Friday, 30 April 2010

Why Swoopo is Flawed

I know a lot about probability theory. When I first learned about Swoopo, I quickly found the problem with it...

If 40 people 'bid' on a laptop which only 1 person wins (for say $40 instead of $400), statistically, you (the bidder on Swoopo) will only win 1 in 40 'auctions'. So once people figure out that they have a 1/40 chance, they might as well bet on a horse, or even play roulette - which is generous by comparison.

And here's the really funny bit... Once people realise they only win 1 in 40 times, they're going to ditch Swoopo forever.

Thus, Swoopo is a Ponzi scheme, because it relies on more suckers coming along just as everyone before them realises they've only won 1 in 40 auctions, and quits Swoopo.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Recovering lost TV shows by going faster than light

When we broadcasted Hancock's Half Hour in the 1950's, nobody kept a recording of the entire 1st series. But I was thinking... If the radio waves made it into space, we just have to race after them and eventually overtake them, and then record the lost broadcast out in deep space.

The problem is you have to catch up with the radio waves, and that's impossible as we can't travel faster than light, which is the speed radio waves go.

Our only hope to recover Hancock's Half Hour is therefore a wormhole.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

From the BBC's archive via ZX81

I just rented "Hancock: Volume 1". Good stuff, but the picture quality amuses me...

They got it off some old tape which had gone all over the world and they flew it back and shoved it into a computer.

But somewhere along the line, it got so blocky it puts Sinclair ZX81 games to shame. That's pretty funny too.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Noisy Cigarettes - Only in Hollywood

Ever seen it in a film where someone sucks on a cigarette and it makes a kind of crackling noise? Eg, Bladerunner.

It's ridiculous! I've been in a lot of smoky rooms in my time, and never once have I heard a cigarette make a 'crackling' noise when someone takes a draw on it.