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Hello!

Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends!
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside!

— Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part II)

Hi there!

If you're reading this, you're probably just looking at my journal, perhaps even thinking about adding me as an LJ-friend; or alternatively, perhaps I just added you as an LJ-friend, and you're curious about me now. In either case, I'd like to use this opportunity to say a few things.

Trevor: You're skating the edge.
Æon: I
am the edge.

— Æon Flux

First of all, I tend to write freely about topics everything that matters to me; more distanced, "professional" entries may directly be followed by more personal ones (and vice versa), and I will, generally, openly write about all sorts of things, including philosophy, sexuality, politics and more. Some of my entries will be friends-only, others will be publicly viewable, too, and unlike other people, I don't use <lj-cut /> tags or specific "topic filters" (i.e., custom friends groups dedicated to specific topics) to shield people from things they may not want to see.

Well, as long as it's text, that is; I will cut images that aren't safe for work etc. (at least if I remember, which I might not always do!), since I wouldn't want for people to get in trouble if their boss happens to be shoulder-surfing at work. Text, though, is a different issue, and if you'll get into trouble for reading about certain topics at work, you probably shouldn't be checking your friends page at work to begin with.

He said, "I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest."

— Mike Oldfield, Amarok (liner notes)

Second of all, concerning friending me: feel free to. There is no need to ask if it's OK to do so; everyone's welcome to, as well as to post comments etc. (as long as they're genuine: spammers etc. will not be tolerated, but that goes without saying, anyway). I may add you back if your journal looks interesting or if I know you, too, but this isn't automatic. If you do want me to add you back, engaging me and talking to me is probably the best way to go about it.

Please don't ask about being added back if I didn't do so on my own, either, unless I already know you well and you want to be able to read my non-public entries.

If I already friended you but you don't know who I am and haven't been in contact with me before, that most likely means I became aware of your journal somehow, took a look, and decided I wanted to keep up with what you're writing — "I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter", as it were. I don't expect you to friend me back or otherwise take an interest in me, but if you do — all the better.

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

— from "Furry", by Croc O'Dile of TigerMUCK with help from Tony DeMatio, June 1995

Regarding commenting, BTW, I'm always happy to receive comments. However, things like "lol" are not proper punctuation, and correct spelling and grammar would be nice as well. And of course, I expect people to not be insulting or rude, but that, again, should go without saying.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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How not to report golf leaderboards

I was looking at the results of the recent Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala on the LPGA — one site that Google turned up that had the leaderboard was golfpost.de. Looking at the results, however, I couldn't help but feel that something was off:

Can you see it?

If you look closely, you'll notice that there's only five players tied for 8th place (T8) on that list. The next position, however, is T14 (tied 14th) place, so something's off: either players are missing in front, meaning that T8 should really be T9, or there's a player missing for T8, or the next rank should be T13 instead of T14.

Looking at the official LPGA leaderboard (which I probably should've done right away anyway), it turns out that the second explanation's correct. Jennifer Chang, who was tied for 8th place, is simply missing.

Well, that's not good.

I wondered if this was a fluke, and compared the rest of the leaderboard (see here) with the official one. Turns out that all the following players are missing from golfpost.de's:

  • Jennifer Chang (T8)
  • Elizabeth Szokol (T34)
  • Yealimi Noh (T44)
  • Lindsey Weaver (T52)
  • Sarah Schmelzel (T59)
  • Laura Restrepo (CUT, T72)
  • Jiwon Jeon (CUT, T72)
  • Lauren Stephenson (CUT, T81)
  • Maria Feranda Torres (CUT, T89)
  • Esther Lee (CUT, T105)
  • Tiffany Chan (CUT, 112)

That's eleven players out of a field of 120, almost ten percent, including five players who made the cut and one top ten finisher. Pretty sloppy reporting if you ask me.

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Three riddles: answers

Answers to the three riddles previously posted — I'll just give these first, and then later explain some reservations I have about the answers that the Deborah Bennett offers.

Riddle 1: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two. Any girls? you say. Yes, she says. What is the probability that both are girls?

The answer is one third (not one half, as you'd likely think). Initially, there's four possibilities: your friend might have two boys, or a boy and a girl, or a girl and a boy, or a girl and a girl. Of these, the possibility of two boys is ruled out, so you have three possibilities left, one of which is “two girls”

(Note that “a boy and a girl” and “a girl and a boy” are different outcomes, BTW, just like how “heads and tails” is different from “tails and heads” when you throw a coin, even though the end result – a total of one girl – is the same.)

Riddle 2: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two—ages 6 and 10. Is the oldest a girl? you ask. Yes. What is the probability that both of her children are girls?

This time it really is one half: if you list the kids in e. g. birth order, then both “two boys” and “one boy, one girl” are ruled out, so there's two possibilities left, one of which is “two girls”.

Riddle 3: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two. Any girls? Yes. The next day you see her with a young girl. Is this your daughter? you ask. Yes, she says. What is the probability that both of her children are girls?

If you got the first one right, you may think that here, too, the answer is one third, since once you know that your friend has a daughter, no new information is revealed by learning that the specific kid accompanying her is her daughter. However, the answer is actually one half here.

The reason for this is that, just like in the second riddle, you've made the two kids distinguishable. Previously, it was the older vs the younger kid, now it's the kid you see vs. the kid you don't see, but the result is the same: there's only two possibilities left. In essence, in both the second and the third riddle, you know that one specific kid is a girl, and the question is only about the other, so the chance is one half.

Now, this said, some additional remarks on these riddles.

First of all, this rests on the assumption that boys and girls are equally likely, of course, which may not be the case but is largely uncontroversial (certainly for the purpose of these riddles).

