Friday, May 28, 2004


Stardust: Our instincts usually calculate odds poorly. For example:

On the game show "Let's Make a Deal", Montey Hall asks you to pick between three doors. Each is equally likely of hiding a prize. You pick door #1. Montey shows you that door #3 didn't contain the prize, and asks if you want to pick door #2 or stay with door #1.

The kicker is that knowing what's behind door #3 doesn't change the probability that door #1 is right. When you picked door #1, you had a one-in-three chance of picking correctly, and you still have a one-in-three chance after door #3 is revealed ... unless you switch.

Some time back I also heard game theory experts analyze Millionaire. The verdict: no one takes enough risk.

Also, the bit about fear reminds me of the movie Defending Your Life. I'm not a fan of Albert Brooks, but I liked part of the premise: your life (at least this time around) is evaluated based on fear. Whether or not you overcame your fear to do the right thing is pretty much the only basis for deciding if you get to go to a better place when you die.

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