and those tax returns 🙂

Facebook Privacy

Theres a really insightful flash animation here about what might happen to personal information you post on Facebook. Of course, it is very scary to think about some of the things that Facebook could do with all your information. It turns into a bit of a conspiracy movie in the middle talking about how the US government uses personal information you give to Facebook.
But then people have been saying the same thing about Google for many years; isn’t this an issue with all personalized internet services rather than Facebook in general?

In many ways, in the western world we still have a lot more privacy on the internet than in places like China, where for example you must sign on with your real name and identity.

But still with the internet, anything that you write or post may be archived in servers and hard drives all across the world; every word could come back to haunt you at a later date. Is this just something we should accept as users of the internet? Is it possible to maintain your privacy whilst still benefiting fully from the internet?

I’ve been told by so many people that I should avoid social networking sites. Yet being part of these social networking sites is something that all young people do – it is essential part of having a social life and invaluable tool for keeping in touch with your friends. I suppose that is the dilemma.

Free Microsoft Software: Visual Studio, Windows 2003, Expression

If you’re a student, you can download free Microsoft software from Microsoft’s DreamSpark website.

Now, for the first time, Microsoft is giving its valuable software developer and design tools directly to students worldwide at no charge! This site enables students like you to download professional-level Microsoft developer and design tools to unlock your creative potential and set you on the path to academic and career success, by supporting and advancing your learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities.

Your university will verify that you are a student. If you currently attend college you can get an ISIC Card for £9 to verify that you’re a student.

Products available include:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
  • Microsoft Expression Studio
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • XNA Creators Club Online
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

Not bad for free eh?

147 spams

In the 24 hours this install of WordPress has been running, the blog has received 147 pieces of spam. A few bits of spam were even made before I even finished installing the application. Thank the lord for Akismet.