What's more problematic is the fact that as soon as an outcome is realized, you cannot (IMO) meaningfully talk about probabilities anymore. Your friend either has two girls, or she doesn't; the probability for this event is therefore either exactly one or exactly zero.

You can get around this by replacing probability with subjective probability, of course: your confidence in a certain statement (“two girls”) being true or not, perhaps your willingness to bet on this (disregarding risk preferences and risk aversion). This'd put you in the realm of Bayesian statistics, which I've not had any real exposure to yet, but I think this approach can be seen in the third riddle in particular, where you are adjusting your initial confidence of one third (per the first riddle) to one half based on what does turn out to be new information after all (even though it initially looks as if nothing new is being revealed). Whether the conclusions are still inescapable once you start talking about subjective probabibilities I can't say.

So, don't take these too seriously. They're still fun little riddles to think about though.

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Three riddles

Here's a neat series of riddles, taken from Deborah Bennett's Randomness. Think about this and post your answer — comments are screened to avoid spoilers.

Riddle 1: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two. Any girls? you say. Yes, she says. What is the probability that both are girls?

Here's the second:

Riddle 2: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two—ages 6 and 10. Is the oldest a girl? you ask. Yes. What is the probability that both of her children are girls?

And finally, here's the third:

Riddle 3: You make a new friend, and you ask if she has any children. Yes, she says, two. Any girls? Yes. The next day you see her with a young girl. Is this your daughter? you ask. Yes, she says. What is the probability that both of her children are girls?

I'll post the solution in a few days; if I don't, remind me to.

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R.I.P. Larry King

I just learned that Larry King died.

The cause was COVID-19, apparently.

I fondly remember Larry's show, Larry King Live — it was one of the things that helped me learn English properly, and on top that it was always interesting to watch, too. There was a period in my life where I'd watch it pretty much each day, on CNN Europe (which we fortunately were able to receive).

I'll just paraphrase Larry's own last words on the last edition of his signature show: I don't know what to say except to you, Larry, thank you. And instead of goodbye, how about so long.

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Lee6

I was rather amused a while back when, at a golf tournament co-sanctioned by the LET and LPGA, the name Jeongeun Lee6 popped up on the leaderboard — my first thought that the font had a strange G glyph, and my second that it was a typo, but it turns out that no, there really is a golfer called that.

Fast-forward to today, and I hear the commentator (during a later round of the same tournament) remark something along the lines of “Jeongeun Lee6 with her second shot now … no Jeongeun Lee5 in the field this week, though she did play last week at Evian”.[1] I thought he was joking, but it didn't sound like it, and his co-host didn't remark on it …

… so I googled it, and it turns out that not only is there a Jeongeun Lee5, there's also a Jeongeun Lee1, Jeongeun Lee2, Jeongeun Lee3 and Jeongeun Lee4, and they're all professional golfers. Talk about confusing! Amused me to no end though.

1. Evian's in summer, so obviously I'm not watching live coverage here.
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Dramatic singing

From five years ago, at Jólagestir Björgvins 2015, here's a great performance of Hjartað lyftir mér hærra by María Ólafsdóttir and Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson:

This gets really dramatic at roundabout 4 minutes in, with the two of them inspiring each other to put ever more energy, heart and soul into their singing. I think the climax is reached when Eyþór Ingi hits that high note at 4:36 — but what an excellent performance from both of them! Absolutely outstanding, and what a great gift this is.

(And what a marvel of modern technology that this performance from a concert in Iceland roundabout five years ago can be watched roundabout anywhere in the world, anytime, at little to no cost.)

If you want to read along, here's the lyrics:

Þegar himinn opnast yfir þér
Óskastjarnan birtast hér
og þá logar ljós á ný,
lifnar hjá þér birta svo hlý.

Allir draumar okkar rætast
ef við bara fylgjum þeim,
þegar von og vilji mætast
mun viskan færa okkur betri heim.

Töfrar heimsins eru ljós í ljúfum blæ,
lífið mitt er einfaldlega það besta sem ég fæ.
Óskin mín er yndisleg,
allt fer hér á besta veg.
Og auðvitað trúi ég.

Þegar himinn opnast yfir þér …

Allir draumar okkar rætast …

Töfrar heimsins eru ljós í ljúfum blæ …

Trúi ég á minn æðri mátt,
allt sem býr í hjarta mér,
fegurð lífsins, já, frið og sátt,
Fögnuð þann sem ríkir hér.

Því hef ég bæði von og viljastyrk
þetta veit ég hér og nú,
þannig verður þrá mín virk,
Því trúi ég.

Töfrar heimsins eru ljós í ljúfum blæ …

Óskin mín er yndisleg,
allt fer hér á besta veg.
Og auðvitað trúi ég.
Trúi ég.

Lyftir mér hærra! (Hjartað lyftir mér!) (8×)

The background singers that are occasionally seen are the Reykjavík Gospel Company BTW, splendid performers in their own right.

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On working

Maybe it's just me, but the reason it's difficult to work all day, I've found, isn't so much that it's necessarily draining (though it can be), it's that when you eventually stop, it's already (late) evening.

And it's only then and only after you've taken care of more paperwork and personal effects, tidied up a bit etc. that that feeling of “now the day can start!” comes up.

But by then it's 9 or 10pm and there's not much of a day left, and I think it's the collision of those two feelings – “let the day begin”, and “the day is almost over” – that really gets to me.

It's not so bad when I stop work early enough to genuinely have time to do things I like, and not just sit around too-tired-for-anything-but-not-quite-tired-enough-to-got-bed. Maybe I should try to work less.