Observations of the Random sort

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Warren
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Warren »

Jadagul wrote: 28 Oct 2020, 11:54 Well, also, all this gaming was good for the lotteries. The lotteries had roughly a fixed loss per ticket sold; it was great for them that all these people were gaming them by buying tickets in bulk.
So how is that good for the lotteries?
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

Also, while I haven't examined the details closely, if the lotto designers were even vaguely competent then the weeks with a positive return will be more than balanced out by the weeks with a negative return. So the people buying massive amounts of tickets in weeks with positive expected return were not actually bankrupting the system.

What they WERE doing is making it easier for the general public to think "See, playing the lotto isn't so dumb; those geniuses from MIT do it so there must be a system here. I should buy a few tix."
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jadagul »

Warren wrote: 28 Oct 2020, 12:16
Jadagul wrote: 28 Oct 2020, 11:54 Well, also, all this gaming was good for the lotteries. The lotteries had roughly a fixed loss per ticket sold; it was great for them that all these people were gaming them by buying tickets in bulk.
So how is that good for the lotteries?
Sorry, loss for the players, gain for the lotteries. Every extra dollar ticket that the MIT students bought was in expectation an extra five cents or whatever for the lottery.

The MIT students got a positive expected value, and the lottery got a positive expected value, and the people who were playing on non-rolldown weeks got a very negative expected value. Which is why the lottery never cracked down until it got public attention and other people complained.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JD »

FWIW I agree with Jadagul in that I'm not sure the lotteries really care about people gaming things as long as the lotteries get theirs in the long run. Who knows whether they just never bothered to do the math on positive-return situations or whether they did and decided it was worth it.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

I have to assume that whoever did the math to design positive-return weeks also made it so that they occur rarely enough (relative to losses in those weeks and gains in others) to make things work out in the lotto operator's favor long-run.

The bigger problem is that if a big player monopolizes the positive-return weeks then it kills a major marketing gimmick. A big player might not be hurting the odds for the lotto operator, but they are hurting the buzz that gets them players and makes the thing big enough to be worth running. Also, lottos are affiliated with the state, and anything that looks "unfair" will result in complaints and political pressure.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jadagul »

thoreau wrote: 29 Oct 2020, 13:25 I have to assume that whoever did the math to design positive-return weeks also made it so that they occur rarely enough (relative to losses in those weeks and gains in others) to make things work out in the lotto operator's favor long-run.

The bigger problem is that if a big player monopolizes the positive-return weeks then it kills a major marketing gimmick. A big player might not be hurting the odds for the lotto operator, but they are hurting the buzz that gets them players and makes the thing big enough to be worth running. Also, lottos are affiliated with the state, and anything that looks "unfair" will result in complaints and political pressure.
And that's exactly how the scheme ended.

The lottery commission had no problem with the scheme; it was in fact an increase in their income. But once the _public_ discovered it, I think through investigative journalism, they pitched a fit. And the lottery commission didn't really want to say "oh, yeah, they were screwing you, but it was good for us so we didn't care".
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Shem »

Jadagul wrote: 29 Oct 2020, 14:13
thoreau wrote: 29 Oct 2020, 13:25 I have to assume that whoever did the math to design positive-return weeks also made it so that they occur rarely enough (relative to losses in those weeks and gains in others) to make things work out in the lotto operator's favor long-run.

The bigger problem is that if a big player monopolizes the positive-return weeks then it kills a major marketing gimmick. A big player might not be hurting the odds for the lotto operator, but they are hurting the buzz that gets them players and makes the thing big enough to be worth running. Also, lottos are affiliated with the state, and anything that looks "unfair" will result in complaints and political pressure.
And that's exactly how the scheme ended.

The lottery commission had no problem with the scheme; it was in fact an increase in their income. But once the _public_ discovered it, I think through investigative journalism, they pitched a fit. And the lottery commission didn't really want to say "oh, yeah, they were screwing you, but it was good for us so we didn't care".
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

As Trump impotently tweets "STOP THE COUNT!", I'm glad he's not a Prime Minister who might actually be able to make that happen.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Warren »

Eric the .5b wrote: 05 Nov 2020, 13:04 As Trump impotently tweets "STOP THE COUNT!", I'm glad he's not a Prime Minister who might actually be able to make that happen.
Ah, but if he were a Prime Minister, he'd be someplace else's problem.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Warren wrote: 05 Nov 2020, 19:35
Eric the .5b wrote: 05 Nov 2020, 13:04 As Trump impotently tweets "STOP THE COUNT!", I'm glad he's not a Prime Minister who might actually be able to make that happen.
Ah, but if he were a Prime Minister, he'd be someplace else's problem.
Nobody else would take him, so we'd surely have a parliamentary government.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

If he were a PM there might be a Head of State with the gravitas and reserve powers to stop him from shutting down counts.

