“Hand an ordinary guest a supermarket receipt and ask him to tally the numerals in each vertical column of the tape, starting from the top right-hand column of digits and then working down, and then “carrying” digits, much as one does in ordinary addition. Confoundingly, the probability is 1/2, or fifty percent, that one or more digits in the guest’s total will correspond to one or more of those printed at the bottom of the tape. This trick is ridiculously easy to understand once it is understood, and lays bare the very essence of the scientific method. It relies on what magicians call “chance.” The greater the number of entries on the tape, the smaller the probability of a coincidence — with an absolute certainty of no coincidence, of course, when the tape involves items rung on the ‘Meat’ key.”

I almost need not mention that this combines a skewering of Martin Gardner, p values, magicians, and, in the choice of subject, Brian Wansink. It’s almost as if she was planning for this contest in 1976, which also then proves Bem knew what he was he talking about.

Assuming she survives this round, I will scour her work for writings on the ovulation of beautiful daughters.

]]>Anyway, I was looking for Geng’s rare early Shakesperean satires, and there was supposedly this used copy for sale at an antiquities store in the basement of the Pentagon, of all places. I am in there looking for the place (I swear it was Oliver North looking at the wedding cakes) and this 20-something Nicaraguan woman in a camoflage points an M-16 at me and says “YOU, WHAT’S THIS ABOUT” and gestures at my foot. I look down and see a piece of paper stuck to my shoe! I say I know nothing, she shoves me around and locks me into this windowless room with another guy with a piece of paper stuck to his shoe. You guessed it, Ed. I look at the paper, and on it is–the bracket for this tournament! Ed says, “Just one man’s tribute to the Spirit of the Latour Seminar.”

Anyway, he didn’t look so hot. Still carrying a torch after all these years. Apparently, one day he found this note on the kitchen table talking about how she took the kids away, but Dwight Gooden is fine, “he just hung a couple of curve balls.” Ed assumed it was just one of her stories; sent it to her publisher, they published it, but he hasn’t seen her since.

Anyway, he gave me an idea about this whole competition–that V. had maybe already won it. Not because of bias, but in a metaphysical sense. But that’s for the next round.

]]>Geng deserved to win her round, but is only here now due to a corruption of the rules of the contest.

George H. W. Bush served his country with distinction overall, but was probably deeply knowledgeable about Iran-Contra and did nothing to stop it.

So let’s declare Monty Python the winner. This would be unexpected, but “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”, either.

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