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  • Blog Post: The Solution To The Simple Puzzle

    The first time I ran my histogram visualizer I asked for a Cauchy distribution with a minimum of -10 and a maximum of 10, and of course I got a graph that looks much like the one from my article of last week: Looks perfectly reasonable; I guess my program is correct right out of the gate, because I am...
  • Blog Post: Generating Random Non-Uniform Data In C#

    When building simulations of real-world phenomena, or when generating test data for algorithms that will be consuming information from the real world, it is often highly desirable to produce pseudo-random data that conform to some nonuniform probability distribution. But perhaps I have already lost some...
  • Blog Post: Big head, long tail

    Here's a graph of the population size of the one hundred largest urban areas in Canada : (Click on the graph for a larger version.) Notice how there is an enormous spiky "head" on this graph: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are quite large cities by any measure. Then there is an immediate sharp...
  • Blog Post: Socks, birthdays and hash collisions

    Suppose you’ve got a huge mixed-up pile of white, black, green and red socks, with roughly equal numbers of each. You randomly choose two of them. What is the probability that they are a matched pair? There are sixteen ways of choosing a pair of socks: WW, WB, WG, WR, BW, BB, … Of those sixteen pairs...
  • Blog Post: When Five Hundred Posts You Reach

    … look this good you will not. But man, I tell you, the memory goes. In the July 1985 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction , Isaac Asimov wrote: Yesterday I sat down to write my 321st essay for Fantasy and Science Fiction . […] It went swimmingly. I was pleased at the ease with...
  • Blog Post: What Would Tufte Do?

    What is this a chart of? I'll post the answer tomorrow. UPDATE: Someone has already correctly deduced the answer. (And man, that was fast!) So don't read the comments if you don't want spoilers.
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