Harness randomness to succeed at life
THE American mathematician Claude Shannon was renowned as the father of information theory. But his colleagues at Bell Labs also knew him as a unicyclist, a juggler and the designer of an electromechanical mind-reading machine. In the early 1950s it was a big attraction at Bell, consistently predicting people’s behaviour in a guessing game by detecting patterns in their guesses. Only Shannon could beat it. As William Poundstone explains in How to Predict the Unpredictable, the machine’s power wasn’t down to its clever design but the fact it exploited a universal human weakness, “our inability to recognize or produce randomness”. Poundstone’s book takes up where the mind-reading machine left off, with the aim of helping everyone achieve Shannon’s guessing savvy. In other words, this book is a guide to outguessing people and computers by detecting their decision-making patterns. It’s also a tutorial in how to prevent others from anticipating your own behaviour. One realm in which readers can readily benefit by outguessing is standardised testing, since the pattern of correct answers is rarely truly random. Whether the tests are true/false or multiple-choice, and whether they are algebra quizzes or professional exams, examiners tend to make the same distribution errors. (via Harness randomness to succeed at life - physics-math - 09 September 2014 - New Scientist)
Eleven years ago, late at night, there was nothing to do. So my brother and I just flicked through some channels on TV and on SBS was this weird-ass anime. I had no idea what was going on but it had something to do with a girl being stalked by a really creepy guy and going insane from stress. She then hallucinates a phantom of her past self who taunts her cruelly. I stopped watching halfway because I had to go to sleep but the above scene was the last thing I saw and it haunted me for years. I eventually finished watching it around 2010 and was very satisfied.