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Mar. 14th, 2004 | 05:51 pm
mood: busybusy
music: Orbital - Way Out

    humans cannot generate truly random numbers
It occurs to me that there are lots of things humans aren't especially good at, but one can't necessarily work backwards from that to say something about what we are.

For the record, whenever I need an input to add some pseudorandomness to my life I glance at the last digit of the seconds display on my watch. (Actually, my phone, since I don't wear a watch anymore.)

Richard Feynman writes about a bunch of personal mental experiments he did with things like counting, timekeeping, perception, and multitasking. One thing I noticed in his account was the ability to train your brain to do things you wouldn't expect without having to be fully conscious of them. So: I wonder if we can learn 'tricks' that would let us mentally generate a more-random list of numbers?

    Is there such a thing as a "random choice"?
It's an interesting candidate for the descriptive term 'oxymoron'. Random choice. If we had one, when would we use it, and for what? And how would we know? Choice implies awareness of the options, right?

(Thanks for making the wheels of my brain spin a bit.) :)

cross-posted from another thread

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Comments {3}

JP Sugarbroad

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from: taral
date: Mar. 14th, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC)

The question on random choice makes me think of the Axiom of Choice. Look it up. It's quite a dilemma.

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Triple Entendre

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from: triple_entendre
date: Mar. 14th, 2004 08:49 pm (UTC)

I'm picturing a math student who refuses to do his set theory homework because he's a hard determinist.

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Re: randomness

from: deeptape
date: Mar. 14th, 2004 10:49 pm (UTC)

Random choice is almost "zen" in the requirement for the existence and non-existence of the chooser


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