Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Minor News Headline

2012 is Mathematics Year in Nigeria.
 I wonder what that means - time to be more mathematical?
No problem.

CATCH UP ALERT!!! This is the FEBRUARY 2012 post.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Next time there'll be some tricks but you should try the game first

Although you can play Mahjonng on your computer, the game was played even before electronics.
You can watch some actors play real Mahjonng in this video.

Can you believe that I do not play chess?  Yesterday, a colleague at work showed me to play.  (Actually I've played a few - like 5 to 10 - games in the past, I know the queen can move all these directions etc.) My teacher was really good - he really loves the game and loves teaching people to play.  You could tell that it made him happy.

Well, chess is one game of strategy.

I just watched this Chinese movie titled Battle of Wits.  This village was going to be attacked by a very large army, and guess what?  A special agent, yes - one single peace-loving warrior strayed into their village and within minutes their defeat started to become victory.  I love those Chinese historical war films - they idolize knowledge and strategy.  Check out Red Cliff, for instance.

Any more great films I should know about?

JANUARY 2012 post

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ali G- Science

Remember this Ali G favourite?
Yes, my computer can multiply two numbers.

DECEMBER 2011 post

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easy and hard layouts in Mahjonng Titans

You can download Mahjonng Titans here, although it comes free with many Windows installations. I've played the solitaire-like game since mid-2010, with about a 50-50 win/loss average.
See my win percentages for the different layouts*:
Turtle         28 / 80       35%          
Dragon      13 / 24       54%          
 Cat           13 / 20       65%          
Fortress     13 / 24       54%         
Crab          13 / 22       59%         
Spider        14 / 30      46%         
Table: Percentage of games played that I won (All Layouts || 94/200 || 47%)  

It seems that Cat is particularly easy, and one may suppose Crab is the 2nd easiest.  I win nearly 2/3 of these games.
It seems that I find Turtle hard, winning about 1/3 only, and that I have also played it A LOT compared to the other configurations: while I played Turtle 80 times, I only played each of the other layouts 20 to 30 times. 
Crab is easy

From the winning percentages column, I can deduce this order of easiest to hardest layouts:
Cat - Crab - Dragon/Fortress (tied) - Spider - Turtle

In other news, the layouts I have played the most have the lowest percentages.  Plot total games played against win percentage and you see this.  But what does this mean?  Does this mean that I play the harder ones more - I love a challenge?  Or maybe my game gets worse as I play along?  
Negative correlation between win percentage and number of games played

How about you, which layouts do you find easy/hard?

I actually feel like the truly easy ones are Cat, Crab, and (surprise) Turtle.
I think that Dragon and Fortress and Spider are tricky, but that once I found the trick, I started playing these three layouts better while at the same becoming worse in Turtle.  Could my added knowledge actually have worsened my game in Turtle?  Does this seem ridiculous to you?

* I have given my real playing data for this software installation.  I did not plan to have the round numbers (80 games of Turtle, 200 games in total, 13 games won in each of four layouts...)  These are coincidental, believe it or not.

It is now NOVEMBER 2011 at this monthly blog.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Match the tiles - should be easy enough

I no longer play (regular) solitaire.  Mahjonng Titans -  imagine the young prince in ancient China taking strategy lessons - is one of the games that came preinstalled on my laptop.
The popular configuration is the Turtle, then I discovered new types of Mahjonng Solitaire, and some secrets of the game.

Can you guess which shapes are the easiest to play?  Why do you think so?
Try some games first and then deduce which shapes are easy and which are hard.  I'll be back in a few days.

This is the OCTOBER 2011 post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NKS - A New Kind of Science, by Stephen Wolfram

A Caltech alum published a popular and very fat book in 2002 (wow, has it been that long?)
A New Kind of Science, by Stephen Wolfram
It was a big (controversial) deal.

Serious scientists said : this is rubbish (especially because the author doesn't seem humble enough about proclaiming the importance of his experiments) , while on the other hand, the book got more sales than almost anything serious scientists have written in decades. 

NKS is worth reading for how it gets you thinking in New directions about math, computation, and the natural world.  It has beautiful pictures too.  

Other reasons to get a copy - you can place it on a side-table at home, to make you seem intelligent :) 
If you just want to read/look, it's here --> the whole thing

This is only my SEPTEMBER 2011 post

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