firebus's blog

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Not enough of a Bad Thing

I've seen a lot of art recently where profound, or funny, effects were produced through the accumulation of crappy items.

For example, the MIT Project has a wall of stick figure drawings illustrating (very poorly) various body parts, organ systems, pathologies (i can't remember).

Individually each drawing is kind of crappy. But the whole wall of them is wonderful.

So I'm proposing that in addition to "Too much of a good thing" there is also "Not enough of a bad thing", at least in some cases.

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A 4K in the hand is worth 1.88

On the second roll of a play, I had 4 sixes and a five.

4K and Yahtzee were both open.

Obviously, the play would be worth 29 points in 4K, and Yahtzee is only a 1 in 6 chance, with a 2 in 3 chance of getting less than 29 on the next roll.

My heuristic is to *always* roll for Yahtzee on 4K if Yahtzee is open (and sometimes if Yahtzee is closed and Large Straight is open).

Expected outcome in this case is the average of all the possible outcomes: avg(50, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25) = 30.88. Go heuristics.

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Right of Way

This morning I was biking to work and, hitting a red light at an intersection, used the crosswalk to make a left turn and cross the street. This is illegal. You can't ride a vehicle in a crosswalk.

As a crossed the street, another bike was coming towards the intersection on the other side of the street I had been on. That bike ran the red light. Also illegal.

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General Yahtzee Strategy

Some counter-intuitive, some not. I haven't done the math on many of these. Some of them I gleaned from looking at the logs of the Optimal Solitaire Yahtzee Player, an invaluable resource.

  • Early in the game, ditch a bad roll in the ones.

    Sure, you'll go negative on the bonus, but it's likely you'll make it up if there are still 4 or 5 number boxes left to fill on the left.

  • Don't actively try to fill the 1s and 2s boxes.

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Showboat, Concert Edition

Oakland Symphony Chorus provided support for the OEBS in a concert performance of Showboat.

The "concert" version of Showboat, as blessed by the rights holders, is a pretty sterile affair, with a droning narrator and most of the story excised. They've also edited/censored some language to confirm with modern-day political correctness.

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Ziggy Rainbows

All you have to do to get a mention in a big time comics blog is to send in something awful to the management:

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Natural 3 of a kind Yahtzee chances

Typically what happens is that on your first roll you get 3 ones, and maybe a potentially useful singleton.

And you've already used the ones box.

So the question is, should you go for Yahtzee here? Or should you try to build off the singleton or just re-roll all five dice?

I suspect that if the probability is reasonably close to 1 in 6, it's probably your best chance at a Yahtzee in the game, and thus worth risking the Yahtzee box on.

There are 3 ways to get to Yahtzee from here, and we can sum their individual probabilities to get the overall chances.

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The Snob Horizon

I collect snobberies.

I like knowing what makes some things high-quality and other things crappy (it's different for every kind of thing), and being able to distinguish the subtle differences between the two.

However, the traits that distinguish good from bad are arbitrary and, like fashion, are often cyclic and based on class/expense rather than any intrinsic measure of quality in the snobbed object.

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Certified Spiciness

A lot of restaurants representing cultures with spicy cuisines offer dishes with a choice of heat level.

However, there is a LOT of variance in the actual spiciness of dishes at a given heat level, both from restaurant to restaurant, and even from chef to chef.

Originally I was going to propose a device that would measure the scoville units of a dish, along with a training and certification system so that multiple restaurants could offer a guaranteed comparable scale of heat.

But on reflection, the real problem is just that "hot" is ambigous.

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A: Woof
B: What?
A (emphatically): WOOF!
B (get's it now): Woof!
A: What?

Minutes of fun whenever you need it.

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