4 posts
History of Tetris randomizers

Tetris is a game with foundations in randomness. Pieces are distributed randomly to players and they have to figure out the best spot for each piece. That randomness though has changed over the years as different versions of the game came out. Simon Laroche catalogued the significant changes to the Tetris randomizer. On the very first Tetris game: The first and original version of Tetris released had an unbiased randomizer....

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A game to test your ability to pick random numbers

Compared to a computer’s pseudo-random number generator, we are not good at picking random numbers. Ilya Perederiy made a quick game to show how bad you are: Your fingers tend to repeat certain patterns even if you don’t notice it. The program keeps a database of each possible combination of 5 presses, and two counters are stored under each entry — one is for every zero that follows the combination,...

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Randomness of scientific impact

A group of researchers wondered if there was a trend or predictability for when a scientist’s most impactful work came about. It’s random. [W]e studied the evolution of productivity and impact throughout thousands of scientific careers. We reconstructed the publication record of scientists from seven disciplines, connecting each paper with its long-term impact on the scientific community as quantified by citation metrics. We found that the highest-impact work in a...

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What if the RNC assigned seating randomly

The punditry has spoken: the most important data question at the Republican Convention is where different states are located. Here is the FiveThirtyEight take on the matter: They crunched some numbers and argue that Trump's margin of victory in the state primaries is the best indicator of how close to the front that state's delegation is situated. Others have put this type of information on a map: The scatter plot...

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