Archive for June, 2010

20 Alternatives to Comic Sans

I have recently been introduced to the fury of graphic designers. Comic sans is a font created in 1994 and made popular by Microsoft. I was originally designed to imitate hand-written comic book lettering, but has since become too popular for its own good. The passionate folks at bancomicsans.com make their case in the form of a manifesto: (more…)


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For convenience for tomorrow, here is a guide to the possible outcomes of tomorrow’s matches at the World cup:

If Australia lose or draw the game with Serbia, we’re out.

If we win the game, then our progress depends on the outcome of Germany vs. Ghana:

  1. If Ghana win, then we’re through.
  2. If Germany win, then we end up with the same number of points as Ghana. It then comes down to goal difference. We need our victory margin plus the victory margin of Germany over Ghana to be 5 or more. Basically, we need to thrash Serbia, or Germany needs to thrash Ghana, or both.
  3. If Germany draws with Ghana, then we finish with the same number of points as Germany. We would then have to defeat Serbia by 7 goals or more to compete with Germany’s superior goal difference.

Our best hope seems to be that that Germany regains their form and obliterates Ghana. If we end up with the same goal difference in cases 2 and 3, it comes down to most goals scored in all group games.

Incidentally, New Zealand are through if they win and will end up tied with Italy (on both points and goal difference) if they draw with Paraguay and Italy draws with Slovakia.

Come on the Socceroos!

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    This has been killing me all week. It’s a probability problem known as the “Tuesday boy” problem. I’ll simplify the problem by reducing the possibility space.

    Alice has two children. What is the probability that she has two boys given that:

    a) at least one of her children is a boy?

    b) at least one of her children is a boy; and at least one of her children is left handed?

    c) at least one of her children is a boy, and he is left handed?

    Assume that left/right handedness are equally likely.


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    It was a feature of local news where I grew up that at the end of the sports report, a man in a tweed jacket would come on screen and recite a seemingly random sequence of names and numbers. I later worked out that he was the “tipster”, and that he was divulging his wisdom in the form of predictions as to who would win various horseraces the next day. Here is a more modern example.

    I was thinking about this recently and realised something: every single horse racing “tip” is completely useless. Even if the tipster is almost completely certain that his tip will win the race, it doesn’t follow that you should bet on that horse.


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