Random?

Of course, nothing’s really random. Nothing comes from nowhere. We’ll use the category “Random” in the slang sense, as in “Where the hell did that come from?”

I remember when I had to generate random numbers to pick a couple of winners (we gave out iPods—well, a chance at an iPod—to people who answered a detailed questionnaire about the association’s website). I looked around for random number generators (free, of course), and I found a couple of decent programs. But they were really pseudorandom number generators. Of course.

I also remember being disturbed during testing by the fact that, even though I was generating numbers from 1 to 99,999,999, there seemed to be too many small numbers (two-, three-, and four-digit numbers) and not enough eight-digit numbers. Then I realized that there are tons more large numbers than small numbers. And that gave me confidence in the number generator.

Was I right to be confident?

Two people got iPods. I didn’t know beforehand who they would be. I guess that was enough aleatory success for that particular day.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 8, 2005 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    It occurs to me that I may want to make this blog my own private journal—i.e., not allow others to post either new entries or comments. I might open it up for viewing at some point; but for now, it seems like a nice place to keep a journal.

    I definitely want to create an open blog, though. Just to see how it goes. Maybe I’ll invite some friends to contribute.

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman