Thursday, January 1, 2009

When worlds collide....

My online identity is pretty diverse. Each different facet seems to interact with a large web or sphere of somewhat similar individuals. What surprises me, though, is how little the various spheres tend to interact with the other spheres.

For instance, I see very little overlap between these three spheres: math teachers, programmers, and technology in education experts. All three of those spheres accept me and allow me to contribute and ask questions--and yet I know very few individuals that exist in even two of those three spheres.

For instance, take a look at this recent post about a probability question on a programming blog. The immense number of comments arguing one solution over another reminded me of the Monty Hall problem, which is taught in IMP 3 Math. In fact, there's almost nothing in those comments (other than the occasional coded "solution" to the problem) that would tell you that these are primarily programmers--not math teachers--arguing their view of the problem.

I found the comments amusing. I haven't necessarily found that being a natural at math makes a student a natural at programming--although I must say that almost all of my best programmers are very good at math. I've done research on a correlation between language acquisition aptitude and programming ability, but the results, of course, were unclear. What I do know, though, is that very few programmers (aside from a few Linquistics experts) ever think much about language acquisition.

Let the fun begin:

Let's say, hypothetically speaking, you met someone who told you they had two children, and one of them is a girl. What are the odds that person has a boy and a girl?

5 comments:

Jackie Ballarini said...

Is having a boy and a girl the same as having a girl and a boy?

I'm reading this as "Given two children and one is a girl, what is the probability the other is a boy."

Assuming that the birth of a girl is as equally likely as the birth of a boy:

BB
BG
GB
GG

Four combinations (order doesn't matter). So, given one of the two is a girl, the probability of the other being a boy is 2/3.

No?

RichSkyline said...

Yes. IMP teachers rule.

I got it right also, but it's still fun to look at 1000+ comments arguing various solutions on the Coding Horror blog.

Big Sis said...

Well, in my house it was

BOY
BOY
BOY
BOY

Go figure.

:)

Jackie Ballarini said...

Yay!

I love the amount of probability in IMP. Last year we rearranged year 1 and moved Pig to the end of the year. It got shortchanged and I wasn't happy. I'm hoping to fix that this year.

(And I actually credit coaching math team with my love of probability. IMP is fairly new for us).

RichSkyline said...

Nephews:
Boy
Boy
Boy
Boy
Boy
Boy

Grandchildren:
Boy
Boy
Girl! Yes! Finally!