Monday, February 16, 2009

How random?

Moominpapa suggests that my method of randomly selecting a number between one and four hundred, as I have been doing for recent photos from last summer, may not be all that random. He may be right, although I think it will be random enough for these purposes, where it isn't being used very often, and it's completely independent of the photos themselves. It's a pack of cards, so the randomness largely depends upon how well it's been shuffled and reshuffled and where it's cut.

I need to create a three digit figure, between 1 and 400.

So for the first digit, let hearts = zero, clubs = 1, diamonds = 2 and spades = 3

For the second and third digits, let 1 = 1 and so on, with 10 = zero and discounting picture cards.

This doesn't however give an equal chance to each number between 1 and 400; unless one had three packs or reshuffled the whole pack between each selection, it would militate against the last two digits being the same, and the latter two selections might also be influenced by the first if that were not a picture card.

So it may not, technically, be completely random. But it serves my purpose; it rules out the possibility of me exerting any preference, whether consciously or not, and above all, it saves me actually having to make a choice.

3 comments:

MoominPapa said...

OK, that's pretty random (as long as the packs are well shuffled, which is more difficult than it sounds.) so I take back my statement about it not being random.

I'm sure I'd read somewhere on the blog that you where selecting photos by clicking "at random" on the computer screen, and that's what I was thing about. I can't find anything about that in the last couple of weeks posts, so maybe it was the product of a fevered imagination?

MP.

Sarah said...

That was the advent calendar, where most of the photos were in relatively small sets. Not random in the proper sense of the word, admittedly, but in the everyday sense. It wouldn't stand a chance with 400 though.

MoominPapa said...

Ah, that explains it. (Wanders off, mumbling. Again.)