But what really matters here is federalism, not presidential vs parliamentary systems. In a federal system it's a whole lot harder for a central authority (President, PM, whatever) to tell local governments to stop counting.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 03:17If he were a PM there might be a Head of State with the gravitas and reserve powers to stop him from shutting down counts.
Or a figurehead who can at most scowl at him, as any use of those powers would get them taken away.
thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 03:17But what really matters here is federalism, not presidential vs parliamentary systems. In a federal system it's a whole lot harder for a central authority (President, PM, whatever) to tell local governments to stop counting.
How many federal parliamentary deterrence are out there, though? Parliaments correlate with unitary states that could abolish any sub-entities with a simple act, much less override them.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

Federal parliamentary systems off the top of my head:

Canada
Australia
Switzerland
Germany
Austria
Spain is not formally classified as federal but their regions have pretty substantial autonomy.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

And while I agree that constitutional monarchs can't really check prime ministers in practice, presidents sometimes do, in republics.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JD »

thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 03:17 But what really matters here is federalism, not presidential vs parliamentary systems. In a federal system it's a whole lot harder for a central authority (President, PM, whatever) to tell local governments to stop counting.
I think even more than federalism per se, it's the Electoral College. It is possible to imagine a system that is federal but in which national elections are managed by a national body.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Kolohe »

thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 04:05 Federal parliamentary systems off the top of my head:

Canada
Australia
Switzerland
Germany
Austria
Spain is not formally classified as federal but their regions have pretty substantial autonomy.
In a roundabout non-uniform way, so is the UK.

But what is unusual globally is what the UK & Canada (& Australia?) have, which is a parliamentary system made up of solely first past the post voting districts.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 04:05 Federal parliamentary systems off the top of my head:

Canada
Australia
Switzerland
Germany
Austria
Spain is not formally classified as federal but their regions have pretty substantial autonomy.
Pretty much every unitary government sets up sub-units. The difference is that a unitary government can establish or dissolve them just by passing a law; there's not a separation of powers, nothing that belongs to the states. Switzerland is about the only one anywhere as federal in the way the US is.

You should talk to more people from those countries and how bewildered they are that US states can have significantly different laws and processes from each other.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

Eric the .5b wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 10:25
thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 04:05 Federal parliamentary systems off the top of my head:

Canada
Australia
Switzerland
Germany
Austria
Spain is not formally classified as federal but their regions have pretty substantial autonomy.
Pretty much every unitary government sets up sub-units. The difference is that a unitary government can establish or dissolve them just by passing a law; there's not a separation of powers, nothing that belongs to the states. Switzerland is about the only one anywhere as federal in the way the US is.

You should talk to more people from those countries and how bewildered they are that US states can have significantly different laws and processes from each other.
Sure, there are greatly varying degrees of federalism. But Trump's lack of authority over the vote counting has less to do with the title of "President" vs "Prime Minister" than our extreme degree of federalism. Countries with more centralized governments are centralized whether the person running the executive branch has the title "President" or "Prime Minister."

And, frankly, I think US elections need more central standardization, not less. Yes, in an ideal world the states would be "laboratories of democracy" using their autonomy to experiment with different technologies for efficient voting in trying circumstances like the present. Instead, the "laboratories of democracy" mostly use their autonomy to experiment with vote suppression techniques.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

thoreau wrote: 06 Nov 2020, 16:11Sure, there are greatly varying degrees of federalism. But Trump's lack of authority over the vote counting has less to do with the title of "President" vs "Prime Minister" than our extreme degree of federalism. Countries with more centralized governments are centralized whether the person running the executive branch has the title "President" or "Prime Minister."

And, frankly, I think US elections need more central standardization, not less. Yes, in an ideal world the states would be "laboratories of democracy" using their autonomy to experiment with different technologies for efficient voting in trying circumstances like the present. Instead, the "laboratories of democracy" mostly use their autonomy to experiment with vote suppression techniques.
As pointed out, the only reason he can't readily fuck around with the votes (given the eager support of his party) is precisely because we devolve handling voting to the states. I don't see how you can cheer that in one breath, then say it should be more centralized. That's a "pick one" situation.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

The states should have to follow standards, akin to the Voting Rights Act. But they should administer it themselves. The feds should set a standard that the process has to meet, but the people carrying out the process should be state employees. This way compliance with the standards is a matter for federal law, and hence subject to federal suits, but nobody from the executive branch can order a state official to stop counting because they aren't on the federal payroll.

Basically, I'm saying that we need another Voting Rights Act.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

Fair enough.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JD »

When Ceaușescu was elevated to "President of the Republic" of Romania, he was granted a "Presidential sceptre."

Image

Salvador Dali sent a telegram saying
I deeply appreciated your historic decision to establish the presidential sceptre
which the state media republished, apparently not considering that there might have been an element of sarcasm to it.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by dead_elvis »

Maybe I'm naive about the progress of technology, but if Apple's new laptops actually have "studio quality" mics built in I'll have a heart attack from surprise. Giant red flag is that there are no actual mic specs anywhere to be found. :roll:
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Warren »

dead_elvis wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 02:48 Maybe I'm naive about the progress of technology, but if Apple's new laptops actually have "studio quality" mics built in I'll have a heart attack from surprise. Giant red flag is that there are no actual mic specs anywhere to be found. :roll:
I mean. Sure the actual transducer can be "studio quality", but the quality of a microphone as a whole has a lot to do with the acoustics of its housing, which can't be miniaturized. I suppose it's theoretically possible to achieve the same effects with signal processing. I dunno though. So many variables regarding the space and conditions you're recording in.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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"Military grade"
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