BIGGER THAN A MEGA-YACHT, EVEN

Alan S: ‘What a ship….no wonder ‘Made in China’ is displacing North American goods big time with this floating continent transporting goods across the Pacific. This is how Wal-Mart gets its stuff from China. Get a load of this ship! It can carry 15,000 containers! And look at the crew size: 13 people for a ship longer than a US aircraft carrier (that has a crew of 5,000). Think it’s big enough? Notice that its 207′ beam means it’s too wide to fit through the Panama or Suez Canals. It is strictly transPacific. Check out the cruise speed: 31 knots means the goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on a China-to-California run. So this Danish behemoth is hugely competitive when carrying perishable goods. Built in five sections, floated together and then welded. The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously.’

☞ But does it come with a 12-man submarine like Paul Allen’s Octopus?

TELEPRESENCE

John Seiffer: ‘Among the many futuristic technologies we’re starting to see in real life, comes this. One guy in India, another in California – and they both appear live on the same stage.’

☞ An amazing clip. Watch it! Soon (well, fairly soon), you’ll be able to meet face to face with your Shanghai design team without ever having to leave Chicago. Not bad for the environment, the bottom line, or jet lag.

THE MONTY HALL PROBLEM

This will be very old news to many of you (and has no practical application I can think of, except to be a bit humbling). But for those who’ve never fully thought it through (or who want to humble someone else in a bar bet), here’s the nub (and here‘s its history):

You’re on a game show. A mega-yacht is behind one of three doors, lumps of seaweed behind each of the other two. You guess Door A. The host doesn’t tell you whether you’ve won; instead, he opens one of the other doors (say, Door B) to reveal a lump of seaweed – and invites you to stick with Door A, if you’re comfortable with that choice, or to switch to the remaining unopened door. Your call.

Does it make any difference whether you switch?

Well, obviously not. It doesn’t take a mathematician to tell you that.

Except that actually – to the consternation of many mathematicians (and certainly to the consternation of me) – it does. Your odds of winning are twice as good if you switch.

How can that be?

Well, you initially guessed Door A, which had a one-third chance of concealing the mega-yacht. Doors B and C, between them, had a two-thirds chance.

Right?

By switching to Door C, you get the full value of that two-thirds chance (because you know it ain’t behind Door B).

This makes sense to me when I say it, but absolutely no intuitive sense.

(One’s grasp for related knowledge immediately goes to the coin toss truism: that even if a coin has come up ‘tails’ ten times in a row, a cool-headed man or woman knows it is no more likely to come up ‘heads’ on the eleventh. The odds of an honest coin-toss are 50-50 every time.)

And yet it’s true. And you can spend the rest of the day trying it yourself, here. On any given play of the game, you might win or lose. But play 100 times, never switching from your initial guess, and you’ll win the mega-yacht about 33 times; versus about 67 times if you always switch from your initial choice.

 

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