## Level Two Chaos

Level two chaos is chaos that reacts to predictions about it, and therefore can never be predicted accurately. Markets, for example, are a level two chaotic system. What will happen if we develop a computer program that forecasts with 100 per cent accuracy the price of oil tomorrow? The price of oil will immediately react to the forecast, which would consequently fail to materialise. If the current price of oil is $90 a barrel, and the infallible computer program predicts that tomorrow it wil...## Buddhini Samarasinghe: Scientists Should Stick to Science

It is a statistical fact that you are more likely to die while horseback riding (1 serious adverse event every ~350 exposures) than from taking Ecstasy (1 serious adverse event every ~10,000 exposures). Yet, in 2009, the scientist who said this was fired from his position as the chairman of the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Professor David Nutt's remit was to make scientific recommendations to government ministers on the classification of illegal drugs based on the harm they c...## PETWHAC

PETWHAC stands for Population of Events That Would Have Appeared Coincidental. Population may seem an odd word, but it is the correct statistical term. I won't keep using capital letters because they stand so unattractively on the page. Somebody's watch stopping within ten seconds of the psychic's incantation obviously belongs within the petwhac, but so do many other events. Strictly speaking, the grandfather clock's stopping should not be included. The mystic did not claim that he could stop...## Fortune of Conception

Moralists and theologians place great weight upon the moment of conception, seeing it as the instant at which the soul comes into existence. If, like me, you are unmoved by such talk, you still must regard a particular instant, nine months before your birth, as the most decisive event in your personal fortunes. It is the moment at which your consciousness suddenly became trillions of times more foreseeable than it was a split second before. To be sure, the embryonic you that came into existen...## Many Factors Combine to Allow Life on Earth

As we look at planet Earth and the factors that enabled us to be here, we quickly realize that our planet is very special. Here’s a short list: the long-term existence of a protective and oxygen-rich atmosphere; Earth’s axial tilt, stabilized by a single large moon; the ozone layer and the magnetic field, which jointly protect surface creatures from lethal cosmic radiation; plate tectonics, which regulates the levels of carbon dioxide and keeps the global temperature stable; the fact that...Marcelo Gleiser's argument that the many favorable factors that produce life on Earth mean life could be very rare in the Universe.

## Card Trick Involving Chance

A good card magician knows many tricks that depend on luck—they don’t always work, or even often work. There are some effects—they can hardly be called tricks—that might work only once in a thousand times! Here is what you do: You start by telling the audience you are going to perform a trick, and without telling them what trick you are doing, you go for the one-in-a-thousand effect. It almost never works, of course, so you glide seamlessly into a second try—for an effect that works...The idea is to rely on probability, have several tricks where the odds get better and better until p=1.

## Nature is Intrinsically Probabilistic

Here are the circumstances: source, strong light source; tell me, behind which hole will I see the electron? You say, 'Well, the reason you can't tell through which hole you're going to see the electron is, it's determined by some very complicated things back here: if I knew enough about that electron - it has internal wheels, internal gears, and so forth - and that this is what determines through which hole it goes. It's 50/50 probability because, like a die, it's set sort of at random - and...The light as a particle/wave duality make it impossible to predict where an electron will emerge in an experiment.

## Gary Gygax Explains Dice

As the DM, the tools of your trade are dice — platonic solid-shaped or just about any other sort. The random numbers you generate by rblling dice determine the results based on the probabilities determined herein or those you have set forth on your own. In case you are not familiar with probability curves, there are two types which are determined by your dice: linear (straight line),'which has equal probability of any given integer in the number group, and bell (ascending and descending lin...Probability, percentages, averages, there's a lot of math in this introduction to the most important tool of the gamer.

What does it mean that the average role of a 1d6 is 3.5 but the probability of any number coming up is 16.7?

## π in Base-26 Will Produce All the Works of Shakespeare

Base 26 is one of two fairly natural ways of representing numbers as text using a 26-letter alphabet. The number of interest is expressed numerically in base 26, and then the 26 different base-26 digits are identified with letters as 0=A, 1=B, 2=C, ... 25=Z. Here are the first 100 digits of pi expressed in this way: D.DRSQLOLYRTRODNLHNQTGKUDQGTUIRXNEQBCKBSZIVQQVGDMELM UEXROIQIYALVUZVEBMIJPQQXLKPLRNCFWJPBYMGGOHJMMQISMS... Lo! At the 6th digit we find a two-letter word (LO), and only a ...By assigning letters to numbers in the irrational number, we can produce the effect of a million monkeys on a million typewriters for a million years.

## We Must Become Comfortable with Large Numbers

Borel makes the amusing supposition of a million monkeys allowed to play upon the keys of a million typewriters. What is the chance that this wanton activity should reproduce exactly all of the volumes which are contained in the library of the British Museum? It certainly is not a large chance, but it may be roughly calculated, and proves in fact to be considerably larger than the chance that a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen will separate into the two pure constituents. After we have learned ...In order to understand why a million monkey on a million typewriters might produce a great work of art.