Bias

How to root out bias in your data (requires registration to read the whole article): if only it were that easy.

One paragraph: “Just ask city officials in Boston. As part of an effort to shore up the municipality’s aging infrastructure, city hall released a smartphone app that collects GPS data to help detect potholes. However, because people in lower income groups are less likely to own smartphones, the program didn’t include data from large segments of city neighborhoods.”

Oops! How would you have caught this?

In another area: I have been the victim of bias in employment interviews. When my face is relaxed, the corners of lips are lower than the center of my lips. So when I am relaxed, it looks to many people as if I am frowning. Add to that my red cheeks, and some people have concluded that I am a bomb waiting to go off. No, it is only hypertension. (I was wondering why I was getting such odd feedback in the co-op program from my job interviews.)

I am not perfect at this either. Shortly after I finally realised about my facial issue, one day, I was in a grocery store, saw someone apparently frowning, thought he might be having a bad time, and then, it hit me that I was doing the same thing. I looked again and could see no evidence of a bad mood. The person was doing his job quite professionally.

The bias that is most difficult to get rid of is one that you do not think is a bias.

Puzzle #196: Books

Georgina has 1000 books. They consist of 500 science fiction books, 400 horror, and 300 romances. There is obviously some overlap, and every book is in at least one of the three categories.

Twice as many books are horror-romances as are sf-romances. (Warning: An sf-horror-romance is in both groups.) She has four times as many romance-only books than she has sf-romance-only. She has the same number of sf-horror-only as she has sf-romance.

How many books of each combination of the book categories does she have?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #194 Solution: Dog Fu

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Artistry in the Snow II

Last week, I mentioned someone flipping over a semi. I confessed to being somewhat awed.

Last Saturday, I managed some artistry of my own. Saturday is an excellent night for doing laundry, mainly because you, you, and you do not think that it is a good night for doing laundry. I had just finished it and was walking down the slippery, steep slope to my apartment when I got deposited hard on the ground.

My right knee and left elbow got a jolt, but somehow, my left thigh did, too, up near the hip joint. I felt the pain inside where the bone is; it was not a bruise. I was somewhat aching and lame for a couple of days.

In other news, I slipped and fell in traffic last week at a busy intersection.

This winter seems to be meaner than most. Take care, look at my example, and maybe try something else?

Odd Language #192: Is Double

I was going to ask this question in two technical groups: “My first question is is this is safe from a SQL injection attack?”

The issue: Doubled words are generally considered wrong, but this sentence is correct. The first “is” is the main verb. The second “is” is the first word of the question.

I ended up changing the question to “My first question is whether this is safe from a SQL injection attack.”

Puzzle #195: Chocolate

Your sweetie loves chocolate. You bought your sweetie some chocolate: an assortment of 24 chocolates with six each of four flavours. “Oh, honey, you shouldn’t have.” Why not? Unfortunately, chocolate causes your sweetie to gain weight per the following table:

Flavour Weight Gain in Grams per Chocolate Eaten

Nougat 100
Honey 200
Solid Chocolate 900
Anthrax Ripple -200

Your sweetie selects four chocolates at random and eats them.

What is the probability of each of the following scenarios occurring (assuming no other factors that affect weight)?

Scenario 1: Your sweetie gains two or more kilograms.

Scenario 2: Your sweetie’s weight does not change.

Scenario 3: Your sweetie loses weight.

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #193 Solution: Kara-Ashi

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Artistry in the Snow

On Friday afternoon, I was driving home from a counting job in Merritt, British Columbia to Kamloops. It had been snowing, and a fellow driver and I had been wondering which route to take home. He had been considering Highway 5A, because Highway 5 (the Coquihalla) is awkward in the event of trouble as there are few turnaround points.

When it came time to leave, the Coq looked fine so he decided on the Coq. I followed his lead.

Unfortunately, we should have considered other drivers. There was an accident on the Coq, and we had to stop. I went to his van and commented that 5A was looking better. We were stuck waiting for about an hour.

The artistry? Someone had managed to flip over his vehicle. Given the surroundings, I did not see how he could have flipped a car or van. I am awed somewhat that the vehicle in question was a semi.

Please drive safely. Watch out for yahoo drivers, and do not be one yourself.

Odd Language #191: Approval

Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. has a logo showing a rabbit and lettering around it reading “RABBIT OF APPROVAL”.

The issue: It is a play on words on “seal of approval”, but that is minor. My question to you is how is it that the meaning is so obvious? When I first saw it, I made the connection close to instantly.

(Their macaroni and cheese has Kraft Dinner beat hollow. Appropriate, I suppose, since macaroni is hollow.)