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Aug 31

2 Probability Puzzles

Here’s a really neat puzzle that Paulos mentions in Innumeracy, which I’m now in the middle of, answered by von Neumann. The second, since we’re on the topic of probability, I can’t resist putting in since it’s my favorite coin problem of all time:

  1. What’s a way to make a fair game with an unfair coin? Say the coin is skewed so that it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time (for example). How can you make a game you have a 50% chance of winning, as you would by flipping a fair coin once?
  2. How do you make a game you have a 1 in 3 chance of winning with a fair coin?

Answers will be in the comments later, from you or from me.

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