36 Replies to “WitCH 136: The Dice Men”

  1. Regardless of the irrelevant information in the question, the grammar leaves something to be desired, considering that the word “dice” refers to more than one die, leaving the question nonsensical.

    1. I agree. It is becoming more common to use “dice” to refer to a single die, but I always find it really jarring.

    2. Right on, Libby!
      Maybe in these current times the word die was deemed to have unpleasant connotations that might upset sensitive people.

          1. Oh damnit.
            Yes, indeed Luke Rhinehart.
            I googled for the name of the author of The Dice Man, which I couldn’t remember, and not wearing my glasses as usual (because they make me feel old), read a preview of a result for Dice Men.

            Is it better to be correct or to cling to delusions of youth?

            1. Delusions of youth is preferable. But since I’m even beyond the delusions, I’m aiming for correctness.

              1. I suppose you’re right. I’ve marginally better odds of being right about something than of being young again.

  2. What on earth are they trying to test? I guess the idea that the relative frequency is the best estimate of the probability, if we have no other information. When rolling a die there is some other information, but they try to dispel this by saying that the die may be biased.
    Bayesian ideas may be too hard for Year 7, but are definitely too hard for these examiners.

    1. Yeah, clearly \displaystyle a \displaystyle priori information is unimportant in probability calculations.
      I’d love to know how the writer of this question would calculate the probability of a false positive in a medical test …

  3. Any kid who has ever experimented with a die will tell you that throwing 50 times isn’t enough to validate or even raise suspicion if the die is biased. Obviously, the question isn’t Bayesian. After all, it is year 7. This is terrible wording and, subsequently, a lousy question.

      1. 1 is all alone.
        2 is a couple.
        4 is too square.
        5 is special (5 is the only prime number that has a sum of two consecutive prime numbers, namely 2 and 3).
        6 is scared (because 7, 8, 9). (And 6 is too perfect).

        3 is the obvious number to pick on.

        1. I was making a serious point. Of all the numbers, the 3 total most closely approximates the expected number for an unbiased die. So, given the preamble, why pick on 3?

          1. Fair point. I think they simply rolled the die to make their choice and 3 came up. (I’m serious).

            1. Probably correct, imply thoughtlessness. But choosing 3 is is the idiotic cherry on top of a thoroughly idiotic question.

              1. Particularly with a calculator.

                (This reminds me of the Physics Study Design a few cycles back where the magnitude of acceleration due to gravity was changed from 9.8 m/s^2 to 10 m/s^2, even though the students could use a scientific calculator in the exam. That madness did not survive subsequent Study Design changes, thank goodness).

                1. That madness also confused many students. They took it to be something like converting mm to cm instead of force to acceleration

  4. I asked a teacher, who is much more experienced than I am in these matters, why NAPLAN uses the word “dice” rather than “die”. He thought that students are more likely to understand the question if the word “dice” were used.

    I suppose that this is true. It would appear that the die is cast.

    1. No more of these fucking jokes. You guys may like them, or think they are no big deal. But I’m sick of them, and I already indicated I’m sick of them.

      Humour is fine, in moderation. Cheap fucking puns are not.

    1. You mean acceptable like it’s acceptable to use one’s phone at the MSO?

      Which Oxford English Dictionary?

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